KVYSO is a place of growing for these five seniors

by Eric W. Austin

For these five high school seniors, the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony Orchestras have been a place to grow, to build friendships, and to nurture their passion for music. This Spring, they are preparing for their final concert before heading off to college, on Mothers Day, May 12, 5 p.m., at the South Parish Church, in Augusta.

“I was such a rascal,” says Sophia Scheck with a rueful grin. “I didn’t just learn music, I learned to make friends, and sometimes how to lose them, and that’s okay.”
– Waterville High School senior Sophia Scheck

Sophia Scheck

“I was such a rascal,” says Sophia Scheck with a rueful grin. Scheck, a senior at Waterville High School, plays the viola (which is similar to a violin but a little bigger with slightly different strings). “Pineland Suzuki (school) has affected my life in so many ways,” she says. “I didn’t just learn music, I learned to make friends, and sometimes how to lose them, and that’s okay.” Scheck hopes to head for the Boston Conservatory next year to major in viola performance.

Carolyn Phelps Scholz

Carolyn Phelps Scholtz, a senior at the Ecology Learning Center, a public charter high school in Unity, plays the fiddle and has found her musical experience incredibly rewarding. “I’m still playing music with people that I started playing with when I was four,” she says. “We’ve grown up together, as people and musicians, and we’ll always have that.”

Diana Estes

Diana Estes is a homeschooler and has spent her life playing music and singing with her parents and six siblings. In her sixth year playing the cello, she sat as principal cellist in the Mid-Maine Youth Orchestra and now holds that place in the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony. In 2023, she won the Anna Bereziuk and Lindley Wood Prize for Ensemble Endeavors in the Bay Chamber Prizewinner’s Competition. Outside of music, she is a devoted student, book enthusiast and soccer player. She has been accepted to Cedarville Univ­ersity, in Ohio, as a cello performance major, where she plans to double-major in biology before heading to medical school on her way to becoming a chiropractor. “I almost gave up playing cello in August 2021,” she admits. “I was prepared to sell my instrument, but my parents encouraged me to continue for just one more week, so I did. Three years later I’m on my way to college for cello, something I used to not like! The community and friendships built during my time at Pineland Suzuki School have been invaluable to me.”

Eben Buck

Silas Bartol

Eben Buck, who attends Cony High School, in Augusta, and Silas Bartol, from Maranacook High school, the remaining seniors in the orchestra, have been friends since childhood. “I still laugh about the “time Silas Bartol stuck his finger in Eben’s ear on stage during a rehearsal,” says Buck’s mother. “Eben calmly took Silas’ finger out of his ear and stuck Silas’ hand in his own pocket. They were four or five years old.”

The KV Youth Symphony Orchestras are a nonprofit initiative spearheaded by the Pineland Suzuki School of Music, in Manchester, with the aim of bringing the string musicians of the Suzuki school together with other local students of wind, brass and percussion instruments for a complete orchestral experience. Their May concert will feature music selections from Mozart’s Violin Concerto #3, Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Haydn, Bizet’s L’Arlesian Suite #2, among other pieces.

For more information about their upcoming concert or to find out how to enroll a student in the program, please visit their website at www.kvyso.org.

EVENTS: Ecology Learning Center announces fundraiser

Senior class presidents, Ada Dennison (in front, left) and Emma Wallace (back, right), opening the door for the first time with the key. (contributed photo)

The Ecology Learning Center, a public charter high school based in Unity, has announced a new fundraising campaign for the Clifford Arts & Student Center, which was gifted to the school in February. The campaign hopes to raise $150,000 by Sunday, June 30, supporting a “farm-to-cafeteria” program, in addition to covering capital and operating expenses. Every donation to our capital campaign will be doubled.

Gifted to the school on Valentine’s Day, the Clifford Arts & Student Center spans more than 8,000 square feet, featuring a theater that seats 200 people, ceramics studio with 12 pottery wheels and two kilns, classrooms, and office space. The new funds will allow the building to advance the Ecology Learning Center’s mission of deeply rooting students in Maine’s ecological and cultural landscapes, fostering authentic real-world learning while cultivating compassionate, resilient leaders who can engage in the challenges of today and tomorrow.

The Clifford Arts & Student Center is located at 42 Depot Street, in Unity. Interested donors can give money in the following ways:

Visit their website; send cash or check to “Ecology Learning Center” (230 Main Street in Unity);

Sponsor or attend a Community Program;

Donate an auction item and attend the live auction in the theater on Friday, April 26, at 5:30 p.m.

The Clifford Arts & Student Center hosted a grand re-opening last Sunday, March 10th, with The Al Corey Big Band playing music – showcasing the theme of “Some Enchanted Evening” – and the Ecology Learning Center’s student-chefs serving island fare, inspired by the South Pacific. The building was originally opened in December 2000 by Bert and Coral Clifford.

Local residents named to Clark Univ.’s dean’s list

The following local residents were named to Clark University’s Fall 2023 dean’s list, in Worcester, Massachusetts:

Sam N. Golden, of South China, was named to second honors.

Maya L. Patten, of Mercer, was named to second honors.

Frankie D. Roberts, of Unity, was named to second honors.

EVENTS: Bird migration in central Maine

These eastern bluebirds huddle in an attempt to stay warm. (photo courtesy of Massachusetts Audubon Society)

A bird migration in central Maine lecture will be held on Thursday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m., Unity Community Center, 32 School St., Unity

The Sebasticook River watershed provides a diversity of habitats that host well over 200 species of birds annually. Although many nest here, species composition changes throughout the seasons due to migration. Tom Aversa will lead in an evening of fun and exploration as they learn when and where to find this vast array of species. Aversa enjoys birds year-round while serving as the SRLT chairman. He has studied our avian friends for over 50 years, having penned several books on birds, serving on the Maine Bird Records Committee, and traveling worldwide in pursuit of natural history.

EVENTS: Ecology Learning Center moves to new location, Begin fundraising campaign

The Ecology Learning Center is now the proud owner of the Clifford Arts & Student Center (formerly known as the Unity Center for Performing Arts), thanks to the generosity of Unity Environmental University in collaboration with Unity Foundation. In order to maintain and fully realize the capacity of this beautiful 8,000 square foot facility, they must raise $150,000 by June 30, 2024. Please support the public charter high school by donating to their capital campaign and attending events at the student-run theater!

The mission of the Ecology Learning Center is to deeply root students in Maine’s ecological and cultural landscapes, foster authentic real-world learning through mentorship and craft, and cultivate compassionate and resilient leaders prepared to engage in the challenges of today and tomorrow.

The center is located at 230 Main St., in Unity.

Friday, March 1:

Monte Selby: A Story To Be Told

The first event at the Bert & Coral Clifford Arts and Student Center will be Dr. Monte Selby performing original songs with the school’s students – A Story To Be Told.

Ecology Ctr. accepting ninth grade enrollment

Ecology Learning Center (photo: Unity College)

The Ecology Learning Center, a public charter high school (9-12 grades) in Unity, enrollment is still OPEN for 9th grade! If interested, please fill out the Intent to Enroll form on our website.

At the Ecology Learning Center, we offer:

focused English, math, history, and science instruction; French and Spanish language courses, taught by native speakers; art electives, including music and woodworking; outdoor adventure and leadership training; FREE breakfast and lunch using locally-grown produce, prepared by students.

Reach out to info@ecologylearningcenter.org with questions.

SRLT hires program manager

Cheryl Daigle

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) has announced the hiring of Cheryl Daigle as program manager. The membership-supported conservation association works to conserve and restore the lands and waters of the Sebasticook River Watershed in Central Maine, and has been all-volunteer for more than six years.

Daigle will take the lead on operations and coordinate the activities of the board and volunteers beginning in early March. She brings extensive experience in communications and outreach at diverse community-based conservation organizations across New England. Her career focus has been on conservation, restoration, cultural vitality and economic health of the communities in which she has worked. She most recently served as the editor of Northern Woodlands magazine. Managing SRLT marks a return to Maine for Daigle. Her previous conservation work in the Pine Tree state has been in the roles of executive director at the Maine Lakes Society, outreach coordinator at the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and publications specialist at Maine Sea Grant.

“Our dedicated core of volunteers has struggled to do more than maintain our preserves, monitor easement holdings and present outreach events,” said SRLT board president Tom Aversa. “Cheryl’s skills in community engagement, fundraising, grant writing and land stewardship will help us meet the challenges of the future.”

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust focuses on land conservation, habitat restoration and environmental education, working with landowners to help them voluntarily protect their land for future generations. In its first ten years, the SRLT and its landowner partners have ensured the permanent protection of nearly 4,000 acres of wild and working lands. Learn more at sebasticookrlt.org.

New mental health provider welcomed to Unity practice

Jennifer Turner

Northern Light Primary Care in Unity welcomes Jennifer Turner, LMSW-CC, a licensed master social worker, to the team. Jennifer was the Unity practice manager for the past five years and has transitioned into this new role. Jennifer has been with Northern Light Inland Hospital for 21 years.

Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree in social work at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and her master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of New England. She is state licensed.

Jennifer shares, “I want to be a part of changing the stigma around mental health/behavioral health. It is an honor to be “allowed” into a patient’s world and be a part of their healthcare journey, one I don’t take lightly. It is important to listen, then listen more. I enjoy coming alongside the patient to help them reach their goals while providing a safe place with no judgement.”

Jennifer is a generalist social worker who provides individual therapy. She works with patients, ages 10 years and older, who have all types of symptoms and diagnosis, such as: substance use, grief, women’s health, and chronic illness. She also has experience working with learning disabilities and challenges. She will be seeing patients in-person at the Unity practice with telehealth as an option.

For referrals or more information, please call our practice at 948.2100. The practice is located at 80 Main Street in Unity.

Local students on Springfield College dean’s list

William Banks, of Jefferson, and Kyle Ingraham, of Unity, were named to the dean’s list at Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts, for academic excellence for the 2022 fall semester. Banks has a primary major of physical education, and Ingraham in sport management.

Local residents earn award from WGU

The following local residents have earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The award is given to students who perform at a superior level in their coursework.

Jen Paradis, of Augusta, has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University College of Business.

Abigayle Laverdiere, of Fairfield, has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University School of Education.

Crystal Perry, of South China, has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University Leavitt School of Health.

Olivia Nicks, of Unity, has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University College of Information Technology.