Last year, students stormed the stage for a 10-minute-long rave with Olympic Gold Medalist, World Soccer Superstar and Wilton native Kristine Lilly when she headlined the Wilton Education Foundation’s (WEF) annual fundraiser, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
Today WEF announced that Lilly will return to compete as a contestant for a second year in the foundation’s fourth annual game show-style community fundraiser based on the hit TV show of the same name. The spirited program places Cider Mill fifth graders on stage to readily assist celebrity contestants in answering questions derived from the elementary school’s challenging curriculum. WEF’s version is a family-friendly event that incorporates Wilton-specific subject matter into the trivia, utilizing the technology the organization helps to fund for the schools, like interactive SMARTBoards and iPads, to display questions and provide responses.
Joining Lilly on the official roster of contestants who will compete in the show are the Wilton Family Y’s Camp Gordyland director Aaron Britton, Wilton High School senior Alex Bendix, and Cider Mill gym teacher Rich Lotko. All are highly accomplished individuals who represent a wide cross-section of respected Wiltonians.
Only quick thinking and accurate answers will advance them to the next round of questions doled out by co-emcees, Sal Giaimo and Bryan Ennis. Giaimo is a Miller-Driscoll kindergarten teacher and “Be a Good Sport” Day Camps director. Ennis is a first grade teacher and technology guru.
“People talked about Kristine’s awesome appearance and the fun they had at the show for weeks after last year’s program,” said Kimber Felton, the event’s co-chair. “This is one of those Wilton-only things that our kids will not only remember for years to come, but it’s a great opportunity for the community to have fun, cheer for our students and support our schools.”
To select the fifth graders for the show, Cider Mill instructional leaders and teachers developed a qualifying exam that is administered to all fifth graders who are interested in participating in the event. This year, more than 100 students sat for the demanding test and the top four scorers in each house were selected as representatives. This year’s fifth grade participants are Anika Bhagavatula, Adam Brophy, Kira Howard, Cole Iannuzzi, Michael Roberts, Everett Lee, Christian Theoharides, Isabelle Braten, Matthew Murphy, Jack Hall, Brycen Addison, Suhani Suneja, Connor Allen, Sarah Bates, Caroline Mahony and Simon Alexander.
The event program features advertisements from local businesses and merchants, as well as personal messages of congratulations from the students’ friends and family. In between rounds of the show, live-action commercials featuring local businesses take the stage. Before the show and during intermission, the audience can demo a SMARTBoard, discuss experiments with Middlebrook Science Fair winners, purchase a commemorative brick for a school pathway or a certificate to “Honor an Educator,” buy baked refreshments or CDs from Acoustic Wilton, learn about the school budget process, and hear more about WEF’s activities and mission.
Tickets are now on sale for the event, which has a history of selling out. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, at The Clune Center at Wilton High School. Premium seating is available at $25 per seat; general admission is $10 for students and $15 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at the foundation’s website at www.wiltoneducationfoundation.org. If tickets are still available the day of the event, they will be on sale at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m..
About the Wilton Education Foundation
The Wilton Education Foundation is dedicated to enriching the learning experience for Wilton students by providing ongoing professional development for teachers, the latest in innovative and interactive teaching tools, support for music and the arts, and “beyond the classroom” experiences to provide Wilton’s public school students with the confidence and skills to succeed in college and beyond. For more information on the foundation, its mission, volunteer opportunities, and the many events and programs, please visit www.WiltonEducationFoundation.org.
Editor’s note: Heather Borden Herve is a member of the board of the Wilton Education Foundation.