News About WOCSD

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

Anya Chase named Student-Athlete of the Month for May

posted Jul 13, 2017, 4:06 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School junior Anya Chase has been honored with the distinction of Student-Athlete of the Month for May of 2017.   Her selection was based on her academics, sportsmanship and role as starting pitcher and hitter on the WHS Girls Softball team.   This makes the second time for Chase receiving Student-Athlete of the Month.  The first was awarded to her for similar softball accomplishments for April of 2016.

“It’s awesome,” said Chase about this honor.  “It’s really nice being recognized by my community.  It’s a team sport but individual recognition feels good.”  
Presenting a plaque to Chase on June 8th was softball coach Kevin Fox and Pam Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate which, along with Cole Harrison Insurance Agency, is a sponsor of Student-Athlete of the Month at WHS.

“I think it is well deserved,” said Fox of Chase’s award.  “Anya is an outstanding softball player and teammate on this team.  Fox went on to add, “She has done a fantastic job on the mound. She has got us out of some sticky situations and dominated a lot of teams.  Offensively, she leads off for us and is hitting over .500 which is amazing.  She’s definitely a big part of us scoring runs and keeping the other team from scoring runs.”  

“Anya Chase is an amazing pitcher but also a fabulous hitter making her a force on the field,” commented Moody-Maxon who once pitched for WHS.  “She has been dedicated to softball both during the season and in the offseason, working with pitching coaches…”  

“Not only can she pitch but she can run and she can hit.” said Chase family friend Ernest Tarling who once unofficially coached Chase before she entered high school.  Tarling said that Anya’s father Matt built a batting cage for her inside the family barn with chain link fencing on the windows.  This allowed Chase and several of her friends to keep practicing their pitching and hitting skills during the winter months. Tarling observed that Chase had a certain drive to be a good pitcher.   
Chase accepting her award
From left to right, Pam Moody Maxon, Anya Chase, and Kevin Fox

Emily Cottis selected Student-Athlete of the Month at Wells High School

posted Jul 6, 2017, 12:00 PM by Michael Richards

Wells High School senior Emily Cottis has been named the school’s “Student- Athlete of the Month” for April of 2017.   Her selection was based on her academics, sportsmanship and participation on the WHS Girls Track and Field team including breaking a long-standing school track record.   

“I wasn’t expecting it really,” said Cottis of receiving this award. “It’s a big honor.” 

Presenting a plaque to Cottis on June 8th was WHS Activities Director Jack Molloy and Pam Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate which, with Cole Harrison Insurance Agency, sponsors Athlete of the Month at WHS.

"Emily Cottis did a tremendous job this season for the girls’ outdoor track and field team,” commented Molloy. “She led them to the WMC championships, set a school record…and was one of only three girls to score points at the state meet."

According to Molloy, Cottis’ track achievements were numerous this year.  Notable among them was breaking a 15 year-old Wells High School record in the 300 meter hurdles.  She accomplished this feat with a time of 50.00 running the 300 meter hurdles during the team’s second home meet. 

This year, the WHS Girls Track and Field team, led by head coach Cynthia McDonnell, won the Western Maine Conference Championship at Lake Region High School.  At this event, Emily Cottis won the 100 meter hurdles in 16.57 seconds and was second in the 300 meter hurdles.

Cottis accepting her award


WHS 2017 Graduation to be shown on cable TV in Wells and Ogunquit

posted Jun 21, 2017, 12:42 PM by Michael Richards

Wells High School held its 114th graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 11, 2017.  With a graduation rate of 100 percent, WHS awarded 129 students their diplomas. The ceremony was video recorded and will be shown on Spectrum® Channel 3 in Wells and Ogunquit beginning June 23rd and running through July 9th at the following times:  Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00 p.m. 

The proceedings got underway on stage with a group of soon-to-be graduates singing the national anthem ‘a cappella’.  Then WHS Principal Eileen Sheehy spoke.  In her remarks Sheehy acknowledged the Wells-Ogunquit communities for their time and support including $125,000 given this year for scholarships.  She also highlighted the numerous academic, artistic, athletic and other achievements and success of the Class of 2017.  Sheehy also noted the ‘giveback’ efforts of class members to the community.  She said that the Class of 2017 raised $75,000 for charity and donated 7,000 hours of community service this past year. 

“Your endowment to Wells High School will come in the form of community service,” said Sheehy who closed her remarks with, “On behalf of everyone at Wells High School and the Wells-Ogunquit Community District, we would like you to know that we will miss you dearly and we wish you the very, very best.”

This year’s commencement speaker was retiring math teacher Jay Audet.   Valedictorian Michelle Desjardins provided the Valedictory Address and 2017 Class President and Salutatorian Madison Morin provided the Salutatory Address.   

Class President Addressing Graduates and Guests
WHS Class of 2017 President Madison Morin and Class Vice President Nathan Olsen at WHS Graduation on June 11, 2017.  At left is WHS Assistant Principal Josh Gould

Graduates receiving their diplomas
A scene from the 114th WHS Graduation on June 11, 2017

Wells and Ogunquit first responders break for lunch with students

posted Jun 20, 2017, 3:32 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Jun 20, 2017, 3:33 AM ]

In May, Wells Junior High School administrators sent an open, two-day invitation to “first responders” in Wells and Ogunquit to visit their school and have lunch with students.  This was to be, as Principal Robert Griffin stated, “a positive, small thing to not only welcome them to our school, but to foster some positive interactions between students and them.”   Griffin said that he and Assistant Principal A.J. Dufort had been considering ways to acknowledge and involve the community more at the school and so this gesture became a start towards that goal.  Griffin said several police officers attended the first day and both fire and police personnel came for lunch the following day. “We enjoy having them here, and enjoy seeing the valuable positive relationships they are forming with our students,” said Griffin.

Members of the Wells PD eating lunch at WJHS
Sitting around a lunchroom table at Wells Junior High School on May 10th are members of the Wells Police Department visiting the school and having lunch with students.  They are (l to r) Officer Chris Baez, Det. Joseph LaBier, Det. Cpl. Timothy Cetrano and Animal Control Officer Jackie LaLiberte.

Lunch time with Wells PD
From left to right is Lt. Kevin Chabot, Lt. Gerald Congdon and School Resource Officer John Riegel, all from the Wells Police Department having lunch with students at Wells Junior High School on May 10, 2017

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

posted Jun 19, 2017, 3:50 AM by Michael Richards

The end of the 2016-2017 school year in the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District (WOCSD) finds 12 staff members retiring and six other staff reaching the 20-year milestone of service to the District.  All of these individuals were honored in a “Service to Education Celebration” event at Wells High School on June 15th. 

Following a reception for these colleagues, WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly and the District’s three school principals Christopher Roche (WES), Robert Griffin (WJHS) and Eileen Sheehy (WHS) recognized these individuals with comments and gift bags.  

Those retiring include Cathy Abbott (22 years of service), Jay Audet (34 years), Sue Cayford (5 years), Beth Cilluffo (12 years), Sharon Crippen (12 years), Paula Edmonds (2 years), Lil Lagasse (24 years), MaryEllen McEvoy (20 years), Alice Meader (40 years), Gerry Randall (18 years), Arlie VanNatta (13 years), and Bob Winn (34 years).

Those recognized for reaching 20 years of service to the District included Martha Brown, Judi Dion, Marcy Dzamba, Marcia Millian, Cheryl Oakes and Clarissa Sweeney.

“We have a great school district, great teachers, great support staff and custodians, tremendous secretaries, great kids and a great community,” said Superintendent Daly in his closing remarks to the retirees and other Distrust staff in the audience.  Daly thanked those honored on behalf of the WOCSD School Committee and wished everyone a great summer.  He implored all to take more time to enjoy life. 

Staff members honored by WOCSD
WOCSD staff in the back row are (l to r)  MaryEllen McEvoy, Alice Meader, Martha Brown, Marcy Dzamba, Marcia Millian, Lil Lagasse, Clarissa Sweeney, Sharon Crippen, Sue Cayford, and Judi Dion.  Front row (l to r): Jay Audet, Cathy Abbott, Bob Winn, Arlie VanNatta, and Gerry Randall

Alice Meader being honored
WJHS Principal Robert Griffin (center) honoring retiring teacher Alice Meader who began teaching at Wells Junior High School in 1977.  Griffin noted that Meader, has taught under nine superintendents.   Superintendent Jim Daly is at far left. 

Julie Habas named “Exemplary Volunteer of the Year”

posted Jun 14, 2017, 4:24 AM by Michael Richards

At the Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on June 8th, Julie Habas was recognized as the District’s Exemplary Volunteer of the Year for 2016-17.  Habas, who is from Ogunquit, has been a school volunteer in the District for the past four years.  She volunteers her time in various kindergarten classrooms and maintains the school’s PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) store. 

“I love it, I love children, (and so) I love everything about it,” said Habas about her school volunteer work especially managing the PBIS store.   She best describes her experience there as “amazing”.   Speaking of the schools 480 plus students who visit the store often she added, “I get to see and touch every one of their lives…There is just so much more to the whole PBIS program."  Habas sees students buy small items, including little gifts for their family, with “hoot loot”, a school currency earned by students for displaying positive behaviors in school.

Speaking to the assembled guests at the luncheon on the 8th was Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley and WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly. “She does a tremendous job for our kids, school, and community,” commented Daly about Habas. “We are very lucky to have dedicated community members like Julie volunteer for our schools.”

The District had 26 volunteers during the 2016-17 school year.  Volunteers come from an assortment of backgrounds and are screened and trained by Foley to work in a teaching and learning environment.  Although some volunteers work at Wells High School, the majority of volunteers work with students and teachers at Wells Elementary School or Wells Junior High School.   

The luncheon this year had a “Taco Bar” theme complete with colorful decorations and festive Mexican music plus a poster that read “Muchas Gracias” on the school’s office door.  Volunteers received seed packets and flowers and played a game of Volunteer Bingo.

According to Foley, volunteers, as a whole, contribute hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of service to the District yearly.  Speaking of Habas’ work Foley commented, “Julie worked through many adjustments to the PBIS school store and got it running smoothly. It wouldn't have happened without her. She is almost like staff now at WES.”

Habas’ name will now be added to the Exemplary Volunteer of the Year plaque located at Wells Elementary School.   Anyone interested in becoming involved in the WOCSD School Volunteer Program in the fall of 2017 should contact Maryanne Foley at her school email address:  mfoley@wocsd.org.  
Presentation of award
From left to right are WES Assistant Principal Ken Spinney, Maryanne Foley, Julie Habas, and Superintendent Jim Daly

Habas at the PBIS store
Julie Habas in WES’s PBIS store

Second grader wins honor of tossing out first pitch

posted Jun 9, 2017, 12:18 PM by Michael Richards

Wells Elementary School second grade student Thomas Omartian recently won a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) raffle to toss out the first pitch at a Portland Sea Dogs game on June 9th.   This drawing was part of the first WES “community night” events.  WES students, parents, teachers and support staff at WES attended the game.   Omartian and other students entered the raffle using “hoot loot”, a special school currency featuring the image of an owl, the school’s mascot.   As a reward for demonstrating expected good behaviors during school, students earn “hoot loot” to buy books, pens, paper, etc. at the school store.  They can also use the paper money to enter school drawings such as the one mentioned above and sometimes for tickets to take a train ride on Amtrak®.   According to Assistant Principal Ken Spinney, this is the first such community night for the WES community at a Sea Dogs game in quite some time.  Several community nights are in the process of being planned for the 2017-2018 school-year.   
Getting ready for the Sea Dogs game

A special reading program concludes third year at WES

posted Jun 7, 2017, 1:25 PM by Michael Richards

At Wells Elementary School on May 26th, there was a special gathering of first-grade students with a class of WHS seniors.  They were there to celebrate the culmination of another productive year for Teen Trendsetters™, an intensive reading mentoring program of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.  

Beginning October of 2016, nineteen WHS seniors from Dawn Wentland’s World Literature class traveled on Fridays to the elementary school to help a group of younger students boost their reading skills, reading scores and confidence.   During these 45-minute sessions, each senior was matched up with a first-grade student for tutoring.   

According to the coordinator for Teen Trendsetters™ at WES, Literacy Specialist Bonnie Esty, about 60 students have benefited from this program since the fall of 2014.  

The Barbara Bush Foundation offers participating schools in the program training for staff and teen volunteers, books, three non-fiction magazines from a Scholastic program called Brainstorm and ongoing monitoring of student reading data.  

Seniors who commit to volunteer are trained to mentor elementary students.  They also practice leadership skills by working one-on-one with a reader.  With completion of this experience they receive up to 24 school credit hours in community service.

At the party on May 26th, the group heard comments from Bonnier Esty (who also wrote the grant that brought this program to WES) and watched a send-off video of photos taken throughout the year of the two groups working together.  Students gave seniors a personalized card, a photo and a book for grads titled, Curious You, On Your Way.  For their participation, first graders received 15 books to enjoy at home and add to their family library.

“It was productive,” said senior Joshua McFarland who participated this year.  “It was a good experience for the kids and the seniors.  I would definitely do it again.”  McFarland noted that the younger students learned new words and gained knowledge about such topics as animals and plants from reading with a mentor.

The end of the first year for the Teen Trendsetters™ program at WES in 2015 was especially notable as participating students and their mentors were invited to attend Barbara Bush’s 90th birthday party and celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Barbara Bush Foundation held at St. Ann’s Church in Kennebunkport near the Bush home in June of 2015.  At that time, these WOCSD students greeted guests to the party, made posters and received t-shirts. 
WHS Trendsetters
WHS seniors participating in the Teen Trendsetters™ program at WES during the 2016-2017 school year.   Top row (L to R): Emma Eicher, Sophie Ramini, Amber Bauer, Maryalissa Hebden, Elizabeth Curtis, Travis Kay and Joshua McFarland.  Middle row:  (l to r): Connor Hood, Alec Pinette, Ryan Barber, Cullen Cummings, and Olivia Muse.  Front row (l to r) Colby Damren, Ryan Sousa, Jasmine Webber, Gwenyth Webber, Kaitlyn Schott, and Lauren Wilusz.  Not pictured: Sarah Holdsworth, Allyson O'Brien and Christopher Spearin.  Note: Jasmine Webber and Gwenyth Webber are juniors graduating early. 

Kindergarteners learn to plant and garden with science in mind

posted Jun 7, 2017, 6:06 AM by Michael Richards

Welcoming spring outside Wells Elementary School on a day in mid-May are WES students from Mrs. Fox's kindergarten class with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teacher Henry Ingwersen.  Students and teacher are preparing the soil for planting in several raised plant beds.   Later, kindergarten and third grade classes planted beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, lettuce, peas, carrots, and potatoes as part of learning about plant needs, life cycles, plant structures, and gardening." 
Students working in the garden

WES fourth grade student recognized by the MAEA

posted May 26, 2017, 10:52 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Elementary School fourth grade student Reese Murphy was recognized for her artwork by the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) on March 4th. This was for an untitled painting she created in an art class inspired by famous Maine artist, Dahlov Ipcar.

Murphy, along with other K-12 art students representing various Maine schools, gathered for a reception at the Museum on the 4th to be recognized for their art work with a certificate and a pin.  On this evening, students and their families were able to view the student art displayed in a special month-long exhibit at the PMA in celebration of Youth Art Month which is in March. Students were selected for this honor by art teachers who are members of the MAEA.

Murphy was selected by art teacher Sandy Brennan. "Reese has been part of our Gifted and Talented Art program since last year and I hope she continues to be interested in drawing and painting," commented Brennan who described Murphy's work as “outstanding”.

The annual K-12 student art exhibit and reception is sponsored by the MAEA and the PMA.  This year marks the 23rd anniversary of their joint sponsorship of the event. 
Murphy and Brennan in front of artwork
At the Portland Museum of Art with her painting hanging overhead in the background is Reese Murphy with teacher Sandy Brennan

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