At its 216th commencement celebration, spanning multiple ceremonies the weekend of May 20 and 21, the University of Vermont conferred degrees on four Darien natives.

Patrick Daigle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. Michael Festo graduated with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. Nicholas Sullivan graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. Alexander VonStuelpnagel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in computer science.

Kelsey Margaret Edgar , of Darien, graduated with a degree in accounting from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. during the May 5 commencement exercises.

Kelly N. Manhart , daughter of Eileen and Walter Manhart of Darien, has been named to the dean’s list at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., for the spring semester.

To be named to the dean’s list, a student must have carried throughout the semester a course load of four or more graded credits with an average of 3.5 or above.

A May graduate, Manhart majored in mathematics and psychology at Hamilton.

Two Darien natives were among the 503 students receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College on May 22.

Catherine Kauffman , a graduate of Greens Farms Academy, earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics, and Sabrina Piersol , a graduate of Greenwich High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and classics.

The honor list

Darien resident Megan Doherty Baird has been named to the dean’s list at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., for the spring semester. Students who earn dean’s list honors must earn a GPA between 3.5 and 3.899. Baird is scheduled to graduate in 2018 and is majoring in interdisciplinary liberal studies.

Bucknell University has released the dean’s list for outstanding academic achievement during the spring semester. A student must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 to receive dean’s list recognition.

From Darien, the recipients were Katherine Culliton, Phoebe Cush, Kate Fiore, Leah Jennings, Grace Loh, Morgan Malvisi, William Massie, Charles Newton, Caroline Orem, Nicholas Pettit, Jennifer Price, Megan Shanahan and Phebe Wong .

P2P gets grant

On May 23 at Norwalk Community College, Person-to-Person received a grant from the New Canaan Community Foundation in the amount of $10,000 for its Campership Program.

For nearly 50 years P2P has been sending elementary school children from low-income households to summer camps in Fairfield County, thereby making a difference in the lives of families who struggle to stretch meager budgets to cover essentials like food and rent.

The grant from the Foundation will fund a full summer of camp for 16 students.

71 other local organizations received grants from the New Canaan Community Foundation. The total amount distributed totaled over $670,000.

Eco-friendly students

To encourage New Canaan Country School students’ curiosity, seventh-grade science students spent the first trimester exploring the school’s 75-acre campus — much of it woods and trails — as part of their life science curriculum. As the year progressed, they learned how living beings are interconnected within an ecosystem and examined the role humans play within that environment.

Life science then shifted into environmental science and students were introduced to natural resources, energy and environmental issues, while also learning critical research and persuasion skills. Working collaboratively in teams, students were assigned a particular topic related to energy and ecosystem balance, which they researched extensively. These studies culminated in a series of evidence-based environmental debates.

After a month of intensive research and preparation, the seventh-graders presented their cases on topics such as the reintroduction of wolves to the northeast, nuclear energy, oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, wind power, hydro-fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The last term of the year had the students once again up and out of their classroom, this time exploring the ecosystem of the Long Island Sound. Taking a boat out onto the tidal estuary, the students examined water quality and observed first-hand the impact of environmental regulation, population growth and business development.

This culminating experience brought together both life and earth science principles, as well as what they had studied, discussed, debated and seen for themselves about biodiversity, sustainability and the environment.

New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in pre-K through grade nine.

Charity horse show

The prestigious Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show, now in it’s 86th year and one of the oldest horse shows in America, kicked off this week with more than 500 horses and ponies scheduled to compete during the events, which started Tuesday and ends Sunday.

The family-friendly horse show is open to the public and features unique shopping and food vendors to enjoy while strolling the beautiful Ox Ridge grounds. A $5 parking fee benefits the Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Program .

The highlight of the horse show, the $25,000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix presented by World Equestrian Center, is planned for Saturday and will be contested by an international field of the country’s top show jumping riders. In addition to prize money, the winner will earn their name on the Michael S. Griffin Memorial Trophy and a three-month summer lease on a 2017 MINI Countryman, donated by CallariCars.com. The Grand Prix festivities are slated for around 1 p.m.

The longtime beneficiary of the horse show is the Pegasus Therapeutic Riding program, an equine-assisted activities and therapies program for children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities hosted year-round at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club facility.

Pegasus will host an ice cream social for families on Sunday at 2 p.m.