To the Editor:
On June 19, 2018, the seniors at Darien High School’s Fitch Academy will be graduating. They have chosen to receive their diplomas at the Darien Public Library where they have taken their classes for past school year. A few months ago, when we talked about our new location, which is a short distance from the library, one of our seniors opened his arms wide and said, “Look what we have here. Who would ever want to leave the library!” While eager to have a little more space next year, the students are reluctant to leave the place that has been their home for the past ten months.
The Darien Library has given us a beautiful silence in the morning as we entered the building before the arrival of the staff and patrons. That silence offered our students and faculty a quietude that steadied our minds. As the day wore on, we walked among the patrons, assuming their anonymity but secretly feeling an ownership — a pride that this was our library — the base from which we launched our first year of Fitch Academy.
As we prepare to pack up books and papers, calculators and iPads, I want to thank Alan Gray, the Director of the Darien Public Library, who welcomed us enthusiastically and shared with Dan Brenner, our Superintendent, and Ellen Dunn, our Principal, a vision for a viable relationship between a public school and a public library: the two places where the exchange of knowledge matters. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Assistant Director, John Blyberg, Teen Services Librarian, Mia Orobona, and Elisabeth Marrocolla, Head of Children and Teen Services, who are truly responsible for the ease with which we forged our relationship. Their support and friendship have been invaluable. Victor Pensiero, Building Engineer, always extended a warm greeting in the early morning and was intent on keeping us comfortable. We will miss the Frosty Bear Cafe with John Martin and his daughters Alison and Lauren, who have offered a delectable reprieve from polynomials and the Industrial Revolution! Chicken parm at 9 a.m. fueled some of our students on many dark winter mornings! And to the librarians and staff, who greeted us with waves and hellos and friendly conversation, I want to express my gratitude for helping to make your library our school. I will forever value your many acts of kindness and your faith in a rare possibility: that the Darien Public Library and Fitch Academy of Darien High School could find in each other a respect and care — a belief that we will take with us as we move the final boxes down the block.
I am sure next year, after we settle into our new space, we will return to the Darien Library in search of the friends we made.