Letter: On Stepping Down, a ’Thank You’ from ABC House Co-Resident Directors 

Recently, A Better Chance of New Canaan (ABC House) held its annual graduation party for our two NCHS seniors. Josiah Jones and Kai Clancy each addressed the guests and reflected on their four years in the ABC program, NCHS, and the ABC house itself. It is amazing how the boys grow in confidence and poise, and speak from the heart in front of a large group. It was inspiring to hear them speak so positively of the experience and thank those who helped them along the way. Now it’s our turn to look back and say THANK YOU as we step away from our posts as Co-Resident Directors of the ABC House of New Canaan.

VIDEO: Honoring a Friend, ABC House Co-Director Undergoes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (8 Times)

John Walsh ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at ABC House
In May 2010, John Walsh, co-resident director of the ABC House of New Canaan, lost a dear friend to ALS. On Thursday, with the eight student residents of the home standing behind him, and his wife and fellow co-resident director Laura standing near, the New Canaan resident honored the memory of his friend while encouraging locals to donate to a New York City-based nonprofit organization. The Project ALS website says the organization targets the most promising ALS research and that its strategy is “to raise significant funds and direct the majority of the funds raised to the collaborative efforts of world leading scientists.”

See Walsh’s video above.

New Canaan ABC Founders Gather with Current Students, Directors

New Canaan High School senior Chris Andrews calls his four years here in town, as a student-resident in the A Better Chance or “ABC” program, “a blessing.” Andrews said shortly before a special dinner in the Locust Avenue home Wednesday that he’s not only met many people he wouldn’t have met otherwise, but also developed interests he may not have discovered—for example, his plan to study computer science at Penn State University in the fall was born from his experience under town resident and ABC host Michael Donnelly. “My host dad is an IT guy in a firm and he really helped me along the way, finding what I want to be,” Andrews said from the living room at ABC House, surrounded by fellow ABC student-residents as well as figures who were at New Canaan High School as students, administrators and faculty members in 1973, the year the program was founded. The group gathered for an informal “Founders Day Dinner”—attendees included not just the student-residents at ABC now but also co-resident directors John and Laura Walsh, Board of Directors President Mike Curran, 1971-75 New Canaan High School Principal Alan Haas, former NCHS Guidance Counselor Robert Jeffries, NCHS Class of ‘73 Maryann (Ruggiero) Gabriel, Class of ’75 Jennifer James, Class of ’73 Janice Benson, ABC House cook (and current Selectman) Beth Jones, ABC board members Amy Burger and Candace Curran, and ABC House tutor Tony Adams.

Here’s a slideshow with seven of the eight current ABC House of New Canaan students. Just hover with your mouse over their photos for personal information and quotes from each student.