News About WOCSD

For more information about News About WOCSD please contact Reg Bennett at or at 207-646-8331.

WHS student receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

posted Mar 24, 2017, 11:08 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School Principal Eileen Sheehy has announced that Emma Clarrage, a senior at WHS, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.    Clarrage received this recognition for 197 hours of volunteer community service.  As of mid-March 2017, she had reached 223 hours of service.

Clarrage was notified of this honor through a letter from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program which grants the award on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.  This award is sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“Emma Clarrage is an excellent student and a distinguished community member,” commented Principal Sheehy.  “Her positive presence permeates our school and is contagiously welcoming. She is an inspiring example of someone who makes a difference in her community.  I am extremely proud that Emma has been selected for her outstanding citizenship.”

Along with a certificate, Clarrage received a letter from former President Barack Obama.
“Congratulations on receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country,” wrote Obama. 

In relation to the above news, Wells High School nominated Clarrage last fall for national honors in recognition of her volunteer service including time spent volunteering at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire. 

“Extremely exciting,” said Clarrage when asked about receiving the Presidential award.  At WHS she is a member of the Student Council (Treasurer) and Interact Club, “FEMS in STEM” which focuses on careers in math and science for women, plus coach for the WJHS Division II Odyssey of the Mind Team.  

The Prudential Spirit of Community Award recognizes mid-level and high school students across the United States for outstanding volunteer service.

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” commented NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards letter to Clarrage.  She closed with, “We salute you for your community spirit and significant accomplishments.”
Clarrage and her award
Winner of a 2017 President’s Volunteer Service Award is WHS student Emma Clarrage

Mary Poppins presented at Wells High School

posted Mar 22, 2017, 2:08 PM by Michael Richards

This spring, the Wells Players are proud to present Disney Theatrical Group’s and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins, running from April 5th through the 8th.  This production is based on the stories of P. L. Travers & Walt Disney’s 1964 musical comedy film adaptation of Mary Poppins. 

This production opens with a traditional matinee on April 5th at 3:30 pm in the new Olenn Performing Arts Center.  For this showing, senior citizens and students are admitted free with adult tickets set at $5. The April 6th show begins at 7 pm with general admission seating.  Tickets for this show are $5 for senior citizens and students and $8 for adults.  The April 7th and 8th shows are “reserved seating only” with tickets at $5 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults.  This year, WHS is honoring a special $25 “family cap” for all performances. Which means the most any family will spend to see the show is $25. 

For this production, George Perkins returns as Artistic Director with Jay Audet as Producer.  Perkins is assisted by Musical Director Larry Downing and Technical Director Andrew Lopez.   Bailey Smith is the show’s choreographer and Judi Dion is the costumer.  The production, which began rehearsals on January 30th includes a cast of 30 students, four pit band members, including accompanist Karen Mathews, and a technical crew of 8.   

Mary Poppins is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Reserved seating tickets for the April 7th and 8th shows are now on sale at the main office at Wells High School.  For more information call Wells High School at 646-7011.
Student Cast of Mary Poppins
In the new Olenn Auditorium Performing Arts Center at WHS is the cast of Mary Poppins presented at WHS from April 5th through April 8th 2017

Eighth graders published in book of poetry

posted Mar 22, 2017, 7:20 AM by Michael Richards

The great poet Robert Frost once stated, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”  At Wells Junior High School “thought” definitely found words for a group of English students who recently had their poetry published in a book titled,  Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School.  

Sponsored in part by the Telling Room, a non-profit writing center in Portland, this book project was the culmination of a 12-week poetry class/workshop begun last October and taught by local poet and teacher in residency, Brian Evans-Jones.  In the United Kingdom, Mr. Evans-Jones was once Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Poet.

“My main goal for this residency was for the students to learn how poems are not prose: chiefly, how they are built of lines, rather than sentences,” commented Evan-Jones in writing about his experience at WJHS.  He later added, “The result was a really great book.” 

On March 10th, Evan-Jones, English teacher Julie Esch, and Esch’s block 3 of 18 students held a book release party or celebration in the school’s library.  At first, students sat around tables and participated in one final poetry workshop followed by what is called “The Sharing”, a time for the newly published poets to stand and read their selections to parents and others present.  
Esch, who worked with Evans-Jones in the poetry class, commented, “Listening to student poets read their own words is captivating.  Their intonation, inflection, and passion add so much to the written pieces. This is a great experience for our 8th graders.”  

Topics of poems in the book ranged greatly.  One student, Andrew Mott, chose to compose a very personal poem about his father who passed away when Andrew was much younger.  Mott, whose poem is titled Separations, said he enjoyed learning from Evans-Jones.  “I liked the ways Brian used to get our ideas out there,” said Mott the only seventh grade student in the poetry class.

WJHS Principal Robert Griffin was also present for the celebration.  “This is one of the best things I have seen,” said Principal Griffin about this class.  “This is something our students talk about as a wonderful experience.  So we are going to broaden it, open it up to more students.”

Nick Shuller, The Telling Room’s program director, brought copies of the book to the party to distribute to the students.  “All of us, I think, have a desire for a creative expression and at The Telling Room we help young people get that out.”   Prior to the book release event these students read aloud their published selections at The Telling Room.  These readings were recorded and can be heard on the Sound Cloud website at:   

According to Esch, this is the second year that WJHS has collaborated with The Telling Room.  The Telling Room works primarily with those ages 6-18 to develop skills and confidence with various writing genres including poetry.  For more information visit  

Students sharing their poetry
In a round circle called “The Sharing” are junior high students reading their own poetry from a book published by The Telling Room titled Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School.

Student holding up book to his parents
WJHS student and poet Garner Holdsworth with his parents in a poetry workshop at a book release celebration at WJHS on March 10th.   

A copy of the book
The cover of  Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School

WHS athletes Marsh and Ouellette recognized for citizenship

posted Mar 20, 2017, 4:07 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School student athletes Bailey Marsh and David Ouellette were selected by Principal Eileen Sheehy to receive the Western Maine Conference’s Citizenship Award for 2017.

Each year, this award is presented to two senior athletes of high schools in the WMC.  On March 1st, Marsh and Ouellette, along with other student athletes, were honored at the WMC awards banquet held at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.

“Bailey Marsh is one of Wells High School’s most accomplished seniors,” read a statement from the WHS administration.  Some of her accomplishments include being captain of an all-state field hockey team; manager of the Noble/WHS Ice Hockey Team; a leader in the Unified Basketball program; and a member of the Girl’s Lacrosse program.  In addition, Marsh is a four-year member of the Student Council and Interact Club; a member of the National Honor Society and Vice President of her class.  This past September, she was presented with the Julia Clukey Courage Award by US Olympian, Julia Clukey. 

“I’ve had a rough couple of high school years and I have put so much time and effort into doing stuff here (at WHS),” said Marsh candidly during an interview.  “It’s nice that it’s noticed and that I have been able to help people in the process.” 

“It’s an honor…,” said David Ouellette about the award and being selected to receive it.  “We have such a great school and such a great community,” he added.  “If you go to our sporting event(s) or anything, everything is so well supported in Wells.  And just to have me and Bailey’s names narrowed down to the final two picks is such an honor.  It really is a blessing to grow up in a town like Wells and be around all these people that I can say are my friends, classmates, and teammates…”

Athletically, Ouellette has been a two-year starter along the offensive and defensive lines for the WHS Warrior Football Team.  During his two years as starter, the team has competed in the Class C South finals both seasons which ended last fall with the Warriors winning the State Class C Football Championship.  Ouellette is also considered one of the leaders in the Unified Basketball Program where he has worked one-on-one with a disabled student.  Academically, Ouellette carries a course load of rigorous AP (Advanced Placement) and honors courses and has challenged himself throughout his four years at WHS.

“His leadership skills and strong work ethic have earned him the respect of his peers as well as that of the faculty and staff at WHS,” read a statement from WHS describing Ouellette. 

The Western Maine Conference area includes the counties of York, Cumberland, Oxford, and Androscoggin.  Students are selected by their own school based on their contributions in academics, athletics, leadership, attitude, and good deeds for others. 
Citizenship honorees
Bailey Marsh and David Ouellette

Celebration of Reading Day in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD

posted Mar 16, 2017, 4:11 AM by Michael Richards

On March 2nd and 3rd, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD featured its annual Celebration of Reading Day event with the first part taking place at Wells Junior High School for fifth grade students and the following day for all grades at Wells Elementary School.  This is a time set aside for guests from the community and within the WOCSD to take a few minutes from their day to read to a classroom of students. 

At WJHS, members of the Wells High School Interact Club, let by Kevin Fox and Rachel Graceffia, partnered with Wells Rotarians for a “read-aloud” in various fifth grade classrooms. 

According to Cheryl Turner, a 5th grade teacher at WJHS, the Wells Rotary Club purchased the books to be read and later donated to 5th grade classroom libraries.  Non-fiction picture books read that day were about people who had overcome adversity.  Those included Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan; Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco; and Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. 

The following day at Wells Elementary School featured over 40 guest readers from the community and the WOCSD visiting classrooms throughout the school.  Guest readers included members of the Wells Fire Department, Wells Police Department and the Ogunquit Rotary Club.  In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, some visiting WHS students came dressed as characters from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. 

The Celebration of Reading Day at WES is coordinated by Community Resource Coordinator, Maryanne Foley.  “Everyone leaves after reading to our students with a smile on their faces,” commented Foley.  “It really builds that feeling of community when people from all over Wells and Ogunquit come in to share their love of reading.”

According to Nancy Colley, a reading specialist at WES, the event that evolved into Celebration of Reading Day began at WES in March of 1998, the first year of the National Education Association’s Read Across America which, this year, was March 2nd the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. 

At the March 8th meeting of the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee, Superintendent Daly thanked Foley for her work coordinating Celebration of Reading Day.  Foley has been coordinating this event for about two decades. 
Erin Haye reading to students
Erin Haye of York County Community College reading The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister to a group of “begindergarten” students in the library at Wells Elementary School. 

Cat in the Hat at WES
: The “Cat in the Hat” and company pay a visit to WES on Celebration of Reading Day, March 3, 2017

Wells Junior High School presents Alice in Wonderland

posted Mar 13, 2017, 4:20 AM by Michael Richards

A show not to miss at Wells Junior High School….Alice in Wonderland.  Over 40 Wells Junior High School students have become involved in their spring musical production guided by Director, Josie Lynn Perkins.  These students, in Grades 5– 8, have accomplished a number of aspects of theater production from stage management, make-up, lights and sound, costumes, set design, choreography, and, of course, acting and singing.

The curtain opens for the musical in the Ward Gymnasium at Wells Junior High School on Thursday, March 23rd and Friday, March 24th at 7pm.  There will also be a matinee performance on Saturday, March 25th at 2pm.

“Their dedication and perseverance has brought this show to life with finesse and accurate silliness”, said Director Perkins.  Also helping with the show are Lauren Rivera, Asst. Director; Lisa White, Musical Director; Chris Milliken, Set Designer; and Jo-Ann Bazata, Costumer.

This version of Alice in Wonderland is a children’s operetta and musical adventure.  Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s original dream adventure, it’s a quasi-operatic theatrical production that brings to life the surrealistic and fantastical atmosphere of this universally beloved story.  The music style ranges from pop to opera which helps tell this musical adventure with humor, drama and emotional power.  The stage adaption by Heather M. Dominick and Michael Sirotta holds true to Carroll’s original story unlike any other production for the stage.  

So come and enjoy.  Alice will take you in hand to fall down the rabbit hole, join the Tea party, paint the roses RED and, listen closely for original verses written by Carroll himself. 

FMI- please call the Wells Junior High School Main Office at (207) 646-5142.  All seats are $5.00.
The cast of Alice in Wonderland
The cast of Alice in Wonderland performing at Wells Junior High School from March 23 – March 25, 2017.

The ladies who will play Alice

The five WJHS students playing the role of Alice in the musical are (l to r) Lily Nichols, Sydney McDermont, Gretchen Graffam, Charlotte Allaire and Isabella Bazata

WHS Music Boosters thank supporters of textile drive

posted Mar 13, 2017, 4:16 AM by Michael Richards

The Wells/Ogunquit Music Boosters would like to extend a "HUGE thank you" to the entire community for supporting their recent Winter Weed-Out Textile Drive.  This year, the Boosters gathered over 25,000 lbs. of goods (used clothing, shoes, bedding, etc.) for the Epilepsy Foundation of New England thereby generating $5,000 for the WHS Music Department’s journey to Music in the Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia this spring.

Organizer of this effort, Ashley Breton, indicated that the response to the drive was "overwhelming".  She added that "folks came from all over York County” to donate.

"Thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered their time to collect bags and load the trucks," commented Breton.  "Also, thank you to Prime Storage in Wells for the use of a storage unit.  This has been such a success and it will now become an annual event.  So start saving those clothes for next year in February."  Last year’s drive gathered 10 tons of used textiles raising $4,000 for the Winter Guard Team at WHS.
Textile collection crew
Music Boosters members and students pose for a photo at Prime Storage in Wells on February 28, 2017 after finishing the loading of the WHS “Band Van” with donated textile material.  This school van had to be called into service because the Epilepsy Foundation trucks were already filled.

“Bikes for Books” to give away 50 bikes to lucky readers at WES

posted Mar 3, 2017, 11:10 AM by Michael Richards

Once again, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Maine and the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation is featuring its popular “Bikes for Books” literacy program to encourage more reading among elementary school students. 
For the second year, Ocean Lodge No. 142 is bringing the program to Wells Elementary School and will give away 50 bicycles along with helmets and tee shirts to a boy and girl from each of the school’s first through fourth grade classrooms. 

Over a three-month period, students will read school approved books that interest them.  Each book read will allow a student to enter a drawing for a bicycle.   The more books read, the greater the chance of winning a bike when names are drawn in each classroom at the end of the program in early June.  Last year, over 2,000 books were read by first and second grade students at WES and 18 students received a bike in time for summer.  

At WES this program is being coordinated with Ocean Lodge by Literary Specialist Bonnie Esty who is also an advisor with Trendsetters, a program of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation. According to a Bikes for Books brochure, the program is a statewide initiative “to foster literacy programs in schools and encourage healthy exercise.”  
WOCSD-WES Bikes for Books 2017 presentation
At a “kick off assembly at WES on February 28, 2017 are (left to right) Claire V. Tusch DVM, CVA (Past Grand Master of Masons in Maine), Kenneth Creed (Past Master of Ocean Lodge #142, Wells), Michael Cataldi (Senior Steward, Ocean Lodge #142), Wayne Smith (Past Master of Ocean Lodge #142), Timothy Yates (Past Master of Ocean Lodge #142), WES Principal Chris Roche and Alan Martin (Current Master of Ocean Lodge #142).   Missing from the photo is John Howarth also of Ocean Lodge #142.

WHS students receive 22 awards in regional segment of national art contest

posted Feb 28, 2017, 3:56 AM by Michael Richards

In February, Wells High School Art teacher Vanessa White-Cappelluti released the names of WHS students who were judged regional award recipients in the 2017 National Scholastic Art and Writing Contest.  The 11 students received a combined 22 awards in various categories including Photography, Painting, Printmaking, Digital Art, Mixed Media, Drawing and Illustration, Comic Art, and Art Portfolio. 

From January 30th to February 10th, the artwork of these and many other 7th through 12th grade Maine students was on display at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland in an exhibit titled, Maine Region Scholastics’ Exhibition.   There was also a reception for students who had artwork displayed there.

“We had an opportunity to view the exhibit of award winning work at MECA,” commented White-Cappelluti.   “Students felt honored to have their work recognized, and were impressed and inspired by the submissions from other schools.  The exhibit at Maine College of Art celebrates our young artists and reminds us of the importance of art and arts education in students’ lives,” commented White-Cappelluti.     

WHS students and the prizes awarded to them in the various categories include, Elana Fortin, two Gold Keys in Photography, a Gold Key in Printmaking and honorable mention in both Printmaking and Painting; Nick Maynard, a Gold Key in Photography, two Silver Keys in Photography plus honorable mention in Photography; Lauren Dow, a Silver Key in Photography; Sam Livingston, a Silver Key in Photography and honorable mention in Digital Art; Sydnie Sayward, a Silver Key in Drawing and Illustration and honorable mention in both Photography and Art Portfolio; Olivia Scuilli, a Silver Key in Painting; Wansley Demos, honorable mention in Photography; Alyssa Loukola, honorable mention in Mixed Media; Savannah Martin, honorable mention in Drawing; Emma Mercier, honorable mention in both Comic Art and Digital Art; and Blair Tweed, with two honorable mentions in Photography.

White-Cappelluti indicated that the two students who received Gold Keys, Elana Fortin and Nick Maynard, had their winning art submitted to the National Scholastic Art and Writing Contest with results expected to be released in March.

Nick Maynard also received Second runner-up in the First Congressional District portion of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition.  At MECA, Maynard had the opportunity to meet Congresswoman Chellie Pingree who first informed Maynard of his win in that contest. 
WHS Scholastic Art Winners 2017
Caption: In the photo (l to r) are Lauren Dow (sitting with blue shirt), Wansley Demos, Sam Livingston, Emma Mercier, Blair Tweed, Alyssa Loukola, Channing Wang, Nick Maynard, Sydnie Sayward, and Elana Fortin.  Missing for this photo were Savannah Martin and Olivia Scuilli.

Maynard places in prestigious Congressional art contest

posted Feb 27, 2017, 7:24 AM by Michael Richards

Earlier this winter, Wells High School junior Nicholas Maynard received one Gold and two Silver Key awards plus an honorable mention for his art work submitted in the regional portion of the 2017 National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest. 

One of those art submissions, a Silver Key winning photograph of a local farm animal, went a step further in recognition.  In early February, Maynard was notified by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree that his image of a cow on Spiller Farm in Wells had been recognized in Maine’s First District portion of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition, a contest sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“I am so pleased to inform you that, earlier this week, judges for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition selected your photograph, Moo You, as Second Runner-up for Maine’s First Congressional District.  Congratulations!” wrote Pingree who added at the close of her letter, “I applaud this special recognition and your commitment to making and sharing your art.”  

High school students who have received either a Gold or Silver Key in the Scholastic Art Contest are eligible to enter their work into the Congressional Art Competition.   

According to Visual Arts Director Julie Horn of the Maine Arts Commission, Maynard’s photograph along with 11 other winning student entries from Maine’s First and Second Congressional Districts will be displayed on the first floor of the Maine State House from April 1st through May 3rd.   There will also be a reception for the 12 student artists at the Blaine House in Augusta on May 4th.  

Maynard said he saw a lot of cows in front of a house one day while driving past Spiller Farm in Wells.   He spotted one cow in particular who stood out from the others standing next to a fence. He took an image of the animal with his Cannon camera and later, with some computer editing, achieved a certain look that became, Moo You.

“I am very glad that I received recognition for it,” said Maynard of his somewhat haunting image which is currently displayed on the Maine Arts Commission’s website:

According to the web page of the Maine Arts Commission, “The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents.”  Further down the statement continues, “The Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards to select the artwork.”   
Maynard with prized photo
Sitting in the Art classroom of Vanessa White-Capelluti at Wells High School is Nicholas Maynard holding his winning photograph titled, Moo You.

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