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A Sense of Expectation

Photograph by: Bob Capazzo

This issue has been especially fun to put together. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it might have something to do with new beginnings. No matter how much fun you had over the summer, changing the calendar from August to September brings with it a sense of promise and anticipation. Retail stores are filled with fall fashions, volunteer groups gear up again and, most important of all, a new school year starts. From new teachers and subjects to new (and old) friends and even the demands of a new routine — nearly everyone is happy to be back.

Unfortunately, it won’t be long before that newness wears off and the reality of class work and testing sinks in. That’s when stress levels begin to mount. It seems that the pressure to do well, particularly on standardized tests, has been going up even as the number of exams has increased and the age of the students being handed those infamous No. 2 pencils has dropped.

One culprit, according to those interviewed by writer Tom Connor, is the No Child Left Behind act, which mandates more testing, starting with youngsters in third grade. And there’s a new wrinkle in the familiar problem of students vying to get into that small number of very selective colleges. Apparently that process is beginning earlier than ever, with middle school students starting to focus on PSATs and SATs.

Where does this pressure come from? It’s fair to say that some comes from parents and their expectations; still more is generated by our competitive society. But, notes Bob Pomer, head of guidance at Darien High School, much of it driven by students “who are trying to set themselves apart from others. They’re driving themselves.” Is this something we want to change? You won’t want to miss “No Child Left Untested.”

If thoughts of testing make you tense, don’t fret — simply take a deep breath and turn to our story about four marvelous makeovers. Talk about new beginnings — or at least new images — this story has it all. Four women of different ages, sporting new looks as they head into fall. A lot of work went into coordinating this article, but it was worth the effort. Once we all arrived on the set, everyone relaxed and had a good time — the models, the hair and makeup stylists, and even the photographer.

For another new beginning, you’ll want to read about the “Power/Shift” at the Darien/Norwalk YWCA. In recent years happenings at the YW have mirrored changes in the town of Darien. The demographic is younger, and the women involved with the organization have different interests than in previous years. This has led to a new vibrancy that is guiding the group going forward — one that some of the leaders and members readily shared with writer Leslie Chess Feller.

Whatever the new happenings in your life, we hope that something about them is making you smile.