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 Graduation and Top Ten list for 2021

posted Jun 2, 2021, 4:45 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School will hold commencement exercises outside on Friday, June 4th at 6:00 pm on Warrior Memorial Field.  Rain dates include Saturday, June 5th or Sunday, June 6th with a starting time for either of those dates to be determined should rescheduling be needed.
    
Kate Pinette is the Class of 2021 Valedictorian and Grace Stevens is Class Salutatorian.  This year’s commencement speaker will be Bob Gilpatric, a teacher at WHS. What follows is an alphabetical listing of the top ten along with abbreviated school biographies: 

Kathryn Cafaro is the daughter of Rayanne and Anthony Cafaro.  Kathryn plans to attend the University of New Hampshire to study Mechanical Engineering.  She has been a member of “Teen Trendsetters” reading program and an integral part of two school drama productions as a performer and in assisting the tech crew.  Kathryn has received numerous Book Awards and has been a participant in the WHS Winter Guard program which earned 3rd place at the NESBA finals in 2018. She also received First Place in the Literary Achievement Awards in her sophomore and junior years.
Cafaro Top 10


Leah Cluff is the daughter of Jeanine and Steven Cluff and will be attending Husson University to study Sport Management.  Leah has been the WHS Girls Lacrosse Team manager and a key member of the WHS Soccer and Basketball teams which, the latter, became the Class B State Championship Basketball Team in 2020.  Leah received a Book award for excellence in mathematics and was honored as a Student of the Trimester.
Cluff Top 10


Connor Lavigne is the son of Joseph and Jessica Lavigne and will be attending the University of Miami to study Civil Engineering with the goal of designing sustainable,
carbon-free buildings. Connor is the 2020-2021 recipient of the Tyler/Grandmaison MELMAC Citizenship Award.  As a student-athlete, Connor participated in WHS Football,
Outdoor Track and intramural programs. He is the recipient of the Algebra Book Award, a Literary Achievement Award and honored as a Student of the Trimester.
Lavigne Top 10


Gavyn Leighton is the son of Lucas and Leya Leighton. This fall Gavyn will be attending the University of Maine at Orono to major in Mechanical Engineering.  At WHS, he has been a member of the WHS Basketball, Outdoor Track, and Soccer programs. Through these programs and as a member of these teams, Gavyn has won Regional Championships, including six Western Maine Conference Championships (two WMC Champion honors in Triple Jump, one WMC Champion honors in High Jump, one WMC Champion honor in Discus, one WMC Champion honor in Javelin, and one WMC Championship honor in Basketball).  Gavyn has also devoted over 500 hours volunteering in his community.
Leighton Top 10


Sydney McDermott is the daughter of John and Kimberly McDermott. This fall, Sydney will be attending Stonehill College to major in Psychology.  At WHS she has been a member of the Environmental Club, the Cross Country team and the Drama/Music programs.  Sydney has volunteered her time in both Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Teen Trendsetters mentoring programs. She has won numerous Book Awards, First Place in the Literary Achievement Awards, honored as a Student of the Trimester, and recognized for excellence with a Breakfast of Champions award.
McDermott Top 10


Jacob Michaud is the son of Edward and Kelly Michaud and will be attending the University of Maine at Orono to major in Computer Science.  A student-athlete, Jacob became a State Champion in the Indoor Track Hurdles event.  He also made multi-year commitments to the WHS Indoor Track, Soccer, and Outdoor Track programs.  Jacob is a member of the National Honor Society and is the recipient of numerous academic awards. Throughout his career at WHS he has achieved High Honors.  
Michaud Top 10


Lindsey Parker is the daughter of Marisa Boothby and Rick Parker.  Lindsey plans to attend Norwich University to major in Civil/Environmental Engineering. She has made four-year commitments to both Indoor Track and the Lacrosse team where she was captain.  Lindsey is a member of the National Honor Society and is the recipient of the Warrior Pride award and Book Awards in Algebra I/II.  Lindsey has participated in several clubs while at WHS including Fems in STEM, the Environmental Club, and intramural programs. 
Parker Top 10


Kate Pinette, Class of 2021 Valedictorian, is the daughter of Christopher and Paula Pinette. Kate will be attending Babson College to study Business Administration with a focus on
Marketing and Sustainability.  Senior Class Vice President and Treasurer of the Environmental Club, Kate is also a student-athlete having participated in WHS Outdoor Track, Cross Country, and Soccer programs.  Kate received a York County DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Good Citizen award and is a recipient of numerous WHS faculty awards in the areas of English, Art, Mathematics and Social Studies.
Pinette Top 10


Jonah Potter is the son of Tasha Walker Potter and Adam Phillip Potter.  In the fall, Jonah will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute majoring in Aerospace Engineering. While at WHS, he has been a four-year member of the WHS Wrestling, Football and Lacrosse teams. During this time, Jonah has served as team captain, awarded numerous coaches awards, and received a Western Maine Conference Citizenship Award.  He has won eight total State Championships at Wells High School, including two in Football, four in Team Wrestling, and two individual Wrestling State Championships.   
Potter Top 10
 

Grace Stevens, Class of 2021 Salutatorian, is the daughter of Rob and Taunya Stevens. Grace plans to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to study Animal
Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine. She is the recipient of numerous Book Awards, Student of the Trimester and Breakfast of Champions recognitions. Grace is a life-long member of the Girl Scouts organization and a dedicated member of the WHS Color Guard/Winter Guard program where she has served as captain and participant in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band program for several years.
Stevens Top 10


WHS senior receives national recognition for a creative photograph

posted Jun 1, 2021, 5:01 AM by Michael Richards

Earlier this year, Lilly Arbelo, a senior at Wells High School, received a prestigious Gold Key award in the national portion of the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  This is for a creative photograph of hers titled, “Gentle Suffocation”.   The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition is presented annually by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.  

“I was really excited,” said Arbelo recalling the day when she first learned of this honor from her art teacher Emily Knight.  “I remember I was kind of having a rough day and then my teacher, Miss Knight (called).”  According to Arbelo, both she and Knight shed a few tears while discussing this news.  “I did not expect this at all,” said Arbelo.  

“From the 230,000 artworks submitted to this year’s competition, Lilly is one of approximately 800 students who will receive the National Gold Key Distinction,” commented teacher Knight in an email.  “This is an exciting and well-deserved recognition of Lilly’s hard work and talent.”  According to Knight, six Maine students received a National Gold Key Award this year. 

According to Arbelo, she experienced PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) during her freshman and sophomore years resulting from a lingering situation that gave her the sensation of subtle suffocation.   It was that experience that inspired her to create a photo demonstrating her apparent torment and frustration.  To create that effect visually she used an old camera of her father’s, some LED lighting of hers, and an ordinary trash bag to illustrate how suffocating that experience was for her. “I didn’t expect it would get this far,” said Arbelo who plans to study Art at the University of Maine in Orono.

In February the WHS Art Department announced that nine students including Arbelo had received a combined total of 13 awards in the Maine Region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.   In the regionals, Arbelo received a Gold Key in Photography, a Silver Key in Painting and an Honorable Mention in Photography.  Those that receive a Gold Key at the regional level are invited to compete nationally.   

Normally, an in-person ceremony honoring National Gold and Silver Key Award winners takes place in New York City.  However, this year’s ceremony will be a virtual one held online on YouTube on June 9, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.   

Founded in 1923, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is described on its website (www.artandwriting.org/awards) as, “The nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.”  The contest is open to 7th through 12th grade students and is organized regionally by the Maine College of Art in Portland.
Arbelo and her award winning photograph
Wells High School senior Lilly Arbelo and her National Gold Key Award winning photo, “Gentle Suffocation"

First place winners in Wells-Ogunquit CSD writing contest listed

posted May 14, 2021, 3:18 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated May 27, 2021, 4:15 AM ]

The 35th  Annual Literary Achievement Awards writing contest in the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District continued on into 2021 despite limitations placed on it from an ongoing pandemic.  In February, 245 kindergarten through 12th-grade students were able to write and submit their writing to the contest electronically.  Following a socially distanced judging process, 58 of the students placed in the contest and their names were announced in late April.
 
This year, the top prize of $500 went to Wells High School senior Natalie Hanagan who came in first in the 12th -grade category with her entry titled, “Death of a Cat: A Small Account of Departure and Acceptance”. 
 
Other first-place winners included Kellan Burnell (kindergarten), Bradley Martin (Gr. 1), Maya Roche
(Gr. 2), Alex Vaillancourt (Gr. 3), Diane Marquis (Gr. 4), Deanna Ferris (Gr. 5), Saoirse Carrigan (Gr. 6),
Ainslie Donovan (Gr. 7), Pieper Shead (Gr.8), Sam Coleman (Gr.9), Willa Ferris (Gr.10), and Andrew Mott (Gr.11).  Please note that all 58 names of the winners in this contest can be viewed online by visiting: http://www.k12wocsd.net/literary-awards .
 
As with 2020, this year presented unique challenges for contest organizers.  Judges could not meet in person to read and deliberate over entries.  And, for the second year, the popular April stage ceremony capping off the event with students reading from their work, the awarding of prizes, a group photo, and a cablecast of the event was not possible.  Instead, monetary prizes and gift certificates were mailed to kindergarten through fourth-grade students.  Grades 5 through 12 students received their awards in school. 
 
Following the retirement of long-time Literary Achievement co-chair Maryanne Foley, Wells Elementary School 4th -grade teachers Pamela Lear and Alison Clark joined Reg Bennett as contest co-chairs.   Due to the challenges, including social distancing, Lear and Clark, with technical assistance from the District’s Director of Technology Michael Richards, implemented an innovative plan to go fully digital thereby eliminating face-to-face meetings and the handling of paper by students, teachers, and judges by steering the contest to a fully online procedure. 
 
Volunteer judges in the two-level judging process consisted of Wells-Ogunquit CSD teachers (many of whom are local community members) and other area community members.  They read and scored the anonymous entries found in a digital folder downloaded from a centralized email account set up by Richards.  The deliberations among judges were conducted online or by phone.
 
"We thought going digital was a logical move in this digital age,” commented Alison Clark who indicated the change required “a ton of hours”   “It also was an asset due to Covid restrictions. We were so happy that the transition went smoothly. It was a lot of fun updating this contest together."
 
“Although we had speed bumps along the way it actually went pretty well,” said Pamela Lear. "Every year the entries just amaze us. We have such talented students in the District and we are so happy to be able to provide a celebration of it!"
Literacy Award Top Winner- Natalie Hanagan
WHS senior Natalie Hanagan. She placed first in the 12th-grade category in the 35th Annual
Literary Achievement Awards.   



Clark and Lear co-chairs of Literacy Awards
New co-chairs for the WOCSD Literary Achievement Awards (left to right) Alison Clark and Pamela Lear. 

Elementary teacher Burnell advances to become new assistant principal for WJHS

posted May 11, 2021, 4:30 AM by Michael Richards

Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent Jim Daly has approved the recommendation of an interview committee and has appointed Kyle Burnell to become assistant principal of Wells Junior High School.  This appointment becomes effective July 1, 2021.

Mr. Burnell has over twelve years of experience working in public education, the last three of which serving as a grade three teacher at Wells Elementary School.  Mr. Burnell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Merrimack College and is completing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership through Endicott College and the Maine Educators Consortium.  In addition to his role as a classroom teacher, Mr. Burnell has completed an administrative internship with Wells Elementary School Principal April Noble and with Wells Junior High School Principal Josh Gould.

“I am just thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to work here at Wells Junior High School,” said Burnell when asked for a comment.  “I have been fortunate to teach at the elementary school having gone to these schools myself.  I think this is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the community.  These schools have given me so much throughout the course of my life (and so) I appreciate the opportunity to have the chance to impact kids and to impact our community.  I am really thankful for that.”

Principal Gould noted that “Kyle Burnell brings experience as an outstanding classroom teacher and a strong analytical mind to Wells Junior High School.  He loves his students and exudes Warrior Pride!”  Principal Gould remarked that Burnell’s experience with special education, his strong ability to elevate student behavior and performance, and his deep understanding of effective practices in teaching and learning will help move Wells Junior High School forward.

One committee member that interviewed Burnell remarked, “He is a thoughtful and caring individual with a passion for helping students learn.”  Another member of the interview committee stated, “Mr. Burnell will be a wonderful addition to our staff at WJHS!  He is an excellent communicator and very student-centered.”

Two committees were formed for the purpose of selecting the Assistant Principal at Wells Junior High School.  Committee membership included parents, a School Committee member, Wells Junior High School teachers, Wells Junior High School support staff, and Principal Gould. The screening committee met on April 26 and selected three candidates from a pool of highly qualified applicants.  Following the selection of candidates, an interview committee met with candidates on April 29 before unanimously forwarding the name of Kyle Burnell.

Kyle Burnell New Assistant Principal

Local junior high students place in DAR’s American History Essay Contest

posted Mar 23, 2021, 5:40 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Apr 9, 2021, 10:50 AM ]

The Old York Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution recently announced the winners of the 2020-2021 DAR American History Essay Contest.  Six students from Wells Junior High School and one student from Noble Junior High School placed in the contest.  
 
According to the national DAR website (dar.org), “The American History Essay Contest (created in 1956) was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation's great history and learn about history in a new light,” … “Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.” 
 
The Old York Chapter’s American History Chair Mrs. Barbara Carmone indicated that those who entered were required to write on the topic of the Boston Massacre, a pre-American Revolution confrontation between British soldiers and colonists.  “Students were to imagine they were living in Boston and after witnessing the events of March 5, 1770, describe their family discussions about the Boston Massacre and what role it played in organizing the colonists against the British King and Parliament,” noted Carmone.
 
Those who placed include:  Elana Michele Vennard of WJHS, First-Place 8th Grade Chapter Winner and Third-Place Maine State DAR 8th Grade Winner;  Maren Robinson of Noble High School in North Berwick, Second-Place 8th Grade Chapter Winner; London Chadwick of WJHS, First-Place 6th Grade Chapter Winner and Third-Place Maine State DAR 6th Grade Winner; Saoirse Carrigan and Hailey Ann Worthing from WJHS tied, making both Second-Place 6th Grade Chapter Winners; Mason Colbeth, of WJHS, First-Place 5th Grade Chapter Winner and Second-Place Maine State DAR 5th Grade Winner and Deanna Ferris, of WJHS, Second-Place 5th grade Chapter Winner.  Fourteen WJHS students, (four 5th graders, five 6th graders, and five 8th graders) entered the contest this year.

“The winners, as well as the essayists who did not make it to the winners' circle, did an exceptional job capturing this tragic and momentous event through their use of fascinating characters and strong emotion,” commented Carmone.  Later this spring these students will be honored by the Old York Chapter.  At that time all contest participants will be presented with certificates and gifts.

Apart from the junior high essay contest, DAR also recognizes good citizenship in high school seniors with the DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest created to “encourage and reward the qualities of good citizenship.”  This year WHS senior and vice president of her class, Kate Pinette was among three to receive the DAR Good Citizens Award from the Old York Chapter.  Those that receive this honor have demonstrated the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. 
 
The Daughters of the American Revolution is a women’s lineage and service organization for women 18 years and older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.  The Old York Chapter in York currently has 67 members.  There also exists a National Society Sons of the American Revolution organization.

DAR Recipients
Top row, left to right :  Deanna Ferris (WJHS Gr.5) ; Adina Hunter, Teacher at Noble (with), Maren Robinson (Gr. 8 Noble High School), and Hailey Worthing (WJHS Gr. 6).
Bottom row, left to right: Mason Colbeth (WJHS Gr. 5) London Chadwick (WJHS Gr. 6) Saoirse Carrigan ( WJHS Gr. 6) and Elana Vennard (WJHS Gr. 8).   This image attached is provided courtesy of Barbara Carmone of the Old York Chapter of DAR. 

Nine WHS students receive recognition in regional art contest

posted Feb 24, 2021, 3:26 AM by Michael Richards

The Wells High School Art Department announced earlier this winter that nine WHS students have received a combined total of 13 awards in this year’s Maine Region Scholastic Art Award Competition, a regional component of the National Scholastic Art and Writing Contest.

According to the Art department, the students’ work was evaluated by a panel of judges based on three criteria: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice.  The group received awards in the categories of Painting, Photography, Comic Art, Ceramics, and Drawing & Illustration. The Art Department at WHS includes Art teachers Emily Knight and Meredith Radford

“Art is meant to be shared,” commented Emily Knight.  “I am exceptionally proud of these students who, despite the additional burdens, stressors, and isolating factors in their lives right now, have continued to push themselves academically and creatively and put their work out into the world. Although we aren't able to see the work displayed physically in Portland this year, I know how proud and deserving these students are for this recognition.”

Following is a list of the winners and the categories in which they placed: Lilly Arbelo, a Gold Key in Photography, a Silver Key in Painting and an honorable mention in Photography;  Zoe Clark, a Gold Key in Photography and two honorable mentions in Photography;  Anavi Curtiss, honorable mention in Comic Art; Anna Franks, honorable mention in Painting; Natalie Hanagan, honorable mention in Photography; Rosemary Norton, honorable mention in Comic Art; Kai Rosenberg, honorable mention in Ceramics & Glass; Quinn Tremblay, honorable mention in Drawing & Illustration; and Grace Ward, honorable mention in Drawing & Illustration.  Gold Key recipients Arbelo and Clark have had their entries advanced to the national level of the contest.  According to Knight, the winners at the national level will be announced sometime in March.   

Founded in 1923, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Contest is described on its website (www.artandwriting.org/awards) as “The nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.”   The contest is presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and is open to 7th through 12th grade students.  The contest is organized locally by the Maine College of Art in Portland.   Due to the pandemic, a virtual exhibition of this year’s award-winning work can be found online at https://www.meca.edu/info-for/educators/maine-region-art-awards/    


(Contest examples courtesy of Wells High School Art Dept.)
Arbello Gold Key
Lilly Arbelo received a Gold Key award in Photography for her above photo. 

Clark honorable mention
Zoe Clark received a Gold Key in Photography for her above photo. 


Ward honorable mention
Grace Ward received an honorable mention in Drawing & Illustration for the above drawing.


Curtiss Honorable Mention
Anavi Curtiss received an honorable mention in Comic Art for the above drawing. 

WHS announces its selection for the WMC Citizenship Awards

posted Feb 11, 2021, 4:15 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School seniors Nora Stevens and Jonah Potter have been selected to receive the Western Maine Conference’s Citizenship Award for 2021.  Each year two seniors from each high school in the WMC are selected by their school to receive this award in recognition of their leadership, community service and contributions to their school’s educational, athletic and social environments.
 

Nora Stevens with her award
Nora Stevens, a three-season athlete, has been an outstanding member of the WHS Field Hockey, Indoor Track, and Lacrosse teams for the past four years being selected as captain of the Lacrosse team in her junior year.  She is the recipient of numerous academic awards including Book Awards in English and mathematics and is a recipient of Breakfast of Champions and Student of the Trimester recognitions.  In addition to holding a rigorous academic schedule, including Honors level and Advanced Placement classes, Stevens also has completed coursework through York County Community College, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of New England.
 

Jonah Potter with his award
Jonah Potter is a peer role model in terms of volunteerism and leadership evidenced by being a volunteer tutor to elementary and junior high students and being vice president of the Interact Club/Community Service Program.  He consistently maintains a high level of academic achievement, even pursuing subjects independently should a particular course not be offered in the school's curriculum.  He is a talented student-athlete making four-year commitments to the Football, Wrestling, and Lacrosse programs.   Potter has been a part of eight state championships during his tenure at WHS and was a student representative for the NEASC accreditation process at WHS meeting with regional representatives of the program.  

Pinette receives the Principal’s Award at WHS

posted Jan 26, 2021, 3:33 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School Principal Eileen Sheehy announced in January that senior Kate Pinette has been selected to receive this school year’s Principal’s Award.  This annual award, sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association (MPA), is given in recognition of a student’s academic achievement and citizenship.

“Kate is an outstanding leader in our school community and very deserving of this recognition,” commented Principal Sheehy.  “She is a dedicated student and athlete and she’s always willing to lend a hand.”

Having maintained High Honor Roll status throughout her high school career, Kate Pinette has received several academic awards including a Breakfast of Champions Award, the Dartmouth College Book Award, and the DAR Good Citizenship Award.  In addition, she was recognized as an AP Scholar with Honor.  Kate is a member of the National Honor Society, vice-president of the WHS Class of 2021 and treasurer of the Environmental Club.  She has excelled in athletics, having been a member of the WHS Soccer and Track & Field and Cross-Country teams where she was a recipient of the Rookie, MVP and Coach’s Awards.  She also volunteers her time tutoring local elementary students in French.

According to WHS Guidance Counselor Sherri Anderson-Wormwood, “Kate…challenges herself academically, seeks leadership opportunities, and volunteers her time to help others.”

According to the Maine Principals’ Association website, the MPA Principal’s Award was established in 1984.  Each year, high schools that are members of the MPA select one outstanding senior to receive this honor.

K Pinette MPA Principal Awardee

The recipient of the MPA’s Principal’s Award at Wells High School for the 2020-2021 school year is Kate Pinette.

Kindergarteners plant for spring while social-distancing

posted Jan 4, 2021, 5:40 AM by Michael Richards

Since the fall of 2003, kindergarten students at Wells Elementary School have left their classrooms for a brief period on a day in November, often in the cold, so that each could receive a tulip bulb and plant it on school grounds.  Despite the ongoing pandemic, the tradition was able to continue for 2020 on November 10th. 

As in past years, the bulbs were provided by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).  The event was organized by Wells-Ogunquit CSD Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley.

Assisting students that day were parent volunteers, Jodie Woodworth, Danielle Charlonne, and Amanda Graves who, the day before, had dug over 100 holes, six feet apart, so that the students could socially distance from one other while planting. 

The kindergarteners planted their bulbs one class at a time in anticipation of seeing their flowers appear and bloom in the spring.  Kindergarteners who are remote-learners came to school on a separate day with their families to plant their bulbs.  

“We have had every kindergartener plant a bulb each fall since the new WES opened 17 years ago, and I didn’t want the pandemic to put an end to that tradition,” commented Foley.  “I’m glad we could figure out a way to organize it safely, and give all students, in-person and remote learners a chance to participate.”


Miss Duggan's class planting bulbs
Planting tulip bulbs are from left to right: Andrew Nadeau (facing the camera), Natalie Dickerson, and Caroline Miller.  They are students in Miss Duggan's kindergarten class. 


Kinder students planting bulbs
Kindergarten students planting tulip bulbs with Wells Elementary School in the background. 

With a pandemic in the background, summer reading program continues through the fall

posted Dec 8, 2020, 4:36 AM by Michael Richards

The summer of 2020 saw the Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s Summer Reading Program enter its fifth year.  Over time it has helped many students stay motivated to read throughout the long summer months.  However, this year, with a pandemic altering school routine and normalcy, its function and importance has expanded.   Instead of ending in early September, it has continued into the fall of this unusual year.
 
The reading incentive program, the idea of WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly, began modestly at Wells Junior High School in 2016 under the direction of WJHS Librarian Lynn Mercier.  It has since expanded to reach into all of the District's schools.  Normally, as summer recess approaches, students are able to select two books that they want to read for the summer.  These books are from a wide selection of new paperbacks that they can take home and keep for free.  This year, distributing two books to each student at WJHS began again in the fall and, according to Mercier, will be completed in January.  Since the school’s library is now closed to students due to COVID 19, Mercier travels around the school with her book cart visiting students in each English language arts (ELS) classroom where she distributes the paperbacks.   
 
“I think it's a tremendous opportunity to encourage reading for our kids!” commented Superintendent Daly recently. “Ms. Mercier has done an outstanding job promoting literacy throughout our district.”
 
Local bookseller Francine Tanguay of Annie's Book Stop in Wells has also been instrumental in the success of this reading program since its beginning.  Her knowledge of books mixed with an understanding of what kids really like to read for pleasure when away from school has proved pivotal.  Tanguay recommends, orders, and provides the books at a discount.  She also donates many books whenever possible.  
 
“Compiling the lists for the Summer Reading Program is a group effort between the three school librarians with special attention paid to fun reading for the students,” commented Tanguay in an email.  “Given the number of students involved and (the) varied interests of the student body, the book selection ranges from picture books (for) early readers to various types of fiction and nonfiction for all age groups and abilities.”  

Librarian Mercier says she finds Tanguay to be very supportive, flexible and a great mentor.  “She has helped to put lots of books in students’ hands over the years,” said Mercier who added that “Francine helps us stretch our dollar!”  With the exception of 2020, Tanguay estimates, that 1,000 books are now provided yearly for students.   
 
“In this pandemic year, books are more important than ever to relieve the sense of isolation we all are experiencing but especially for our kids,” noted Tanguay.  “The program is an investment in our future as a community because these kids are our future.  
 
The principal of WJHS Josh Gould concluded, “We are thrilled to be able to put copies of books into our student's hands in a safe manner.  Reading activates the imagination.  During a pandemic, the imagination is a great friend!”                  


Students who participating in summer reading program
Caption:  From left to right is Hayden Williamson, Amelia Connor, CJ Douglas and Lynn Mercier.  

Additional Students who participated in the summer reading program
Caption:  From left to right is Ben Brown (with arms crossed), Lynn Mercier, Emmett Gagne and Devyn Woodman.

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