Shelton school receives ‘priceless’ gifts from nearby seniors

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Long Hill Elementary School staffers were welcomed back to class last week with care packages from residents of the nearby senior living campus.

Residents from the Crosby Commons Independent and Assisted Living Community at Wesley Village filled paper lunch bags with mini water bottles, granola bars, inspirational stickers, hand sanitizer, treats, notepads, and of course, an apple for the teacher.

“Over the years, Long Hill School has formed a relationship with Wesley Village,” school Principal Andrea D’Aiuto said. “The support they have given our staff during the pandemic, is priceless.”

D’Aiuto added that the senior community’s kindness toward the staff had made a huge impact on the school.

“We are very lucky to work and collaborate with Wesley Village,” she said.

Long Hill School staffer Laura Mulligan also praised the neighbors’ generosity.

“It’s nice to know the community is recognizing the teachers’ hard work, and that we’re appreciated,” Mulligan said.

In all, residents assembled more than 50 bags to send to Long Hill staff and hand delivered them on Sept. 9.

“The first week back at school is always such a busy one and we thought it would be fun to surprise the staff with something special to let them know we were thinking of them,” said Lisa Bisson, Crosby Commons’ director of community outreach.

Roz Bagley, a resident at Wesley Village and herself a retired second grade teacher, assisted with the delivery. Bagley, who taught at Honeyspot House School in Stratford for 15 years, reflected on her 30-years as a teacher.

“I always looked forward to that first week of school,” she said. “I remember getting the classroom ready and enjoyed getting to know the new class of students.”

Being such close neighbors with Long Hill Elementary School, residents always notice the hustle and bustle of the cars and buses around Long Hill Avenue letting everyone know school is in session once again.

“Making the bags was a great opportunity to reminisce and share all those memories of our own first day of school experiences and of course the school days through the years with our children and grandchildren,” said activities director Lauren Donovan, who helped to coordinate the project.

During the school year, Donovan said residents would always look forward to visits from Long Hill students coming to the campus to celebrate the holidays by singing Christmas carols or participating in other fun programs.

With COVID-19 limitations in place for the past year and a half, campus visits were put on hold. Bisson said both residents and students missed the visits and are hoping to be able to see each other again soon.

D’Aiuto said the staff has missed visiting the campus and was excited to receive the bags.

"The welcome back treat bags were such a kind gesture which our staff greatly appreciated,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Wesley Village as they are a vital part of our community."

Wesley Village senior living campus is located at 580 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton and is part of United Methodist Homes, a local not-for-profit organization. To learn more about Crosby Commons, Wesley Heights, Lifestyle Transitions, or Bishop Wicke Health Center, visit the website or call 203-225-5024.