Michael Abelon was a true educator.
He believed that all students deserved to learn in the best environment, with the best resources, and with the highest standards. He supported his teachers and his students, inspiring those he worked with to work harder. Mr. Abelon was ill for a long time before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the winter of 2004, at which time he was given six months to live. Despite this difficult news, he returned to work each day. He greeted us every morning with a smile. Connecticut IB Academy is what kept him going.
Mr. Abelon passed away on May 24th, 2005. The Connecticut IB Academy community mourned his loss and looked for ways to remember him. Shortly after his passing, Kaitlyn Brescia and Danielle Rodriguez, members of the class of 2007, approached the Student Advisory Board with an idea of how to honor their first principal and to keep his important memory alive at CIBA. Each year students organize the Abelon Memorial walk in his memory to honor all of the dedication that he put into developing CIBA and educating the community. Since 2006, the walk has been planned and executed by CIBA students including Mikayla Barnwell (‘14), Mackenzie Satalino (‘14), Justin Nortey ('15), C Lee ('15), and Anthony Acosta ('15).
"Shortly before Mike died, one of my colleagues and I went to visit with him at the hospital. To be honest, we weren't really sure what to expect. We had watched Mike's health deteriorate over the previous months until the day he stopped coming to work, a day that I know was one of his hardest. We walked in to his room where he was chatting with Becky and Joe. As the thought, 'What do you say to a man lying in a hospital bed?' ran through my head, Mike started badgering us with questions about school and the kids and what was happening. He wanted to know everything. I told him about a new project I was starting with the freshman and he kept asking for more details. He was a true educator and he never stopped caring about what his kids and his school was up to.
"After his death, the Student Advisory Board decided to plant a tree in his honor. Although the cactus we would have prefered (as we thought it fitting) wouldn't grow in the soil behind the building, we planted an evergreen and each year watch it grow (a little). The Class of 2006 purchased a plaque that sits at its base and each time I catch a glimpse of the tree, I know that Mike's presence is still with us. This year, as we plan the fifth annual walk in his honor, I am amazed at the dedication and enthusiasm of a student body that never knew Mike Abelon. They are insistent that his memory be kept alive and I am honored to be a part of it. Mike would be extremely proud of what our CIBA students have accomplished and continue to accomplish and I like to think he is still up there shaking his fist and telling them to 'get to class' whenever he sees them loitering in the hallways.'
- Rachel Buck, CIBA Mathematics Teacher & Faculty Advisor for the Abelon Memorial Walk
2017 Abelon Walk for Pancreatic Cancer