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News About WOCSD
This April 7th photo shows Wells Junior High School students of Technology Education teacher Robert Winn building a 6 x 10 shelter for donation to the Ogunquit Dog Park. Winn’s students (at WJHS and Wells High School) have been building a variety of structures under his guidance for 34 years. Winn indicated that this hands-on class work allows students the opportunity to learn trade skills, give back to the community and build “self confidence in their abilities to accomplish a large undertaking!” WOCSD Director of Instructional Improvement Patricia Hayden added, “The shelter exemplifies hands-on skills that students learn to apply.”
In March, Wells High School senior Allison Beecher was notified by WHS Principal Jim Daly that she had been selected a Finalist in the 60th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of Evanston Illinois.
From the 1.4 million high school juniors who took the program’s Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or PSAT/NMSQT last fall, 15,000 were selected Finalists. By July, more than half of this remaining group will have received a National Merit Scholarship earning the title of Merit Scholar.
“I was very excited when I got the letter because scholarships are going to be one of my main modes of getting into college...” said Beecher. “Any scholarships that I can get is a really big thing for me. I know this is a very prestigious award. It’s a big honor.”
Beecher, an AP Art Student, is also a member of the WHS Chorus, Winter Guard Team, Indoor and Outdoor Track Team, and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also on the Odyssey of the Mind Team from Wells and will be attending the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in May.
“She is a tremendous kid,” commented WHS Principal Daly about Beecher. “She is the best of the best at WHS! We are very proud of her.”
Beecher also had a minor role in WHS’s 2015 spring musical “South Pacific” and was the Principal Artistic Designer for the production.
Beecher says that she plans to attend Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois in the fall to study Spanish and Integral Studies.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It is a non-profit corporation established in 1955. Scholarship money awarded by the NMSC comes largely from corporate and college sponsorship. Since its founding 60 years ago, the NMSC has awarded 396,000 scholarships worth 1.5 billion.Holding her certificate from the National Merit Scholarship is Allison Beecher
In late March, Wells High School selected senior Hunter McDonnell Student-Athlete of Month for February 2015. This award is in recognition of McDonnell’s academic abilities, sportsmanship, on and off the field, and athletic skills as displayed on the WHS Indoor Track & Field Team.
Presenting McDonnell with a plaque on March 27th was WHS Activities Director Jack Molloy, and Pamela Moody-Maxon.
According to WHS Track and Field Coach Jennifer Lewia, Hunter McDonnell’s accomplishments in the sport are many. He broke two individual school records in the 1000m Run and the 800m Run, was a member of the school’s record setting 4X800m Relay team, was the leading point scorer on the Wells Boys Track and Field team for the season, placed in three events at the 2015 Maine Track and Field Meet, and competed at the New England High School Track Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on a 4X800 Relay team which came in 21st
“I am very flattered,” commented McDonnell. “I had no idea that this was happening. I feel honored to be selected for this.” At WHS McDonnell plays Soccer and is a member of the WHS Marching, Concert, and Jazz Bands. He was also a cast member in the recent musical production of “South Pacific” at WHS.
Student athletes picked to receive this honor are selected by Molloy and Principal Jim Daly. The Athlete of the Month award at WHS is sponsored by Cole Harrison Insurance Agency and Moody Maxon Real Estate.
In the photo from left to right are Pamela Moody-Maxon, Hunter McDonnell, and Jack Molloy.
In mid-April, sixty-three students from kindergarten through Adult Community Education in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD began receiving letters notifying them that they had placed in the 29th Annual Literary Achievement Awards creative writing contest. Initially 268 students had entered in early March.
Among the winners was senior Sarah Clawson who will receive the top prize of $500 for receiving first place in the 12th grade category.
The writings of contestants are judged at two levels. A large group of in-house judges (teachers and administrators) have the first look at all of the entries. During this stage about half of the entries are eliminated. The remaining entries are presented to a second panel of ‘community’ judges who make the final picks.
Students who received first, second, third place or honorable mention in the various grade levels are invited to receive their prizes and read a portion of their writing before an audience at an awards ceremony to be held April 30th at 6:30 p.m. in the Olenn Auditorium at Wells High School.
First place winners invited to read include Francesca MacEwen (kindergarten), Brandon Talevi (1st grade), Aidan Stockwell (2nd grade), Kayden Springer (3rd grade), Sarah Hayden (4th), Kara Borkowski (5th), Natalie Hanagan (6th), Michael Patnaude (7th), Matthew Chase (8th), Patrick Dinmore (9th), Allison Jarvis (10th), Tamar Cimenian (11th), Sarah Clawson (12th) and Tatjana Doane (Adult Ed). To see a listing of all of those who placed please visit www.k12wocsd.net.The contest is organized and sponsored by the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District and the Wells Rotary Club. In addition, the Steakhouse in Wells donates gift certificates to those who received Honorable Mentions.
In the photograph are this year’s ‘community judges’ for the 29th Annual Literary Awards Contest. In the front row are Brittany Toth (left) and Diana Abbott. Behind them (l-r) are Mary Goullaud, Jack Ford, Donna Thompson, Josh Lagasse, Joyce Patterson, and John Madden.
One freshman, three junior and five senior boys vied for the title of Mr. Wells High School in the 16th Annual Mr. WHS Pageant held on March 26th in the Olenn Auditorium at WHS. In this often amusing contest, contestants were judged based on their performances in the Formal Wear, Swim Wear, Talent and Questions and Answers categories.
In the end, Tyler Robichaud was crowned Mr. Wells High School for 2015. Others contestants included Sean McCormack Kuhman, Hatim Sharif, Matt Healey, Charlie Bell, Ben Wright, Zach Pierce, Cole Greaves, and Marcus Harding. McCormack Kuhman was runner-up and Sharif was the “Peoples Choice.” The Masters of Ceremony were Charlie Durfee and Dan Quint.
The WHS Student Council, sponsor of the Pageant, wishes to thank the various local businesses including the Men’s Warehouse in Newington, New Hampshire for their contributions to this year’s Mr. WHS Pageant.
Out front on stage wearing a red scarf and crown is Mr. Wells High School for 2015, Tyler Robichaud.
Children’s author and illustrator Ryan Higgins performed for five large groups of students in the Wells Elementary School library on March 18th. Higgins, who has been writing and illustrating children’s books for six years, has had four books published with a fifth one to be released in January of 2016 by his new publisher, Disney-Hyperion.
During his library sessions with all K-4 students, he read, drew characters and took questions from the audience.
“We were so fortunate to have Maine children's author/illustrator Ryan Higgins come to our school," commented WES librarian Karen Westerberg. "His presentations were truly enjoyable as well as inspiring to the students."
This was Higgins’ second March visit to the school. On March 6th he attended the Wells-Ogunquit CSD's Annual Celebration of Reading Day at WES. During that visit he donated enough copies of one of his books so that each student could have a copy.
Last year Higgins made 100 school appearances including one in Ohio. “I do it because first it’s fun..,” said Higgins. “Second it’s a great way to connect with my target audience.” He indicated that it is useful in writing a book to read from it to children before it is finished. This allows him to experience firsthand which jokes make kids laugh and which ones don’t and should be discarded.
Before drawing illustrations at WES, Higgins daringly asked his audience what kind of character they wanted him to create. Higgins calls such an on-the-spot exercise, “great practice” as it is totally impromptu.
Higgins said that his studio is in his Kittery home. “It’s fun to take a break from working by myself in my studio and then go hang out with kids because I can pretend to be a kid for a few hours.”
According to Higgins’ website he lives “…with his three dogs, three cats, two geckos, one tortoise, one son, one daughter and one wife.” His wife teaches second grade at Wells Elementary School.
Higgins, who knew he wanted to be a cartoonist by age four, attended the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. His published works include “Wilfred”, “Roger Goes Up” and “Twaddleton’s Cheese”.Speaking before a group of kindergarten students at Wells Elementary School is children’s book author and illustrator Ryan Higgins.
Occasionally, Wells-Ogunquit CSD Nutritional Services Director Tyler Goodwin invites guest chefs into one of the District’s three kitchens to work alongside him and lunchroom staff to prepare and serve hot lunch. On March 31st, Regional Operations Manager for Las Olas Taqueria Mexican restaurants Ken Wehry, was the guest chef for three lunch periods at Wells High School.
Wehry teamed up with Goodwin and WHS senior and part-time Las Olas employee Emma Huber-Young to prepare a variety of ingredients for made-to-order beef, chicken and vegetable burritos created in the Las Olas style. According to Goodwin, this celebrity chef lunch with Wehry drew the largest hot lunch crowd of the current school year at WHS.
"I want to thank Ken for being willing to come over to our cafeteria to cook for our students,” commented Goodwin. “It is great that Las Olas Taqueria, a local restaurant, is willing to work with my staff. They donated their time, delicious foods and Ken's excellent cooking and wrapping skills allowing us to be able to offer the students a truly special lunch like this. It was a great day in the cafeteria for students and staff alike." Goodwin indicated that he plans such events largely to break up the routine and boredom of day-to day lunch periods.
Goodwin also served up praise for student Huber-Young. “Emma did a great job producing burritos. I would hire her to work in our kitchen.”
Ken Wehry of Las Olas Taqueria serving up burritos for students at WHS on March 31st
Wells Junior High School eighth grade student Matt Chase won the state level of the 27th Annual National Geography Bee at the University of Maine at Farmington on March 27th. He becomes the first ever WJHS student to achieve this milestone.
Despite all the pressure one might expect associated with a contest of this nature, Chase, who was diagnosed with autism at age two, answered the challenging questions posed to him about world geography and emerged victorious over 100 other 4th through 8th grade students.
As a result, Chase, age 13, will represent the State of Maine in national competition with 53 others beginning May 11th in Washington D.C. He will be accompanied there by his parents Sophie and Matthew L. Chase.
According to a press release from the Maine Geography Bee, the "National Geographic Society, Plum Creek and Google generously support this event nationwide, and will be sending parents and contestants to Washington for the competition."
Teachers Bonnie Dill and Susie Dugovic witnessed Chase’s win at UMF. Dill put her former student’s victory in proper perspective by pointing out the significance of it. According to Dill there are four million students who take part at the local school level of this contest leaving just 5,000 to enter state competition. From state rounds across the United States, only 54 get to compete in Washington. The student who emerges victorious there will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and a free trip to the Galapagos Islands.
“Matt is a very special young man…”commented Dill who, along with Social Studies teacher Susan Dugovic, have coordinated the WJHS Geography Bees for over two decades. “It was one of the greatest moments ever to see him win,” commented Dill. “We are so proud of him.”
Supporting and cheering Matt on with his interest in Geography have been his father and mother and sister Anya. According to Sophie Chase her son has enjoyed working with and creating maps from a very young age inspired further by Dill to develop what Mrs. Chase describes as “a more comprehensive sense of the world, including the people, their customs and history”.
To the Chases their son’s autism makes this big win all the more special. “As a parent of a child with autism, it is common to have a never ending feeling of worry,” commented Sophie Chase who describes her child’s memory for facts and dates as impressive. “Thanks to our son's very hard work and an amazing team of educators and therapists (in the WOCSD and at Spurwink Therapeutic Preschool) over the years, he has come an incredibly long way.”
At the winner’s ceremony on March 27th, Chase was awarded $100, a current edition “National Geographic World Atlas,” a CD collection of every issue of the magazine ever printed, and a special offer from UMF. President of the University of Maine at Farmington Kate Foster offered Chase a letter of admission to the University of Maine at Farmington upon graduation from high school.
Matt’s parents hope that their son’s State and local wins in the contest will inspire other parents of children afflicted with autism. “We want to share that exciting prospect with every parent who has a child on ‘the Spectrum’, commented Sophie Chase. “The reality is that our son is so unique, brilliant, happy and caring; we feel like the luckiest parents in the world.”
Once in Washington, D.C., the Chases will attend opening ceremonies and special events put on by the National Geographic Society including a boat cruise, and the preliminary competition to determine the top ten. The finals will be televised and hosted by Soledad O’Brien. The National Geographic Bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society in Washington. The Society provides participating schools with questions, supplies, rules, guidelines and prizes.
In addition to this contest win, Matt and his family have recently learned that he placed first in the eighth grade category in the 2015 WOCSD Literary Achievement Awards writing contest.
Appearing to hold up the World is Matt Chase at the State Geography Bee at the University of Maine at Farmington
Matt Chase with WJHS Social Studies teacher and Geography Bee Coordinator Bonnie Dill in front of a very large wall map of the World at Wells Junior High School.