LesterAuthor Lester Laminack conducted workshops for young writers, and addressed parents and teachers on the topic of the writing process, during his recent visit to the Fair Haven School District.

Press releases from Fair Haven School District

An appearance by a talented special guest speaker — and some events that featured the talents of Fair Haven students — were among the highlights of the late winter and early spring at Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood Schools in Fair Haven.

On February 26, the  rousing musical No Strings Attached was presented by the 6th, 7th and 8th grade Performing Arts Troupe at Knollwood School. Inspired by the familiar tale of Pinocchio, the show tells the story of Carl, a young boy seeking to dodge all responsibility. He makes a deal to trade work for fun — and unwittingly ends up transforming into a puppet member of the Magical Mystery Marionettes. Carl learns that “no strings attached” is not all he had hoped for — but with the help of his loyal friends, he recovers his human powers in time to help save his beloved father from the mouth of a whale.

Directed by Social Studies teacher Alison Dooley and Literacy teacher Gabrielle Illiano, the production featured Lisa Sandoli as Carl/Pinocchio, and Jacob Gerbman as Gepetto. The 25-member cast also included Lucas Tucker as Cricket, Grace Gallagher as Blues Fairy, Isabella Mitterando as Professor, Giovanna Darcy as Madame Azure, Anna Phillips as Marionette/Dipstick, Nora Doonan as Marionette/Fox, Fiona Lenahan as Cat, Mikey Bogardus as the Driver, Lauryn Jones as Tina Tuna/Peg, and Blodwen Bindas as Mary Annette.


knollwoodMore talented performers were in the spotlight on the evening of March 23, as the Knollwood School Chamber Music Recital delivered “something for everyone,” from the solemn beauty of “Russian Hymn” to the exuberance of “Dancing in the Street,”  and everything in between. The evening’s performances were directed by Knollwood School Music Teachers Mel Chayette and Sara Marino.

Solo performances included “Joey’s Jazzy Jam,” piano and arrangement by Joey Cooner; “Sonatina in G Major,” piano by Isabelle Papa; “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Disney’s “Mulan,” piano by Sarah Neczesny; “Scenes from Childhood – Foreign Lands/The Merry Peasant,” clarinet by Amelia Thomson; “Peter and the Wolf,” piano by Victoria Mitterando; “Shenandoah,” horn by Colin Gray; “Rhapsody in Blue,” piano by Lucas Tucker; “Story of My Life,” flute by Anna Phillips.

The traditional grand finale of the yearly Chamber Music Festival is a set by 8th grade musicians, who also performed at the Teen Arts Festival at Brookdale College in Lincroft this year. The ensemble included Shaanti Choi-Bose, trumpet; Joey Cooner, piano/xylophone; Chris Cruz, guitar; Dominic Gasperini, clarinet/piano; Jacob Gerbman, drum set; Isabella Mitterando, trombone; Quinn Nolan, tenor saxophone; Andrew Phelan, bass guitar; Noah Sullivan, bass guitar; Lucas Tucker, alto saxophone/trombone/piano. The 8th graders brought the recital to a rousing finish with their renditions of “St. Thomas,” “A Night in Tunisia,” and “Mr. P.C.”


Author Lester Laminack, the author whose children’s books include Jake’s 100th Day of School and Saturdays and Teacakes (and whose Snow Day! was made into a live action feature film) shared his wit and wisdom during a recent visit to the Fair Haven School District.

On March 23 and 24, Laminack presented assemblies and hosted writing workshops for students at Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood Schools. Sickles and Knollwood students enjoyed “Lunch with the Author” during Laminack’s visit to each school.  A “Parent Night” at Knollwood School on the evening of March 24 was also hosted by Laminack.

“If you want your kids to be good writers, read to them – I don’t care if they’re in fifth grade,” Laminack told the assembled parents and teachers on Parent Night. “Read non-fiction books as well, to introduce and discuss the meaning of new words.”

Laminack also discussed the necessity of a writer’s notebook, which he carries with him at all times. “I know that your children have them in school, but encourage them to write in a notebook during the summer months as well,” he said. “So many adventures happen during summer break, and students really should be recording them.”

A full-time writer and consultant working with schools throughout the United States, Laminack is Professor Emeritus at Western Carolina University. In addition to children’s literature, Laminack has authored professional books for classroom teachers including Spelling in Use and The Writing Teacher’s Troubleshooting Guide. He is also a contributor to The Writing Workshop: Working through the Hard Parts (and they’re all hard parts), a through overview for establishing and maintaining the writing workshop in K-6 classrooms.