The Naugatuck Exchange Club will be honoring its picks for firefighter, police officer, teacher and citizen of the year during a banquet ceremony on March 20. Here are the picks for each category, along with their biographies. The only absence is Fire Capt. David Seeger, the Firefighter of the Year.
Christine Wesche, Teacher of the Year
Christine Wesche has been an educator for the Borough of Naugatuck her entire teaching career. Hired fresh out of college in 1981, she has been a teacher of Family and Consumer Science for 30 years. She has had the privilege of enjoying every one of those years at City Hill Middle School.
The daughter of Janet and Andrew Scribe of Monroe, Christine grew up in a home where leading by example, following through with commitments, and respect for one another were paramount. It is these virtues which she works to instill in her students on a daily basis. Family and Consumer Science is the perfect “stage” for this endeavor, as all the above mentioned merits are important, not only within the family framework, but in life as well.
Within the schedule at City Hill Middle School, where members of the Unified Arts Department help to educate every student in the building, Christine organized the Creative Cooking Café. This is a teacher facilitated, student-run restaurant in which students are responsible for planning, preparing, and serving complete meals to City Hill faculty members on a weekly basis. The program began 25 years ago and still remains a popular selection as an enrichment opportunity amongst students.
In past years, Creative Cooking Café was responsible for preparing food for Student of the Semester Dinners, Thanksgiving pies, and Valentine Candies (working cooperatively with the City Hill Student Council). Most recently, Creative Cooking Café members undertook the task of preparing, as well as helping to serve, the meal at the Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Dinner in December organized by Mr. Joe Miata. Creative Cooking Café members also prepared for the You be the Chemist Competition hosted by City Hill. Culminating the solid work of the students in Creative Cooking Café is a field trip to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. Many students involved with this program have followed their passion into the food service industry.
Along with colleagues from each school, Christine maintains the City Hill website keeping parents and students alike informed of the exceptional events and activities which take place at City Hill.
As an active member of the Naugatuck Teachers League, Christine serves as the liaison between City Hill staff members as a Building Representative. In this capacity, she has attended various workshops and conferences at both the local and state levels.
Christine resides in Oxford with her husband Kevin, who is also a teacher in the Naugatuck School District. They are the proud parents of three grown children: Andrea, Brandon and Alana along with son-in-laws Dave and Ryan. When their family was younger, Christine was active in coaching both soccer and softball for many years. Her passion for softball continued with commitment to a travel team that included organizing and running practices, hosting and scheduling tournaments and supervising various fundraising efforts and tournament trips.
Henry Brooks Adams said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Christine states, “It is for this reason I strive to find that positive quality in every student as we all have something special to offer. Knowing you have value is a positive motivator.”
Frank Johnson Jr., Citizen of the Year
A lifelong resident of Naugatuck, Frank Johnson, Jr. is an active member of our community. Frank graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1981 where he was elected Class President all four years. He received his B.S. Degree in Justice and Law Administration from Western Connecticut State University in 1985.
Most recently, Frank served as Chairman of Residents for Renovation, leading a successful campaign to approve an $81 million dollar complete renovation of Naugatuck High School. He also served on the Mayor’s Turf 2015 advisory committee.
An avid advocate of local athletics, Frank co-founded the Naugatuck High School Football Alumni Association in 2002. For the past ten years, the Association has sponsored an annual golf tournament and has provided significant financial support to the football program, helping to fund many initiatives that otherwise would not be available. In addition to supporting the high school football program, the Association continues to provide much needed funding and support to the NHS cheerleading, baseball, and Pop Warner football programs. In keeping with his love of the sport and commitment to the youth of our community, Frank has been a coach with the Naugatuck Pop Warner Football League since 2008.
In 2008, Frank was named Alumni of the Year by the Naugatuck High School Alumni Association, and was inducted into the Naugatuck Hall of Fame in 2005. In1983, he received the State of Connecticut, Governors Award for Heroism and Bravery from Gov. William O’Neil for saving the life of a neighbor.
Frank has been Vice-President of the Lake Quassapaug Sportsmen’s Club since 2008 and a member of the National Defender Investigator Association since 1996.
Frank lives in Naugatuck with his wife Joann and sons, Matthew and Eric.
He is a Supervisory Investigator, III, with the Office of the Public Defender in the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District.
Chip Schofield, Officer of the Year
Officer Schofield was hired in September of 1999 and is a thirteen year veteran of the Naugatuck Police Department. During his tenure as a police officer, Chip has spent most of his time as a patrol officer serving the citizens of Naugatuck and in particular our youth. Since 2007, Officer Schofield has been the head advisor of the Naugatuck Police Explorer Post #882, which is a volunteer program designed to give insight into law enforcement careers for young men and women aged 14 - 20 through hands-on activities.
Since 2008 Officer Schofield has been assigned twice as the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Naugatuck High School where he not only serves as a police presence in the school but engages in mentoring activities as well. Officer Schofield also has been one of the departments DARE instructors since 2008 and regularly teaches this prevention curriculum to our 5th graders. These assignments have allowed Chip the opportunity to work closely with the educators and youth of this community.
At the end of this 2012 school year Officer Schofield is being transferred to the Juvenile Division and fill the role of Detective assigned to investigate youth crime and continue to work closely with and develop future programs for the Borough’s youth.
In his off duty time Officer Schofield continues to devote his time and efforts towards positive youth oriented activities volunteering his time with the Union City Little League softball program. He is currently working on a project to renovate the Legion Field playground into a handicap accessible playground.
Officer Schofield has received the following awards:
- Medal for Meritorious Service; a fellow officer and Schofield administered CPR on the roof of a house to a contractor that was not breathing and had no pulse; thereby saving his life.
- Unit Citation for assisting the Town of Stratford in locating a suspect in a Murder investigation, and the recovery of the murder weapon.
- Unit Citation for assisting in the apprehension of an armed and barricaded suspect, who had fired a handgun from his residence and intended to take his own life.
- Medal for Outstanding Service for an investigation into a graffiti & criminal mischief spree that resulted in $30,000 worth of damage and the arrest of 9 individuals.
- Medal for Outstanding Service for a kidnapping investigation that led to the arrest of two suspects.
- Chip is a Naugatuck resident who has been married to his wife Melissa for 16 years and is blessed with three daughters.