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BOWA Portrait of the Graduate

Amity introduces the BOWA Portrait of the Graduate!

"The BOWA Portrait of the Graduate illustrates a self-aware citizen who, through a determined course of scholastic experiences, displays the following characteristics: Empathizer, Collaborator, Communicator, Planner, and Problem Solver."

Amity introduces the BOWA Portrait of the Graduate! This infographic shows the expectation of what all students will have demonstrated as a result of a BOWA educational experience, including concrete skills as well as dispositions. These skills and dispositions will allow us to share a common understanding of how the 3 Amity “As” (Academics, Arts and Athletics) manifest in to helping create contributing citizens to our larger community. 

"The BOWA Portrait of the Graduate illustrates a self-aware citizen who, through a determined course of scholastic experiences, displays the following characteristics: Empathizer, Collaborator, Communicator, Planner, and Problem Solver."

Thank you to all BOWA members who served on the Portrait of the Graduate Committee.


Award of Excellence and Teacher of the Year Announcement!

The Award of Excellence this year is presented to Paula Vallie.  Paula has worked in Amity Regional High School’s College & Career Center for the last seven years.  Before coming to Amity Regional High School she worked for 9 years at Amity Middle School in Orange and at Turkey Hill School in Orange prior to that.

In the words of her colleagues, Paula Vallie is a bright star within the Amity Regional High School Counseling Department.  As the Career Center Coordinator Paula’s ability to find jobs, community service projects, and mentors for our students has been truly a gift to our community.  Paula has built a strong community outreach, often researching SSLP sites or stopping in to visit on her way home from work or on the weekends.  When Amity went to virtual learning Paula came up with the idea of creating a document with links to virtual college tours for the 50 colleges that Amity students most frequently apply to, which could be shared with students and parents.  Paula always puts students first and will never hesitate to go above and beyond, no matter the time of day or day of the week, if one of our students needs help with something.  

Paula greets everyone who enters the office with a smile, along with her innate kindness and respect.  She is a student-focused educator, patiently working to answer students’ questions and assisting them in creating solutions.  Whenever there is a task that needs extra hands Paula is always the first to volunteer.  She has a team approach to work, and her presence is felt.  She is unusually kind to all.  Described as a true friend, a steadfast employee, and a loyal colleague, her work ethic and energy are rare; and the students and community of Amity are blessed to have her.

This year’s Teacher of the Year has been with Amity schools since 2006.  Described by her colleagues as “lighthearted and approachable, she will always make the time for you and never makes you feel like you are unintelligent with respect to technology,” the Amity Teacher of the Year from Amity Middle School in Orange is Kristen Yaekel.  Kristen started her work at Amity as an English teacher and now serves as the school’s library media specialist.

Kristen’s colleagues note that she is always available to support faculty and staff.  She is amazing at technology, and whether the issue be small or major she responds quickly.  They know that can always rely on Kristen.  Whether it is to spark some enthusiasm with the students, support school activities, organize a field trip, or clean up at the end of a day, Kristen is always first to help.  As a teacher Kristen is enthusiastic and always willing to try new things.  She was one of the first teachers to Skype with the outside world, so her students get a firsthand account of how life is in other places; and she continues to help other teachers connect their students to the world around us. 

As a teacher Kristen is amazing, and students enjoy her instruction.  As the building’s library media specialist she has brought a new ambience, joy, and rich learning experience to the library area.  She was nominated by her peers not only because of her expertise in technology and instruction, but also for her patience, persistence, and kind helpful spirit.  She has been a tremendous support with the distance learning, not only to the staff but also to the students.  As noted by a teacher at Amity Middle School in Orange, “When our learning and global community was in chaos her calm comforting spirit, her understanding of my goals, and her expertise was how I got through to the other side.”  Kristen is going to be an exemplary representative as Amity’s 2021 Teacher of the Year.



Seventh and eighth grade students from Amity Middle School in Orange participated in the New England Math League Contest on February 25th.  The New England Math League Contest consists of participating schools from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.  Contest questions are designed to cover a range of mathematical knowledge for each grade level.  Congratulations to the following students from Amity Middle School in Orange on their outstanding performance:


front row, left to right:  Annika Yun, Ian Stoltenberg, Yousef Hasan, Suhail Mohammed,

Matthew Muravnik, Alexander Cuzio


back row, left to right:  Grace Cavallaro, James Liu, Reamon Curis, Aarav Patel,

Haseeb Chaudhry, Aditi Bhattamishra, Edward Han



Local Student Named National Geographic  GeoBee State Competition Semifinalist 

Vishwa Balamurugan is a semi-finalist in the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee State Competition!


Student’s Name:  Vishwa Balamurugan

Parents’ Names:  Ramathilagam Ramasamy and Ponnuraj Balamurugan

School Name and Address:  Amity Middle School Orange

Grade Level:  8th


The results are in!  The National Geographic Society named Vishwa Balamurugan, an eighth grader at Amity Middle School in Orange, as one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee State Competition.  The contest will be held at Central Connecticut State University on Friday, March 27th.


This is the second level of the National Geographic GeoBee competition, which is now in its 32nd year.  GeoBee competitions were held in schools throughout the state with students in the fourth through eighth grades to determine each school champion.  This year an estimated 2.4 million students competed in the GeoBee with 8,661 students becoming school champions.  School champions also took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society.  Up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and U.S. territories were invited to compete in the State GeoBees.


State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 in cash, and other prizes, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Championship where they will compete for additional cash, awards, and college scholarships.  The second and third place State GeoBee winners will receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively. 


The 2020 National Championship will take place May 18th through May 21st at National Geographic headquarters.  The National Champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll.  The second place finisher will receive a $10,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash.  The student finishing in third place will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash.  Seven runners-up will each receive $1,000 in cash.  Visit for more information on the National Geographic GeoBee.


Follow the national competition at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 18th through May 21st at




Pictured left to right:  Sheryl Wilder, Vishwa Balamurugan, Nicholas Tice, Matthew Muravnik, Dr. Jennifer Byars (Amity Regional School District No. 5 Superintendent of Schools)

Photographer:  Kathy Burke

How would you fare as a National Geographic GeoBee contestant? At the school GeoBees this year students had to answer questions like these:


Which state is located west of Lake Huron—Minnesota or Vermont?



Known for the tree nuts resembling deer eyes, which Midwestern state is called the Buckeye State—California or Ohio?



A savanna elephant’s daily amount of dung contains more than 3,000 seeds.  Savanna elephants can be found in Namibia and Mozambique on what continent?



Volcanic activity under Yellowstone National Park creates great spouts of heated water that erupt out of the ground.  These water eruptions are called what—geysers or cyclones?



Which country does not border the Atlantic Ocean—Moldova, Angola, or Ireland?



The ancient Babylonians of Mesopotamia developed an early example of what basic counting machine that is still in use today—abacus or sundial?



Host of the 1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo is the most populous city in which European country that was once a part of Yugoslavia?

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Once the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Tacoma is a major port and industrial city in which northwestern state?



Government designated preserves have helped protect giant tortoises in the Seychelles, a country made up of over one hundred islands located north of Madagascar in what ocean?

Indian Ocean


The Matterhorn is an iconic peak in the Alps on the border between Switzerland and what other country?







MEDIA NOTE: Prior to the state competitions on March 27th, press materials with additional information about the state- and national-level contests will be posted at  For press inquiries contact  You may also contact the State GeoBee coordinator for additional information.



Developed by the National Geographic Society in 1988 to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States, the National Geographic GeoBee is an academic competition for public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools.  Students in grades four through eight from nearly 10,000 schools participate annually for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic GeoBee Champion.  Over more than three decades 120 million students have learned about the world by participating in the GeoBee. 



The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.  Since 1888 National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content.  To learn more visit or follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.