“I’m enjoying my summer, having fun, and taking advantage of the great things CEA does for us year-round,” said Norwich school counselor Anne Zinn, one of 150 educators, family members, and friends who came out Saturday to cheer the Hartford Yard Goats to a 7-5 victory against the Portland Sea Dogs.
The sellout game was the second in a series of three CEA Teacher Appreciation Days at Dunkin’ Donuts Park this summer. It included discounted tickets, a covered party deck exclusively for CEA members and guests, and an all-you-can-eat buffet.
“We love to provide opportunities like this for our members to get together and enjoy each other’s company in a fun atmosphere,” said CEA Secretary Stephanie Wanzer, who attended along with CEA Treasurer Tara Flaherty and New Haven County CEA Director George Flaherty. “It’s always great to connect with teachers across the state, and what’s more American than a baseball game? Events like this bring in people we might not ordinarily see and get them more involved with CEA.”
“What a great chance to spend time with colleagues in a beautiful stadium,” said Ridgefield High School reading teacher Dave Griffith, who came out with English teachers James Reed and Teri Kovacs.
Longtime kindergarten teaching partners and friends Alyssa Civiello and Ginger Coleman also teamed up for the event.
“I love the Yard Goats and was excited when I saw that CEA was sponsoring this party deck for us,” Civiello said.
The game brought out veteran and early-career educators alike, including Groton behavior specialist Ian Williamson and special education teacher Harry Esposito, who have been teaching for six months and two years, respectively. Joining them was friend and fellow educator Dante Gonzales, who teaches English at Hamden High School.
“This is my first time ever at a CEA event,” Gonzales said.
“What brought us out here is friendship and being a part of the education community together,” Williamson added.
The three were later joined by a fourth CEA member whose birthday they were celebrating.
“We figured it would be a good way to combine two great things,” said Esposito.
“I’m a huge baseball fan, and I love being involved with the union,” said Norwich social studies teacher Nick Menapace. “I’m grateful to CEA that we have somebody we can rely on and talk to. They offer so many resources for us, and what I really like is that in any number of situations that come up, you have your union representatives; that’s a huge thing for me. I really appreciate how our union keeps us informed about what’s happening in our school system—from a teacher’s perspective—and they help ensure we get what we need.”
“I continued my membership in CEA-Retired, so I get all of these offers and decided it would be fun to come out for the night and meet up with other retired and active teachers,” said Jane Masson, who taught in Wallingford.
“It’s always fun to support the local baseball team, support our teachers, and visit with retired colleagues,” said CEA-Retired Treasurer Karen DiMenna.
Ten-year veteran educator Carrie Gilbert, who teaches first grade in Andover, packed up her family and came out to mingle with other educators.
“My kids have been asking to come—so this was perfect!”
“We couldn’t have had a better night to be at the ballpark as a family, and I had each of my kids bring a friend,” said Rocky Hill fifth grade teacher Kristen Spain.
Berlin teacher Lisa Wasylean agreed. “I’m just looking for some fun with the family,” she said. “I think it’s been a trying, challenging year for everyone, and so it’s even more reason to celebrate and find some joy.”
Groton school psychologist Suzanne Talbot, who has come out to similar CEA events with her husband—including UConn’s homecoming game—said, “What a great night to celebrate local baseball, have a wonderful gathering, and hang out with my CEA peeps in a fabulous venue.”
“My husband is an avid baseball fan,” said Westport reading specialist Chakisha Canady, “so when we heard about CEA’s offer, we invited another couple to join us.”
Stafford math interventionist Beth Beaudoin brought along her sister.
“She’s never been out to the park. It’s a beautiful night, and we’re grateful to CEA for organizing this.”
Nathan Moses, a health and physical education teacher at East Hartford’s Connecticut River Academy, was accompanied by his wife and their two sons.
“My older son is a big fan,” Moses said. “We love baseball and have been to this stadium before, but it’s nice for CEA to make a special night of it for us.”