Empty Bowls fundraiser to be held at Messalonskee

Empty Bowls has been a fundraiser for several years at Messalonskee High School. The purpose of this project is to raise money for food pantries in our communities. It is also about raising awareness that many people are struggling to provide food for their families.

Students in pottery classes, faculty members, and people in the community have been crafting ceramic bowls under the direction of ceramics teacher Sherrie Damon, to be sold as part of the dinner. The bowls will be on display for diners to choose and take home after their meal as a reminder of the event and what is represents.

This year the Empty Bowls will be held on Friday, March 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Messalonskee High School Cafeteria. Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students.

The menu will include homemade soups, salads, rolls, drinks, and desserts. There will also be a raffle and prizes to give away.

Diners can complete the evening by attending Something Wicked This Way Comes, performed by the MHS Players. The show starts at 7 p.m.

For more information call Susan Perrino at 465-9135 or email sperrino@rsu18.org.

Erskine, Lawrence in 2019 tournament action

Lawrence High School’s Nick Robertson (10), drives to the basket past Erskine defenders, from left to right, Austin Dunn (12), Jacob Praul (40) and Gavin Blanchard (22). (Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography)

Erskine Academy, of South China, and Lawrence High School, of Fairfield, squared off in the semi-final of the Eastern Maine Basketball Tournament, held at the Augusta Civic Center, on Saturday, February 16. Lawrence won the game, 53-38.

Lawrence’s senior captain Kobe Nadeau (11), tries to work his way around Erskine defender, senior captain Gavin Blanchard, during their semi-final contest. (Photos by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography)

Travis Mills to deliver Unity College 2019 commencement address

SSgt. Travis Mills

The road every college student takes to complete their degree is never an easy one. It’s full of trying times, late night study sessions, and early morning exams that can certainly be stressful. Whether they know it or not, the more than 130 Unity College graduates receiving diplomas on Saturday, May 11, all persevered using the mantra of the college’s esteemed 2019 commencement speaker, retired Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills: “Never give up. Never quit.”

SSG Mills has told his inspiring story of perseverance all over television (including Ellen, NBC Nightly News, and Fox News) after losing all four limbs to an IED on his third tour of Afghanistan. Mills is one of only five quadruple amputees to survive their injuries received in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he documented his road to recovery in his memoir Tough as They Come, a New York Times Best Seller.

It took 14 hours of surgery, nine doctors, seven nurses – two of which were dedicated to pumping air in and out of his lungs — and 30 blood transfusions to keep Mills alive. When he finally regained consciousness days later on his 25th birthday, the first words out of his mouth were: “How are my soldiers?” Finding out they would be fine, his brother-in-law broke the news to Mills that he wasn’t paralyzed but was, in fact, a quadruple amputee. He became angry and upset, but found the motivation to carry on in his wife and six-month-old daughter.

After returning to the United States for an intense recovery process, which Mills says is an ongoing process every single day, he founded the Travis Mills Foundation based in Rome, Maine, to assist combat-injured veterans. In addition to assisting wounded veterans, Mills worked closely with many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, helping to guide them following amputation, just as other amputees had done for him. Mills also consults with and speaks to companies and organizations nationwide inspiring others to overcome life’s challenges and adversity, no matter what form that may take.

“It is certainly no exaggeration when I refer to Staff Sergeant Mills as a national treasure,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “Having watched his story of recovery both physically and mentally unfold on television, I not only find Travis to be a remarkable human being, but also a genuine person who is a natural-born leader. He has a knack for inspiring everyone he comes in contact with, and he can almost always get them to smile or laugh, no matter what it is they’re going through. I can’t wait for our graduates to hear him speak.”

“I am extremely honored to be giving the commencement speech at Unity College, in my home state!” said Mills. “I look forward to sharing my story with the 2019 graduating class, and I hope to inspire resiliency and drive as they enter the workforce or graduate school.”

Dr. Khoury said Mills will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Sustainability Science before addressing the candidates for graduation from America’s Environmental College.

“From here, our graduates will travel all over the world, pursuing careers that they’re passionate about or seek further education,” said Dr. Khoury. “I think that the words and story of Travis will stay with them well after they receive their diploma, and they’ll find ways to apply it in all that they do.”

Commencement exercises begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11. The ceremony, which happens to be Unity College’s 50th May Commencement, is open to Unity College graduates and their guests. The ceremony and speeches will be streamed on the Unity College Facebook page.

Local students named to dean’s list at RIT

The following local residents made the dean’s list at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York, for the 2018 fall semester: Ada Phillips, of Oakland, who is in the software engineering program; Kieran McCarthy-O’Flaherty, of Oakland, who is in the computer engineering program; Tory Leo, of Mercer , who is in the computer science program; and Ashley Avery, of Athens, who is in the hospitality and tourism management program.

Lions club hosts speaking competition

From left to right, Lion Cal Prescott, Caleb Sacks, Arthur Sollitt, Erskine Advisor Nicholas Waldron, Hagen Wallace, Adam Ochs, Conor Skehan, and Lion club President Kim Haskell. (Contributed photo)

Five members of the Erskine Academy speech and debate team, in South China, competed in the event.

Arthur Sollitt, Adam Ochs, Conor Skehan, Caleb Sacks, and Hagen “Joki” Wallace were accompanied by Nicholas Waldron, advisor for the speech and debate team at Erskine Academy.

Speaking contest winner Hagen Wallace. Contributed photo)

Hagen “Joki” Wallace, a senior at Erskine, whose topic was antibiotic resistance, placed first.

Arthur Sollitt, also a senior at Erskine, placed second with his speech about gratefulness.

Erskine freshman Adam Ochs, spoke on the topic of alternative medicine and placed third.

Students are encouraged to choose a topic on which they feel strongly, and express their ideas publicly and defend those ideas when questioned.

Judges were Lion Brad Bean, Lion Nancy Studley, and Lion Barry Tibbetts.

After each speech, contestants were questioned by Lion Steve Laundrie and Pam Kenoyer.

Timekeeper was Lion Jerry Maldovan.

Organizer of the event was Lion Cal Prescott.

The first place winner will compete at the regional competition to be held at 6 p.m., on March 19, at the Margaret Chase Smith library in Skowhegan.

Instructional coaching important part of RSU #18

Instructional Coach Shelly Moody, left, works with fifth grade teachers Brianna Brockway, top left, and Alexandra Cotter on analyzing student data, reflecting on instructional practices, and determining interventions and goals for individual students. (Contributed photo)

by Mandi Favreau, Communication Coordinator RSU#18

Teaching is not for the faint of heart. As rewarding as the profession is, it can also be overwhelming to be the caretaker of dozens of young minds while juggling planning, assessments, and trying to keep up with the best new trends in curriculum within your classroom.

Enter the instructional coach. From analyzing student data to mentoring and planning professional development, these teacher leaders have a terrific positive impact on the schools they work in. “Our staff who fill these roles are the most talented, patient and invested individuals,” said Assistant Superintendent Keith Morin. “They make it their job to increase student achievement by working with incredible staff.”

RSU #18 has four instructional coaches – two at the elementary level and two at the middle school level. Shelly Moody covers Atwood and Williams as an instructional coach and Literacy Specialist while Pam Prescott works part-time with Belgrade Central. Jenny Barry is a part-time teacher/part-time coach for MMS while Dean of Students Meagan Murphy fulfills the instructional coach role at CMS. While a typical day looks a little different for each of them, the main focus of the position is always to support teachers around particular goals for student learning.

Coaches spend time in teachers’ classrooms at their request or based on coaching cycles. They offer feedback and support, present direct instruction to students or co-teach with the classroom teacher. They offer planning support, assist teachers in developing their SLOs and growth plans, and assist with the implementation of new curriculum. “Teachers have a place to go,” said Atwood Principal Jennifer McGee, “a non-evaluative and safe arena, to question, probe, analyze and improve the teaching practices they are delivering to children each day.”

Instructional coaches also work with students on reading and writing intervention.  “The best part of every day is the time I spend in classrooms collaborating with teachers,” said Shelly Moody. “There’s nothing better than watching students apply their strategies to solve math problems or sitting beside a student to conference on his/her reading or writing. As a classroom teacher, I was able to have an impact on 20 students during the school year.  In my role as an instructional coach, I’m able to support teachers in the growth of students in twenty-four classrooms.”

At the elementary levels, coaches facilitate weekly grade level meetings to help teachers examine data and plan across content areas. All of our instructional coaches help the administration make curriculum and instruction decisions based on student data and instructional practices. They also spend time developing and leading professional development focused on analyzing data, exploring instructional practices, and developing interventions. “Our instructional coaches ensure we have the best practices and most recent research regarding instructional practices in our teachers’ hands,” said Principal McGee. “They are always reaching out, to a broader state-wide and national platform, about best practices, and then bringing those back to our schoolhouses and classrooms.”

This year, RSU #18’s coaches have also been working closely with Assistant Superintendent Morin on supporting new teachers across the district. “This is new to our job,” said Jenny Barry, “and as far as I can tell it has been a wonderful addition to what we already do to support the teachers within our buildings.”

For each of these coaches, it’s hugely rewarding to be able to collaborate with and support other teachers. “My most favorite part of the job is when a teacher expresses their enthusiasm and excitement when they either try something new or focus on a particular strategy and see the success of it,” said Barry.

That’s key for all our coaches.  These are experienced educators who understand all the struggles that teachers face and want to use their expertise to help.

“After spending 35 years in the classroom, I am well aware of the precious little time teachers have to procure new resources, communicate with their colleagues and specialists, or talk with each other about curriculum, instruction, and interventions,” added Pam Prescott. “I love having the time and opportunity to make this happen. It benefits our entire school.”

Carrabec High School 2018-’19 second quarter honors

Grade 12

High honors: Lilyana Aloes, Tristan Bachelder, Lauren Chestnut, Lillian Johnson, Lindsay Lesperance, Lauren Rafferty, Dylan Reichert, Taegan Tatakis and Chantel Whittemore. Honors:  Jurney Beane, Gwynith Breault, Brody Miller, Peter Mouland, Cole Rugh and Sidney Small.

Grade 11

High honors: Isaac Boucher, Annika Carey, Ricky Gordon, Scott Mason and Mary-Jena Oliver. Honors: Emily Avery, Cassidy Ayotte, Nevaeh Burnham, Ashley Cates, Caitlin Crawford, Shay Cyrway, Olivia Fortier, Ariel Guinn, Madison Jaros, Riley Maheu, Mabel Mouland and Abby Richardson.

Grade 10

Honors: Aidan Caplin, Jasmyne Coombs, Adam Houle, Ethan Johnson, Chantelle LaCroix, Elizabeth Manzer, Mikayla Oliver, Sarah Olson, Courtney Peabody, Dimitri Turcotte and Haley Way.

Grade 9

High honors: Cheyenne Cahill and Shyanne Holmes. Honors: Emma Baker, Julia Baker, Abigayle Ballard, Elijah Canales, Alexander Cloutier, Xavier Cloutier, Tyler Edwards, Aliyah Grunder, Abigail Luce, Courtney Rollins, Aislinn Slate, Brandon Smith and Garrett Wilson.

Nine area students on University of New Hampshire’s dean’s list

The following students have been named to the dean’s list at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, New Hampshire, for the fall 2018 semester.

Matthew Murray, of Augusta, with highest honors; Nicholas Carey, of Waterville, with high honors; Cody Short, of Fairfield, with high honors; Bradford Wilbur, of Fairfield, with honors; Carly LaRochelle, of Fairfield, with honors; Elijah Caret, of Oakland, with highest honors; Jessica Hosea, of Oakland, with highest honors; Hannah Duperry, of Oakland, with highest honors; and Adam Bovie, of Vassalboro, with highest honors.

Students named to the University of Vermont dean’s list

The following local students have been named to the University of Vermont dean’s list for the fall 2018 semester, in Burlington, Vermont:

They are: Natalie Palmer, of Augusta, and Kayla Christopher, of Oakland.

Local students named to fall dean’s list at Stonehill College

EASTON, MA (01/16/2019) — Two local students have been named to the dean’s list at Stonehill College, in Easton, Massachusetts. To qualify for the dean’s list, students must have a semester grade point average of 3.50 or better and must have completed successfully all courses for which they were registered.

The students are Justin Davis, of Palermo, class of 2019, and Makenzie Charest, of Sidney, class of 2022.