Community Mourns Local Hero

Remembering and honoring NH Firefighter, Matthias Wirtz, who died in the line of duty on December 26, 2022.

Matthias Wirtz, 46, was a 22-year veteran firefighter who died in the early morning hours of Monday December 26th 2022, responding to a two-alarm blaze. He is survived by his wife, mother other family members and many friends.

Wirtz began his career in 1996 as a volunteer at the North Haven North East Volunteer Fire Co. No. 4. During his time he received several letters of commendation and even responded to the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center. He always looked for learning opportunities in hazardous situations, operations, and investigations, and his tremendous efforts and friendly disposition will be missed by many. With his passing we are reminded, yet again, of those who dedicate and often risk their lives in service to others. 

Hundreds of firefighters from across Connecticut and neighboring states joined the NH Fire Department at a service to honor Matthias Wirtz in support of his family and many friends.

Fire Chief Paul Januszewski described Wirtz as "a great person...willing to do anything for anyone." Wirtz will be remembered for his devotion to his NH firefighter brothers and the community he loved. He will be sorely missed.

Fundraisers to Benefit the Family of Fallen North Haven Firefighter Matthias Wirtz

Firefighter Wirtz was a North Haven resident, and 22-year veteran of the North

Haven Fire Department, when he lost his life battling a structure fire on the morning

of December 26, 2022. The North Haven Professional Firefighters Association Local

2987, along with the DeMartino family, J Roo’s, and La Lupa are hosting fundraisers

to benefit the Wirtz family. 25% of all proceeds from the main dining area, bar, and

take-out will be donated to the Wirtz family. Come and enjoy food, drink, and

entertainment! A third event at Ludal’s is being planned for the Spring!


Was held Thursday March 2nd 4-10 PM and a great success!!!

243 State St, North Haven, CT

Tel: 203-281-5411

Tip A Firefighter! - NoHFD firefighters will be serving your table!

*No reservations - first come, first serve


Sunday March 5th 1-8 PM

344 Washington Ave, North Haven, CT

Tel: 203-533-5744

Entertainment by the New Haven County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums!

*No reservations - first come, first serve

North Haven Football Seizes Championship Title 

A historic triumph marks a season to remember!

The Nighthawks defeated Killingly 51-34 to earn the Class MM Title on December 10, 2022.

In an editor interview, veteran Coach Anthony Sagnella relays the hard work and discipline that led to success.

     NH Defenders tackle Killingly running back.

Jayden Roby gives the camera a thumbs up after the win.

Camren Thompson harnesses the ball and runs on a carry. 

Who is Coach Sagnella?

“Coach Sagnella has been the head football coach at North Haven High School since 1997. He is just the fifth head coach in the nearly 70 year history of the program and his 26 seasons are the most in school history. Coach Sagnella also holds school records for most games coached (270), career wins (152), league/division titles (12), CIAC playoff appearances (9), and led North Haven to the Class MM State Championship in 2022 and into the history books”. Congrats Coach for making football about athletic ability, strong character/integrity and so much more. Bravo team and coaches!

Sagnella is no stranger to interviews and football has been a constant throughout most of his life. He played football at Rutgers, was a defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins (Commanders) and owns a Super Bowl Ring from the 1987 season. While other NHHS football teams have come very close over the years, this year's amazing team pulled it together for a history-making very sweet victory!

  Working as a cohesive team for the win.

"Ideal Team" Worked Hard, Handled    Setbacks/Successes to Win BIG

Sagnella stated that what distinguished this team from others in the past was how skilled the players were across the roster. What set them apart was that they didn’t have “star individuals, just very good players,” which Coach Sagnella said made for “an ideal team.” The program handled success and setbacks well as a whole, which translated to more success as the season went on. This team was always on the same page and its drive, commitment, and skill level was what helped guide its players to a historic season and Championship win. 

Lessons Learned On and Off the Field Impact Players for Life

As a teacher, Sagnella sees the importance of remaining dedicated on the field and in the classroom. The recipe for success begins with athletes who stay committed to their schoolwork. Coach Sagnella wants his players to understand that a strong work ethic begins in the classroom - “You are who you are by what you do.” Simple habits like staying on top of assignments and completing homework allow for his players to compete on the field. The ability to balance academics and the responsibilities of an athlete demonstrates the level of perseverance required by each individual. 

Sagnella says there will always be setbacks, whether it be in class or on the field, however these obstacles are an opportunity to learn how to cope and move forward. Post win, he told his players, “Don’t let this be the highlight of your life.” While the team has achieved their goal, there is still work to be done. As the underclassmen prepare for the upcoming 2023 season, the graduating seniors are moving on to the next part of their lives. Sagnella gave them an environment where they were allowed to fail and then learn from the mistakes they made. He has not only facilitated their growth as players but as individuals entering life beyond high school. 

Pictured above is Coach Sagnella with his senior captains (left to right): Salvatore DeMaio, Jeffery Karavas, Brian Lastomirsky. They joined the team as boys with a dream and they now graduate as young men having accomplished a wonderful goal by working hard with their teammates and coaches. 

To all the parents/families who drove their kids to practice and sat in the stands supporting them throughout the years, we celebrate and share this victory with you and all the fans as well!

     One giant leap for NHHS Football!

Sagnella Reflects on Season's Success After Three Decades of Coaching 

Coach Sagnella has been in the football business for his entire life, and this win meant a lot-- especially to the people who have followed his career from the beginning to where he is today. According to him, a huge win like this really “validates the program.” 

As both a coach and educator, Sagnella has always understood the value of learning on both the field and in the classroom. Thus, he looks to motivate individuals to be better players while also maintaining good academic records and reputations. Sagnella shared a piece of advice that he tells his players: “In your pursuit of success in your career, be very careful that you do not damage your reputation.” As a coach of thirty years, he recognizes that while success may validate the team’s efforts, it is the reputation of the players and program that ultimately is most important.

Historic Victory Celebrated Townwide: Go NH Nighthawks!

Sagnella says this is a "happy milestone for the town." Like any program, this team required support to get to where it ended up this past season, and North Haven has really been supportive. He stated that it “takes a village,” and this title was a “nice feather in the cap.” Sagnella always believed that his team would reach the top based on the hard work within the program, and says that seeing the players' “priceless and emotional” faces at the end of the Championship game was the most satisfactory part of the season.

Pictured to the right, players express the elation of winning a history-making championship title.

Daniel Mark-Thomas

Nicholas Harkins

James Studley 

The success of the season has left the team, families, coaches, school, and community elated and proud. It reminds us that success can be achieved and dreams reached through hard work, determination, perseverance, and commitment. This unprecedented win represents a level of success that will inspire future NH athletes to go for the gold in sports, classrooms and life!

And the crowd roars!

Cheerleaders Kylie Signore and Francesca Keefe pose together in celebration of the victory!

Cheer Captain Jenna Roby leads the NH Cheer Squad as they all look to the crowd!

The team celebrates with the "2022 CIAC Champion" plaque, moments after their ground-breaking achievement. 

nhhs presents disney Newsies - the broadway muscial

directed by jacqlyn giordano

Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged "newsies." When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what's right!

Thursday March 2nd 2023 - Sunday March 5th 2023

Click here to purchase tickets now!

    Rehearsal has been happening for weeks as actors, backstage crew, and musicians prepare for the performance!

Extra, extra! Read all about it! Check out these highlights from Thursday's performance of Newsies! This is a show you don't want to miss!

Spotlight on NHHS English Department

Students, teachers and programs actively support the district's literacy focus

Sagnella is pictured here, correcting student papers during a hall duty. 

Poetry Class Seeks Inspiration at Yale Art Gallery: a Wonderful New Haven Asset

Teacher Peter Sagnella took his Poetry class to Yale Art Gallery to garner inspiration from artwork created over the ages: Ancient to Modern times.

Holly Begin and Lily Coish (left to right) contemplate a piece.

Students and other visitors observe sculptures.

Students study a sculpture from the Asian art wing.

Christopher Moore

Teacher of The Year 2020.

Moore clarifies the details of an in-class assignment.

English Department Head, Devin Mannion, works on his computer in the English office.

Daniel O'Brien sits in front of inspiring art, photos, and author quotes. He was voted Teacher of the Year in 2006 and 2013! 

Jennifer Zettergren holds flowers presented to her in 2021 when she was Teacher of The Year.

Zettergren's freshman class acts out their roles in Romeo and Juliet as they "discuss the relevance of the character's problems as compared to personal issues students deal with today."

Susan Pearson (far right) conducts class discussion.

Elizabeth Jackson explains a homework assignment.

Susan Bass displays NHHS attire on school spirit day.

Bass explains the day's lesson while students prepare.

Lawrence DiBernardo, Teacher of the Year in 2008, finds journals provide students with insightful ways to express themselves.

Alan Vezina's students work diligently on a writing assignment. 

Vezina enjoys sharing his vast interest in cinema with Film Studies students as they analyze movies. He was the district's Teacher of the Year in 2005.

Kristen Degnan follows along with her AP Literature students as they act out Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. 

Catherine Carrigan sits among Nonfiction students as the group discusses The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. 

English Upperclassmen Elective Options


Nature has evoked in humans a variety of responses: inspiration and despair, cultivation and exploitation, interdependence and dominion. Using literary and scientific writing, we will explore the evolution of this response from classical, romantic, agrarian, ecological, adventurous, and green perspectives. Besides scrutinizing the value of Nature and man’s relationship to it, we will keep a journal, write in creative and critical contexts, conduct independent readings and research, and perform a service project.


This course allows students to read popular and provocative nonfiction texts, including such works as The Glass Castle, Into The Wild, and Born a Crime. Students in this course learn to define, analyze, and characterize nonfiction as a genre and to write in a variety of nonfiction models. Emphasis is placed on reading for information in context and identifying an author’s tone, purpose, bias, and method of organization.


This course will examine what it means to experience and enjoy poetry. Students will read, discuss, and interpret poetry written by an extensive variety of poets and will write creative, original works of poetry in cooperative writing workshops. The course will be centered around several key questions: how does poetry permeate our daily lives?, how has poetry changed and influenced culture throughout the ages and especially today?, when does poetry leave the static page and become something to be shared, performed, and otherwise brought to life? This course will provide immense creative opportunities for students.


In this course, how we deceive ourselves and others and the effects of our deceit are examined through a study of great works from the second half of the 20th century. Students will further develop their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. The course texts will provide students with a vehicle for discovering theme and symbolism. Students in this course will be required to write essays, journals, and creative pieces.


This course will first examine the historical background of William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Era in England. After a biographical study of Shakespeare, students will read, analyze, and direct some of Shakespeare’s most important works from his early and major histories, high comedies, great tragedies, and late romances. Students will also read and study Shakespeare’s sonnets.


This course will examine short fiction from a variety of perspectives. Students will explore short fiction major components: character, plot, structure, setting, conflict, and theme. More sophisticated study will then be applied to such literary aspects as narration, style, point of view, description, dialogue, tone, irony, symbolism, and allegory.


This course will expose students to a variety of African- American authors throughout American history. Students will read novels, poetry, short stories, and a play. The texts will be the vehicles through which students develop their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Black Voices will enhance and foster understanding of racial issues all students confront today as they seek to establish their identities in a multicultural world.


This course will examine the exciting and thought- provoking realm of science fiction as we know it in the 21st century. Through literature and other media, students will explore futuristically and technologically advanced worlds, which represent the struggles and realities of contemporary people. Classic novels like Slaughterhouse Five, 1984, and Brave New World will be explored, discussed and contrasted with life as we know it. Why are we captivated by the future? Can technology alter or even affect human nature? This course will examine these and many other questions.


Students in this course will examine how women’s roles have evolved over time and in different cultures. By exploring the experiences of women and the different ways that women are viewed students will uncover truths and dispel myths and stereotypes. This course will place emphasis on self-expression through discussion, writing and journals in addition to the dissection of the texts as assets to world literature and to the female perspective. Literary works such as Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison form the literary core of the course.


This course will examine horror literature from Dracula to contemporary selections, such as those by Stephen King. Students will be exposed to novels, poetry, and short stories within this genre. The texts will be the vehicles wherein students will further develop their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. This course will also include a research component as students look back on the history of the form.

Additional elective opportunities:


This course is open to any student who wishes to become a better creative writer. In addition to studying works by professional writers, students will produce their own poems, short stories, creative essays and plays.


This elective course is open to students in grades 9-12 who wish to learn about journalism. The students will learn the following techniques: research, questioning, and interviewing; writing news stories, feature stories, editorials, and sports stories; editing; and layout and other technical aspects involved in publishing a newspaper. The students will be encouraged to write for the high school newspaper.


This course is an introductory course for students to learn the language of film and apply it to both early and modern classic films. Fiction films will be the focus of the course with an emphasis upon “film as an art form.” The major thematic unit will explore darker themes, focusing on the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. The genres focused on are suspense/thriller/ horror films, dramatic films, foreign language films and dark comedies. In addition, short independent films and documentaries on film techniques will be viewed. Students will learn the stages of the filmmaking process and create short films as a small group project. 


Film Study II: The Short Film is a semester course for juniors and seniors who have successfully completed the introductory film course. Students will be engaged in both film analysis and production throughout the semester, with a focus on the short film. Basic understanding of film terms is required and students should be knowledgeable about mise-en-scene, cinematography sound and editing, covered in Film I. Short films from independent filmmakers and foreign language films will be viewed. Techniques used by these filmmakers will be applied to student created films. Students will produce several short films as well as write and direct their own short, ten- minute film as a final project. Digital editing software will be used to produce and package a professionally designed DVD disk and film jacket. Only students who are serious about film analysis and production should take this course.

Senior-to-Senior Breakfast 

NHHS celebratory tradition returns to spread joy and connect generations!

Choir students entertain with holiday carols.

Principal Dallai welcomes guests as the multi-generational event begins!

A wonderful spread of baked goods is presented by Chartwells cafe staff.

Members of the NH Administration team gather to meet and greet guests. (Left) Kathryn Russo, Bridget DeAngelo, Thomas Bushnell, Superintendent Patrick Stirk, Laurie Bankowski, and Anthony Giamattei. 

This groups celebrates the benefits of shared wisdom and friendly chats over tea, coffee and refreshments.

Folks of all ages gather to have fun and celebrate the holidays!

Students, grandparents, senior citizens, family and friends shared stories and had a wonderful time.

Senior-to-Senior connections: group hugs are good for the soul.

Happiness everywhere from the tiniest attendees to senior guests and beyond!

A special thanks to all who worked so hard to make the Senior-to-Senior Breakfast a great success!

Raffle prizes and floral decorations add a special touch.

Holiday Spirit Week Spreads Community Joy

Drawing/Painting & Ceramics students show off their Pajamas for PJ Day!

Seniors (left to right) Max Russo, Tyler Russo, Samantha Adams, Lily Coish, and Tara Stoeffler smile with their wacky hats!

Khadija Oshomah poses, wearing a holiday costume for Character Day!

Sarah Iadarola and Choir students travel to different classrooms, caroling and spreading holiday cheer!

Yaseen Mahmoud and Dr. Russell Dallai pose for a selfie on Hat Day!

   Emma Sola and Maya Redman sell festive platters and cards during lunch at the Holiday Pop Up Art Shop. Students created projects using two Cricut machines purchased by a grant from the North Haven Education foundation. The equipment allows students to personalize/design various innovative items and will be enjoyed for years to come! Thank you to the NHEF!

Student Council Hosts NH Police & Firefighter Luncheon

The NHHS community thanks you for your service!

Student Council (SC) officers Katie Falasco and Jonathan Chin stand with Principal Dr. Russell Dallai and members of the North Haven Fire Department (NHFD).

Falasco and Chin work together to hang a "Thank You NHFD" poster made by members of the National Honor Society. 

Student Council members and Dr. Dallai display a banner expressing thanks to the North Haven Police Department (NHPD). Thanks to all who supported the SC fundraisers. (See below)

Members of the NHHS community and NHPD enjoy the visit...and a shoutout of gratitude to J Roos, for their ongoing support. The SC sold Blue Hearts to raise funds for the two luncheon events.

Student Council Post Blue Hearts and Pink Ribbons

Officer Katie Falasco and Student Council members Cassie Wisneski, Evan Looney, and Eli Feinberg stand with these emblems outside the main lobby!

Blue Hearts Commemorate Lieutenant Dustin Demonte 

Pink Ribbons Support Breast Cancer Awareness

Course Selection Night 2023

Students and Parents Learn About NHHS Programs

Freshmen were excited to learn about many interesting and varied NHHS learning possibilities and extracurricular activities (promoted in the cafe). Many planned out exactly what they wanted to take and join next year!

Each department had teacher representatives available to clarify program/course details and conduct Q&A chats with families. 

Students learn about the many different courses available to them at NHHS!

Music teachers: Susan Oakley & Sarah Iadarola 

Library Media teachers: Anthony Giordano & Justin Falcon 

Career and Technical Education teachers: Coordinator Amy Alessi, Karri Fleming, Traci Planinchek and Katherine Speeg at right

Speeg displays student fashion creations and shirts designed for sale as part of the online North Haven Clothing Collection

History Teachers: Carly Ross, Coordinator Jalanne Metz, & Kathryn Monigan

Math Teachers: Larissa Opramolla, Daniel Hughes, & Coordinator Joseph Romanelli 

Science Teachers: Lisa Ball-Goodrich & David Jacob

Technology Education Teachers: Mark Fagan & Christian Johnson display innovative equipment

World Language Teachers: Kelly Thibodeau, Julie Buonasora, Coordinator Alessandra Brownell, Mengwen Ren & Pilar Arboleda

Art Teachers: Wendy Wade, Brittany Hansen, & Coordinator Diana Blythe displayed artwork produced by students in a variety of classes

English Teachers: Chris Moore & Coordinator Devin Mannion discussed English electives

Custodian Reece Varney arranges tables to create a welcoming arena in the gym for the event!

Student Services: Coordinator Anthony Mastriano, & Counselors Michael Mirabello, Lisa Egan, and SRBI 6-12 Coordinator Rebecca Podzikowski

Physical Education (PE) teachers: Sally Mar & Coordinator, David Fazzuoli 

Popular PE course: Fazzuoli and Project Adventure students demonstrate activities that build trust and cooperation through skill and stamina development

Science Coordinator, Paris Godbout, chats with students about elective options available to them and what the courses entail.

NHHS Administrators were on hand at the event to welcome students/parents, answer questions and provide information. Here, Dr. Dallai discusses Vision of The Graduate (VoG) requirements that students must complete upon graduation. It's never too soon to plan ahead for success!

Art Awareness Day

Students and staff gather outside the cafeteria to produce artwork and discuss HS Art programs and projects

Joseph Bernardo smiles as he glazes his pig sculpture, a tribute created in memory of one of his lost pets.

Students look on as their classmates design and create.

Ceramics students work on hand-built and wheel-thrown pieces.

Dr. Dallai and Mr. Lawrence marvel at student talents.

Nursery students stroll by, mesmerized by the action.

Artist in residence: June Wingardner draws in her sketchbook using fellow artists at work as models.

Brittany Hansen and Diana Blythe pose with inspiring words about creativity.

Kyle Clark demonstrates the coil hand-building method as he works on a soup tureen set.

Animation students host a table to educate others on the fascinating technological aspects of the course.

Catherine Bianchi and Ilana Blumenthal share info and expertise as they display their creative talents!

Black History Month Comes Alive at NHHS

Speaker Calvin Fletcher offers students powerful interactive experiences and shares stories/artifacts/insights 

"The Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum is an institution which is dedicated to telling stories of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans since the first African set foot on American soil in 1619. The museum takes pride in designing every exhibit so visitors feel they are immersed into history. We believe the museum is more than a destination or tourist attraction. Educational and corporate organizations utilize the museum's vast collection to facilitate diversity, equality and inclusion trainings as well as cultural awareness programs. The Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum believes, "'The key to the future is understanding the past."'

Social Studies Coordinator Jalanne Metz shares a neck bell shackle with students, Renna Fagan and Kaiya Aning (left to right).

Calvin Fletcher shares artifacts from the days of enslavement on American soil.

Students focus on Fletcher as he discusses slavery atrocities, Jim Crow Laws, and the violence/oppression/discriminatory practices endured by people of color over hundreds of years.

Here comes the bride! Plus, there is so much more "in store" from the NHHS Fashion students.

Advanced Fashion launched the North Haven Collection this past year. Together, students design, create and market school spirit wear for all of North Haven. Each month new limited designs are available to purchase creating a 'fast fashion' boutique. Look for March's collection soon! 

Advanced Fashion Students 

Pursue Exciting New Directions

From wedding gowns to school spirit wear

Family and Consumer Science teacher Kathryn Speeg's students are exploring new ways to use their talents and skills. They not only created impressive wedding gowns from toilet tissue (left) but also launched a new clothing business (below).

Check out the comfortable and creative fashions offered by NHHS Advanced Fashion Students. Show your school spirit!

NHHS Hosts Annual Best Buddies Ball 

Group gathers for another enjoyable evening of friendship as they dance the night away!

Jake Hatton & Yasmeen Zureiqi pose in front of the decorative streamers which added a festive atmoshere to the night.

Lovely grins reflect how much Andrea August, Mathew Lengvinis, & Mairead Pretty enjoy each other's company.

Ayla Sivri & Christian Bykowski dressed their best for the event.

Conservation Commission Prepares to Host Earth Day Event 

"After a hiatus because of the pandemic, the North Haven Conservation Commission will again be sponsoring an Earth Day celebration. It will be Saturday April 29, 2023 from 10:00-1:30 at North Haven High School. Students from North Haven Schools in past years participated with some type of art project. The younger children made some type of poster or drawings and the older kid’s drawings or sculptures, all with an Earth Day theme."

-Sue Dannenhoffer, member of the North Haven Conservation Commission 

North Haven Education Foundation: 

Supporting Students and Programs K-12

The North Haven school community extends heartfelt appreciation to the North Haven Education Foundation (NHEF) for its steadfast commitment to NH students and programs over many years. Dozens of educators and thousands of students have benefited from the many grants the foundation has provided to enrich the educational experiences of children in our schools.

Below, Christopher Sagnella, a Technology Education Teacher at North Haven Middle School, shares the successes resulting from the foundations help. He states "I received two seperate grants a few years back for some lumber and carving tools. The organization's support has worked wonders for my students...who have loved experiences made possible through NHEF funding!  It's very satisfying to observe the positive changes that happen within my classes as students craft objects out of wood."

The NHEF supports district students, teachers, and schools through generous grants. Please support the foundation and all its great work by attending the upcoming Comedy Night fundraiser on April 28th! Use this link to find out more and support the NHEF's amazing generosity!

North Haven Middle School students work in Technology classes taught by Christopher Sagnella using tools and equipment purchased through a NHEF grant. The young artisans and their beautiful creations are displayed here. Thank you to the NHEF!