Submitted by Connie Bombaci
(June 16, 2022)–– Kevin James Cavrell received the 2022 Connie Bombaci Service Award during Haddam-Killingworth High School’s Senior Awards Ceremony on June 8, 2022. This well-respected Award gained highly-regarded recognition when created by former Superintendent Gary Mala and the Board of Education in 2006. Regional School District 17’s purpose was to recognize Mrs. Bombaci’s exceptional service to the school district over her years of unwavering commitment and loyal devotion to the students, staff and H-K community. She founded the H-K Holiday Show in 1990, worked to create a positive and spirited environment for the H-K community, found ways to recognize the talents of all students, and energetically supported student education and activities. She was an empathetic volunteer who also worked outside the school to save and train deaf dogs and help others by taking her Therapy Dogs into the community.
Mrs. Bombaci passionately believed that all students must learn to “give back” to others and share their time, talents, and themselves—everyone is worthy of love and acceptance. This Award’s purpose is to help ensure that the heart of “paying it forward” will continue to be present in our high school for many years.This annual Award recognizes a member of the graduating class who has demonstrated significant and genuine dedication to voluntary service to Haddam-Killingworth High School and its community. An independent committee of select family and community members chooses the recipient. Kevin Cavrell demonstrated a high commitment to “always give back” and a strong leadership style of compassionate guidance in helping others realize success. Principal Donna Hayward introduced Mrs. Bombaci at this year’s ceremony and stood beside her in support. Mrs. Bombaci spoke, reminding the graduates to “Use your voice for kindness and your ears for compassion. Use your hands for charity and your mind for truth. Most importantly, use your heart for genuine love.” Kevin Cavrell received this year’s Award for his efforts, resiliency, and adamant belief in helping and serving others. He dedicated himself to more than eight times the required service hours for graduation. Kevin plans to attend Bryant University in Rhode Island to earn his degree in business. He states, “Helping out and giving back to the community is very important to me, as I believe our HK community has helped me and many other students achieve their goals. I feel it is important that we give back as much as we can.” Funding for this Award is now made possible through profits from Bombaci’s international multi-award-winning book, Hogan’s Hope. The basis of the manuscript is the true and inspirational story of an incredible deaf dog serving others as a certified therapy dog and paving the way for other deaf animals to live rather than be destroyed. Endorsed by Dateline NBC correspondent Dennis Murphy, and the foreword written by the renowned animal behaviorist, Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman of Tufts University, these books provide an excellent incentive for genuine acceptance, pure love and worthiness, no matter what. Bombaci stated, “Hogan taught me how to live my life as a courageous journey with unconditional service to others. I determined that his life would be ‘a gift that keeps on giving’ and a legacy of hope.”
Photographs provided by Melissa Cavrell