News About WOCSD

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

Wells High School to hold two public open house events

posted Feb 2, 2016, 4:12 AM by Michael Richards

On Thursday, February 4th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, February 9th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wells High School will hold an open house for the public to visit the school and view the completed Phase 1 of a three-phased renovation project.  Those attending will get to view the new main entrance, lobby, main office, adjacent offices, classrooms, conference rooms, science and media labs, library and common areas for study.  For more information please call WHS at 207-646-7011.

A student commons area adjacent to WHS’s new library (not in photo). Under the five television monitors is a first floor glassed-in conference room.

Wells Elementary School recognized by American Heart Association

posted Jan 29, 2016, 4:30 AM by Michael Richards

On January 27th, during a school-wide assembly, two Wells Elementary School 4th grade students presented awards from the American Heart Association to WES Principal Marianne Horne and Assistant Principal Ken Spinney.   These awards are in recognition of WES receiving first place in its Jump Rope For Heart division and for being the top Jump Rope For Heart fund raising school in the state of Maine for 2015.  In that year, WES students raised $17,900 in pledges by skipping rope.  In December 2015, Physical Education teacher Kathy Calo (not in the photo) was recognized by the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee for her coordination of student participation in the annual Jump-A-Thon at WES which, to date, has raised over $200,000 for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program and heart research.  From left to right are Marianne Horne, Maya Grainger, Colton Harding and Ken Spinney.   
Students receiving award

WHS cuts ribbon to open up portion of renovation project

posted Jan 24, 2016, 8:30 AM by Michael Richards

On January 14th, Wells High School (WHS) celebrated the completion of Phase 1 of a three-phased renovation project.  This 88,000 square foot portion of the locally funded, 26.85 million dollar project approved by Wells and Ogunquit voters in 2013, includes a new entrance to the school, lobby, main office, adjacent offices, classrooms, conference rooms, science and media labs, glassed-in library and common areas for study. 

"The ribbon cutting was symbolic of the Wells-Ogunquit community coming together for our children,” commented WOCSD School Committee Chair, Helena Ackerson about the event.  “It also showed the dedication and emphasis that this community has on ensuring that our students get the best when it comes to education and facilities.  There is still a lot of work ahead, but I'm excited to see what the next phase brings!"

Phase 2 and 3 will include a new cafeteria and kitchen plus a gymnasium complete with running track and a 485-seat auditorium.   According to Clerk of the Works, Brad Goodale, the entire 130,000 sq. ft. project is expected to be completed by the end of August 2016.  And according to Assistant Principal, Josh Gould, the school will now have the capacity to hold 550 students if needed. The current population of WHS is 439.  

“It’s been a very exciting time for us building up to this particular moment where we can cut the ribbon and welcome our staff and our students into this beautiful building that our community has done so much to support,” said WHS Principal Eileen Sheehy.  “We look forward to welcoming our community in during our Open House on February 4th and February 9th, 6:30 to 7:30 pm.”    

Sheehy added, “…Superintendent Daly has been a huge support and as well as leader in the entire process along with our school committee which has had unwavering support for us as well.”
Ribbon Cutting
In the new WHS lobby at a brief ribbon cutting ceremony at WHS (left to right) are Assistant Principal, Josh Gould; Vice Chair of the WOCSD School Committee, Jason Vennard; Chair, Helena Ackerson; WHS Student Council members Anna Furness and Taryn Lambert; Superintendent, Jim Daly and WHS Principal, Eileen Sheehy

Student Commons

A student commons area adjacent to the school’s new library (not in photo). Under the five television monitors is a first floor glassed-in conference room

‘Shootin for a Cure’ raises thousands for breast cancer and heart health

posted Jan 24, 2016, 8:14 AM by Michael Richards

They have done it once again.  For the seventh consecutive year, participants in the combined Girls Basketball Programs at Wells Junior High School and Wells High School have raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer care and women’s heart health in a day-long event known as Shootin’ for a Cure (SFAC).

On January 16th, 68 girls in a free throwing competition raised nearly $34,000 for the Breast Cancer Living Well and Heart Care for Women Programs at York Hospital.   The athletes did this by first securing pledges in the community then, on the 16th, shooting free throws for much of that Saturday morning and afternoon. 

Later that day, prior to a Lady Warriors Varsity home game with Traip Academy at Wells High School, Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Don Abbott and team members dressed in pink uniforms presented a ceremonial pink check for the amount raised to York Hospital CEO, Jud Knox and several hospital staff. 

“SFAC is the most important day of our season,” commented Abbott. “This year, the addition of a ‘Survivor Challenge’ added an even more personal element to the day. Each varsity player was paired with a cancer survivor who took 10 shots.  Some (survivors) were relatives, others community members, one was a former player of ours. It was a special moment to see the joy from these women!”

Abbott said it was the closeness to a friend whose wife had breast cancer and knowing some team members whose relatives were suffering with the disease that inspired him to initiate Shootin’ for a Cure.  The first SFAC was held in 2010.  

To date, Shootin’ for a Cure along with a partnership between the Lady Warriors and the Wells Rotary Club in the sponsorship of the Chuck Cumming Memorial Golf Tournament have raised approximately $194,000 for the York Hospital programs.

Throughout the 16th, sixty-eight 5th through 12th grade student athletes shot 50 free throws each.  According to Abbott, this year’s free throw champion was Natalie Thurber, who tied the SFAC record of 47 out of 50, a score also held by alumni Kelly Beisswanger and Abby Moody.  The fundraiser champ this year was Karissa Kenyon who raised $2,052.   
Lady Warriors
The Wells Lady Warriors

Submarine crew visits with elementary students

posted Dec 22, 2015, 11:48 AM by Michael Richards

Four petty officers and one chief petty officer from the U.S.S Scranton submarine made a day-long visit to Wells Elementary School to visit with students and staff on November 9th.
In the morning the sailors participated in the school’s annual Veterans Day K-4 assembly. Some of them commented on photos being shown on a large screen about life onboard a sub.  These pictures showed a typical bunk bed area and the kitchen and dining area plus a photo of the Scranton currently dry docked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard ((PSNY) for an engineering overhaul.

Later sailors visited various classrooms, dined with students at mid-day in the cafeteria, and participated in playground activities at recess times in the afternoon.   Also these men helped pack up 68 cases of donated food and toiletry items to be shipped to service men and women at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington and Landstubl Regional Medical Center in Germany. 

One of the sailors visiting WES in November was MM1(SS) Steven Weston who, along with others from PNSY, have volunteered their time since September of 2014 to work with WHS students on a class project to construct a two-person, self-powered hydrofoil craft.  

The appearance of the crew members at the WES was made possible by Nicole Weston, wife of Steven Weston and a school volunteer, plus WOCSD Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley.  Wells, Maine is the official host city for the U.S.S. Scranton’s crew while the submarine is overhauled at PNSY.

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At the entrance to the “Café” at Wells Elementary School on November 9th are (from left to right) Petty Officer Soukup, Petty Officer Weston, Chief Camac, Petty Officer Wring and Petty Officer Bequette.

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Standing behind first grade students on the WES playground is ET2(SS) Soukup (at far left), MM1(SS) Weston (center) and CC1(SS) Bequette at far right.  The other sailors visiting the school but not in this photograph included MM1(SS) Wring, and Chief Petty Officer Camac.   

Airing date for WES kindergarten concert

posted Dec 22, 2015, 11:43 AM by Michael Richards

The 2015 Kindergarten Winter Concert at Wells Elementary School was held on December 16th before a standing room only audience.   The production was video recorded and will air on Time Warner Channel 3 in Wells and Ogunquit at the following times:  Daily from December 24th through January 3rd at 9:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The concert featured holiday and patriotic songs performed by students from the classes of Jen Abbott, Sue Bastille, Marcia Millian, Sandy Robinson and Cathy Fox.  Stage decorations of large snowflakes and holiday trees were created by ed techs Deb Erskine, and Kelly Brown along with Art teacher Sandy Brennan. 

Between songs, each class, under the direction of their teachers, recited a poem in unison.  Songs and poems were introduced by students.  Assisting students on stage were Erskine and Brown. 

“It was a community event supported by many of our wonderful WES staff,” described Music teacher Karen Taylor of this annual production at WES in 2014.  “Students were all dressed up and the stage was decorated as a winter scene.” 

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Preparing to depart the stage after their annual winter concert are the Kindergarten students at WES.   

Hour of Code observed in the Wells Ogunquit CSD

posted Dec 18, 2015, 6:45 AM by Michael Richards

December 7th through the 13th was designated Computer Science Education Week, a time to generate a beginning interest in computer science among K-12 students and others.  A component of this week is known as “Hour of Code” a popular growing phenomenon in education around the globe.

And just what is Hour of Code?  “It is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour,” explained the Wells Ogunquit CSD’s Director of Technology Michael Richards.  “There are many layers of activities to fit all learners BK-12 regardless of the type of device you use.” 

Working with students in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD during Hour of Code activities this year were educators Marty Cryer at Wells Elementary School, Beth Goodwin and Kerry Georgitis at Wells Junior High School and Cheryl Oakes with Andre Mercier in the computer lab at Wells High School.  According to Goodwin, this coding involves Java Script and is a guided step by step process.  Students work with a split screen with coding on one side and the resulting reinforcing animation on the other. 

“Anyone can learn to code because code is just writing line by line instructions for a computer to follow,” said 5th grade Resource teacher Goodwin who, along with 8th grade Science teacher Kerry Georgitis, held several hours of coding sessions during the week in the computer lab.   With just one hour of instruction and practice, Goodwin is confident that anyone can gain enough information to understand what basic computer coding is and therefore become able to create a simple game to play. 

According to Cryer, learning to code involves many components including “critical thinking, high order thinking, math, reading, science and problem solving all wrapped up into one neat package.”  Goodwin would add “resilience” on the part of students to that list. 

During this week, Goodwin’s students were using the website code.org and other similar websites to learn about creating code with such games as Minecraft, Flappy Bird and a Star Wars themed game.  Disney Pixar also offers an elementary coding experience online based around the movie, Frozen.  To get coding skills and have fun at it, Goodwin also recommends a free app called Box Island, which can be downloaded for free on an iPhone. 

According to Richards, code.org offers teachers one day workshops “…to prepare educators to introduce computer science basics in a format that's fun, accessible and relevant to the youngest learners. Students of all ages enjoy learning these fun and applicable skills,” commented Richards. 

Participating in an hour of code at WJHS are fifth grade students Ryan Chase (at right), Tabitha Boudle (opposite Chase) and Kelci Nguyen sitting further down the table next to 8th grade Science teacher Kerry Georgitis.  Fifth grader Ryan Chase commented to Goodwin at one point during the week, “I can’t believe we are in the basement of the school playing Minecraft !”

5th Grade Resource teacher Beth Goodwin assisting students participating in an hour of code in the basement computer lab at WJHS on December 10, 2015.  

Patriot’s Pen winners recognized

posted Dec 11, 2015, 3:48 AM by Michael Richards

In a ceremony honoring veterans with Wreaths Across America and Wells Junior High School students and staff present at Ocean View Cemetery on December 7th, six WJHS students were recognized for their writings and placement in the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for 2015.   All six received a framed certificate awarded to them by WJHS Principal Chris Chessie and ELA 8th grade teacher Julie Esch. 

Patriots Pen is a national contest sponsored locally by VFW Post 6545 and Post Commander Ken Kingsley in Kennebunk.  Interested 6th through 8th grade students write about their own interpretation of a provided central theme. This year’s theme was, "What Does Freedom Mean to Me?”.    

Those from WJHS placing in the contest included eighth grade student Ashleigh Bolduc who received 2nd place and seventh grader Natalie Hanagan who received 3rd place.  Students receiving honorable mention included Sophie Killam (6th grade), Grace Bradish (8th grade), Hannah Bradish (8th grade), and Katie Plourde (8th grade).  These young writers are students of teachers Mary Rand, Marilyn Zotos and Julie Esch.  

“The essays written this year conveyed a lot of emotion, and the student writers did a nice job of describing the constitutional rights ─namely freedoms─ that make our country so special,” commented teacher Esch.   “Many student writers have familial military ties; others are simply grateful for the men and women who protect, help, and safeguard their freedoms, past and present.  I love this essay because it helps kids feel connected to something bigger than themselves; the written pieces and the connection they provide is well worth the effort.”

Shortly after the wreath ceremony, the Wreaths Across America convoy departed WJHS on its journey to Arlington, Virginia with thousands of holiday wreaths to be placed at gravesites in Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere.  

According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) website (vfw.org), 125,000 6th through 8th grade students enter the Patriot’s Pen contest each year. 

Patriot Pen essayists and teachers:  From left to right in the first row are Hannah Bradish, Katie Plourde, Grace Bradish and Natalie Hanagan.   Top row (l to r) are Julie Esch, Ashleigh Bolduc, Sophie Killam, Marilyn Zotos Mary Rand. 

“Wreaths Across America” Visits Wells Junior High School

posted Dec 10, 2015, 4:26 AM by Michael Richards

Shortly after noon on an unseasonably warm and sunny December 7th, “Wreaths Across America”, a convoy of semi-trailers carrying thousands of holiday remembrance wreaths to be placed at the gravesites of veterans in Arlington National Cemetery and other locations stopped at Wells Junior High School to participate in a wreath laying ceremony with students at Ocean View Cemetery.   

Since 2007, this convoy has included a stop at WJHS on its 750-mile, seven-day trek to the Washington D.C. area from Harrington, Maine, where the wreaths are assembled at the Worcester Wreath Company.  

According to Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co. and passenger in the convoy, this trip to the Washington D.C. area marks the 24th such journey begun modestly in 1992 from an idea of Worcester’s (and then with assistance from then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe securing permission) to bring a surplus of his company’s holiday wreaths for placement at gravesites at Arlington.  Mr. Worcester indicated that in 2015 his company made 241,000 holiday wreaths, 70,000 of which were being carried by the current convoy.  

Shortly after the trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles plus escorting police cars from various area police departments were parked, members of the convoy, area veterans, dignitaries and over 400 junior high students and staff crossed Rt. 1 to Ocean View Cemetery.  Those representing the school included Principal Chris Chessie who choreographed the event, Danielle Adams a teacher who sang the “Star Spangled Banner”, Jacob Lareau (from WHS) who played “Taps” and nineteen students who placed wreaths at a Civil War monument.  The 20 students placing wreaths included Skye Randall, Precious Nickless, Mackayla Giles, Tristan Michaud-Nolan, Elle Meffert, Iceseas Hanson, Camden Sevigny, Mikey Ducharme, Kai Rosenberg, Kate Pinette, Victoria Haywood, Lucas Randall, Summer Sayward, Evan Cash, Tim Martell, Katie Plourde, Dan Metzler, Ashlynn Dolan, Ashleigh Bolduc and Matt Tufts.   

At the microphone introducing participants was WJHS Principal Chris Chessie.  “The dream of Mr. Worcester is to honor all that have given their lives with a wreath from Harrington Maine,” said Chessie.  “…this dream still lives and grows each year.” 

“We’ve been coming here for a lot of years and we appreciate what Mr. Chessie does for us,” commented Mr. Worcester before the convoy departed WJHS for its next stop in Kittery. “We’re blessed,” Worcester added. 

The convoy was scheduled to reach Arlington, Virginia on what is now designated National Wreaths Across America Day which this year falls on Saturday, December 12th. 
                                                      
Principal Chessie also wishes to thank local veterans James Kilbride and John Mixon for their assistance with planning this event.

A wreath laying ceremony at Ocean View Cemetery with over 400 WJHS students on December 7, 2015

A sign on one of the vehicles in the Wreath Across America convoy visiting WJHS on December 7, 2015

Wells High School Student Jacob Lareau playing Taps at Ocean View Cemetery on December 7, 2015

Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co (left) and Principal of WJHS Chris Chessie on December 7, 2015

Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co, leaving WJHS with the Wreaths Across America convoy for the convoy’s next stop in Kittery, Maine on December 7, 2015

School Committee Recognizes Achievement

posted Dec 7, 2015, 3:39 AM by Michael Richards

On December 2nd, the Wells Ogunquit CSD School Committee recognized several students and staff for achievement in sports and color guard. 

Recognized were three members of the WHS Color Guard Team, Adrienne Perron, Anna Libby, Mallory Cashman and Coach Bailey Smith.  The four traveled to New York City to participate in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.   “They are being recognized for representing the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District in a national setting,” said School Committee Chair Helena Ackerson.  “Their dedication to their guard program and to the school community is greatly appreciated.”

Wells Elementary School Physical Education teacher Kathy Calo was recognized for her year-after-year coordination of the school’s annual Jump-A-Thon which, in 29 years, has raised over $200,000 for Jump Rope for Heart and heart research.  “Congratulations to Kathy who has been named as this year’s Jump Rope for Heart Coordinator of the Year based upon her leadership, enthusiasm and effort,” said Ackerson.
WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly, Kathy Calo, and School Committee Chair Helena Ackerson 

Wells High School Physical Education teacher Mark Lewia was recognized for being picked High School Assistant Football Coach of the Year by the Campbell Conference this fall.   “Mark Lewia embodies all that we want in individuals who coach our youth…,” wrote Wells Warriors Football Coach Tim Roche for Lewia’s Campbell Conference honor.  Lewia has coached football at WHS for 30 years.    

WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly, Mark Lewia and School Committee Chair Helena Ackerson.

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