Op-Ed: New Canaan Needs to Better Prepare Students for SAT

“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not.” -Leila Janah 

Recently, I was speaking with a friend and he expressed frustration not only with his performance on the SAT but also his lack of access to test prep resources due to financial constraints. I believe this is unfair given that most students at NCHS can both afford and take for granted that private SAT classes are an essential part of their high school journey. 

We pride ourselves on our academic rigor and extremely strong school district rankings. However, we do very little to prepare all students for the one test that is incredibly important for every student’s future after graduation: the SAT. 

Our town needs to offer SAT prep classes to all students. This is particularly important given an overall decline in New Canaan’s SAT scores from the 2018-19 academic year to the last reportable year, 2022-23, according to state education data. (New Canaan’s scores did improve slightly year-over-year from 2021-22 to 2022-23 in both English-Language Arts and Math, the data say.). 

Why is the SAT so important?

The Grazing Ram: Funding Bodies Voice Support for Public Cemetery Maintenance Plan 

[Editor’s Note: Leo Mikkola-Patel is a junior at New Canaan High School. “The Grazing Ram” is his periodic column on New Canaanite.]

My previous article described a plan to encourage the town government to allocate funding for the appropriate maintenance of all public cemeteries. After writing that article, I saw the true power and beauty of town government. 

I reached out to many organizations and gathered the support of both the Daughters of the American Revolution and the VFW Post 653 . There was also broad community support for this project as evidenced by a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures. 

Working with the head of the Department of Public Works, Tiger Mann, administrative officer in the first selectman’s office, Tucker Murphy, VFW Post 653 Senior Commander Mike McGlinn and Danielle Edwards of the DAR, this month we presented to the Board of Finance and Town Council with the goal of garnering support and starting the process of creating an annual budget line for cemetery upkeep. 

McGlinn said during the Nov. 14 finance board meeting that “the VFW stands 100% behind this project” and that “one of the principles of the VFW is to honor and remember every veteran, alive or deceased.” 

The consensus was that this project is very possible but more work still needs to be done.

The Grazing Ram: New Canaan Will Do More for Its Cemeteries, But We Need Your Help

[Leo Mikkola-Patel is a New Canaan High School junior. He writes “The Grazing Ram” column for NewCanaanite.com.]

My last article covered the neglect of many small cemeteries around town. After writing that article, I had the opportunity to meet with Tucker Murphy, administrative officer in the first selectman’s office, and Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public Works (DPW.) We discussed a plan of action to resolve the neglect and extreme overgrowth in many of our cemeteries, which I believe dishonors the veterans and everyone else buried in them. 

Our plan centers on requesting that the town government, specifically, the Board of Finance, establish an official budget line for the DPW to start the routine and appropriate maintenance of many of the public cemeteries. Based on my discussions with Ms. Murphy and Mr. Mann, the town should be able to accomplish this at de minimus cost. The next step would be for me to speak at the Nov.

The Grazing Ram: New Canaan Needs To Do More for Its Small Cemeteries 

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” 
—C.S. Lewis 

Cemeteries are an important part of New Canaan’s heritage. They house the legacies of the town’s past. This is why they need to be preserved and maintained appropriately. Sadly, many have been ignored and fallen into disrepair. This dishonors the many veterans and other important figures buried in these cemeteries and reflects poorly on our town. 


Why do they need to be restored?