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Norwalk High School Info Expo Fosters Community Collaboration, Conversation

Harry Falcone, left, and Colin Burke, are student members on the Norwalk High School Governance Council,
Harry Falcone, left, and Colin Burke, are student members on the Norwalk High School Governance Council, Photo Credit: Contributed by Gloria Tenofsky

NORWALK, Conn. -- Harry Falcone knows firsthand the challenge Norwalk High Students face in building community connections. That’s one of the reasons the senior feels the upcoming Info Expo, hosted by the Governance Council, is essential for students to attend.

“Before we had the Expo for the first time last year, I wasn’t aware of a lot of the opportunities that exist,’’ said Falcone, one of two students on the Governance Council. “There are a lot of opportunities for students, and they aren’t common knowledge.”

  • What : Info Expo for students and families attending Norwalk High School
  • When , where : Wednesday, March 22, 7 to 9 p.m. in the Norwalk High School cafeteria
  • Why : A free event to help families, students and incoming students aware of community resources and organizations for employment, volunteer service, networking and educational enrichment.

The Info Expo is a free event open to families and students in the Norwalk High School district and includes families from Nathan Hale and West Rocks Middle Schools.

The aim is to help students and families learn about resources and organizations that provide enrichment and support. Last year, 35 organizations attended, including the Norwalk Public Library, Stepping Stones Museum, Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance, Kids in Crisis and Human Services Council.

The expo is hosted by the Governance Council, a collaborative unit that includes parents, staff, administrators, community members and a school administrator.

School Governance Councils were created by the state’s education reform law to enable parents, school staff, students and community leaders to work together to improve student achievement. The councils serve in an advisory capacity and are charged with assisting the school administration in making programmatic and operational changes to improve achievement.

Falcone sits on the board with Colin Baker, a junior. It is the second year on the board for Falcone, who generated the name for the expo. “We were mimicking it off an existing idea in another town,’’ he said. “We wanted to make it our own and make it successful. A lot of students don’t know what’s out there. Last year’s expo was a big success.”

Students and their families can learn about volunteer and employment opportunities, and also seek out organizations that can provide support for home, education, mental health and physical issues. High school students, who are engaged in sports, music, bands, clubs and their studies frequently are unaware of what other possibilities are there for them.

“That’s a big factor,’’ Falcone said. “As someone who has been in high school for four years, I know that I’m not thinking about it until it’s presented to me. “

The expo was one of the first major initiatives of the Governance Council. Now that Falcone has served for two years and is preparing to head to college, he sees how much he’s grown as a person.

“The council helped me with communication,’’ he said. “In conversations, I began to think more about what other people thought, their opinions and how they’re delivering them. I wanted to also make sure that they understood where I was coming from when I had a point of view.”

He says Baker will make similar strides in his senior year, growing each month in confidence to speak to administrators and the community. The expo will be one of the last big events as a member of the council for Falcone.

“Students to know that it’s a simple thing to go to but it can have a big impact,’’ Falcone said. “It’s not a lot of effort to put yourself out there. You can create a lot of productive relationships from going to this.”

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