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News About WOCSD
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.
The 20th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for area seniors presented by the eighth grade class at Wells Junior High School took place on November 16th. Within two hours, approximately 425 seniors had been served a traditional Thanksgiving meal in the school’s multi-purpose room.
Started in 1994 as a gesture of goodwill to the community, the dinner also serves as a service learning experience for eighth graders and the culmination of a five-week Generations Unit in Language Arts class taught by Julie Esch and Matt Coleman. In this class, students study issues related to aging and produce oral histories from interviews with residents of Sentry Hill at York Harbor.
In preparation for the feast, students made decorations, banners, napkins and decorated the dining room. They set up tables and chairs and also baked pies, On the day of the dinner students, dressed in white shirts and black slacks, greeted guests, seated them at their tables, worked in the kitchen, waited on tables and helped with clean-up. There was even a valet service provided by several high school seniors.
Occupational Therapist for WJHS and Wells High School Robin Reidy commented that she received “a full number of compliments” from many diners about the impressive work of the students. Reidy pointed out that each year brings a new group of eighth graders to work on this large event. “For some of the kids who have not had much training or served people ever, they really did a nice job stepping up,” said Reidy.
Eighth grader Lauren Bartlett was on the wait staff. With some initial trepidation about serving, Bartlett said that her job of taking orders and delivering meals to table 13 got easier as the dinner progressed. Bartlett indicated that some of the residents of Sentry Hill actually came by bus to the school a few days earlier in the week to visit and lunch with students.
Those affiliated with the Wells-Ogunquit Senior Center at Moody now make up a large portion of those who attend the Thanksgiving Dinner. “We think it is absolutely wonderful what the children do,” said Sheena Allara, Director of the Wells-Ogunquit Senior Center in Moody. Allara said that the 10 year old Center thanks the students for the dinner by making a donation to the dinner and, in June, holding an ice cream sundae party for the eighth graders. “It is juniors and seniors coming together,” said Allara.
WJHS Principal Chris Chessie offered his perspective on the large event. “It is a great opportunity for our kids and our school to give back to our community,” said Chessie. “And it is a way for us to build bridges between the many generations that come here, and learn from one another and to share. It’s just a golden opportunity for people in the community to socialize…and to share this experience.” Chessie believes that the dinner helps to reinforce school core values including respect and compassion for one other.”
School Secretary Vicki Aldridge has helped organize these dinners for 20 years. She and Principal Chessie wish to thank the following for their donations to this year’s dinner: The entire eighth grade class, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter of The Wells IGA (for the donation of 24 turkeys), Gary Leech of Congdon’s Doughts (for cooking the turkeys), PFG Northcenter, (for donating half of the fixins), Fantini Bakery (for donating 30 dozen white rolls), Wells-Ogunquit Center in Moody (for a monetary donation), Wells Dunkin Donuts (for donating coffee), Chase Farm (for donating table pumpkins), Julie Esch, Matt Coleman, Susie Dugovic, Kerry Georgitis, Beth Cilluffo, Linda Gaidimas, Anne Gallo, Jane Garnsey, Brenda Brown, Bob McBreen, Dianne Hussey, Kim McDonough, Angie Norton, and Carroll Crouch. Thanks also goes to the Nutrition Service staff at WJHS including Jan Tessier, Betsi Johnson, Hugette St. Pierre, Jennifer Sayward and Director Tyler Goodwin who carved turkey and prepared the meal’s ‘fixins’ consisting of mashed potatoes, winter squash, peas, stuffing and gravy. A thank you also goes to the group of WHS seniors who offered a valet service.
Caption: 8th grade student kitchen and wait staff in the kitchen at WJHS on November 16th.
Caption: Member of wait staff Lauren Bartlett.
Even though springtime 2015 is four months away, kindergarten students at Wells Elementary School recently took an early step towards providing for a fresh spring look to their school by planting close to 100 tulip bulbs in a green buffer area near the school’s playground.
This is the twelfth year that kindergarteners have planted tulips in the fall at various locations around the school including the school’s courtyard and on the lawn adjacent to Route 109.
The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) for WES purchased the bulbs and school volunteers pre-dug the holes.
On the afternoon of November 12th, over 95 students left recess or class to participate. They received some brief direction on planting from Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley and then were each handed a bulb by a school volunteer before picking a spot and burying their bulb. A patting down of the dirt with a hand or foot finished the process.
“The kindergarteners love to plant their bulb in the fall and look for it to bloom in the spring,” said Foley. “They all remember where they planted ‘their’ bulb.”
School volunteers for this annual event included Jen Moore, Wendy Morgan, Mallory Sutter, Erin Sullivan and Nance Hooper. This planting event is organized each year by Community Resource Coordinator Foley.
Caption: School volunteer Jen Moore handing out tulip bulbs to kindergarten students.
Caption: At right is school volunteer Erin Sullivan assisting kindergarten students bury their tulip bulbs.
Human rights activist, lecturer, and Secretary with the Darfur Community Center of Maine in Portland, El Fadel Arbab, spoke to sophomores at Wells High School on November 6th. Mr. Arbab, 31, was just 12 years old when he miraculously survived a murderous attack on his village in the region of Darfur in Sudan. The attack was carried out by the Janjaweed Militia, a group backed by the Sudanese government. After enormous hardships with little resources but a strong will to survive plus hard work, Arbab eventually made it to a new life in America. Today, Arbab speaks about genocide and his firsthand experiences with it. Arbab, who spoke at WHS a year ago, was invited back to the school by the WHS Social Studies team which consists of Michelle Brann, Paula Brayson, Kevin O' Shaughnessy, and Kristen Thompson.
Caption: Genocide survivor El Fadel Arbab speaking to a group of WHS students on November 6, 2014.
With El Fadel Arbab (right) is WHS teacher Kevin O’Shaughnessy.
On November 7th, seven veterans and two active duty service members were honored for their service to our country in what has become an annual tradition at Wells Elementary School, an assembly to honor veterans while teaching students the importance of Veterans Day. Six of the veterans were from VFW Post 6977 in York.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, 3rd grade student Riley Nichols sang the “Star Spangled Banner”. The WHS Band played patriotic songs and the WHS Color Guard performed synchronized flag routines. “The children love this,” commented Assistant Principal Ken Spinney about the added presence of the band and color guard. “It's great because our students look up to the older students and have the opportunity to see what they have to look forward to if they participate in band or color guard.”
At one point, each of the special nine guests were honored with a certificate of appreciation from the school presented to each by an individual student.
“A group of fourth graders spoke about the branches of the military and how their work relates to the freedoms we have, as well as, our district core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and trustworthiness,” commented Spinney about a portion of the assembly.
In the days leading up to this show of support for veterans, students and staff collected candy to be sent by the York VFW to those still serving in Afghanistan and Qatar.
An Army paratrooper in World War II and Vice Commander of VFW Post 6997, John Primerano Jr., spoke about what freedom means to him and the important meaning of Veterans Day.
Active military members and parents of students at WES Jeff Trudeau and Shane Maxon plus Navy veteran Dale Lear, father of WES fourth grade teacher Pam Lear attended this assembly.
Caption: Veterans from VFW Post 6977 in York who attended an assembly honoring veterans at WES on November 7th. From left to right are: Edward Benoit (Air Force), John Primerano (Army), Melvyn Bates (Army), Larry Wicker (Air Force), Charles Andrews (Navy), and Raymond Farnham (Army).
Wells High School senior Christopher Carney has been selected Athlete of the Month for September 2014. This award is in recognition of Carney’s academics, sportsmanship, and participation on the WHS Warriors Football Team as running back and linebacker on defense.
Presenting Carney with an Athlete of the Month plaque at WHS on October 30th was WHS Athletics Director Jack Molloy along with John C. Kreie of Cole Harrison Insurance Agency and Pamela Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate. Cole Harrison Insurance Agency and Moody Maxon Real Estate are sponsors of Athlete of the Month at WHS.
“Chris has worked very hard over the past few years and is very deserving of this award,” commented Kreie. “The time he spends on the practice field and the weight room bettering himself and his athletic ability is clearly paying off. Chris is not only a phenomenal athlete, but more importantly, a great kid who is very well respected amongst his peers and adults in our community as well as opponents.”
“It feels great to get this award,” said a modest Carney, who eagerly gives much credit for his award to his teammates. “I feel as if the whole team should get this award.”
Athletes picked to receive Athlete of the Month are selected by WHS’s Activities Director Jack Molloy and Principal Jim Daly.
After high school, Carney indicated that he would like to study for a career in law enforcement.
“He’s been my role model and hopefully I can fill his shoes,” said Carney about his father, who has been a police officer in Kennebunk for about 18 years.
Caption: From left to right is John Kreie, Jack Molloy, Chris Carney, and Pam Moody-Maxon standing on Warrior Memorial Field.
The music program at Wells Junior High School is holding a ‘Mattress Fundraising Sale’ November 22nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is to raise money to cover expenses to send the Wells Junior High School Choruses to two music festivals in the spring of 2015.
For one day, the Ward Gymnasium will be turned into a large mattress showroom displaying over 20 styles of new mattress sets including Simmons Beauty Rest. Featured will be memory foam and latex mattresses marked down 30 to 60 percent off retail prices. There will also be sales representatives available to answer questions.
According to WJHS Music teacher Katie Mercier, the goal of this ‘no pressure’ sale is to raise $5,000 to help the 7th and 8th grade choruses attend the Six Flags Music Festival in Agawam Massachusetts, t-shirts, and admission for all attending singers to visit Six Flags New England. In addition, money raised from the mattress sale will similarly help send 5th and 6th grade choruses to the Funtown Music Festival in May.
If you need a new mattress for your home, camp or just for a better night’s sleep, please consider attending this sales event. For more information, please call WJHS at (207)646-5142.