Republican Board of Education candidates, Sundae Black, left, and Jason Van Stone listen intently as Democrat Liz Brown answers a question during a debate at Walsh School in the North End of Waterbury Saturday morning. Van Stone is an incumbent and this is Black’s first time seeking elected office. Van Stone is a marketing expert and Black works at The Hartford. The debate was sponsored by the Scovill Homes Association. Photos by John Murray

The gymnasium at Walsh Elementary School was filled with citizens and community activists eager to hear the ideas of the seven candidates in attendance. Independent John Theriault and Republican JoAnne D’Amelio were not in attendance. The voters of Waterbury will elect five of the nine to the school board.

Professor Edward Joyner of Sacred Heart University was the moderator. Joyner has worked throughout the United States and the world training educators, parents, and policy makers to improve their collective capacity to educate and develop children.

Independent Party candidate Winifred Blanchard-Ward answers a question as fellow Independent Party member Joseph P. Nolan listens.Blanchard-Ward is the associate minister at Grace Baptist Church, and Nolan is a retired vice-principal. Nolan’s grandfather used to be the principal at Walsh Elementary School.

Democrats Greg Harkins, left, Pat Hayes, middle, and Liz Brown, listen to an answer from Blanchard-Ward. Harkins is a Waterbury police officer, Hayes is the current President of the Board of Education, and Brown is a former state rep from the 74th district.

An engaged audience listened to the answer, and later had a chance to question the candidates themselves.

Republican-American photographer, and popular chef columnist, Steven Valenti, was on hand to document the event for the daily newspaper. Independent Party candidate for mayor, Larry De Pillo is in the foreground.

Elected officials and community activists watched closely as the event unfolded.