Messalonskee senior graduates college before high school

Ella Buck

submitted by Tania Buck

Ella Buck, is a senior at Messalonskee High School, in Oakland. Since the age of eight, Ella has known that she wanted to be a nurse. When Ella was a sophomore, just 14 years old, she took her first “college” class through the Early College Program. This program allows high school students to take courses that are not offered at their high school, through colleges/universities. Students can take up to 12 credits a year for free. With a passion for nursing, Ella began taking general education courses required for a degree in the field. She took online courses from four Maine community colleges (KVCC, YCCC, EMMC, AND SMCC). More recently, she has taken nursing classes through University of Southern Maine, where she has been accepted into the nursing program for the 2024-2025 school year.

Ella graduated from Kennebec Valley Community College, in Fairfield, with an associates degree in general studies on Saturday, May 11, 2024. She will graduate from Messalonskee High School on June 6, 2024. According to the college, she will be the first high school student in the school’s history, to receive an associates degree before graduating high school. She graduated with a 4.0 grade point average.

Ella will have completed approximately 71 college credits, taking classes year-round for the past couple of years. Because of the agreement between Maine’s Community Colleges and its universities, all of Ella’s college credits transferred allowing her to attend USM, in September 2024, as a third year college student.

If all of this wasn’t enough, while Ella was taking her high school classes, and college courses, she played sports and has been working at the Maine Veterans Home (MVH) for 10 months now. She began with MVH in June 2023 where she enrolled in a CNA certification program. In August, she received her certification, and has been working per diem on the weekends at MVH.

Ella chose not to take AP classes at her high school, as she wanted to take classes that pertained to nursing. Messalonskee only weights AP classes, so none of her college classes were weighted. As a result, despite having a 99.4 G.P.A, she will not graduate in the top 10 of her class. Initially this was hard for Ella to accept, but she knew she wanted to take classes that interested her and ultimately would help her achieve her end goal of becoming a nurse. As a high school student taking a non-traditional path, she had to overcome many obstacles along the way. She was determined, and never gave up.

According to her mother, “Ella does not like being in the spotlight. She doesn’t seek recognition or attention! However, I do believe by sharing her story, it will help others to see that hard work and determination do pay off, and perhaps even more importantly. It’s OK to deviate from the norm and chart your own path.”

Activities abound at RSU #18 schools

National Pancake Day


Top, Mr. Moody and Mrs. Ridgeway treated China Primary School staff to a yummy pancake breakfast for National Pancake Day! What are your favorite toppings?

Surfrider Foundation Donation

Above, China Primary School’s fourth graders were recently engaging in a persuasive writing unit, and during the unit one student passionately wrote about how their school should have a fundraiser to raise money to help support a cleaner ocean. Mrs. Jacobs’ class organized a popcorn fundraiser with the support from the China PTO. They raised over $400 to donate to the Surfrider Foundation in Maine.

March Making a Difference Award

Congratulations to Maren O’Connell, left, and Christine Meader for receiving the March Making a Difference Award at Williams Elementary School’s recent Be the Light Assembly, in Oakland. The school appreciates all they do each day to support the students at Williams Elementary School.

Sharing Nonfiction Writing

Mrs. Couture’s second grade student, Eli, at the Atwood School, in Oakland, read his nonfiction writing piece about wolves to Superintendent of Schools, Carl Gartley. Eli shared, “I felt a little bit nervous but mostly honored to read to Mr. Gartley.” Gartley enjoyed Eli’s sophisticated word choice and fun facts. After Eli left central office, he said, “This was the best afternoon ever!” Eli’s work was definitely Atwood awesome.

Mobile Science Lab

China Middle School’s fifth through eighth grade students had the opportunity to work in the Mobile Science Lab! Two different programs were offered to students. Some students learned about balancing ecosystems with invasive species. They developed tools to mitigate the effects of the invasive species. Other students participated in the Micropipette Challenge where they practiced measuring and transferring liquids using a pipette. CMS was the first school the new Mobile BioLab visited. Sixth graders at China Middle then attended the kick-off event for Educate Maine and the Maine Mobile BioLab, at the State House, in Augusta!

PHOTO: Youth action on the gridiron

Messalonskee Youth Football 5/6 Red team member, Peter McLaughlin (33), running down field while Augusta Jr. Rams Liam Ferran (48) goes for the tackle, in football action earlier this fall. (photo by Galen Neal, Central Maine Photography)

TEAM PHOTO: Messalonskee grades 5/6 red football team

Front row, from left to right, 57 Tyler Fisher, 15 Chase Dempsey, 72 Landon Dunbar, 27 Kamden Hafford, 42 Landen Bolduc, and 77 Blake Bouchard. Second row, 11 Blake Tibbetts, 28 Trentyn Goodrich, 87 Joe Maheu, 82 Jordyn Goodrich, and 33 Peter McLaughlin III. Back row, Coach Peter McLaughlin Sr., and Coach Peter McLaughlin Jr. Absent Coach Nick Tibbetts. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

PHOTO: Messalonskee varsity at homecoming

Members of the Messalonskee varsity football team riding in the parade. (photo by Galen Neal, Central Maine Photography)

TEAM PHOTO: Messalonskee 5/6 youth blue team

Front row, from left to right, Walker Bucknam, Teagan Cox, Austin Pearl, Blake Masse, Kael Segars, Jake Cyr, and Dax Allen. Middle row, Bennett Pottle, Aiden Desrosiers, Jamaica Jackson, Dom Veilleux, Everett Wadleigh, and Easton Gradie. Back row, assistant coach Pete Bucknam, head coach Dan Cyr, assistant coach Josh Desrosiers, and assistant coach Kris Segars. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

PHOTO: Messalonskee homecoming

The Messalonskee High School homecoming parade was held on September 25. Messalonskee Youth Football players, from left to right, Dawson Dube, Sawyer Bearce and Andrew Proctor riding in the parade. (photo by Galen Neal, Central Maine Photography)

Griffin Brown welcomed into the Honors College at the College of Charleston

Griffin Brown, of Oakland, will attend the Honors College at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina, starting this fall.

Brown joins a community of highly motivated Honors students who live and learn together while pursuing their own unique interests. Honors students at the College of Charleston benefit from personalized mentorship, access to specialized opportunities, and small, seminar-style classes. Students also participate in high impact experiences like faculty-led research, internships, and community engagement to help them maximize their time at college.

Brown is a graduate of Messalonskee High School, in Oakland, and plans to major in systems engineering at the College of Charleston.

EVENTS: Messaloskee girls to host girls youth soccer mentoring day

(contributed photo)

Messalonskee High School girls soccer and the ShineOnCass Foundation will host its 8th annual girls youth soccer mentoring day “ShineOn Saturday” September 23, from noon to 2 p.m., on the Messalonskee High School Turf Field, in Oakland. The event is held to honor former Messalonskee soccer player and youth mentor Cassidy Charette, who died in a hayride accident October 11, 2014.

Area girls, ages pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, are invited to attend at no cost. Soccer skills are not required. In addition to participating in skill building and fun field games, attendees will receive an autographed team poster and a ShineOnCass wristband that earns them a special snack and recognition at the Lady Eagles’ homecoming soccer game. Healthy snacks will be provided.

To assist in planning, please pre-register at, or send your child’s name and age, parent/guardian name and contact info to Walk-ins welcome.

The ShineOnCass Foundation was created to educate, inspire and empower youth to shine their own light through kindness and volunteer charitable activities. For more information about the ShineOn Saturday event or the Foundation, visit or email

Emery Pell (front) and her twin sister Shea, learn new soccer skills under the guidance of their mentor and Messalonskee girls soccer player Brooke Landry, at last year’s ShineOn Saturday. The 8th annual event connects young girls with high school soccer players, for a fun day of skills, games and positive youth mentoring. ShineOn Saturday is organized by the Lady Eagles and the ShineOn Cass Foundation to honor and remember former Eagle midfielder and youth mentor Cassidy Charette. The event is free to all interested girls, Pre-K to Grade 5. Contributed photo

District 5 Cal Ripken 10U champs

2023 10U Messalonskee Eagles All Star team. Front row, Owen Humphrey, Easton Claudel, Lucas Moser, Finn Duffy, and Kael Segars. middle row, Reed Adams, Paxton Coughlin, Preston Ponitz, Beckett Hamlin, John Browning, Aiden Desrosiers, and Bennett Pottle. Back row, Chris Moser (Manager), Trevor Hamlin (Coach), Josh Desrosiers (Coach). The game was played at Rocky Buck Field, in Fairfield. Messalonskee won the game 17-7, over Fairfield. (photo courtesy of Chris Moser, Central Maine Photography)