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Published weekly since August 2017 and now daily during the Coronavirus school shutdown

Monday, April 6, 2020

Eighth-grader Hannah Forstell's cancer treatments have prevented her from attending Illing Middle School this year but she just had her last chemo session and to celebrate friends organized a car parade past her house yesterday. Aislinn Gara Grady, our student essayist, was there and wrote about it and we have more photos (and lots more) below.
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The Pandemic
According to state data, more than 23,270 tests have been conducted with 1,142 Connecticut residents currently hospitalized and a total of 189 fatalities. This is according to a press release posted on the town website yesterday, which said 189 people have been hospitalized in Hartford County including the 62 reported positive cases in town.
  • As days get warmer and with people getting cabin fever, there are concerns about crowds at state parks and other such public spaces. Locally,  Wickham Park's opening date has been delayed until May 1. 

Sue Stepanski, the 'sewing teacher' at Illing, is doing what she can to help Mask Manchester. Click here for a how-to and here for some words from Sue. Finally, Sue also has some related advice from Martha Washington
The Weather

Zia, a third-grader at Martin, has today's weather drawing. The forecast calls for sunny skies and temps in the low 60s. 
School Stuff

Keeney kindergartner Sofia used sidewalk chalk to express herself in the hope of uplifting others.
We've posted dozens of photos of our students on the district FB page and we're always adding more. Send pics to
  • We have all the past emails from the superintendent (in English and in Spanish)
  • This resource hub has tips about Google Classroom, Chromebook troubleshooting info and more.
  • We have a team of people who are helping with tech-related concerns and issues and they can be reached at
A Board of Education secretary and part-time massage therapist, Natalie Dark also had been hosting until last month Jerry Lu, an exchange student from China. These past weeks have everyone reflecting about life and so it is for Natalie. You can read her essay here.

  • MHS junior Aislinn Gara Grady has been writing throughout the school shut down and today she shares her first-hand account of the special parade she attended yesterday for Hannah Forstell.
  • If you have an essay you'd care to share we have info for you here.
Verplanck kindergartner Steven Cecchini won a Platinum Award for "The Whole Universe,"  which will be published in Connecticut Student Writer Magazine. (Name sound familiar? Yep, Steven is the grandson of Kelley Cecchini of the MHS English department.)
  • Six students from the MHS Creative Writing program  -- Sophia Goldberg-Doyle, Aureliana Brown,  Kitana Santiago, Siara Chanterelle, Madi Irizarry and Theo Rodriguez --  also were CSW winners and that's covered here.
No matter what your grade, you can participate; for details just click here.
Around And About
Churches including St. James (left) and St. Bridget had palms available for drive-thru pickup. Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the final week of Lent and next Sunday will bring a similarly surreal online Easter.
The gallery is on Facebook and Instagram and we have more stories in the queue. We also welcome suggestions as we continue to chronicle life in lockdown mode and here's how you might be able to help. 

The Journal Inquirer and Hartford Courant both have regular town news coverage but monthly free-read limits -- although the Courant has removed the paywall from its main daily Coronavirus story. You'll also find stories in Manchester Patch
  • The JI writes about a new BBQ restaurant that opened in town just as many businesses were being forced to shut their doors.
  • To see the Manchester Historical Society's latest newsletter just click here.
  • Manchester Matters came out again last Friday and here it is.
  • Better Manchester the magazine has been with us for 10 years and now has an online presence.
Free Meals For Students
Starting today meals are being distributed at Verplanck Elementary (but not at Squire Village anymore).
The menu is here as well as more information.
OTHER FOOD AVAILABILITY: For info about the MAAC community kitchen, the Salvation Army and the Second Congregational Church food pantry, please click here.
Teacher's Pet

This Vizsla (a Hungarian hunting dog) is making life at home more pleasant for two Highland Park students. As usual, rather than tell you his name we will give you three choices and then a way to find out:
Is this Jake ... or Roman ... or Rusty?
Click here to find out and here to learn how to have your pet featured.
The spring high school sports season was scheduled to begin this week with rec sports starting soon thereafter. With everything on hold, we plan to run occasional photos from seasons gone by.
This picture was taken in 2013 and most of the players in it are now in 11th grade. Have a photo you'd like to share? Email
Hurray For Hannah! 
More than two dozen vehicles were given a police escort past Hannah's house on Scarborough Street to help her celebrate (with dad Eric, mom Kathleen and brother Cameron) the end of chemo treatments. The parade included family, friends and well-wishers, including a five-car caravan from the Mopar Roadwarriors Connecticut chapter, with members traveling from New Britain, Meriden, Woodstock and two from West Haven. 
OneManchester is compiled by Jim Farrell of the school district's communications office and he can be reached at or 860-268-6377. OneManchester has been published since August 2017, is always free, and has not been hacked since Sept. 12, 2019, Want to subscribe? Just click here