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Name Dropper: James Africano Auditorium

Mary Stanton, Writer/Section Editor

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Do you ever wonder who the person behind the plaque is? Do you wonder what that person did to deserve that recognition? New Milford High School is filled with various dedications to different people who have impacted the school in a great way. One place in particular is the auditorium at NMHS.

The James Africano Auditorium was dedicated in 2007 after former teacher, James Africano. Retiring in 2006, Mr. Africano was the former woodshop and industrial arts teacher for 41 years, 30 years at the high school and 11 at David E. Owens Middle School in New Milford. He became highly involved with the annual school musical in 1992 when the program was brought back to perform “Grease”.

Mr. Africano worked as an architect while teaching. This led to him being in charge of building the sets for school productions and he later was in charge of set design. He also helped to produce a few shows. The chorus teacher at NMHS, Mrs. Swarctz, remembers when she first started working at NMHS and meeting “Afro”:

“I remember how involved he was and how open he was to ideas. He’s very optimistic and even comes back every year, for every show, just to come help out the next set of kids. He would always say, ‘You want that? Sure, we can do that!’ or ‘We’ll find a way! He really loved what he did here and deserved having the auditorium named after him.”

In August 2014, the auditorium received a long-overdue makeover with the help of NMHS Administration, Musical Booster Parents, and students. The auditorium went from an out-dated orange and pink, to town colors of green and white. You can also purchase a plaque with your name, graduating year, family name, or a small message to be placed on a seat of your choice in the auditorium for $125.

The auditorium is used for various purposes such as Honor Society Inductions, school events, assemblies, and musical concerts. Check out the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Art Honor Society Inductions on November 10 at 7 p.m., which is held in the auditorium.
Mr. Africano’s legacy still lives on as he comes back every year to work the current set for each year’s musical production.

 

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Name Dropper: James Africano Auditorium