PHOTOS: Winslow youth baseball, softball gear up for season

Members of the Winslow Youth softball and baseball teams began practice on March 19. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

From left to right, Adyson Lessard and Emma McCaslin practicing for the start of the season. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

From left to right, baseball coordinator Jared Poulin, varsity baseball coach Isaiah Fleming and youth league president Beth LaFountain. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

PHOTO: Waiting for the change

Central Maine Youth Hockey player Jamie Laliberty, 9, of Water­ville, waits for the next line change during the last game of the season against the Gladiators on March 20. (photo by Sarah Fredette, Central Maine Photography staff)

Noah Lambert, of Fairfield, wins the 2021 Virtual Slam Dunk Contest

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield (photo by Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield, is 6-feet, one-inch tall and was one of eight chosen in the Big Time Hoops Maine Dunking Competition.

He works out and practices two to four hours a day or more.

With post season all-star games and festivities being canceled last year into this year, Fort Kent Native Tom Bard wanted to try and put something together for the kids that allowed them to showcase their skills. With everything being virtual over the last year he came up with the idea of doing a virtual 3-Point & Dunk Contest.

Tom had posted a couple questions through social media asking those who follow the page as to who should be invited and send out the the invites based on that input. The kids selected recorded their dunks at their home gyms and sent them back once completed.

Once I had everyone’s videos, I edited and and packaged it as the Big Time Hoops 3-Point Shootout and Dunk Contests and put it up on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vp2U-wdE8M&t=2634s).

Fans voted on who they thought won the Dunk Contest, and Noah Lambert, of Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, was crowned champion. Lambert has been playing basketball now for nine years!

Teaching in the year of Covid-19

China Middle School teacher Ron Maxwell with part of his daily uniform. (contributed photo)

by Jeanne Marquis

Covid-19 has created unprecedented times in our schools, full of challenges for parents, students and teachers alike. I had the opportunity to interview one of our local seasoned teachers, Ron Maxwell, a science teacher with China Middle School, who gave a frank look into what it is like to teach during this era of Covid. Although we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it is important to document what our teachers are going through during these extraordinary times.

Ron Maxwell said he had no experience teaching remotely before the pandemic. In late August at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year he was told the school was offering remote learning for some students using Google Classroom. So as Ron put it, “We kind of learned as we went because this was a brand new thing for most of us.”

“There’s something magical about a face. Our brain gets so much information from the entire thing. That’s what we’re missing the most. There’s a connection. It’s also half the communication.”

As every teacher did across the nation, Ron had to adapt his teaching methods as well as his classroom organization. He had to protect his students from a contagious virus, while at the same time connect with them inside the classroom and through his laptop screen.

Ron explained, “My philosophy has always been hands-on, so a lot is experiential. Most of my grading happens with what we do in the classroom and I use homework sparingly. We do a lot with lab reports. I set up stations in the classroom, and they run from here to there as they work in groups. And, of course, everything that I’m describing now went out the window.

“This school year all the things that I’ve been practicing and perfecting needed dramatic changes to be possible. We’re doing an electronic learning target right now where they’re learning the difference between series and parallel circuits. Over here, I have three bins of wires and bulbs and batteries, none of which I can use because I can’t put them down for the kids to use and then put back in the next group because of the sanitation.”

Sanitation became an essential part of the 2020-2021 school day to keep both the students and the faculty safe, adding another layer of complexity and stress. “Now I’m literally spraying down my classroom every time a class leaves. So imagine the bell rings. They all get up. They’re packing up. They’re chatting. They’re decompressing, and they’re leaving right? That is, if I can get them to leave, because they are junior high kids. We have to watch them to make sure they’re staying this far apart and they’re wearing their masks. Then I have to lock the door and spray everything down. So in essence, that’s what happens in that two minute time between classes.”

Another challenge to the 2020-2021 school year was learning how to connect with students through laptop screens. As a veteran teacher, Ron knew how to set guidelines upfront. To be counted as present in class as a remote student, Ron told them he needed to see their faces, not the ceiling or blank screen. That was a non-negotiable rule. He said in the beginning he had a few students who were reticent about showing their faces. Each morning as their faces popped up as they joined the class, he greeted them with a “hello that says I see you, you exist and you mean something.”

For the most part, Ron’s remote students are fully engaged, “I may just have the best students. Maybe that’s why or maybe the answer is sometimes their parents on the other end, and I can hear them in the background laughing at my jokes.

“I’m deeply appreciative of all the support the parents give us. We couldn’t do our work if they weren’t doing theirs. I’ve said things have changed for me but things have changed for them, as well. Now, if you were to drive by the school building around 7:15 a.m., you would see the line of cars start. They wait in line sometimes for as long as a half an hour to drop their kids off and pick their kids up. I couldn’t imagine that. Parents, who used to be a two-income household, now they’re a one income household because one parent has elected to stay home and look after the kids. Yeah, and there are single parents of our students holding down a job, helping the kid appropriately attend classes, making sure they figured out how to get internet at home to deal with this. The community has really stepped up. We are blessed to have the support that we have. I’m proud of them as much as I am of my colleagues.”

Ron Maxwell expressed so openly what a challenging academic 2020-21 is for teachers, ed techs, students and their parents to balance safety, learning and technology. It’s a year where challenges are being met and adaptations are ongoing through human resilience and cooperation.

At the end of the interview, Ron said the one thing that he misses from the pre-Covid days that he will never take for granted again is seeing his students’ faces and he explained why: “The other day, I realized something important. I am looking solely at their eyes now. Yeah. And if I walk by them outside on the playground, I don’t know my own students. Oh my gosh. Because with their lower faces open, it changes who they are. It does. So, what do I miss the most? Yeah. I miss the faces.

“I have a student who had several older siblings, and I taught most of the kids in the family. She looks just like an older sister until the first time I saw her out there. [Outside at recess.] I was just amazed because she’s entirely her own person, of course.

“There’s something magical about a face. Our brain gets so much information from the entire thing. That’s what we’re missing the most. There’s a connection. It’s also half the communication.”

Courtney Peabody earns MPA award

Courtney Peabody

Courtney Peabody, daughter of Robert and Carrie Peabody, of Solon, a senior at Carrabec High School, has been selected to receive the 2021 Principal’s Award, according to Principal Timothy Richards. The award, sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association, is given in recognition of a high school senior’s academic achievement, citizenship and leadership.

According to Richards, Ms. Peabody has distinguished herself in the classroom, on the court, in track and field, and as a leader in the school. She always has a smile on her face and has a positive attitude. Courtney is hard-working, kind, and humble, all of which will ensure her future success.

Academically, Courtney has challenged herself throughout her high school years, where she has taken six dual enrollment classes, as well as three AP courses. Her hard work, perseverance and enthusiasm have made her a role model in our school.

Strong and focused, Peabody has not only thrived in the sports world, but is also a member of the National Honor Society, has been a member of the Willpower Weightlifting Team, Youth in Maine Government, and was February 2021 Student of the Month.

For all of these reasons, Richards has announced that Courtney Peabody is the Carrabec High School MPA Award recipient for 2021. Courtney can attend a live, virtual event on May 14, 2021, where she will be eligible to be selected for one of ten scholarships.

Palermo student earns climate scholarship

John Edwards, an eighth grader at Palermo Consolidated School. (contributed photo)

John Edwards, an eighth grader at Palermo Consolidated School, won a scholarship to attend the 2021 Talk Climate Institute on March 23 and 24. John learned about climate topics and developed strategies to discuss climate issues. The institute, run by the Climate Generation, provides teaching tips, resources, inspiration, and community networking to assist in bringing climate change discussions to schools. John has been interested in topics of climate change since the fifth grade and he is excited to learn about strategies from around the world on how to protect the earth. John hopes to use this experience to enhance his knowledge and to share information and strategies with others.

Vassalboro Community School Honor Roll

Vassalboro Community School (contributed photo)

GRADE 8

High honors: Brooke Blais, Sofia Derosby, Allison Dorval, Greta Limberger and Taylor Wright. Honors: Noah Bechard, Brady Desmond, Kaylene Glidden, Ava Kelso, Ava Picard and Emma Waterhouse. Honorable mention: Evan Brochu, Echo Hawk, Kailynn Houle, Seth Picard and Victoria Rancourt.

GRADE 7

High honors: Emily Almeida, Jacob Lavallee, Ave Lemelin and Hannah Polley. Honors: Quinn Coull, Madison Estabrook, Aiden Hamlin, Kaiden Morin and Mylee Petela. Honorable mention: Mason Decker, Taylor Neptune and Addison Witham.

GRADE 6

High honors: Adalyn Glidden and Taiya Rankins. Honors: Madison Burns, Tyler Clark, Sophie Day, Ryley Desmond, Madison Field, Jack Malcolm, Josslyn Ouellette, Natalie Rancourt and Bryson Stratton. Honorable mention: Emma Charleston, Eilah Dillaway, Kiley Doughty, Wyatt Ellis, Bailey Goforth, Kylie Grant and Mason Lagasse.

GRADE 5

High honors: Benjamin Allen, Tristyn Brown, Dylan Dodge, Ryleigh French, Jasmine Garey, Drake Goodie, Drew Lindquist, Caleb Marden, Judson Smith, Landon Sullivan and Reid Willett. Honors: Logan Cimino, Zoey DeMerchant, Jennah Dumont, Katherine Maxwell, Brandon Neagle, Ryder Neptune-Reny, Paige Perry, Bentley Pooler, Brooke Reny, Leigha Sullivan, Jannah Tobey, William Trainor and Alana Wade. Honorable mention: Austin Devoe, Timothy Knowles, Cooper Lajoie, Abigail Prickett and Jade Travers.

GRADE 4

High honors: Emily Clark, Keegan Clark, Basil Dillaway, Fury Frappier, Allyson Gilman and Cheyenne Lizzotte. Honors: Kaleb Charlebois, Harlen Fortin, Baylee Fuchswanz, Zoe Gaffney, Lillyana Krastev, Kaitlyn Lavallee, Elizabeth Longfellow, Mia McLean, Elliot McQuarrie, Mackenzy Monroe, Kaylee Moulton, Weston Pappas,, Randel Phillips, Grace Tobey and Ava Woods. Honorable mention: Caylie Buotte, Preston Duenne, Bayleigh Gorman and Jack LaPierre.

GRADE 3

High honors: Aliyah Anthony, Sophia Brazier, Samanta Carter, Grace Clark, Kaylee Colfer, Dekan Dumont, Mariah Estabrook, Riley Fletcher, Camden Foster, Kaylee Pease, Olivia Perry, Haven Trainor and Cameron Willett. Honors: Zander Austin, Lukas Blais, Xainte Cloutier, Twila Cloutier, Wyatt Devoe, Dawson Frazer, Aubrey Goforth, Jade Lopez, Agatha Meyer, Addison Neagle, Austin Pease, Elliott Rafuse, Juliahna Rocque, Cassidy Rumba and Bryce Sounier. Honorable mention: Lucian Kinrade, Sarina LaCroix, Landon Lagasse, Arianna Muzerolle and Henry Quirion.

STUDENT WRITERS: Why fewer people Are Getting Married

The Town Line presents the STUDENT WRITERS PROGRAM
This week featuring: ERSKINE ACADEMY

by Grace Kelso (China)
Junior at Erskine Academy

Growing up, many Americans believed they would get a job, buy a house, get married and start a family. However, it seems that for many Americans, life did not turn out that way. The amount of marriages that happen every year in the US is at an all time low at two million a year. This is half a million less than its peak in the early 1980s. The marriage rate is also at a record low at a little more than 50 percent which peaked at 70 percent in 1967. This percentage is only likely to decrease. The Pew Research Center has estimated that by the time today’s young adults are 50, over 25 percent of them will have been single their entire lives.

Americans are also getting married later in life. The median age for first marriages reached a record high in 2018 with most men getting married at age 30 and women, 28. However, many people don’t want to get married at all. The Pew Research Center found that 14 percent of never-married adults say they don’t plan to marry at all, and another 27 percent aren’t sure whether they want to get married. There are many things that could have caused these trends, such as the change in gender roles and more gender equality, increasing financial instability, and the increasing benefits of staying single.

One explanation for why fewer people are getting married is the changing gender roles and more gender equality in today’s society. In the past, men were expected to be the ones to work and earn money to support their families. Women were not expected to work and instead take care of the home and children. This is not the case anymore. Having to take care of the home and raising children while still working full time is too much for some women, and most women are not willing to give up their career to become full time housewives. Also, women today are more educated than men and earn close to the same income. Women no longer have an incentive to marry for financial security because most women can financially support themselves. This change in gender roles and more gender equality in today’s society makes marriage seem like something of the past, which could explain the drop in marriage rates.

Another explanation could be the increasing financial instability among young adults. In 2017 the Pew Research Center found that 41 percent of single adults who wanted to get married in the future said that financial stability was a major reason why they had not married yet. Getting married and starting a family is a huge financial decision and many young people feel like they are not financially stable enough to make a life long commitment such as getting married. One reason for this financial instability is the record high amount of student loan debt in the U.S.. Americans collectively owe $1.7 trillion in student loans and the average college senior graduates with $37,691 in debt. Having this much debt at the beginning of adulthood has kept a lot of young people from getting married. Also, a study done by Cornell University found that most American women want to get married but many are unable to find “marriageable” men, which can be considered men with stable jobs and a good income. This increasing financial instability has made marriage less attractive or just out of reach for many young people, causing fewer people to get married.

Lastly, fewer people are getting married because of the increasing benefits of staying single. The Pew Research Center found that half of American adults believe society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children. Fewer and fewer people want to get married in order to pursue their own personal goals, whether it be in their career or hobbies. Also single people are actually more social. Sociologists, Natalia Sarkisian, of Boston College, and Naomi Gerstel, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, found that marriage actually weakens other social ties. On average, single people provide more care for their siblings and aging parents, have more friends, and are more likely to offer help to neighbors and ask for it in return.

This huge drop in marriage rates has many causes, some of which are a change in gender roles and more gender equality, increasing financial instability, and the increasing benefits of staying single. Is this something we, as a society, should be worried about? Marriage has a lot of benefits, including better outcomes for children, less crime, an increase in longevity and generally happier lives. However, the way marriage is today is also very challenging and does not work for everyone. Perhaps in the future there will be other forms of partnerships that better fit the needs of our society without the negative side effects of marriage. There have already been suggestions of alternative forms of marriage such as “beta-marriages” where a couple is married only for a short period of time before making a commitment, almost like a “test run”. Our society is changing fast, so it only makes sense that the relationships we form with other people change as well.

Student Writer’s Program: What Is It?

The Town Line has many articles from local students under the heading of the “Student Writer’s Program.” While it may seem plainly evident why The Town Line would pursue this program with local schools and students, we think it’s worth the time to highlight the reasons why we enthusiastically support this endeavor.

Up front, the program is meant to offer students who have a love of writing a venue where they can be published and read in their community. We have specifically not provided topics for the students to write on or about, and we have left the editing largely up to their teachers. From our perspective this is a free form space provided to students.

From the perspective of the community, what is the benefit? When considering any piece that should or could be published, this is a question we often ask ourselves at The Town Line. The benefit is that we as community are given a glimpse into how our students see the world, what concerns them, and, maybe even possible solutions to our pressing problems. Our fundamental mission at the paper is to help us all better understand and appreciate our community, our state, and our nation through journalism and print.

We hope you will read these articles with as much interest and enjoyment as we do. The students are giving us a rare opportunity to hear them out, to peer into their world, and see how they are processing this world we, as adults, are giving them.

To include your high school, contact The Town Line, townline@townline.org.

PHOTO: Didn’t get the memo

While not likely an Erskine Academy student, this guy(?) showed up on the school’s front lawn last week. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that the snow sculpture contest at Winter Carnival was canceled this year. (photo by Bob Bennett)

Temple Academy Outreach Team doing great things within our community

From left to right, Grace Paradis, Katelyn Rose, Kaylan Haber, Billy Dumond, and Shivon Larsen, serving at the Winslow Community Cupboard. (contributed photo)

by Mark Huard

The Temple Academy Outreach Team is a community serviced-oriented group of 7th through 12th grade students led by junior high and high school science teacher Rachel Baker. Kevin Wood, Superintendent of the pre-K-12, non-denominational Christian school shared his vision with Ms. Baker for a service-based team at the start of the 2020/2021 school year. Within a short period of time the team was formed, organized, and committed. They enthusiastically hit the ground running throughout the community.

From left to right, Isaac Smith, Elena Hassele, Dylan Shortil, Zack Wiles, Chloe Riportella, Gavin MacDonald, Dave Louis, Thomas Fortin, Marko Ajvaz, Hunter Doyle, Evan Lafountain, and Mary Jo Wadsworth serve at the Winslow Community Cupboard. (contributed photo)

They have worked on several different community projects in the area. In the Fall the team performed yard clean up chores for several local residents in different neighborhoods. They participated in the “Crusin’ Country” 93.5’s “Put a Sock in It” Sock Drive in December, collecting 238 pairs of new socks, which the students decided to donate to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. The team has developed an ongoing relationship with the Winslow Community Cupboard, whose food pantry is open every other Thursday. The entire student body from seventh through 12th grade gets involved in this program. Ms. Baker takes multiple grade levels once a month, in shifts, to the Cupboard to volunteer.

Adalia Harrington, a 12th grade student at Temple Academy and Outreach Team president shares her feelings about being a member of this team, “After the devastating year our world has faced, I am privileged to be part of a group that restores the hope in our community and spreads the message that we are in this together!”

Ms. Baker states, “The heart of our mission is to promote a culture that regularly engages the student body in meeting needs in our community through acts of service. We want our students to experience the value of serving others. When you humble yourself to do something kind for someone else, it does something inside of you. It can deeply touch both the person serving and the one being served. With Temple Academy being a small school, I was immediately impressed with the level of interest at our very first meeting. The students are a committed and hard-working group and I am truly fortunate to have the privilege of working alongside of them. It is amazing for me to see these students shine during our events; they work so hard! And the best part of it is, I can tell the students are really enjoying themselves because of how happy they are while volunteering. This is truly an enlightening experience for every student that participates.”

She continues: “We were fortunate to make a connection early on with Bruce Bottigliere at the Winslow Community Cupboard. We have been able to plug our student volunteers into the various programs they have there. Together in March, we are working on scheduling a USDA Farmers to Families Food Box distribution site at our school. This will allow us to give every student in our entire school the opportunity to participate and experience the feeling of serving. I am thankful for our students, our parents, and our entire faculty who are so incredibly supportive in the efforts in making our vision a reality. We are Temple!”

(Plans are currently in the works for an opportunity this month at the First Choice Pregnancy Center.) This Spring the team is working on solidifying partnerships with the Alfond Youth & Community Center and with the city of Waterville to create some annual community projects. If you have any ideas on how their team may be able to get involved in your community or in your event, you are encouraged to contact MS. Baker at her contact information stated above.