Delaney Curran wins UVM George M. Happ award for biology

The University of Vermont Biology Department, in Burlington, Vermont, presented Delaney Curran, of Skowhegan, with the George M. Happ Award during the May 18 College of Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony.

This award is presented to a student with outstanding academic performance and excellence in research in biology. Dr. Happ arrived at the University of Vermont as a professor and chairman of the Department of Zoology in 1978. He was instrumental in transforming the faculty to a teacher-scholar model and prioritized obtaining funding to stimulate research.

Elizabeth Jones named to Emory & Henry College’s dean’s list

Elizabeth Jones, of Skowhegan, was named to the Emory & Henry College Spring 2018 dean’s list, in Emory, Virginia.

Dakota Bragg named Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University

Dakota Rae Bragg, of Skowhegan, a junior majoring in civil engineering, was named a Presidential Scholar for the spring 201, in Potsdam, New York.

Presidential Scholars must achieve a minimum 3.80 grade-point average and carry at least 14 credit hours.

JMG students visit MCS library

China Middle School Jobs for Maine Graduates students stand with David Richards, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Library, and a life-like portrait of Margaret Chase Smith as a young lady. (Contributed photo)

The Jobs for Maine Graduates program at China Middle School recently visited the Margaret Chase Smith Library, in Skowhegan, as the JMG program was being recognized for a community service project that they had done earlier in the school year. They did a Spare Change Drive to help with Hurricane Harvey relief in China, Texas. They were invited to attend by Director David Richards, who spotted the article months earlier in The Town Line, newspaper. As they got the tour, they were expecting the building to be more like a library, but it was actually more like a museum. It was really interesting that the museum was added on to her house.

A few interesting facts they learned were Margaret was the first woman in congress to break the sound barrier. She earned 94 Honorary Doctorate degrees from colleges around the country. Family meant a great deal as she had many pictures of her family in the house, especially in the entry area of the house. And her mother seemed very important as she had a picture of her above her bed. She didn’t have any children of her own so she was very close with her nieces and nephews. Some of her family came from Canada and changed their surname because people that were French were discriminated against. One of her missions was to make sure all people were treated with equality and respect.

Margaret wanted all students, especially Maine students, to serve their community and aspire to be a leader. In the entryway was the book The Little Engine That Could because her feeling was if you tried as hard as you can you can succeed and that when someone needs help, you help. You don’t sit by the sidelines and watch. It was a great visit.

Local students named to Clarkson University dean’s list spring 2018

The following students have been named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Clarkson University, in Potsdam, New York:

Dakota Bragg, of Skowhegan, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering/environmental engineering, and Ben Thibert, of Oakland, a sophomore majoring in aeronautical engineering.

Marti Stevens’ dream come true: a gem in our community

by Katie Ouilette

Marti Stevens

People do have dreams that come true.

My dad, a shoe-cutter, had dreams of owning his own hardware store, and finally opened Henry’s Hardware, on Chestnut St., in Skowhegan. The late Herb Paradis dreamed of having a television program, and that became a reality on a local broadcasting station.

Now, I thought I knew Marti Stevens well. She had a dream that so many made fun of, but thank heaven she made her dream come true.

Marti loved the theater and became part owner of Lakewood after the Denis ownership. Her other love was education. And with those two attributes, she founded the Marti Stevens Learning Center, on the Norridgewock Road, across from MSAD #54 administrative office.

Marti is gone now, but she left us with a jewel.

A phone call to Barry Sites, the director of the Marti Stevens Learning Center for 30 years, initially about his new membership to the Skowhegan Heritage Council, opened the dialogue about the center.

Marti, who lived on Cornville Road, in Skowhegan, at the time, started the learning center in the kitchen of her home when she realized that young girls who became pregnant were not allowed in the local school systems. They earned their GED in Marti’s kitchen, and now these girls are leaders in a number of area towns. They run businesses or have learned the art of administration.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center has done so much for students that have had a “bump in the road” while growing up. Years ago, people laughed at her and her dream, but she made life “good” for so many of them.

One of only two schools of its kind in Maine, the Marti Stevens Learning Center personnel are in touch with and collaborate with guidance counselors in area schools, and by so doing, find the students who “do not fit well with the present public school system.” The learning center and MSAD #74 collaborate in scheduling graduations, so parents don’t have to miss such an important event in their child’s life.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center is being awarded a grant by Somerset Public Health. The theater will be used over a two-year period to develop an interactive improvisational theater program to create awareness surrounding health problems related to adverse childhood experiences. Sometimes children can illustrate an adverse event they experienced in childhood through acting, rather than talking. Because the same can sometimes be exhibited by a child with drawing, and that is why Mrs. Choiniere will soon be joining the Marti Stevens Learning Center and art will be an important part of the curriculum.

Graduates (about 12 a year) are introduced to professionals and trade folk to help them choose a work path for the future. Actually, like all education opportunities, a thought about the future is introduced through a guidance counselor.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center is funded through MSAD #54.

From South Chicago to Cornville, Maine

Marti Stevens, 1939-1993, was an American educator and theater director. Born in South Side Chicago, Illinois, she spent 10 years as a professional director and actress on off-Broadway stages in New York City before relocating to the rural community of Cornville. Both her parents were musicians. She earned a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and a masters degree at City College of New York.

In 1959, she moved to New York City, where she studied acting with professional coaches Uta Hagen and Gene Frankel. Her efforts to pursue a career in the “avant-garde theater of the 1960s” were disappointing. After ten years of work as an off-Broadway director, occasional acting gigs, and work as a teacher and secretary, she gave up big-city life and moved to Cornville.

Lions name speech contest winners

Pictured are Lion Mike Kay, Speak-Out chairman, first place winner, Taylor Kruse, a junior at Skowhegan Area High School, second place winner, Victoria Broadley, also a Junior at SAHS, and King Lion Diane Chamberland, of Skowhegan Lions Club. (Contributed photo)

The Skowhegan Lions Club recently completed its annual Speak-Out Contest at the Margaret Chase Smith Library Center, in Skowhegan. Lions Speak-Out gives high school students a forum to present a prepared speech on a topic or issue of their choosing and to defend their ideas when questioned.

Honoring Abner Coburn in Skowhegan on March 22, 2018

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, faithful readers, we’re having a party and you and your friends are invited!

March 22 is the date. Why? Well, we of the Skowhegan Heritage Council and you will celebrate our Maine Governor Abner Coburn’s birthday! He was born on March 22, 1803, and the Skowhegan selectmen made this Declaration:

“In honor of all that Abner Coburn has done for the Town of Skowhegan and state of Maine and the exemplary life he lived, the Selectmen for the Town of Skowhegan have proclaimed have proclaimed March 22 forevermore to be Abner Coburn Day!”

There is a booklet about Abner Coburn, but WALLS, you surely don’t have to copy all of it. It does begin with his family history, but most important is the fact that his mother was Mary Weston and his father was a farmer and surveyor. You are right, WALLS. Abner grew up on the Back Road, received some education at the Pitt School ant then the family relocated to Bloomfield (the south side of the Kennebec River and Skowhegan’s name at one time). In Bloomfield, Abner attended Bloomfield Academy until he was 14 years of age and his father, Eleazer, felt that Abner and his brother, Philander, should leave their formal education and he would teach them surveying. Abner and Philander grew very wealthy and owned thousands of acres of land and tree growth and as a logger, Abner obviously valued education, as he gave so much to schools and colleges throughout the U.S.

Abner built the mansion on Main Street Hill in Skowhegan in 1848 and he and Philander lived there, Philander died in 1876 and Abner lived there all his life.

That brings us to the many positions of the man who became Maine’s governor. Actually, WALLS, because of space and word-count, I will leave much of this for our faithful readers to read at their libraries, but the fact that Governor Coburn stood beside Abraham Lincoln, as he took his oath of office when elected president, Wow! We surely had a famous governor.

Yes, all of us of the Skowhegan Heritage Council hope to see you at the Skowhegan Free Public Library and we will serve dessert. As a matter of fact, we will serve you cookies that Mary Marston, who lived in the Coburn mansion on Skowhegan’s Main Street Hill. The Marston family had four children who grew up there and, years ago, Lakewood stars visited the Marston’s often.

See you on March 22, as you will learn much of our Governor Coburn, as we celebrate him at 4 p.m.

Huard’s Karate team member tops in New England

Huard’s Sport Karate team member Landon Nunn, 12, of Skowhegan, captured first place in New England for point fighting for the 2017 season.
Photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography

Skowhegan library children’s section awarded grant

Word has recently been received by the Skowhegan Free Public Library that the children’s section of the library has been chosen as a recipient of the Dorothy Louise Kyler Foundation grant in the amount of $5,000. The foundation specifies that all funds must be spent on books, audio books, CDs, and DVDs for the children’s collection.

Youth Services Librarian, Angie Herrick, wrote the grant last fall, stating a need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related materials. Much of the current children’s non-fiction section is dated and funds are tight. According to a report put out by Georgetown University, Americans should expect to see a 26 percent increase in STEM job fields in the next ten years. This means that nearly a quarter of all new jobs will be centered on math, science, engineering and technology skills. It is the hope that this grant will allow the library to purchase new materials that will bolster the current collection without taking money away from the small book budget the library sets aside for children’s materials. The library would like to be able to provide these new and reliable resources to engage young learners in the STEM fields. Items on the wish list include: coding and technology books, math and science series, Lego design books, and lots of educational DVDs for all ages.

The Skowhegan Library Youth Services Librarian has been working with the Maine State Librarian’s STEM Liaison, Christina Dorman, and Early Literacy Children’s Specialist, Stephanie Schott, to make sure that quality materials are selected. New items should begin appearing on the library shelves in February.