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News About WOCSD
According to Wells High School Art teacher Vanessa White-Capelluti, seven of her students (six seniors and one junior) have placed and/or received honorable mention in the annual Region 1 Scholastic Art Awards Contest for 2015, a contest sponsored and hosted at the state level by the Maine College of Art in Portland.
Senior Brooke Nucci received two Silver Key awards, one in the Digital Art category and the other in the Printmaking category. Her work, along with the art work of other Silver and Gold Key winners from Maine, is now on display at the Maine College of Art in Portland until February 7th.
“It is always nice to have students' work recognized by an outside panel of artists,” commented White-Capelluti. “These awards will give them confidence and direction moving forward toward their AP exams.”
The WHS students receiving the distinction of Honorable Mention include Brooke Nucci in the Portfolio category (photography and design), Allison Beecher “Drawing”, Bethany Berger “Digital Design”, Sarah Berger “Portfolio (photography and design)” and “Digital Art”, Briauna Doughty “Portfolio (photography)” and “Photography”, Olivia Holdsworth “Printmaking” and “Drawing” and Reed Norton “Portfolio (photography)”.
“As a competition, it’s a little different because it is not just about the merits of their work,” commented White-Capelluti about the uniqueness of the contest. “In some cases they (her students) might have been competing against each other.” White-Capelluti added that the categorization of an entry is based upon the media used and that only seniors are eligible to enter a body of their work into the Portfolio category. “Several of the students were recognized in this category. I think that is a real accomplishment.”
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards were founded in 1923. “…the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the longest running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers in the U.S.” (source: www.scholastic.com)
According to White-Capelluti, the Maine College of Art picks a panel of judges to determine Gold and Silver Key winners plus honorable mentions.
Caption: In the front row (l to r) are Brooke Nucci, Reed Norton, and Allison Beecher. In the back row (l to r) are Sarah Berger, Olivia Holdsworth, Briauna Doughty, and Bethany Berger.
The 2014 Winter Kindergarten Concert at Wells Elementary School was held on December 18th before a standing room only audience. The production was video recorded and has been airing on Time Warner Channel 3 in Wells and Ogunquit. For those who may have missed this program, it will be shown one more time on these channels on Friday, January 16th at 7:00 p.m.
The concert featured holiday and patriotic songs performed by students from the classes of Jen Abbott, Sue Bastille, Roni Johnson, Marcia Millian, Sandy Robinson and Maureen DeFelice (begindergarten teacher). Assisting teachers with this production included substitute teacher Kim Blanchard and Ed Techs Carol Gilblair, Kelly Brown and Deb Erskine.
Between songs, each class, under the direction of their teachers, recited a poem in unison. Songs and poems were introduced by students.
“It was a community event supported by many of our wonderful WES staff,” described Karen Taylor from the music program at WES. “Students were all dressed up and the stage was decorated as a winter scene.”
Caption: Preparing to depart the stage after their annual winter concert are the kindergarten students of WES for 2014-15.
The fourth grade class of Pamela Lear at Wells Elementary School held its annual two-day celebration of Thanksgiving November 24th and 25th starting with a class luncheon on the first day followed by a gathering of all fourth graders for a slice of homemade pie on the next.
According to Lear, this observance of Thanksgiving in her class is really about helping students realize a deeper meaning of the holiday, a time to focus less on one’s self and more on others, being thankful for what one has and the unselfish act of giving to others.
In preparation for the luncheon, students learned about bread making, table etiquette, and a proper table setting. They also made placemats and turned paper plates into tree ornaments. Parents and grandparents also attended the luncheon.
The sixty small loaves of bread baked were wrapped and secured with a ribbon. One was given to each student to give to someone special in their life as a gift of ‘thanks’.
The following afternoon, all fourth grade students with teachers and staff gathered in a common area adjacent to the fourth grade wing for what could easily be labeled a ‘pie festival’. A large variety of pies with fillings ranging from apple to pumpkin cheesecake made by parent volunteers were pre-sliced and served by guest servers including Superintendent Ellen Schneider.
After dessert, several of Lear’s students plus students from other classes went to one of several “Thanks ‘Giving’ Trees” decorated with paper plate ornaments inscribed with individual messages of what each student was thankful for. They pulled off their own ornament and read what they were thankful for. Some of what kids expressed thanks included, their house, mom, family, life, freedom and money. One boy, Emerson Clark, said he was simply thankful for his cat.
Along with Lear, other staff assisting with the pie festival included Mirna Davila, Michele Guerrette, Donna Longley, and Intern Rachel Purgiel.
Caption: Students with a slice of their favorite pie wait for fourth grade teacher Pam Lear to cover the dessert with lots of whip cream.
Caption: Standing next to a “Thanks Giving Tree” (l to r) are Ethan Ordway, Riley Bolton and WES Intern Rachel Purgiel. These students are displaying their placemats and holding loaves of bread that they helped create and will give as a gift of thanks.
At the start of the current school year, a new class at Wells High School, Hydrofoils Engineering, began meeting with the goal of designing and constructing an actual 16 foot, human powered hydrofoil boat capable of achieving lift over water. Those involved, including students, two teachers and volunteer advisors from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PSNY) and the U.S.S. Scranton submarine, hope to have this ‘from scratch’ project completed and ready for a test run in Wells Harbor at the end of school in June.
To say this undertaking is ambitious and a bit complex is perhaps an understatement. Technology students with little or no experience with this type of ‘hands-on’ endeavor must employ a mix of math, technology, engineering and science to design, create and integrate hull, propulsion, stabilization and foil systems in order to make this craft move.
As of December, the class, co-taught by Technology teacher Jason Hludik and Physics teacher Chrys Demos, has collected materials and conducted tests including a hydro test experimenting with smoke to simulate water flow. However, to help enhance the project, and make it successful a list of needed materials remains to be filled.
At the top of the list is a 3D printer for rapid prototyping and design testing followed by epoxy resin and production materials for composite hull building including fiber glass cloth, a flow visualization tunnel, vacuum pump, and related vacuum infusion materials for composite structure forming and manufacturing. The cost of these items is estimated to be $8,200.
Since this project is not covered in the school budget, students and teachers must turn to fundraising for donations of material and/or funds to purchase remaining items and components.
Individuals and/or area businesses interested in contributing to the project by making either a financial or material donation need to first contact Jason Hludik or Chrys Demos at Wells High School either by phone at (207) 646-7011 or email to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: From September of 2014: Planning to create a hydrofoil are (back row from left to right): Trevor Thompson (PNSY), Rick Cecchetti (PNSY), Dave Hawk (PNSY), Steven Weston (USS Scranton), Kyle Goodale, Ryan Marsh, Jason Hludik, Chrys Demos and Gavin Turnbull. Front row (l to r): Zack Pierce, Nate Ouellette, Erskine Lothrop, Dan Charpentier, Jake Wilson and David Jacobs.
Caption: To gather real time water performance data, students in Hydrofoils Engineering at WHS conduct a hydro test in October employing fan blown smoke into a special box to create a visual representation of water flow.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear,” so said a group of 50 students in unison, before they commenced two brief impromptu holiday concerts on December 22nd. The quote was from the holiday movie, Elf and the carolers were Multi 3-4 and fourth grade students from three classrooms at Wells Elementary School.
Three days before Christmas, the contingent of students, staff and parent volunteers began by walking from their school to Wells High School where they sang several holiday favorites to the older students in the school’s lobby.
Next they walked a short distance to Wells Town Hall where they were greeted at the front door by Town Manager Jon Carter and staff members, some of whom watched the carolers singing in the courtyard below from the front windows of the building’s second floor.
With virtually no snow on the ground and warmer than usual temperatures, the children sang from their repertoire of four songs including Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Accompanying the group were teachers Beth Bush, Annie Brown, Melissa Stapleton plus parent volunteers. This is the second year for this group to go caroling with last year’s caroling limited to inside visiting classrooms at WES.
“Yes, I think this should be the start of a tradition,” commented Melissa Stapleton when asked about the possibility of student caroling becoming a new school tradition. “Next year, I would like to make stops at WJHS and the Superintendent's office,” continued the Multi 3-4 teacher who added, “Teaching is so much more than academics in the classroom, it is an opportunity to teach kids to care and to give back. We are so fortunate to have a shared campus in Wells. By caroling at WHS and Wells Town Hall, it was an opportunity for us to come together as a community.”
Town Manager Carter and staff appeared pleasantly surprised and pleased to take a break from town business to step outside to meet and listen to the school singers. Carter commented that the visit by the carolers “…was a great seasonal event” and added that the he and staff “hope we can elaborate on it and make it an annual event!”
Caption: At right of the entrance to Wells Town Hall is Town Manager Jon Carter along with staff and others taking a short break to listen to several holiday classics sung by students of Wells Elementary School. WES teacher Melissa Stapleton is also facing the carolers at far left.
Sometimes, thanks to hard work and unexpected good luck, a school assignment can exceed all the expectations of a teacher or, to use a baseball metaphor, hit a home run. Such was the case with Wells Junior High School eighth grade student Karissa Kenyon when, to the delight of her and surprise of fellow classmates and school staff, retired Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant accepted her invitation to be a guest speaker at WJHS and a part of her Social Studies project.
This fall, one of Kenyon’s teachers, Matt Coleman, assigned his class to examine the subject of immigration. For this assignment, Coleman asked students to select different angles to approach this often polarizing subject.
Kenyon decided to research the impact that immigration has had on baseball over the years. To do this, she examined the career of pitcher Luis Tiant and his journey from being a Cuban ballplayer in Castro’s Cuba to becoming an American playing in the Major Leagues.
As luck would have it, Kenyon’s dad had a chance encounter with Tiant at a local convenience store in Wells. The two talked about Karissa’s project and Tiant agreed to a telephone interview with her. Next Tiant accepted an invitation from Kenyon to visit Coleman’s class and speak about immigration.
Coleman found that the soft-spoken Tiant was a “great speaker” who offered many anecdotes. “He had so many positive things to say, really good stuff,” said Coleman.
Tiant also visited Anne Gallo’s classroom to interact with students. Gallo, a big Red Sox fan and teaching teammate of Coleman, helped bring students up to speed about Tiant’s baseball career and legacy by using clippings and photos to make a display.
Tiant, the subject of the film, “Last Son of Havana” spent two hours at the school. He not only spoke and took questions but showed his World Series ring, signed autographs, posed for photos and talked about his famous pitching windup move. “If it is not working for you, you have to change it,” Coleman quoted Tiant as saying about his pitching style and life in general.
“It was great,” said Coleman of Tiant’s visit. Coleman said he wanted students to make the issue of immigration three dimensional but never expected a student to produce a real life immigrant, much less one who is also a famous baseball player. “She took it (the project) several notches above that,” said Coleman.
Luis Tiant, whose father was also a baseball pitcher, pitched for other Major League teams besides the Sox in his illustrious career. He played for Boston from 1971 to 1978, which included pitching in the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Caption: Sitting at the front of Anne Gallo’s class room at WJHS with student Karissa Kenyon on December 12th is Red Sox great Luis Tiant (photo courtesy of WJHS student John Box)
Attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II survivor RMC USN (Ret.) Robert Coles of Machias (center) visited Wells Junior High School on December 8th and spoke to students in the school’s library about his experiences in the Navy especially those memories from the morning of December 7, 1941 when a 17 year-old Coles witnessed Imperial Japan’s sneak attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Accompanying Coles to WJHS was fellow veteran and friend Dennis Boyd MM1 Navy (Ret.) of Cutler (standing at far right). On the day before coming to Wells, Coles was at Cheverus High School for an observance of the 73rd anniversary of the assault on Pearl Harbor and for a sendoff for the Wreaths Across America convoy bound for Arlington National Cemetery. Coles was invited to speak at WJHS by Librarian Lynn Mercier. Also in the photo is ELA and Social Studies teacher Rachel Stockwell (second row) and WJHS students.
In a school wide assembly honoring veterans at Wells Junior High School on December 8th, four students were recognized in front of their peers for placing in this year’s patriotic themed VFW Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest sponsored locally by VFW Post 6545 in Kennebunk.
Each year, this national creative writing contest provides interested students a central theme to ponder and write about. This year’s theme was "Why I Appreciate America's Veterans".
Those placing included eighth graders Hailey Tostenson (Third Place), Daisy Aromando (First Place), and Delaney O'Brien (Second Place). Also placing was Wells High School freshman Estelle Reardon, who received Second Place in Voice of Democracy, the VFW’s high school version of Patriot's Pen.
“The contest gives students a great opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy,” commented WJHS ELA eighth grade teacher Julie Esch. “All three of this year’s (WJHS) winners were from my class, and I am extremely proud of their fine writing.”
According to Esch, Daisy Aromando's first place essay will advance to regional competition for judging. “Essays are judged on how well students understand, develop, and present theme,” commented Esch. First place winners at the regional level can advance to the VFW’s state and national competitions.
Shortly after this assembly, the Wreaths Across America caravan made a brief, curb stop at Wells Junior High School on its annual trek to Arlington, Virginia with thousands of holiday wreaths for Arlington National Cemetery.
Caption: Local winners in this year’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest include (l to r) WJHS students Hailey Tostenson (Third Place), Daisy Aromando (First Place), and Delaney O'Brien (Second Place). Also placing was WHS freshman Estelle Reardon, who received Second Place in Voice of Democracy, the VFW’s high school equivalent to Patriot's Pen.
Wells High School senior, Megan McDonald has been named Athlete of the Month for October 2014 at Wells High School. This award is in recognition of her academics, sportsmanship, and participation on the WHS Field Hockey team as center mid-fielder, essentially a defensive position in a sport very similar to that of ice hockey.
Presenting McDonald with the Athlete of the Month Award on December 5th was Activities Director Jack Molloy and Pamela Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate, one of two sponsors of Athlete of the Month at WHS.
“Megan is receiving this award because she was instrumental in the success of the Field Hockey team which made it to the playoffs this year,” said Moody-Maxon. “We’re pleased to give this award to Megan because not only is she a great role model on and off of the field but she’s also a really genuinely good person. She is very humble, which is nice to see in a scholar athlete, and she’s always thinking about others and her teammates and not so much herself.”
Another factor in McDonald’s selection for Athlete of the Month was her nomination to be one of three finalists for Western Maine Conference Field Hockey Player of the Year. Although she did not reach this top spot, Moody-Maxon described McDonald’s nomination as a “great accomplishment”.
“It feels really exciting. I didn’t expect to get it,” said McDonald about her selection for October. McDonald, the only senior on the team, described this past season with the younger squad members as “a lot of work” and “fun”. She said that she did not score any goals this season but had seven field goal assists.
Athletes picked to receive Athlete of the Month are selected by WHS’s Activities Director Jack Molloy and Principal Jim Daly. This award is also sponsored by the Cole Harrison Insurance Agency.
Caption: From left to right is Pam Moody-Maxon, Megan McDonald and Jack Molloy.
On December 1st, close to 100 second and multi 1-2 grade students from Wells Elementary School embarked on their annual journey by rail from Wells to Portland bringing toys to a collection point of the Toys for Tots Foundation, a mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. Each child brought along one unwrapped toy to give to Marines at the Amtrak station in the Portland Transportation Center.
“This event has been going on for several years now and is quite the tradition,” commented Assistant Principal Ken Spinney about the Polar Express-like ride to Portland each holiday season. Spinney, along with teachers and parent volunteers, accompanied the students in two train coaches. Wells-Ogunquit students have been taking this round trip, courtesy of Amtrak and the Downeaster, each December since 2010.
Their toy collection campaign and subsequent trip to Portland allows students to display one of the core values taught at WES, ‘compassion’. And what better demonstration of compassion than for a child to give another child of a family in need a new toy for under the tree.
Before boarding the train for Portland, students were met by WES Principal Marianne Horne and WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider who waited at the station till the train had departed.
In Portland, students were met at the station by several Marines and Downeaster staff. Holiday songs were sung and a child’s book about trains was read aloud to students. Marines also answered questions from the Wells-Ogunquit group while Downeaster staff gave each student a bag of treats to enjoy along with their lunch on the ride home.
Caption: Marines speak to students of Wells Elementary School at the Amtrak station in Portland.
Caption: First four youngsters in line (right to left) are WES students Camden Mosher (at far right), Madelyn Campbell, Ragan Schank, and Camryn Chase depositing toys in Toys for Tots collection bins at Amtrak in Portland on December 1st.