CAPSS Awards 20-21

Bear Path School
Michelle Cochran

Michelle is an incredibly diligent and conscientious young scholar.  On a daily basis I am amazed at her intellectual maturity and ability to make connections across content areas and to her personal life. I can always count on her to be involved in any class discourse and thinking deeper about the topic.

When it comes to independent work, I can count on Michelle to be on task and giving it her all. On top of her
academic accolades, Michelle is a thoughtful young Bear Path citizen with a kind and generous heart.

Bear Path School
Jason Collins

Jason is an exceptional student who made a seamless transition from in person to distance learning. Whether in the classroom or learning from home, Jason has consistently displayed the same positive attitude and impressive work ethic.

Jason has been involved in Hamden sports since the age of 3! He has played for the Hamden Hurricanes football team, the Hamden Fathers basketball team and the Hamden Soccer Association travelling competitive team. He loves music, gaming, skateboarding and has a strong spiritual connection. His goal is to travel to Asia by the age of 13.


Church Street School
Saige Sampson

Saige exemplifies the well rounded sixth grade student. Academically, Saige puts forth such a high level of effort in all subjects, with reading, math and science being her favorites! She finds all of her subjects interesting and is always ready to learn more.  Saige is quick to grasp new concepts, and isn’t afraid of a challenge. When the work gets challenging, Saige only works harder. She maintains high standards for herself and it is simply not in her nature to give up on anything. Saige is a role model to her peers as well as her brothers. She can be counted on to make the right decision, regardless of what others around her are doing.

Saige is an avid basketball player and has certainly reaped the benefits of being a part of a team. She understands that she can’t always control the outcome of a game, but she can always try her best and support her teammates.  She also understands that being a part of a team requires a strong sense of responsibility and that carries over into her daily school work and responsibilities of being a student in general. Lastly, Saige knows that in team sports waiting is the name of the game. Saige has certainly learned to have patience during this unprecedented school year. This year, more than ever, she has learned to keep a positive attitude as she has supported her classmates and her teachers. She has shown responsibility as she has managed her school work and her team responsibilities. Most importantly, she has shown unwavering patience as we have all navigated through uncertain times and often unpredictable challenges. Saige has shared that her father taught her to ask questions often, as that is the way to continue to learn more each day.  Saige’s strong leadership skills and her high academic performance will certainly serve her well as she pursues a career as a doctor or an WNBA basketball player.


Dunbar Hill School
Nabiha Matin
We are honored to be able to nominate Nabiha Matin as our Dunbar Hill School CAPSS award recipient.  Even with the challenges facing us all this school year, Nabiha's positivity and conscientious work ethic shine through each day.  She is an absolute pleasure to have as a student in my class.  She excels in all subject areas and consistently demonstrates her ability to think critically and problem solve.  Her ability to interpret literature and develop her ideas through writing is exceptional. Nabiha's kind and respectful demeanor make her a role model to her peers.  Nabiha represents everything that our Dunbar Hill P.R.I.D.E. program stands for.  We are extremely proud of Nabiha and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.

Hamden High School
Noah Campbell
Darius Cummings
Amanda Dowgiewicz
Imani Gatison
Sircia Levitt
Alivia Vivenzio
  Hamden High School Biography Presentation

Hamden Middle School
Vela Abugri

Vela has proven herself to be an outstanding student during these challenging times of Distance Learning. Vela is a straight "A" student, who on a daily basis, excels in her academic efforts and class participation. In addition to her academic achievements, Vela's character makes her a “stand out" among her peers. Vela is kind, pleasant, and respectful to both her peers and teachers. 

Vela hopes that once the COVID pandemic subsides, she can once again become involved in school in the areas of STEM and African American student groups. She enjoys video games, drawing, playing basketball and swimming.  We are very proud of Vela's accomplishments and cannot wait to see what she achieves in the future.

Hamden Middle School
Kaustuv Mohanty

Kaustuv’s leadership is exemplified through his academic success in the classroom, participation in extracurricular activities, and involvement in the community. He has been a true leader in the classroom and is always willing to assist his teachers and classmates.

Kaustuv is involved in various extracurricular activities at HMS including math counts, school newspaper and the National Junior Honor Society.  He has served as a role model and leader in the community as an active member of many organizations including New Hytes Tennis Team, IDtech camp and volunteers his time at a local soup kitchen. 

Finally, Kaustuv was a national finalist in the Invention Convention.  He exemplifies the characteristics of a model citizen through his academic performance, leadership, extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

Hamden Middle School
Lidia Morgillo

Lidia truly is the ideal student; she is involved in and excels in many aspects of her school community. In the classroom, her assignments show that she is  trying to challenge herself to turn in work that is exceptional. Not only does Lidia put forward her best self academically, but she is involved in a variety of activities outside of school.

Lidia has been on the HMS girls' soccer and basketball teams and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She also joined the Human Relations Club and wrote articles published for the Golden Gazette. Lastly, Lidia was selected for the advanced art program at Hamden Middle School. Lidia is a well-rounded, enthusiastic learner and citizen.

Hamden Middle School
Evan Oppenheim

Evan has excelled academically and has been a model student. Throughout this challenging and unique year, Evan has maintained an A+ average in all of his classes. His dedication and commitment to his academics is evident on a daily basis. Evan is a proud member of the National Junior Honor Society and looks forward to joining more academic clubs during his high school career. 

Evan has a passion for animals, specifically horses, which he rides daily. At Red Skye Farm he volunteers and assists with caring for the horses he loves. Evan is a kind and generous student that always aims to be as helpful as possible. We are honored to have Evan as a part of our team and we congratulate him on this award.


Helen Street School
Jayden Stanley

This has been a year like no other.  Getting to build those relationships with our students has been an overwhelming roadblock on many fronts.  However, on this specific decision, there was absolutely no hesitation in our selection.  There are a variety of reasons why the 6th grade team has selected Jayden for this award.  The arts play an important part in his life as he played and will continue to play when normality arrives, the flute for the Helen Street Band and loves to draw.  

His academics take center stage and he proves this not only through his successes but through the effort he puts forth to achieve at high levels and showing those around him how they can as well.  Jayden is also extremely interested in science with his primary passions being chemistry and rocket science.  Elon Musk is an aspirational figure.  He loves to spend these days just chilling out with friends playing Roblox on line or watching movies like Avengers Endgame and The Grinch. Jayden feasts whenever possible on tacos and pizza and he can’t wait until he doesn’t have to wear a mask in school and can talk normally with his friends.  Nonetheless, his priority remains his relentless pursuit of academic excellence.  For these and many other reasons we are proud to nominate Jayden Stanley as our CAAPS award winner. 


Ridge Hill School
Lyla Banks

Lyla Banks is the epitome of a well-rounded student in every way.  Academically, she puts forth an unrivaled level of effort across all subjects, resulting in grasping new concepts quickly, and is always eager to share her discoveries and realizations with the rest of the class.  She is always listening attentively, soaking up instruction, and pushing her thinking as far as it can go. 

Lyla is the type of student who teachers can count on to take the lead and assist other students as well.  She is an extremely responsible student who can be counted on by both staff and peers to always make the right decision.  In short, Lyla is the type of student teachers can only dream of having, and one they never want to lose.


Shepherd Glen School
Prayas Dash

Prayas Dash has been a student at Shepherd Glen since kindergarten. He is an inquisitive, driven, and perceptive young man.  He consistently sets the bar high for his peers by caring about his community, leading by example, and putting forth a tremendous effort. 

Regardless of any obstacles, he is faced with, Prayas continually moves forward towards success. His integrity and wit make him a special student!


Spring Glen School
Bethel Desta

Bethel Desta is a bright and hard-working 6th grader at Spring Glen School. Bethel dedicates herself to doing the best she can each day and is a positive member of any group, seeking to help anyone in need. While Bethel is a fantastic student, it is the strength of her character that makes her stand out among her peers. Bethel is exceedingly kind and positive and always greets peers and adults with kindness.

Bethel frequently gives back to her community. She once ran a lemonade stand and donated all the proceeds to a school fundraiser and has collected toiletries for the homeless. As a girl scout in previous years, she helped create a Little Free Library in her neighborhood. Outside of school, Bethel enjoys reading, baking, running track and swimming. She also plays 3 different instruments:  the clarinet, the piano and even the ukulele!  Congratulations Bethel!

Spring Glen School
Sahana Dodd

Sahana Dodd is an exceptional student with a positive mindset, hard work ethic, and remarkable critical thinking skills. She is passionate about her education and perseveres through everything. Sahana is a kind and respectful student who her classmates look up to as a role model. Outside of school, Sahana has been an active member of the Girl Scouts for seven years, through which she has fundraised for organizations like Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven.

She loves to ski, swim, play tennis, and read, and has used the time at home during the pandemic to perfect her baking skills. Sahana plays both the piano and clarinet, and loves spending time with her cat, Chakli, and three birds, Sammy, Kimchi, and Cherkovsky.


West Woods School
Lauren Aitkenhead

Lauren is a quiet leader in class who excels in all academic areas. She is a high-level math and language arts student.  Lauren has participated in the TAG and enrichment programs at school.  She has also been part of the chorus and has played the flute in the band.  Outside of school, she enjoys playing sports like soccer and basketball and is a true animal lover.

Whether it be working in school in person or working at home as a distance learner, Lauren is a mature, independent learner who thinks critically and problem solves.  She is a talented writer who digs deep into topics and extends her thinking beyond grade level expectations.  She follows our PACK program daily by being positive and respectful, showing responsibility, and showing caring and kindness to her classmates.  She is well deserving of this CAPSS award.

West Woods School
Matthew Peck

Matthew Peck is a sixth grader at West Woods School whose hard work and motivation have not gone unnoticed throughout this challenging school year.  He has shown good citizenship and leadership skills.  Matthew is a role model for others in the way that he follows through with assignments and participates actively in lessons.  He follows our PACK program daily by being positive and respectful, showing responsibility, and showing caring and kindness to his classmates.

Matthew is a well-rounded individual.  In the past years, he has participated in the band and chorus. He plays both the piano and the clarinet. Some of his favorite memories are of the school plays at West Woods where he had main roles in Seussical and Lion King Jr.  Outside of school, Matthew enjoys also singing with a group called “Sound Effects” and playing basketball for Hamden.

Matthew excels in reading and writing.  His teachers describe him as a critical thinker and one who is not afraid to share ideas and lead a small group discussion. He is well deserving of this CAPSS award.