Four Darien natives, enrolled during the fall semester at The University of Alabama, were named to the dean’s list with an academic record of 3.5 or above or the president’s list with an academic record of 4.0 (all A’s).

Matthew Gregory, Caroline Koenitzer and Jacqueline Reardon were named to the dean’s list.

Olga Anna Papaeconomou was named to the president’s list

Natalie Hartokolis, of Darien, was recognized for achieving the dean’s honor list at Cedarville University. This recognition required Hartokolis to maintain above a 3.75 grade-point average for the semester.

James Madison University announced Darien resident Megan Doherty Baird has been named to the president’s list at James Madison University for the fall semester. Students who earn president’s list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of 3.900 or above.

Baird is majoring in interdisciplinary liberal studies.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison recognized students named to the dean’s list for the fall semester of the 2017-18 academic year, including three Darien natives.

Named to the dean’s list were Megan Johnston, studying at the College of Letters and Science, Peyton Murray, studying at the College of Letters and Science, and Amanda Percarpio, studying at the School of Business.

Darien High School students decompressed after midterms and kicked off the second semester on a positive note by attending the 2018 DHS Wellness Fair on Jan. 25.

The day included a variety of activities focusing on a healthy lifestyle including ways to stay fit, manage stress, and eat well. Some students practiced yoga, while others learned about the effects of blue light on sleep patterns.

At a Jan. 23 meeting, 2018, Darien EMS-Post 53 announced the appointment of a new board chairman: Jay Wood.

Wood, financial advisor at The Wood Group/Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, has been a board member since 2012.

At the Post 53 meeting, two new board members were also appointed: Evan Cohen, an attorney and partner at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP, and Martha Rhein, a community volunteer.

All three are Darien residents.

On Feb. 3, 53 Darien High School students in its Authentic Science Research program competed in the Connecticut STEM Fair held at Amity Regional High School. Over 500 students, judges and volunteers participated in the all-day event.

Each student was required to create a poster exhibit, make a presentation, and participate in a question-and-answer session with two sets of judges. The judges evaluated entries (both completed projects and research proposals) in four categories: health and medical sciences, physical sciences, environmental sciences, and behavioral sciences.

A number of regional awards sponsored by the International Science and Engineering Fair were also presented.

A number of DHS students earned top prizes.

For research proposals:

Catherine O’Connor earned first place in the health science category for “Depletion of the IkB Kinase and Inhibition of the NF-kB Complex as Gene Therapy for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma;”

Manvi Malhotra earned first place in the environmental science category for “A Theoretical Model of the Emergent Effects of Increasing Temperature on Predator-Prey Interactions between Didinium and Paramecium;”

Olivia Yoo earned first place in the behavioral science category for “Perivascular Macrophages and Neurovascular Dysfunction in a DOCA-Salt Hypertension Model;”

Megan Cunningham earned second place in the behavioral science category for “Combinations of Environmental Enrichment in Increasing the Frequencies of Exploratory Behaviors in Captive Wolves;”

Thomas Finnegan earned second place in the physical science category for “Effective Pitch-Catch Active Sensing Patterns For Aircraft Structural Health Monitoring;”

Ashwini Patel earned third place in the health science category for “Finding the Source of Cetuximab Resistance in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer;”

Hallie Kreppein earned fourth place in the behavioral science category for “Long-term natal site-fidelity by immature great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) off of Long Island.”

For completed projects:

Emily Findlan and Cheyenne Li earned first place for their team project: “Positive Holes as Early Indicators for Future Earthquakes;”

Daniel Pfrommer earned fourth place in the physical science category for “Fast Point-based Raytracing with Sphere Bounding Volume Hierarchies;”

Christopher Vernal earned fourth place in the health science category for “Creation of a Screening Tool for Assessing Baseball Pitching Biomechanics.”

Two students received additional recognition from the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Pfrommer was presented the Mu Alpha Theta Award for the most challenging, original, thorough and creative investigation of a problem involving mathematics accessible to a high school student.

Alexandra Swift was presented the Stockholm Junior Water Prize recognizing outstanding water-related research at the high school level.

Christine Leventhal, David Lewis and Guy Pratt served as the faculty advisers to the Darien students.

Dance shoes in closets around Fairfield County are being brought out for polishing as leaders of the local business community begin the demanding process necessary to compete in ElderHouse Adult Day Center’s annual Dancing with the Stars.

The fifth annual gala benefit is being held March 24 from 6 to 11 p.m., at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

The gala event showcases seven Fairfield County business representatives, each paired with an award-winning dance professional from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, who donate their time to practice routines, hone them to perfection, and compete in this exciting and impressive dance competition.

The notable lineup of 2018 dancers representing Fairfield County includes:

Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, assistant to president and director of Trademark Anti-Counterfeit, Dooney & Bourke in Norwalk;

Hank Fatigate, general manager of the Little Pub in Wilton;

Eric Ferraris, chief operating officer at Toohner-Ferraris Insurance Group in Wilton;

Nathan Gottlieb, co-owner of All Seasons Marine Works, located in Rowayton and Westport;

Karen Kelly, senior vice-president at First County Bank in Stamford;

Andrea Kostanecki, a realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Rowayton;

Kristin McClutchy, owner of Pure Barre Darien.

Dancing with the Stars Gala Benefit is ElderHouse’s largest annual fundraising event and helps the Norwalk nonprofit to sustain its award-winning program of adult care, socialization, and recreational activities to a senior population living with aging diseases. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction, and a paddle raise.

For more information on how to donate, make a pledge to a favorite dancer, or for event tickets, contact ElderHouse at 203-847-1998 or visit

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is accepting nominations for the 2018 Women of Distinction awards.

Nominations are sought for women who epitomize leadership and have used their skills to make the community a better place to live. Local residents and business owners are nominated by people who have recognized an impact from their unique contributions that have made a difference in the Darien and Norwalk communities.

The areas of excellence they are looking for are Racial Justice and Civil Rights, Empowerment & Economic Advancement in Women and Girls and Health & Safety of Women and Girls. Details about each practice area can be found

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk Women of Distinction Nominations Committee reviews the nominations and selects the honorees. The honorees will include five Women of Distinction and a Young Woman of Distinction 21 or younger. Candidates under 21 may nominate themselves, and the winner will receive a scholarship of $1,000.

The women chosen to receive the Women of Distinction awards will be honored at the YWCA’s annual Women of Distinction Awards and Luncheon on May 10 at the Woodway Country Club in Darien.

For information and nomination forms, go to; submission deadline is March 2.

Ever wanted to own an exotic pet but don’t have the space or time to care for it?

The Darien Nature Center is offering sponsorship opportunities for eight of its resident animals: Einstein the bunny, Shelley the turtle, Sydney the bearded dragon, Paz the white dove, Ethel the prairie dog, Hectora the iguana, Flinch the hedgehog and Luna the owl.

The sponsor is invited to come in for one-on-one time with their animal.

There are four sponsorship levels available.

You can complete a sponsorship For further information, contact Administrative Affairs Manager Leah Salomoni at 203-655-7459.

The history of the American flag is as varied and fascinating as the republic it represents and an exhibit at the Darien Historical Society, “Long May She Wave: The Evolution of Our Flag,” which opened Jan. 18, tells the story of the flag in all its red, white and blue glory.

Among the flags on display is a 35-star flag that was official from 1863 to 1865. This hand-stitched flag has stars that tilt randomly, an example of how people used to come up with creative patterns before it was formally set by Congress in 1912

In addition to several antique flags, the exhibit will include a timeline that traces the evolution of the nation’s banner through both local and national events. Spanning from pre-colonial days to the year 1960, when the 50th star was officially added, the exhibit will feature photographs, a soundtrack with music and voices from the past, and a lecture series on subjects relating to the flag’s history.

An interactive portion will challenge viewers to design a 51-star flag and also to write in a journal about a time when the flag stirred a strong emotion.

The “Long May She Wave” exhibit will run through March 13 and can be viewed during the Society’s open hours and during lectures. The exhibit is free for members, Darien’s first responders, teachers and students. The cost for non-members will be $5.

Exhibit sponsors include M3 Messenger and Christie’s Quilting Boutique of Norwalk.

The exhibit will feature several lectures including:

“The Lincoln Flag — Rediscovered” will be held March 4 at 3 p.m. After 76 years in a cluttered storage area, the flag that decorated Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theater was rediscovered. Hear the fascinating story with Ilene Frank, chief curator at the Connecticut Historical Society.

To register, visit or call 203-655-9233. The cost for the lectures will be $5 for members, $20 for non-members and $30 for non-members and a guest. Students attend free.