Wednesday, October 29, 2008
When Andrew Warde High School opened in the Fall of 1956, it was the crown jewel of Fairfield's public school system. The new secondary school on Melville Avenue dwarfed the established Roger Ludlowe High School, which was then located in what is now Tomlinson Middle School. So, when the new high school opened over a half-century ago, it even attracted many students from the Western side of town who had previously attended Ludlowe.
Fairfield's superintendent of schools at the time, Dr. Carlyle G. Hoyt, recommended to the board of education in January of 1956 that all Ludlowe pupils transported by bus, except those in the Pequot and Mill Hill school districts, be redistricted to the new Andrew Warde High School, according to the new district lines.
Ludlowe's student body was reduced to walkers, plus those students who were transported by bus from the Pequot and Mill Hill sections of town. Transportation was provided to the students who lived at least one-and-a-half miles away from school.
Under the plan, Andrew Warde High School opened with an enrollment of 1,174 students, while Ludlowe, which was operating on double-sessions of more than 1,500 students at the time, saw its enrollment dwindle to 674 students.
Dr. Hoyt said it was impossible to divide the town in East and West sections for the district lines without continuing double sessions at Ludlowe. He warned that by 1958, unless steps were taken to expand Roger Ludlowe High School facilities, double sessions would again be required.
The enrollment in the 1,500-student Andrew Warde High School in the 1957-58 school year was estimated at 1,404, while Roger Ludlowe's was at 744. In the 1958-59 school year, Dr. Hoyt estimated the Warde enrollment at 1,625, compared to 805 at Ludlowe. Warde expected 1,776 students enrolled by 1960-61, while Ludlowe targeted 906 students.
Over a half-century ago, Andrew Warde High School was Fairfield's sparkling new secondary school. It was home to most of Fairfield's high school students, and from both sides of town.
Join the Andrew Warde Class of 1976 Facebook page.
Please sign the AWHS Guest Book.
Visit the Andrew Warde High School Gift Shop.
Watch the AWHS 1976 vintage "film".
Monday, October 27, 2008
Offensively, the 1959 Eagles were led by quarterback Howie Ratner, left halfback Larry Gill, and fullback Jack Flanagan. Defensively, co-captain Walter Beck led a bruising unit which posted shutouts in six of the nine contests that year.
This Web site will acknowledge the perfect season next year with a series of weekly articles and newspaper clippings recalling each game. There will be a souvenir sweatshirt available in the AWHS gift shop commemorating the football team's state title and perfect record. And, I'll have exclusive interviews with head coach Tetreau and some of his players as they recall that magical season.
The late Bob Anderson, a former housemaster at Warde who played at Ludlowe and then at Warde, once wrote about Tetreau's 1959 team. "Many Fairfield citizens recall the success of that team, with its tricky single wing T formation, using an unbalanced line, and a side-saddle blocking quarterback," he recalled. "The tailback had to be able to do everything. That threw off the defense through Fern's effective use of the draw, screen, and third down-11 quick kick."
The accompanying newspaper clippings from The Bridgeport Telegram include game reports from Andrew Warde High School's victories over Stratford and Bassick in 1959. According to the Saturday, September 19, 1959 article, Warde defeated Bassick, 22-0. The Tuesday, November 10, 1959 story describes the Eagles' 22-10 win over the North Paraders for their eighth consecutive victory.
Stay tuned as we approach the 50th anniversary of that memorable football season.
Monday, October 20, 2008
According to a story in the Sunday, December 17, 1967, edition of The Junior Post in The Bridgeport Sunday Post, the Crier "has begun a year of controversial articles and unique reporting."
Friday, October 17, 2008
Mike Abraham Recalls Magical Season for Andrew Warde High School's FCIAC Eastern Division Championship Boys' Basketball Team 35 Years Ago
Abraham, currently the the coordinator of Adapted Physical Education in the special education program for the Fairfield public schools, still has fond memories about the camaraderie of the 1972-73 squad. The team, which was coached by Ed Bengermino, included Abraham, Fairfield Ludlowe High School athletic director Dave Schulz, and Roger Ludlowe Middle School principal Glenn Mackno (left-to-right in the photo below).
"The game was on radio," Abraham recalled. "(We were) playing in front of a full house. It was so loud we couldn't even hear ourselves on the court. The game was back and forth all night, then they (Staples) pulled away at the end of the third quarter. We fought back and with just a minute or so left we tied the game. After a timeout called by Staples, Coach Bengermino took off our press.
"When we went back on the court, Glenn Mackno and I looked at each other and still trapped their guard coming up the floor," he continued. "I was able to tap the ball away, and Glenn scooped it up and went in for the leading layup. It was the first lead we had in the second half. The sound was so deafening. I will always have that image of Glenn dropping the ball over the rim and the sound that accompanied it."
According to the Bridgeport Telegram, "Mackno finished the game with 16 points and 14 assists, while DelBianco and Phil Ness benefited from the senior's wizardry by scoring 24 and 15 points, respectively. The Warde defense shut off (Staples) early in the fourth period and ran off 12 straight points to put the game away."
That team will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who attended Andrew Warde High School in the early 1970s. Schulz, Mackno, Bengermino, and Abraham (seen above left-to-right) are still very much involved in the Fairfield public school system. Bengermino also coached the Warde baseball team to the state championship in 1981 and the state finals the following year. He also coached the successful volleyball team for many years.
Abraham later went on to coach the Andrew Warde boys' basketball team from 1981 through 1986 and created even more memories. What does he especially remember? "Just being with the guys and coaching on the same floor I played on," he said. "We did make the state and FCIAC tournament each year. I cannot begin to tell you how many funny stories and experiences (we had).
"My players and mangers will always be special to me. We had great teams with the talent we had. Records of 16-5 and 20-5 are a tribute to the hard work these teams put in. The 20-5 team made to the semi finals and with (one more win) we would have been playing Harding for the state championship."
For the last 31 years, Abraham has been enjoying his unique position with the Fairfield public school system. "I work very closely with special education children, their teachers, therapists, and all staff," he said. "I work very closely with occupational and physical therapists assisting children with fine and gross motor problems as well as sensory integration dysfunction that may impact their classroom participation within the curriculum." His office is located at Fairfield Warde High School.
Abraham, who has two sons currently attending college, is involved in other activities, too, such as directing the swimming program, the early childhood testing program, and training teachers how to manage physical and psychological episodes children may have. "I love this job, mainly because I love children, especially those with special needs," he emphasized. "Hopefully, I have been a 'voice' for these children all these years."
Monday, October 13, 2008
Like Father, Like Daughter: Crimson Eagles' Blood Runs Through New Generation of Fairfield Warde Mustangs and Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons
Tom Davis was an outstanding football player for the Crimson Eagles in the early 1970s. He was coached by his late brother, Bill, who also started the wrestling program at Warde. Glenn Mackno starred on the Warde's 1972-73 FCIAC Eastern Division basketball championship team and later coached volleyball and basketball at his alma mater. Ed Bengermino coached the 1981 AWHS baseball team to the state championship and perennially guided his volleyball and baseball teams to post-season success.
Today, however, their daughters are making names for themselves as outstanding high school athletes in Fairfield. Seniors Allie Davis and Emily Bengermino are teammates on the defending state champion Mustangs' girls soccer team, while Brooke Mackno is a sophomore three-sport athlete at Ludlowe. All three were on center stage last week when the Warde and Ludlowe girls' soccer teams battled to a dramatic scoreless tie before a capacity crowd at the Falcons' field.
"I am very proud of Allie playing at Warde and being a Mustang," said Tom Davis about his daughter. "By putting on that jersey, she represents her school and the Davis family. Playing Ludlowe is always special as there are great memories from my playing days and the games Allie played over the last four years. When Allie graduates in June 2009, there will no longer be a direct connection between me and Warde athletics."
Davis, who created a scholarship award in his brother's honor, has enjoyed watching his daughter play at his alma mater. "Tradition is really what it is," he told me. "Allie and Emily Bengermino have been playing soccer together before they even got to high school. They are also really good friends. Brooke Mackno is younger and has played against Allie and Emily only in high school. There is a friendly rivalry between the fathers, for and against each other. "
Allie Davis will be one of nine seniors honored next Monday, October 20, before the team's final home game against Westhill. She is thrilled to have played her home games on the field which was dedicated in honor of her uncle during the school's 50th anniversary celebration two years ago. "When I play on our home field named after my Uncle Bill and Coach Tetreau, I feel honored and special," she told me.
"I am honored because Uncle Bill was such an influential person to Fairfield and Andrew Warde High School, and he was greatly recognized. I feel special because I am making him proud. I know he is watching me when I play," admitted Allie, who is considering Siena, UMass, Stonehill, Merrimack, and Eastern Connecticut as possible college destinations next year.
Glenn Mackno, the principal of Roger Ludlowe Middle School, is extremely proud of his daughter, Brooke, who lettered in three sports --- soccer, skiing, and tennis --- last year. "I really enjoy watching my daughter play for Ludlowe," he admitted. "I do so with a sense of pride, especially knowing that she is playing out her career in the great Fairfield traditions that I was fortunate to have experienced as an athlete."
Brooke Mackno, ironically, was a member of the Warde ski team as a freshman and helped lead the squad to a second place finish in the state championships. She earned All-State honors and won the state championship in the slalom. She was the #2 skier representing the ten-member Team Connecticut at the New England High School ski championships in New Hampshire.
The younger Mackno was also a starter on the soccer team for half the games a year ago and scored the winning goal against Westhill. In addition, in tennis, she finished with an impressive 7-2 record at the #3 singles position and 1-0 at the #2 singles position for Ludlowe, which advanced to the state semi-finals.
As for rooting for the school which was his arch-rival back in the day, Glenn Mackno isn't bothered in the least. "Initially, I thought it would be difficult to root for Ludlowe. But, to be honest with you, if you have been a team player during your life, your loyalties carry over to the current team you or your children represent. Plus it makes it fun to add to these rivalries by watching your daughter compete against former teammates' children on the athletic fields."
His elder daughter, Kelly, attended Fairfield High School at the Warde site. She was a four-year all-state skier and was captain for her junior and senior years. The ski team won the state skiing championship her senior year. She also was on the volleyball and cross-country squads.
Glenn Mackno said his daughters are aware of his athletic accomplishments at Warde. "My daughters are very familiar with the 1972-1973 (FCIAC) Eastern Divison basketball championship and the banner that used to hang in the Warde gymnasium, as well as the trophy and team picture in the showcase," he admitted. "Both of them informed me they were also going to win banners and get their names on banners and win trophies for their schools, which they have both already accomplished.
"I guess it served as a motivation for them to succeed," he continued. "Last winter, I went to Warde to pick up my daughter, and when I walked in she was at the trophy case showing some of her teammates my picture when I was in high school," he said.
Later, Glenn Mackno started the freshman girls' volleyball program at Warde and coached all three levels of girls' volleyball --- freshman, junior varsity, and varsity. He also coached boys' junior varsity basketball and freshman girls' basketball for the Crimson Eagles.
Ed Bengermino, a coaching legend at Andrew Warde High School who was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame, is proud of his daughter's accomplishments. Emily played a big part in helping the Warde girls' soccer team to the class L state crown last year in a 1-0 shutout victory over Farmington. She scored both goals in the Mustangs' 2-0 victory over Berlin in the semi-finals, including one 4:34 into the first half.
"The only word is pride," Bengermino answered when asked about his daughter's involvement in soccer, basketball, and track at the school he called home for so many years. "It's a connection to contributing to Warde's success. She's a big part of all of those three programs. Her Mom and I are very proud of all her athletics. She gives everything in all three sports."
He said Emily is looking forward to Senior Night next Monday, and then it's time to focus on the next sport. "She's a tenacious defender (on the basketball court)," he pointed out. "She plays great defense in basketball. She's also a top-notch runner. She broke 60 seconds in the 400 meters."
Ed Bengermino, who came within one win of coaching back-to-back baseball state championships at Warde in the early 1980s, said Emily is still undecided as to where she'll be next year. "She's got a list of schools," he said. "It'll be her call all the way, and she's doing all the work right now. She's looking at the size of the school and the location of the school."
The elder Bengermino watched the scoreless game against Ludlowe last Friday night and admitted he was on edge throughout the entire match. "I get just as nervous watching her play against Ludlowe as when I was coaching against Ludlowe," he laughed. Then, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, he added, "I would rather be sitting in the gym watching her play volleyball."
Tom Davis, who was part of the illustrious AWHS Class of 1973 which includes Mackno, former Warde boys' basketball coach Mike Abraham, and Fairfield Ludlowe High School athletic director Dave Schulz, says he'll miss the direct connection between the Davis family name and Warde athletics next year after his daughter graduates.
"On the funny side, one of (the Mom's of) Allie's teammates wanted to know if I would adopt her daughter so that I would stay involved with the program," he joked. "But as you know my heart will always be with the 'Crimson Eagles' and the 'Mustangs.' Old athletes and coaches never die, they just fade into the sunset."
"My Dad has always been proud to have graduated from Warde, and being an athlete there along with his three brothers," stated Allie. "I am proud of carrying on the Davis athletic name at Warde, playing soccer and lacrosse. I know my accomplishments have made my Dad proud to have another Davis attend his school."
Davis. Mackno. Bengermino. From the Andrew Warde Crimson Eagles to the Fairfield Warde Mustangs and Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons. The tradition continues.
Join the Andrew Warde Class of 1976 Facebook page.
Please sign the AWHS Guest Book.
Visit the Andrew Warde High School Gift Shop.
Watch the AWHS 1976 vintage "film".
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Former Crimson Crier Editor Recalls Controversial Issue on Student Drug Use, Objectionable Movie List, & Newspaper Adviser's Resignation
"I was (managing) editor of the paper in our junior and senior year," said Zucker, who was unable to attend the Class of 1976 30-year reunion two years ago due to the birth of his daughter, Amalia, four weeks before the event. "They (the newspaper's previous staff) had done a drug issue, and I wanted to do our take on it."
Along with the story, which featured an interview from four years earlier with a Fairfield police captain, Zucker included a Crimson Crier poll illustrating widespread drug use at Warde. According to the poll, "More than half the students at Warde have tried marijuana, and 90% of them continue to smoke it with some regularity."
Zucker, who currently lives in California with his wife and daughter, said there wasn't a great deal of response initially. "We got one small mention in the Bridgeport Post in an article about student drug use in a lot of Fairfield County, but not a lick of follow-up," he said. "My own parents didn't have a clue what I was up to."
The poll showed that 23 percent of the students had tried other drugs. Speed was mentioned most often, followed by LSD, THC, mushrooms, amphetamines, mescaline, barbiturates, cocaine, and heroin. However, Zucker included a disclaimer which stated that "the validity of the survey is fairly questionable."
The poll indicated that 68% of seniors, 67% of juniors, 33% of sophomores, and 39% of freshmen had smoked marijuana. Fifty-seven percent of those polled schoolwide believed that pot should be legalized, including 84% of smokers (all four grades) and 80% of juniors.
The newspaper also included an editorial which promoted the legalization of marijuana. "The traditional arguments which have been raised against the drug are no longer valid, and the next Congress would be wise to remove the penalties now associated with it," the editorial stated.
Zucker said that he was at odds with faculty members who helped with the newspaper. "I had constant problems with the advisers, although, again, (it was) night and day compared to what would have happened today. I fought with one of the teachers one too many times over a 'freedom of speech' issue, and he quit!
"The concept was that kids have freedom of speech and none of the faculty would interfere," added Zucker. "In fact, I can remember ending up in the headmaster's office showing him an article I was trying to push through. It was about getting laid in a car. He tried to talk me out of it on artistic grounds, but left it up to me."
The controversial drug issue featured a word scramble, a cartoon, an eye-opening interview with a freshman who had been smoking pot since seventh-grade, a photo spread titled "Does Your Child Use Narcotics?" and an exclusive interview with headmaster Ken Petersen about his personal views on drugs and how they relate to Andrew Warde High School.
"I didn't do any of this alone, although, admittedly, I wrote a lot of the drug issue," Zucker pointed out. "Jimmy Bresler, a senior, was Editor in Chief of that issue. He wrote the "Legalize Pot" editorial and compiled the stats on the poll. Scott Becker was a great writer (and) editor with me for (our) junior and senior years. He ended up running and owning his own music magazine for many years."
Zucker said the newspaper advisor ultimately quit due to a movie summary which Zucker painstakingly created. "I had assembled a calendar of all the movies playing at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University, (the) Westport Playhouse, etc. Remember, (there was) no Internet. I was pretty proud of it. This teacher asked if there were any X-Rated movies (on the list). I said, 'Last Tango in Paris.' He said, 'It has to go.'"
How did Zucker react? "I went mental and pointed out that we were not pedaling porn," he emphasized. "Last Tango was nominated for two Academy Awards and, besides, there were students who were over 18. We were simply providing information. He started perusing the list and said, 'Hey, what's this movie The Hustler?' The list stayed. He went. In hindsight, I probably would have been a jerk about it again."
Zucker's job was to make the newspaper interesting and get students reading and talking about it. He succeeded. Even thirty-four years later the "drug issue" is still getting ink. However, Zucker said the adviser's comments following the publication of the first newspaper in 1974 weren't too encouraging.
"(He) had pointed out after our first issue that no one in his home room had even picked up their copy of the Crier to glance at it. We had our work cut out for us," Zucker admitted. "I'll betcha kids were picking up the issue with someone smoking a giant JOINT on the cover. Understand, we were TRYING to be provocative and subversive."
Zucker, who is enjoying his role as a new Dad, strongly feels life was better for youngsters a generation ago. "I feel lucky that we got to have a childhood where parents weren't freaked out all the time about what we were doing, even if some of us went a liitle too far sometimes. Kids today are so overscheduled it would make you cry. In 18 years at your parents house, did they ever set up a play date for you?"
Indeed, how times have changed.