News About WOCSD

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

Students focus on the Women’s Suffrage Movement

posted 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

Wells-Ogunquit CSD recognizes retiring staff and those with 20 years of service

posted by Michael Richards

On June 14th, the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District (WOCSD) honored two long-time staff members who are retiring and three staff members who have reached the 20-year milestone in service to the District.  

All of these individuals were recognized in a “Celebration of Service to Education” luncheon in appreciation of their service and dedication to education.   This annual event was held for District staff in the Multi-Purpose Room at Wells Junior High School. 

WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly spoke first in appreciation of those assembled.  He was followed by the principals of the District’s three schools including April Noble of Wells Elementary School, Roland “AJ” Dufort of Wells Junior High School and Eileen Sheehy of Wells High School.  The principals recognized the following individuals from their schools with comments and gift bags:  

Retiring after 31 years of service is Dr. Charlene Kohn, WES teacher, and, after 32 years of service, Vanessa White-Capelluti, WHS Art teacher.  Donald Abbott, Mary Angelini, and Timothy Roche were recognized for 20 years of service to the District.  

“What you do every day impacts somebody’s life,” said Superintendent Daly to the audience at this year’ luncheon.  Last June, in speaking to those being honored for service at that time, Daly spoke of the importance of all staff members working as a team.  “We couldn’t do it without secretaries, without custodial staff, without the teachers, Ed Techs, you name it; it’s all of us together.  That’s what a team is, everybody pitching in, working together to make sure that we’re looking out for the best interest of kids.” 

WOCSD Celebration of Service to Education 2019
Wells-Ogunquit CSD staff honored on June 14, 2019, including from the left, Vanessa White-Capelluti, Mary Angelini, Timothy Roche, and Donald Abbott.   Not available for the photo was Dr. Charlene Kohn.

District honors volunteers at luncheon with Kerry DeStefano named Exemplary Volunteer of the Year for 2019

posted Jun 13, 2019, 6:22 AM by Michael Richards

The Wells-Ogunquit CSD has selected Kerry DeStefano as the “Exemplary Volunteer of the Year” for the 2018-19 school year.  This award was presented to her on June 6th during the District’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon honoring the year’s school volunteers with the theme of “We Have the Best Volunteers in the World.”  Decorations at the luncheon included world maps and globes. 

Wells-Ogunquit CSD Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley announced DeStefano’s selection to the audience.  Foley said that DeStefano has “been invaluable to our staff this year.  She has been volunteering almost every day since September, and rarely takes a day off.”   Foley added that DeStefano, grandmother to two kindergarteners, works with the FLEX reading groups in the Kindergarten program and grade one. 

“I am mortified because that’s not what I am.  I am not one that likes the limelight…” said DeStefano modestly regarding this distinction.   But, she added, “I love working here.”   DeStefano begins her day reading with kindergarten students then moves on to work with first-grade students learning math eventually ending up in the school’s library to shelve books and perform other duties there.  “Every day is a whole new day. It’s like having a new job every day; you don’t know what it’s going to bring.” 

As with the previous school year, about 300 people volunteered varying amounts of time this school year.  District volunteers are primarily composed of parents of students, students from Wells High School and retired community members.    

“Kerry has become an integral part of our staff here at WES,” commented Wells Elementary School Principal April Noble.  “She arrives each and every day and has plans that last a full day, most of the time.  She is valued by so many of our staff and they look forward to the support she can provide, whether it be reading with students, running literacy stations, shelving books or assisting in classrooms with managerial tasks.  

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” for dedication to “the kids,” said Superintendent Jim Daly in a talk to the volunteers who were able to attend the lunch. 

According to Foley who organizes the volunteer program, volunteers give whatever time that they can or want to as clerical, classroom, library and/or project assistants.  At WES volunteers may work in classrooms, the computer lab, the art room, the library or wherever else they may be needed.  Anyone interested in volunteering in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD should contact Foley in September at 646-5953, ext. 4204.  

WOCSD District Volunteer of Year 2019
In the photo (l to r) is WES Principal April Noble, Kerry DeStefano, Maryanne Foley and 
WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly.

Coffee anyone? Students feature thriving coffee service at WJHS

posted Jun 7, 2019, 7:10 AM by Michael Richards

For the Wells Junior High School staff thirsting for their morning cup of joe there is now a daily and very reliable student coffee service to meet that need. 

Each school day, several students in the Bridges program start their day early to fill waiting pre-orders for coffee or tea.  The service also includes delivery directly to teachers’ classrooms.   
From preparing coffee to delivery about 30 minutes elapses with students done by 9:00 am.

Begun in the spring of 2017 with an initial grant from the school’s PTSA to buy supplies and a Keurig coffee maker, this now self-sustaining service finds the Bridges students doing it all from ordering supplies to the daily cleanup and all the work in-between including inventory and record keeping.  Profits left after expenses go first to replenishing stock then providing funds for special projects and field trips.

The coordinator of the program is Occupational Therapist Robin Reidy.  In an interview, Reidy pointed out the benefits to students and the school community.  They include real-life experience preparing a saleable product, goal setting, time and money management, making change in a sale, budgeting, filling out bank deposits, and improving their social communication skills.  The program also helps to achieve the goals of the Bridges program’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Reidy said that students fill different roles including set-up person, coffee maker (who is also the delivery person with a cart) and pick-up person who retrieves the cups and cup holders. This person also logs daily sales records.  

“Our students do a fantastic job with the coffee delivery,” commented WJHS Principal AJ Dufort.  “They are so positive and do a great job making sure that everything is put together just right.  This is a great opportunity for our students to have positive interactions with their teachers and their peers.  Our Bridges staff has done a great job supporting the students and helping this to be a very positive experience. 

Coffee is not the only product from the Bridges room.  Reidy noted that some Bridges students have been operating a school store two days a week for a couple of years.  The store features fifty cent bags of popcorn and freeze pops for a quarter.

 “All the things these kids are doing are very integrated into their individual IEP’s, said Reidy who stressed that, "We are not doing it (just) for a service.  Everybody gets something out of it.”  She added that teachers now look upon the students as “rock stars” because they sell freeze pops on warm days.  
Coffee delivery
Getting ready for a coffee delivery at WJHS is student Kayden Hutchins.

Avita staff and residents have a barbecue with student volunteers

posted Jun 5, 2019, 1:14 PM by Michael Richards

On June 3rd, 25 students from Wells Junior High School visited with residents and staff at Avita of Wells.  The fifth through the eighth group was at this assisted living facility for a barbeque lunch and to be recognized for their volunteerism at Avita over the past school year.  

For months, on a regular, rotating basis, a small group of these students visited the memory care facility around noon to serve lunch and work at the front desk.  According to Renee Savage, the coordinator of the program, this partnership between the school and Avita began three years ago with only 10 students.  Savage pointed out that Lily Tomaszeski, one of this year’s school volunteers, has been participating in the program since its inception.

At a holiday party for Avita residents in December of 2018, student Melody Goodwin said, “It is really nice to come over here and serve them food.” Goodwin, a seventh-grade student, added that it is nice to “chit chat” with the residents.  Volunteer Teagan Hludik, who is in the 6th grade, said at that time, “I love it because we see the residents every week and we get to interact with them.”  Hludik pointed out that some of the residents have families that “don‘t live in the state so they don’t have any people to visit them.  When we come, they feel happy because we’ll …give them smiles.”  
volunteer party
A group of Wells Junior High School student volunteers visiting with residents and staff at Avita of Wells on June 3, 2019.   

Wells High School Graduation and Top Ten list for 2019

posted May 31, 2019, 4:06 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Jun 1, 2019, 6:37 AM ]

Wells High School will hold commencement exercises on June 9th at 1:00 pm at Warrior Memorial Field.  Kimberly Towne is the Class of 2019 Valedictorian and Natalie Robinson is Class Salutatorian.  This year’s commencement speaker will be Bob Crowley a retired Gorham High School physics teacher from Durham, Maine.  In 2008 Crowley competed and won in the 17th season of CBS’s reality show, Survivor.  

The Wells High School Guidance Department has released the names of the top ten academically ranked students for the Class of 2019.  What follows is an “alphabetical” listing along with abbreviated school biographies. 

Gary Andrews is the son of Eric and Kathryn Andrews of Wells.  He plans to attend the University of Maine-Orono in the fall to study Engineering.  Gary is a member of the National Honor Society and has achieved academic accolades including several WHS book awards. He is a recipient of the Breakfast of Champions award and was chosen during his sophomore year to represent WHS at the Western Maine Conference Student-Athlete Summit.  He has also participated in the WHS Concert and Marching bands.  On the athletic field, Gary was an influential member of the WHS Football, Soccer, Indoor Track, and Baseball teams, earning WMC All-Star team status.
Gary Andrews

Lauren Bartlett is the daughter of John and Donna Bartlett of Wells.  She plans to attend Thomas College to study Criminal Justice.  Lauren has served as vice-president of her class, lighting manager for the Drama Club, and is an active member of her church.  Lauren has also been a member of the WHS Soccer, Basketball, and Lacrosse teams and has earned numerous athletic awards, including the Coaches Award, Sportsmanship Award, Western Maine Conference (WMC) Honorable Mention, WMC Citizenship Award, and a Warrior Pride Award.
Lauren Bartlett

Tyler Bridge is the son of Andrew and Pamela Bridge of Wells.  He plans to attend Bates College in the fall.  Tyler is a member of the WHS Student Council, Interact Club, Philosophy Club, and has received WHS book awards in Math and Social Studies. Tyler was recognized by the College Board for excellence on his AP exams and was chosen as a Maine Hall of Fame Scholar.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Williams College Book Award. Tyler has been a member of the WHS Football, Basketball and Baseball teams and served as captain for all three.  Tyler is a member of the Western Maine Conference (WMC) All-Star Team, named the Portland Press Herald Football “Player of the Year” and was chosen the 2019 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner for Top Senior Football Player in Maine.  
Tyler Bridge

Matthew Chase is the son of Matthew and Sophie Chase of Wells.  Matt plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University this fall to pursue a degree in Clinical Lab Science, with a minor in Spanish.  Matt is a member of the WHS Cross Country, Outdoor Track & Field, and Unified Basketball teams.  In addition, he has participated in the Concert Band and the Quiz Show team. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.  He is a recipient of numerous academic accolades, including WHS book awards for Biology, World Studies, and French.  Matt was selected as a Student of the Trimester and is a recipient of the National School Development Council Award.
Matt Chase

Hannah Cottis is the daughter of Doug and Jill Cottis of Wells.  She plans to attend the University of New England in the fall to study Pre-Medicine.  Hannah has served as a class officer and is a member of the National Honor Society.  She has been involved in Student Council, the Interact Club and the Philosophy Club.  She was a member of the WHS Soccer team, serving as captain, and was named a Western Maine Conference (WMC) First Team All-Star as well as All-State.
Hannah Cottis

Mackenzie Foss is the daughter of Leonard and Dawny Foss of Wells.  She plans to attend the University of New Hampshire to study Equine Studies.  Mackenzie has achieved many academic awards, was selected as a Student of the Trimester, received a Breakfast of Champions award, and has been recognized as an AP Scholar.  She has been a key member of the WHS Soccer, Basketball and Softball teams.  She has earned various athletic awards including a Western Maine Conference (WMC) Honorable Mention, and WMC All-Academic Team status.  She was also selected to play in the WMC Senior All-Star Game.  Mackenzie was most recently recognized with the 2019 MPA Principal’s Award.
Mackenzie Foss

Katherine Reidy is the daughter of Joel and Robin Reidy of Wells.  She will be attending Trinity College to pursue a degree in Hispanic Studies.  Katherine is a member of the WHS Soccer, Track, Basketball, Unified Basketball, and Lacrosse teams. She has starred in numerous productions of the Wells Players, playing the lead in several of them.  She is an active member of WHS Chorus chosen to be part of the Select A Cappella singing group that was selected to travel to New York City to perform at Lincoln Center.   Katherine has achieved numerous academic accolades including receiving 1st Place in the 12th-Grade category of the Literary Achievement Awards, recipient of the Breakfast of Champions award, chosen as Student of the Trimester and recipient of the highly selective National School Development Council Award.  She is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Katherine Reidy

Natalie Robinson is the Class of 2019 Salutatorian and daughter of Mark and Jennifer Robinson of Wells. Natalie plans to study Mathematics/Statistics at the University of Maine at Orono this fall. An avid runner, Natalie has been captain of the WHS Cross Country team.  In addition, she participated on the Math Team and Track & Field team.  She is a member of the National Honor Society and recipient of numerous student-athlete awards including the Warrior Pride and Coaches awards.  Natalie has received numerous academic awards, a Literary Achievement Award, selected as a Student of the Trimester, recipient of a Breakfast of Champions award, and the Dartmouth College Book Award.           
Natalie Robinson

Hailey Smith is the daughter of William and Susan Smith of Wells.  This fall Hailey will attend the University of New England where she will major in Medical Biology/Pre-Pharmacy.  Hailey is a participant in both the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) conference and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program.  She is class president, captain of the Math Team, vice-president of the Interact Club, and a member of Student Council.  She is an AP student and has received numerous academic book awards while at WHS, including the Saint Anselm’s College Book Award.  She was also named a Student of the Trimester and received the Breakfast of Champions award.  Additionally, Hailey was a member of the WHS Indoor and Outdoor Track teams, where she received the Coaches Award and the Western Maine Conference Recognition Award.  She volunteers at York Hospital, the Preble Street Food Pantry and the Ronald McDonald House.
Hailey Smith

Kimberly Towne is the Class of 2019 Valedictorian and daughter of Larry and Veronica Towne of Wells.   Kimberly will be attending Saint Joseph’s College of Maine to study Biology/Secondary Education.  She has participated in the WHS Chorus and in the Teen Trendsetters program in the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District providing mentoring and tutoring to Wells Elementary School students.  She is the recipient of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Award and was selected to travel to New York City where she performed as part of the Wells High School Select A Cappella Chorus at Lincoln Center.
Kimberly Towne

Chorus members attend music festival and perform in concert at UMO

posted May 29, 2019, 4:35 AM by Michael Richards

Three members of the Wells High School chorus were selected to participate in this year’s All-State Music Festival and Choral Concert held at the University of Maine at Orono from May 16th to May 18th.   According to WHS Band Director Larry Downing, Zoe Angelakis participated in Treble Chorus while Tim Martell and Sam Norbert participated in Mixed Chorus.  Downing, who chaperoned and transported the group, indicated that they practiced for two days with many other participating students.  Then, on Saturday the 18th, they all performed together at the Collins Center for the Arts on the UMO campus.
All-State Chorus Members
In the photo from the left are Tim Martell, Sam Norbert and Zoe Angelakis.

WHS Alumni Association to hold golf tournament June 2nd

posted May 22, 2019, 10:38 AM by Michael Richards

The 8th Annual Wells High School Alumni Association Golf Tournament will be held at the Cape Neddick Country Club on Sunday, June 2, 2019.  Funds raised from this event will go towards the Association’s Scholarship Fund.   

Event registration begins at 7:30 am followed by the tournament’s Shotgun Start at 8:30.   The four player team scramble format has a fee of $100 per player which includes expenses for golf, cart, prizes and lunch.   

The event features raffles with offers from local businesses, hole-in-one, and putting contests, Beat the Pro, Golf Ball Cannon plus other prizes. 

There will also be a silent auction prize consisting of four tickets to a Red Sox vs Yankees baseball game with seats located in a VIP section.  This special prize also includes a parking permit at the stadium.

Registration forms can be found at  Registration fees are considered a tax-deductible donation and are due with the registration form.  The registration form can be mailed to: Joe Searles 1211 Coles Hill Road, Wells, ME 04090.  For more information, please contact WHSAA President Joe Searles at either 207-205-0741 or 207-985-7465.  Should this tournament be canceled due to bad weather, a rain date of June 23rd has been set.

The Cape Neddick Country Club is located south of Ogunquit at 650 Shore Road in Cape Neddick, Maine.   
WHS Alum teeing it up
Pictured is the four player team that won the 2018 WHS Alumni Association Golf Tournament.  Team members are (l to r) Bruce Tuttle, Chris McGrath, Porter Rooney, and Douglas McLean.

Student art displayed at Barn Gallery; Wells teacher honored by colleagues

posted May 21, 2019, 4:15 AM by Michael Richards

Over Mother’s Day weekend, the Ogunquit Barn Gallery held its 41st consecutive Student Art Show exhibiting a variety of student artwork from several area schools.  Over three days, beginning with a reception on May 10th, about 550 people viewed the exhibit consisting of kindergarten through 12th-grade art.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to have their work not only on display but on display in a professional gallery so that they can bring their families here to see their work with pride,” commented Wells High School art teacher Emily Knight.

Although several schools often participate, President of the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative Deidre O’Flaherty indicated that the schools from the York School Department and the Wells-Ogunquit CSD have been mainstay participants or “pillars” of the show for decades.  This year, the four art teachers from the Wells-Ogunquit CSD selected and displayed a combination of 225 plus selections including drawings, paintings, photographs, paper Mache masks, mixed media perspective artworks, and sculptures.  

O’Flaherty indicated that the show can provide insight and inspiration for students.  She noted that the artwork is purposely “not” grouped by school in the display so that students have to wander the exhibit to find their work and, in so doing, see and experience what students from other schools are creating.  O’Flaherty also pointed out that this show often provides a “first time” visit to an art gallery for many of the students and parents who attend.

Towards the end of opening day, retiring Wells High School art teacher Vanessa White-Capelluti was recognized by three of her teaching peers for her long-time dedication to the show.  A former student and colleague of White-Capelluti’s, Emily Knight, spoke briefly and presented White-Capelluti with a bouquet of flowers.  Also honoring White-Capelluti was Wells Elementary School art teacher Jenna Larochelle-Parry, and Wells Junior High School art teacher Shannon Petrie.  

The Barn Gallery is owned and operated by the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative.  This year the Barn Gallery officially opens for the season on May 22nd.  

4th grader with her art work on display
WES fourth grade student Liv DiDomenicantonio with her drawing, “Water by the Sunset” displayed at the 41st Student Art Show at the Ogunquit Barn Gallery on May 10th

WOCSD Art Teachers and Barn Gallery Director
From left to right are President of the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative Deidre O’Flaherty, and WOCSD art teachers Shannon Petrie, Jenna Larochelle-Parry, Vanessa White-Capelluti and Emily Knight.  

Spreading awareness of autism one step at a time

posted May 8, 2019, 3:33 PM by Michael Richards

On April 28th, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD Bridges team came together with many others to participate in the annual statewide Walk for Autism sponsored by the Autism Society of Maine (ASM).  For several hours, team members and approximately 180 other participants walked around the campus of the University of New England to support the efforts of the ASM and raise awareness of autism.  The event was also held the same day in Portland, Fryeburg, Bangor, and Farmington.  

“This is our second year participating as a district,” commented WJHS Team Captain Heather Fenderson, a recreational therapist, and special education staff member at the junior high.  “The funds help support programs, fuel innovative research and help make connections with services within the community to support the family or individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” 

This year, according to Fenderson, 119 teams walked to raise $28,657.  Her team contributed by reaching its goal of raising $500.  She added, “We are very grateful for the generous donations from our friends, family members, colleagues and members within our community. It is very special to be a part of a community (whose members) walk together to help spread awareness and understanding surrounding autism.”

WJHS Walk for Autism Participants
The Walk for Autism participants from Wells Junior High School plus family members and friends are (from left to right) Doug Perley, Dianne Hussey, Ashley Hussey, Leah LePage, Alani Simmons, Kim McDonough, Heather Fenderson (in front wearing a headband), Lauren Rivera, Heidi Mitchell, Stephanie Guillemette, Cindy Roche, Tim Roche, Shannon Petrie, Shawn Kennedy, and Pat Endsley. 

1-10 of 447