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Ben Bronz Academy Hosts Fundraiser


Article by Jim Welch

Photography by Cole Zabetakis

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About 175 walkers participated in Ben Bronz Academy’s fundraiser on April 30 to support the school’s new library and media center. The more than $30,000 raised is dedicated to build state-of-the-art STEM resources as part of the school’s first-ever full library.

Families said it was more than a fundraiser. “The day was an expression of the commitment the staff, parents and kids have towards making the school a great experience.” said Jennifer Spirito, who is the parent of two students at Ben Bronz – including a graduating senior. 

The students at Ben Bronz have been identified with various learning disabilities, including: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Executive Function Difficulties, ADHD, CAPD, and ASD (mild/Asperger). Its goal is to help students correct their functional weaknesses and to develop strong, spontaneous thinking habits that build self-confidence, foster curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning.

Spirito said she believes in the school’s mission. “Ben Bronz is important to the community because it gives parents and children hope. Hope for a future where education is accessible and centered around our kids,” she said. "It’s a feeling. BBA is a family community. It’s love, it’s hope, it’s genuine caring for the students and the staff."

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Lori Fortuna, who has a 9th grader at Ben Bronz, helped organize the fundraiser. She said the new library will help BBA further its mission. “Ben Bronz Academy has made so many mini miracles happen for my daughter and so many of the students without having a library, so I can’t even imagine what will happen now that all of our students will have this special library and resource center.“

The event, called ‘Lace Up For The Library,’ was emceed by NBC Connecticut’s Bob Maxon.

West Hartford Town Council Member Debra Polun read a proclamation from Mayor Shari Cantor declaring the day ‘Ben Bronz Academy Day’ in town and recognizing the school for almost 40 years of service in West Hartford.

Dozens of parents, students and volunteers helped organize  the fundraiser walk which was followed by pizza, snow cones from Kona Ice, ice cream from Ice Cream Emergency and miniature bunt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Corbins Corner, West Hartford. 

The support from the local community as well as businesses and individuals from across the state were crucial to the success of this event. The event has nearly 60 sponsors, including King’s Speech, Autism Sparkles LLC; CHH Engraving; VMS Construction Company; the Rubenstein Family, Barbara and David Brown, Lisa Brown and Daniel Handler, Gail and David Mangs, and Webster Bank.

Ben Bronz Executive Director Dr. Gail Lanza thanked the parents, students, board members and community members for organizing and supporting the walk and working toward completing the library planned to open for the 2023-2024 school year.

"We are very excited about our new library media center, which will be more than just a place to check out books. It will be a hub of learning and exploration, including providing engaging STEM activities and resources for our students,” she said.

As a parent, Fortuna echoed that students are at the center of her passion for the walk and naaaew library. "Our first inaugural walk meant so many things to my family and I ….. the most important ….. the pride we felt that we all came together as a BBA family to raise money to provide what our students need., she said. “We are a small but mighty group who love our kids and will do anything we can for them." 

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