News About WOCSD

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

Students and residents join together to plant flowers to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s

posted Oct 9, 2019, 2:36 AM by Michael Richards

September 21st is observed as World Alzheimer’s Day.  In the spirit of this day, fourteen Wells Junior High School students and eight community members of Avita of Wells met on September 20th at Avita to dig and plant flowers.   Purchased with funds raised from a school ‘rock-a-thon’ last June, these purple-colored perennials and annuals were planted along a walkway that links Avita with WJHS.   

Since Avita supports its community of residents who suffer from physical impairments including dementia, these plants were selected because purple is the color that represents Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia.   

Now known as the ‘Wells Junior High Avita Lunch Crew’, these volunteers in groups of 4 or 5 routinely visits the dining area at Avita four times a week throughout the school year to assist staff in serving lunch.  The total amount of volunteers in this four-year-old program currently is 28.  While at Avita they also engage in conversation and make friends with the residents.  During the last school year, one volunteer was actually providing a resident with piano lessons. 

According to physical education teacher and the group’s organizer and chaperone Renee Savage, working at lunchtime at Avita also helps these fifth through eighth-grade students fulfill their school’s service-learning requirements.  

“It was heartwarming to watch multi-generations working together to plant these purple flowers,” commented Savage who indicated that the idea for planting purple plants at Avita originated with a former student volunteer.  “The smiles on everyone’s faces proved that simply planting along a shared pathway can be beneficial to all!”


WJHS Students with their Avita Friends
Some of the community members of Avita of Wells and WJHS student volunteers after flower planting in September. Renee Savage is in the second row at far right. 


Tyler Evans named semifinalist in national scholarship program

posted Oct 2, 2019, 1:23 PM by Michael Richards

Principal Eileen Sheehy of Wells High School announced recently that senior Tyler Evans has been named a semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).   Evans is the son of Jason and April Evans of Ogunquit.   

 “Tyler has demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented Principal Sheehy.  “(He) is an outstanding student.   We are extremely proud of Tyler’s significant accomplishment on his PSATs.  This recognition is exceptional.” 

Tyler Evans is one of 16,000 students (less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors) to score in the top 3 percent of approximately 1.6 million high school juniors who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the fall of 2018.  Semifinalists in this academic competition have the opportunity to continue in the process to become a finalist and receive a scholarship in the spring of 2020. 

“It means quite a lot to me to be a semifinalist.  I worked quite a bit to prepare for the PSATs and SATs as well,” said Evans who added that he was not aware of the scholarship aspect of the competition until recently. “So it was quite the surprise to find out that I was a semifinalist.  I am really excited to find out whether or not I will actually be a finalist.”  He says he is “really into math and science” at WHS and plans to apply to MIT or Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  He indicated that he wants a career involving math and science, probably in the engineering or computer science field.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Program, “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.  We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.” 

Established in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Program is a non-profit, non-governmental program that recognizes and awards scholarship money to those who demonstrate high academic achievement and promise.  The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of Evanston Illinois.
Tyler Evans with his award


The WOCSD is currently seeking substitute teachers

posted Oct 2, 2019, 4:30 AM by Michael Richards

During a Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee meeting in September, Superintendent Jim Daly expressed a need for more athletic coaches and substitute classroom teachers.  Although the shortage of coaches has since been addressed for this semester, there remains an inordinate shortage of substitute teachers in all of the District’s three schools.   

“Anyone that would be interested, I would encourage you to apply,” said Superintendent Daly who pointed out that the pay rate for substitutes is very competitive with other area school districts.  “I just want to make people aware that there are positions open.  Anybody interested, stop in.  We’d be more than happy to help you with the process.”

At the start of the day, substitutes are greeted by an administrative assistant who will address questions and concerns.  In the classroom, a substitute should find easy-to-follow lesson plans drawn up in advance by the regular teacher who is absent.  At Wells High School and Wells Junior High School a substitute teacher arrives for work at 7:20 a.m. and is finished for the day at 2:00 p.m.  At Wells Elementary School a substitute teacher begins work at 8 a.m. and is done at three in the afternoon.   

“The elementary building is home to a great group of kindergarten through fourth-grade students,” commented WES Principal April Noble.  “…classroom and neighboring teachers and ed tech's are readily available for questions and support.  Our substitute teachers provide an essential role in educating the young minds of our community.” 

Marilyn Zotos teaches Social Studies and ELA (English and Language Arts) classes at Wells Junior High School.  “It is vital that our district have a cadre of substitute teachers that can be called in when needed,” commented Zotos.  “It is rare for most teachers to be out except for illness, but when we are sick, it is vital we have substitute teachers who can step in…”  

For more an application to substitute teach in the WOCSD please visit the office of the Superintendent in Wells located at 1460 Post Road.  An application may also be found online at www.k12wocsd.net.  For further information, please call 646-8331 during regular office hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mrs. Zotos with her ELA Students
WJHS teacher Marilyn Zotos in front of some of her current fifth grade ELA students

WHS teacher experiences German “apprenticeship model” in education

posted Oct 1, 2019, 12:06 PM by Michael Richards

Wells High School social studies and psychology teacher Kevin O’Shaughnessy joined with 12 other American and Canadian teachers to visit Germany and become “fellows” in the Goethe-Institut USA’s Transatlantic Outreach (TOP) Program, Year of German-American Friendship.   

After an orientation in Washington, D.C., the group of educators flew to Munich on July 14.  They attended a formal state dinner with the German Foreign Office and were provided with a seminar in German cultural norms and history.  Over a two-week period, the group toured cities visiting schools and businesses.   

According to a press release from TOP, these tours are to “…bring North Americans and Germans together to enhance the global competence of students, to bridge the “skills gap” between education and workforce development…”   These teaching fellowship tours are funded by the Goethe Institut Washington, Deutsche Bank, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Siemens. 

O’Shaughnessy pointed out that Germany has a two-track educational system with an apprenticeship model.  One track is referred (roughly to in English) as ‘Reality track’ and the other, ‘University track’. The first path involves vocational training mixed with regular instruction and internships.  The other track is for students who choose to go on to earn an advanced degree.  Reality involves subjects as accounting, robotics and computer technology.  The internships allow students to alternate work with in-school study. 

“Where we tend to have a ‘one size fits all education’ (in the U.S), they tend to let kids create pathways to get certificates”, said O’Shaughnessy who indicated that older German students mentor younger students and that most speak two or three foreign languages.  He also said that the study of arts is very important in German education.  The arts are “an integral part of science, tech, and math” in German education. 

“We need to provide more opportunities for our high school students to explore more apprenticeship and vocational opportunities,” commented O’Shaughnessy who has taught at WHS since 2001.  “Germany has excellent partnerships between employers and schools and that is a major reason why it has the lowest youth unemployment rates in the world”.  

“We have great kids who want to learn how to work and build things,” O’Shaughnessy continued.  He now believes that what we need to make our education better is “…to build partnerships that educate and provide workers for businesses that will help Maine grow its economy and reduce unemployment.”

Included among the other experiences that the group had in Germany was a walking tour around Berlin where they visited the Brandenburg Gate, Munich where they visited the enormous Olympiastadion and Dachau where they visited Dachau Technical School (Reality track) and Dachau High School (University track).  They also had a sobering visit to the former Nazi Dachau Concentration Camp.  And finally, the group experienced some unique accommodations including a stay in a medieval castle remade into a modern hotel. 
Mr. O'Shaughnessy posing in the library
Teacher Kevin O’Shaughnessy in the library at Wells High School

Mr. O'Shaughnessy in Germany
Teacher Kevin O’Shaughnessy at a remaining portion of the Berlin Wall

Junior high students maintain their reading over summer and observe National Read a Book Day

posted Sep 19, 2019, 9:42 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Junior High School has celebrated the fourth year of the Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s Summer Reading Program begun in 2016 to help motivate and support students to continue reading throughout the summer months and beyond.  In this program, originally proposed by WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly to the District’s school librarians, students can select the books that they want to read from a wide selection of titles. 

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids over the summer,” said Superintendent Daly who expressed satisfaction over the reading program completing its fourth year.  “Anytime we get a chance to encourage our students to read is a good thing,” he added. 

Lynn Mercier is the librarian at WJHS.  “While some students are more excited about reading than others, the program is something the students look forward to and enjoy, especially since they can keep the books,” commented Mercier who wants to credit, not only Superintendent Daly for his support, but the owner of Annie’s Book Stop in Wells, Francine Tanguay who orders and makes the paperbacks available. 

“Francine has helped immensely with the Summer Reading Program by providing generous discounts and donating many of the books over the years,” added Mercier. 

Also of note, September 6th was National Read a Book Day.  At WJHS the day was celebrated this year by approximately 250 students who participated by visiting and reading in their school’s library.  According to Mercier, students were excited to visit this “beautiful library space” again after the summer break. 

The day began with Grades 7&6 ELA teacher Laney Yeomelakis encouraging students to check books out of the library and begin reading.  Grade 6 ELA teacher Sarah Downs followed suit along with many other teachers keeping the library filled to capacity throughout the school day. 

Members of Summer Reading Program
WJHS students who assisted their younger peers with book choices while visiting their school’s library on National Read a Book Day.  This group is also representative of WJHS students who read books in this year’s Summer Reading Program

Wells Breast Cancer Center dedicated to participants in girls basketball fundraiser

posted Sep 18, 2019, 4:51 AM by Michael Richards

On September 12, 2019, York Hospital’s Wells Breast Care Center was formally dedicated in honor of the student-athletes of the Wells-Ogunquit Girls Basketball Program for raising over $270,000 for the hospital’s Breast Cancer and Living Well with Cancer funds.  This was accomplished over a decade by team members shooting free throws matched with pledges in a program called “Shootin’ For A Cure”.   
 
The idea for this annual fundraiser was that of Girls Basketball Coach Don Abbott. The program has been coordinated by a committee of seven (including Abbott) which manages and organizes this endeavor with various fundraising activities. 

Present for the dedication was current and former team members, hospital staff including physicians and others from the community.  Among the speakers who praised the contributions of the Wells girls was guest speaker Lani (Boardman) Silversides of York, an athlete, author, and cancer survivor.  

York Hospital CEO Judd Knox was also present and thanked not only the athletes but the community for their support in his remarks to those assembled.  “(This is) a wonderfully fine occasion,” said CEO Knox when asked later for a comment.  “These girls and young women have done such an awesome job over the last 10 years.  The dollars are really almost overwhelming but not nearly as meaningful as their contributions to helping other people.  That’s the whole deal,” continued Knox who says he enjoys the smiles on team members’ faces each year when they shoot for a cure.  “My reward is their smiling faces. It’s awesome,” he added. 

Every January, approximately 70 fifth through twelfth-grade team members from Wells High School and Wells Junior High School gather together for many hours on a Saturday to shoot hoops to honor pledges made by the public.  

Also attending the dedication ceremony was York Hospital Trustee John Houlihan whose daughter Kate passed away from cancer.  Houlihan stresses the importance of the Living Well with Cancer fund in helping families caring for a cancer sufferer meet expenses not covered by insurance. He said that his daughter (who lived in New Jersey) was very fond of donating to a similar fund in her area.   

The next Shootin’ for Cure event is scheduled for January 18, 2020 in the Ronco Gymnasium at Wells High School.  The event will also feature an evening basketball game with Traip Academy.  According to Shootin’ For a Cure Committee member Karen Tufts anyone can make a pledge to this program.   For more information contact Pierce Cole at pcole@wocsd.org

Members of the Lady Warriors Basketball Team at the ceremony
A mix of 5th through 12th-grade participants in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s Girls Basketball program.  They are surrounding a plaque honoring them and their teammates.

Shooting for a Cure Committee Members
The Shootin’ For a Cure Committee are, from left to right, Pierce Cole, Judy Moody, Darcy Ramsdell, Cheryl Turner, Karen Tufts, and Don Abbott.  Absent from the photo is Committee member Marty Webb. 

WHS winter guard team recognized

posted Sep 4, 2019, 2:49 PM by Michael Richards

Wells High School’s Winter Guard A-Team was recognized for its gold medal finish at the 2019 Winter Guard State Championship by the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee at the Committee’s June meeting.  This is the 6th consecutive year that the team has won top honors in this competition.  In the back row of the photo from the left is Committee member Jason Vennard, team members Emma Keniston, Annabelle Breton, Grace Stevens, Bailey Smith (team director) and WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly.  

In the front row (l to r) are Katy Cafaro, Paige Tremblay, and Isabelle Washburn
Members of the Winter guard with School Committee Member Venard and Superintendent Daly

Allaire selected Student-Athlete of the Month

posted Jul 30, 2019, 4:20 AM by Michael Richards

In June, Wells High School junior Griffin Allaire was named Student-Athlete of the Month for May of 2019.  This award is in recognition of his academics and sportsmanship on the Outdoor Boy’s Track and Field Team where he placed first in the 3200 meter and 1600 meter events at the Class C State Track and Field Championship Meet held this year at Mr. Blue High School.  Allaire, who will be a senior at WHS this fall, has now received the Student-Athlete of the Month award twice, the first for October of 2018.  

“It’s an honor,” said Allaire of the award and glad to join others at WHS who have received this distinction.   Allaire, who began running in the sixth grade, says that he tries to run five to six days a week and plans to run in the Beach to Beacon Race in Cape Elizabeth this summer. 

The Student-Athlete of the Month program is sponsored by Wells High School, the Cole Harrison Insurance Agency and Moody Maxon Real Estate.  Presenting Allaire with a Student-Athlete of the Month plaque on June 12th was Wells-Ogunquit CSD Director of Athletics 6-12 Pierce Cole and John C. Kreie who represents Cole Harrison. 

Head coach of the WHS Boys' Outdoor Track and Field team Jason Hludik was not present for the presentation but later offered his remarks.  “Griffin has made some significant progress over the last few years,” commented Hludik.  “He is easy to work with and has been very disciplined in following his training and recovery schedule.  He is striving for big things!”  

Last fall, Bob Winn, a long-time distance running coach of Allaire's commented, “He is going to have a lot of records before he leaves (high school).  He is talented, ” said Winn.     John Kreie added,   “He comes from a very athletic family who all enjoy distance running so it’s certainly in his blood and he’s a super good kid! I’m happy for him and his family.” 

WOCSD-WHS Athlete of the Month May 2019
Left to right: John C. Kreie, Griffin Allaire and Pierce Cole.

Masons award bikes to elementary students

posted Jul 1, 2019, 4:24 AM by Michael Richards

On June 13th, Masonic Ocean Lodge 142 of Wells delivered 54 new bicycles, helmets, and t-shirts to Wells Elementary School students whose names were randomly selected from their participation in the annual Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Bikes for Books literacy program.   Along with the Foundation, twenty-three local business, and 17 individual sponsors also contributed to the purchase of the bikes for the students. 

This was WES’s fourth year participating in the program which is coordinated at the school by Literary Specialist Bonnie Esty.   Over a designated period of time in the spring, K through 4th-Grade students selected extra books that interested them for reading.  Every book completed allowed each an entry into their classroom drawing for a bicycle; the more books read, the greater the chance they had of winning when names were drawn by classroom teachers during a school-wide assembly on the 13th.   Masonic members at the assembly included Allen Martin, Wayne Smith, Mike Cataldi, Ken Creed, Jim Wiggin, John Howarth, and Clair Tusch.  Absent was Master of Ocean Lodge 142 Lance Smith. 

Currently, roughly 90 Masonic lodges in Maine participate in Bikes for Books.  According to Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation’s website, the goals of the program are “to increase student reading and comprehension skills, to recognize positive student achievements, (and) to provide an attainable goal, with life-enhancing results.”   The program is not only believed to encourage children to read more but to participate more in healthy outside summer activities, away from the computer, phone and tablet screens. 

2019 Bikes for Books
Wells Elementary School students who received bicycles for their participation in Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Bikes for Books for 2019.

Students focus on the Women’s Suffrage Movement

posted Jun 19, 2019, 3:38 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Elementary School teacher Suzanne Laplante-Killoran welcomed several fourth-grade classes to the school’s second-floor atrium on June 6th to watch a presentation by her STRETCH students regarding the women’s suffrage movement in America.  The right to vote was eventually granted to women after an arduous 70 plus-year campaign ending in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Laplante-Killoran’s group first presented a quiz show followed by a panel of eight students speaking as some of the leading participants in the suffrage movement including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass.  This was followed by audience questions. 

In the “To Tell the Truth”-like quiz portion, audience members had to vote as to which one of three contestants was telling the truth in portraying Abigail Adams (1744-1818), wife of future President John Adams.  After the contestants read their statements and took questions from the audience, student Carys Ramsey finally stood up to a cheering audience as Abigail Adams.  In March of 1776, Abigail lobbied her husband with a letter urging him, a delegate at the time to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, to be mindful of women’s interests in deliberations there.   

Laplante-Killoran is the STRETCH teacher at the school.   STRETCH stands for Services To Reach Educationally Talented Children.  The upcoming 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment gave Laplante-Killoran the idea to focus her students on the women’s suffrage movement.  Students did research, wrote reports, designed tee shirts and created displays reflecting the inequality and challenges women faced before the right to vote was granted to them.  

The audience for the presentation consisted of the fourth-grade students of teachers Kathy Reeves, Trevor Hopwood, Pam Lear, Alison Clark, Beth Bush, and Melissa Stapleton. 

WES STRETCH Project 2019
Caption: From left to right are quiz show contestants Lillian Courtois, London Chadwick, and (standing as Abigail Adams) Carys Ramsey

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