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Ben Bronz Academy in West Hartford Goes Live with its First Ever Virtual Awards Ceremony

Ben Bronz Academy virtual awards ceremony. Courtesy image

Students at Ben Bronz Academy were honored for their 2019-2020 school year accomplishments through a Zoom event.


Students at BenBronz Academy in West Hartford celebrated the accomplishments of the 2019-2020 school year in a different way this year. The BenBronz Academy community jumped on Zoom and virtually congratulated their students in the school’s first ever online awards ceremony.

At BenBronz Academy, students learn differently due to learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism Disorders, and Executive Functioning Disorder. Students attend school for a longer day than their public school peers and work tirelessly throughout the year to develop tools to learn successfully and to learn advocacy skills to later apply in a later learning environment.

For this reason, the annual BenBronz Academy awards ceremony is a much-anticipated event. This year, because of COVID 19, the BenBronzcommunity experienced change. Education Director, Christina Lamphere, described some of the positive changes that emerged from distance learning.

“Tonight is a huge change, but we are still able to be together,” Lamphere said. “Typically during this part of the ceremony I discuss the numbers that help me describe the growth of our students. But alas, because of change, those numbers are unavailable. That said, I still found growth. Students grew in their management of technology. They grew in their presentation styles. Not only can they now speak in person, but also professionally through teleconference platforms. Students learned new ways to manage their schedules, whether it be their plan books or digital work lists. They became strong advocates for their needs through commenting, messaging or discussing in live sessions with their mediators and advisors. Students grew in their time management and executive functioning skills, learning that they are responsible for being somewhere on time. They grew, most importantly, in their independence, which allowed them to be more confident in their abilities.”

Mediators, students, family members, Board members, and staff all logged on to hear of the amazing growth that the students of BenBronzAcademy made this year. They formed a huge collage of faces on the Zoom platform. Tears were shed and smiles spread throughout the faces of the observers as a slideshow of all the students was shared on the screen. Photos included pictures of learning and activities such as ski club, gym class and team building. Field trips and Research week were highlighted as well.

BenBronz Academy has a long-standing tradition of bidding adieu to students that are moving onto other schools for their next learning opportunities. BenBronz said farewell to five students this year. All five students are excited about their next schools and welcomed the opportunity to say one final good bye.

BenBronz Academy was co-founded by Ian Spence and Aileen Stan-Spence in 1985. The community was fortunate to be able to share the virtual awards ceremony with them both through the Zoom platform. Ian, as is tradition, announced the recipient of the BenBronz Award. This award is given to a student in honor of BenBronz, the Academy’s namesake. BenBronz was an immigrant from Poland over 100 years ago. He knew the value of education and would read the New York Times from cover to cover to develop his English and his knowledge of his new country. He instilled the importance of education in his family. The Academy was named after him shortly after his death. The BenBronz Award was established in honor of a student who shows that same independent quest for learning! This year’s award recipient was William Forrest of West Hartford.

“William joined Ben Bronz Academy as a lower grade student in the spring of 2015,” said Ian Spence, co-founder of Ben Bronz Academy. “Throughout the years, he began to mature and found his niche in classes and friendship groups. He became a leader, participating in all school offered functions and helps to organize the events of student council, yearbook and other activities. He served as a fantastic buddy to several of our visiting students and worked to make them feel welcome. He has taken each of the Ben Bronz systems and made them his own. He is one of our most organized students and knows how to manage his time! He improved significantly in his academics. He really hit his stride this year, adapting to the challenge of distance learning. He thoughtfully approached each of his assignments. He gave an exemplary presentation at his PPT and went on to explain how he grew this year. We’re proud to acknowledge Will as this year’s recipient.”

Things may have changed this year, but BenBronz Academy, true to form, has adapted and continued to support students and their growth!

Ben Bronz Foundation, Inc. is the parent organization of Ben Bronz Academy and The Learning Incentive. If you are interested in learning more about Ben Bronz Foundation, Inc. and our programs, Ben Bronz Academy and The Learning Incentive, please visit our websites: www.benbronzfoundation.org or www.benbronzacademy.org or contact Executive Director Kim Holley at [email protected].

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