News About WOCSD

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

Elementary students raise thousands for heart health

posted Mar 10, 2020, 4:20 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Mar 10, 2020, 4:29 AM ]

Under the direction of Physical Education teacher Kathy Calo, over 300 Wells Elementary School students took part in a large jump rope event in the school’s gymnasium in February.  This was part of WES’s annual participation in the Kids Heart Challenge to raise funds for the work of the American Heart Association (AHA).   In doing so, students raised $15,300 with pledges for their participation.  Previously known as “Jump Rope for Heart” and introduced in 1987 to the school by Calo, WES students have thus far raised a grand total of $256,528 for this cause.   

According to the main web page of the AHA’s Kids Heart Challenge, “The Kids Heart Challenge is a fun and exciting event where your student learns about their heart while helping others by raising money for the American Heart Association.  It prepares your child for success through physical and emotional well-being.”

Jumping for a cause
In the photo is WES fourth-grade student, Matti Mattuchio, skipping rope with her classmates in this year’s Kids Heart Challenge.  


Teachers hold Title I open house for parents

posted Mar 5, 2020, 4:29 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Elementary School’s Title I math and reading teachers recently featured an open house for parents of Title I students receiving math and/or literacy support at WES.  The February 14th event, named "For the Love of Learning”, was to provide family interaction in celebrating student improvement in reading and math.  

The Title I law is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, a component of the Johnson Administration’s then “War on Poverty”.  Since that time, Title I has provided supplemental funding to designated schools to help provide, among other educational needs, assistance to students falling behind their peers in reaching educational goals.   

According to Title I Literacy teacher Karen Valliere, approximately 85 WES students are currently eligible and receiving this service.  “We were delighted.  Couldn’t have been any happier,” said Valliere about the turnout for the open house.  

“Our goal is to help each child develop the skills and strategies necessary to become a competent student so (that) he or she will find success when participating in classroom activities,” said Title I Math teacher Kim Richard. “We want to help children enjoy reading and math by providing them with resources they can use at home with support.  We hope they will continue to pursue reading and math for enjoyment as well.” 

Stacey Schatzabel is the Director of Instruction and Special Services for the Wells-Ogunquit CSD.  “Title I students make tremendous gains through our programming, however, the best results come from home and school working together,” commented Schatzabel.  “This event is an example of this partnership."  According to Schatzabel, the ESEA grant funds the Title I math teaching positions in the WOCSD.  However, the literacy positions are funded locally.   

Before they left their Title I classrooms on the 14th, also Valentine’s Day, participating students received either a free book of their choice and/or a math game to play at home.

Parent and Son at the Title 1 Event
Jacob Owen with son Jaxson reading together, My New Friend Is So Fun by Mo Willems.  Jaxson is in the first grade at WES.

WES Title 1 Teachers
WES Title I teachers (from the left) Bonnie Esty (Literacy), Kim Richard (Math), Nancy Colley (Literacy), Brenda Brown (Math) and Karen Valliere (Literacy).  

Wells Elementary School recognizes its champions at breakfast

posted Feb 28, 2020, 3:48 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Elementary School held its second “Breakfast of Champions” for the 2019-20 school year on February 14th.  On this day, Valentine’s Day, over 42 first through fourth-grade students were recognized in front of an audience of parents, staff and guests.  They were each recognized with a certificate for demonstrating one or more of the school’s core values in school.  Those values include responsibility, honesty, trustworthiness plus compassion and respect for others.  

“I love celebrating student successes,” commented WES Principal April Noble.  “I think it's special that it is a tradition in all three (WOCSD) schools that began when Superintendent Daly was the principal at the high school.  It's an honor for our kids to be recognized this way.”

According to the principal, all school staff members can now nominate a student demonstrating a core value for this award.  “I believe any time children can be recognized for their core values, they should, as we are helping guide their way towards becoming future citizens,” added Noble.

Honored were Jacob Afthim, Mila Barry, Robert Bates, Reid Brogan, Zoe Borberg, Luke Boucher, Vienna Cardinali, Zania Christie, Cody Clarke, Reese Collin, Lucas Copper, John Devon,  Ammariah Dean, Logan Desper, Sunny Geary, Bryan Greve, Lucas Heigelmann, Jackson Hester, Mason Holland, Nathaniel Johnson, Max Levesque, Dominic Lorello, Millie Lucas, Lucas Madsen, Ashlynn Marchand, Luke Michaud, Marissa Mottor, Colt Nadeau, Andrew Parker, Bella Paszkowska, Brantley Petetabella, Michaela Schettino, Rusty Rousseau, Phoebe Silcox, Camden Springer, Rhys Sullivan, Jayden Trafton, Kaylee Webber, Garret Witten, Gabriel Danner-Wilson, Sam Winship, and Savannah Young.      

WOCSD-WES Breakfast of Champs February 2020
First through fourth-grade students who were recognized February 14th for demonstrating the core values of Wells Elementary School.

Annual basket raffle and auction at WHS rescheduled to February 29th

posted Feb 24, 2020, 6:03 AM by Michael Richards

Project Graduation at Wells High School has announced that its annual “Theme Basket Raffle and Silent Auction” planned for February 28th has been “rescheduled” to take place on Saturday, February 29, 2020, in the gymnasium at Wells High School from 6 to 9 pm.  This popular fundraiser helps provide an alcohol and chemical-free night of events for seniors following graduation ceremonies in June. 

The evening consists of silent auctions and raffles for various themed gift baskets containing an assortment of items and gift certificates donated by parents of seniors and area businesses.  Tickets to take a chance on winning one or more of these baskets will be sold the night of the event. There is no limit as to how many tickets one can buy or how many baskets can be won.  However, winners of baskets must be present to accept their winnings.

After doors open at 6 pm, ticket holders will have time to walk around the basket and auction tables to examine prizes before the drawings commence at 7:45.   Baked goods and water will be available for purchase.  For more information contact Amy Moody at 207-251-0146 or write to her at

WHS Project Graduation Auction 2019
File photo from a previous Project Graduation raffle and auction.

Local high school publication evolves as it continues to inform and entertain students

posted Feb 12, 2020, 10:19 AM by Michael Richards

Founded in the early 1970’s by WHS teachers Janet O’Donnell and Nadyne MacDonald along with their students, The Wells Street Journal continues moving through time as relevant as ever presenting school and sports news for students and staff at Wells High School.   Currently, three editions are printed per school year.  Once a monthly publication, the paper’s editions now coincide with the change of seasons.

In the early years, the paper’s staff did not have the use of word processing programs, digital cameras, and other devices often taken for granted in 2020.  Instead, the paper was produced with typewriters and mimeograph machines.  But now the design of the paper’s pages is created online.  Currently, about 200 copies are printed per edition in a magazine format complete with a glossy cover.  It is distributed free to the student body and made available to the public in the lobby of the Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent’s office.   

Teacher Dawn Wentland is now the paper’s advisor and editor.  She commented that her students meet in class daily where they, like former students, strive to “leave their own mark” in reporting and photographing about school issues and happenings.   Current topics and sections, much like in the past, include feature articles, school plays, sports summaries, survey results, recipes, school calendars, and puzzles. 

This winter students are working on a spring issue.  For example, Ashton Jacobson-Theriault and James Evangelou are co-authoring an article about the computer game Madden NFL 20.  Others on the staff have been conducting student opinion polls with Google’s 'Who's Who?'  

Wentland wants to maintain the high standards that others have set in steering the paper.  In 2005, under the direction of then WHS teacher and newspaper adviser Jen Lacher-Starace, the Wells Street Journal was recognized by the Maine Center for Student Journalism with the James Russel Wiggins Award.   In 2017, then Wells Street Journal staff member Brianna Christie won a writing contest and was invited to represent Maine at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Conference at the Newseum in Washington D.C.  Wentland credits Christie with being the one who was instrumental in moving the school paper forward into a magazine format.  

Wentland pointed out that her student crew is small this school year with only four students.  She indicated that in the previous two school years, the staff was larger and produced more content covering a variety of subjects ranging from “A History of the Origins of the English Language” by Matthew Chase to “Ghosts on the Coast” by Katy Cafaro.  Wentland commented that many of her staff in 2018-2019 are now in college with several of them reporting for collegiate student newspapers. 

Nonetheless, Wentland expects this year’s class to continue to provide “a forum for student voices” and be motivated to meet deadlines.  “I want people to find this magazine 10 years from now and say, ‘Wow -- that is so Wells High School 2019-20,” commented Wentland.

WHS Students newspaper 2020
From the left, teacher Dawn Wentland, Amasian Conley (senior), Ashton Jacobson-Theriault (junior), James Evangelou (junior); and, not pictured, Izaiah Doucette (junior).

Former students who were part of the WSJ
Former WHS seniors that were part of the staff of the “Wells Street Journal” pictured here in the spring of 2019.  They are (from left to right) Emma Nelson, Braeden Baston, Roslyn Soper, and Alyssa Bacon.   Nelson was Senior Editor and Bacon was a contributing writer to the Wells Street Journal in the 2018-2019 school year.   

Bingham wins WJHS’s annual Geography Bee; Paswaters is first runner-up

posted Feb 3, 2020, 3:43 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Feb 3, 2020, 11:06 AM ]

At Wells Junior High School on January 29, 2020, eighth grade student Ryan Bingham received first place in the school-level or first round of competition in the 2019-2020 National Geographic GeoBee.  After an exciting final round, Kaden Paswaters, also in eighth grade, placed second.  The ten-student contest, the final round of numerous class qualifying bees, took place before the school’s student body in the Ward Gymnasium.  

“Well, I got the first question wrong so I was kind of expecting to go out after that,” said Bingham later.  He added, “But I had no idea this would happen.”   He candidly admitted that he did not know the answer to the deciding question but thought of a couple of likely answers and selected what turned out to be the correct response.  “I kind of guessed and I got it right,” he said.  “Social studies is my favorite class because geography is in it.”   He added that he likes geography and reading National Geographic magazine, the official magazine of the National Geographic Society.  

The other eight students who competed in the WJHS Bee were Olivia Boutot, Cole Gauthier, Sean Gilbert, Jackson Koh, Helen Lee, Jack McDevitt, Jacob Ouellet and Will Scott.  

Social studies teacher Bonnie Dill was the Bee’s organizer and questioner. “It was great to have two fifth graders (and) two sixth graders in the top ten so we have some talent coming up,” said Dill who observed that the contest was topical at times. “You could see in the last few questions that paying attention to the current news helps students to answer the final questions.”  

Others who assisted with the event included social studies teachers Susie Dugovic and Alison Le who were the contest judges. Teacher Dan MacLeod was the timekeeper.  

Each of the ten Bee contestants received a Toblerone candy bar and a small squishy globe to be a symbol of their knowledge of the World.   Runner-up Kaden Paswaters and Bingham also received a National Geographic World Atlas.   In addition, Bingham received a plush three-foot Antarctic penguin.  “It was a great prize,” said Dill of the penguin.  “The kids were excited about it.”   

To proceed to the state level of the National Geographic GeoBee, Bingham will need to complete a written test created by the National Geographic Society.  He then will be invited to attend the State Bee to be held at the University of Maine at Farmington in late March.  All winners of the various state bees are then eligible to compete in the National Geographic GeoBee in Washington, D.C. from May 17-21.

WJHS Geography Bee 2020
In the photo are students who competed in the recent WJHS Geography Bee.  In the back row from the left are Olivia Boutot, Kaden Paswaters, Ryan Bingham, Jackson Koh, and Jacob Ouellet.  In the front from the left are Cole Gauthier, Sean Gilbert, Will Scott, Helen Lee, and Jack McDevitt.

“Shootin’ for a Cure” reaches 10 years of age

posted Jan 29, 2020, 3:29 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Jan 29, 2020, 1:55 PM ]

In 2010, Wells High School Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Don Abbott started a fundraiser to help support breast cancer awareness and care.   As of January 18, 2020 that fundraiser, Shootin’ for a Cure, has raised over $293,000 for York Hospital’s Living Well With Cancer Program. 

Over the past decade, grade 5-12 student-athletes in the Girls Basketball program have raised money primarily with pledges.  Then, for one day each January, fulfilled those pledges by participating in several hours of basketball free-throw competition.   On January 18th, Shootin’ for a Cure held its eleventh free throw session with 55 athletes raising $23,000.  As in previous years, a large ceremonial check was presented later that day to York Hospital representatives. This time, the check presentation was held prior to a Girls Varsity Basketball game with Traip Academy.

Four months prior on September 12, 2019, York Hospital officials dedicated the hospital’s Breast Care Center in Wells in honor of Shootin’ for a Cure and all of its past and present participating athletes and organizers who helped to make this significant achievement possible.

Shootin’ for a Cure is managed by a committee of volunteers comprised of several Wells-Ogunquit CSD staff members including Coach Abbott.   On October 2, 2019, the Shootin’ for a Cure Committee (SFAC) members and several current participants in the Girls Basketball program were recognized by the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee for their dedication to the Wells Girls Basketball program  Presenting certificates of achievement to them were Committee Chair Helena Ackerson and District Superintendent James Daly.  

Shooting for a Cure 2019
The Shootin’ for a Cure Committee:  In the back from the left are Pierce Cole, Kevin Fox, Don Abbott, Cheryl Turner, Darcy Ramsdell, Franny Ramsdell (participant in Girls Basketball), and WOCSD School Committee Chair Helena Ackerson.  In front (l to r) are other participants in the current Girls Basketball program: Marina Villator, Kirra Villator, Alivia Boucher, Cosette (Coco) Allaire and Ava Kreie.

WHS Music Boosters to hold annual textile drive during February

posted Jan 28, 2020, 4:31 AM by Michael Richards

For the month of February, the Music Boosters at Wells High School will hold their annual textile fundraising drive to help raise money for the WHS Music Boosters and the Epilepsy Foundation of New England.   The fundraiser, called a “Winter Weed-Out”, is a great way for one to make a non-monetary donation to two worthy causes plus accomplish some “weeding out” of their closets.  

The following is a list of what can be accepted for the textile drive:  clothing (gently used or new clothing including uniforms and costumes without price tags), clothing accessories (ties, scarves, belts, suspenders), footwear (shoes, boots, cleats, sneakers, slippers), jewelry, linens (towels, placemats, cloth napkins, table cloths, sheets), bedding (quilts, blankets, comforters, slipcovers), curtains, drapes, fabrics, handbags, purses and backpacks.  Please note that any wet items, household items and books cannot be accepted for this textile drive.  However, stained or ripped clothing donations are welcome. 

If you have any of these items that you would like to donate, please bag them up in new garbage bags and deposit them in the designated blue Epilepsy barrels located at Wells Town Hall, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent’s Office, Wells High School, Wells Junior High School, Wells Elementary School, Matt’s Barbershop in Wells or the office of Prime Storage in Wells during regular business hours.  

Please note the hours of operation for each of the above locations and please do not leave bags outside any of these donation drop spots. Tax donation receipts and extra bags will be available on the blue barrels at the above locations.   

In addition to the above locations, this collection drive also includes a “Stuff-the-Band-Truck” and “Personal Pick-Up” on February 15th and 22nd from 8:00 am until noon.  On those days the Wells-Ogunquit Music Booster white truck will be parked and ready for donation bags at the Wells Transfer Station.  Or, one can schedule a personal pick-up if one has three or more 30-gallon bags or six or more 13-gallon bags.   To schedule a pick-up for either of these days, contact Bill Washburn at 207-468-4162 or email him at:  The last day to donate is February 28th.
WHS Textile Fundraiser file photo 2018
File photo of a blue Epilepsy textile collection barrel with extra bags and tax donation receipts.

Kim Yurga named Student-Athlete of the Month at WHS

posted Jan 27, 2020, 4:23 AM by Michael Richards

Wells High School senior Kim Yurga has been recognized as the school’s newest Student-Athlete of the Month receiving the award for October of 2019.   Criteria for the selection included her academics and performance on the WHS Girls Varsity Volleyball team.

Presenting a plaque to Yurga on January 17th was Wells-Ogunquit CSD Director of Athletics 6-12 Pierce Cole, John C. Kreie of the Cole Harrison Insurance Agency and Pamela Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate.  Both businesses are sponsors of the Student-Athlete of the Month award at WHS.

“I was actually surprised that I got this because I play with a lot of amazing girls but to me, this was very honoring because I put in so much hard work for this sport,” said Yurga.  “It means a lot to me.  It shows that my hard work has been paying off.”  

Rachel Graceffa is the coach of the volleyball team at WHS.  “Kim Yurga is very deserving of the Student-Athlete of the Month Award,” commented Graceffa.  “She is a leader on and off the court and helped to battle back and win during the playoff game (with) Gardiner Area High School.”   Graceffa went on to note that this was the first playoff win for the volleyball team in WHS history. 

Yurga plays various positions on the team including “outside”, “back row” and “defensive specialist”.   She says the high school volleyball season begins with pre-season training in the summer and continues with the regular season that runs from September to early October.  After graduation from high school, she wants to continue to play volleyball for a division three team in college.   

According to Coach Graceffa, her team finished their volleyball season with 9 wins and 7 losses.   

WHS Athlete of Month Oct. 2019
From left to right: Pierce Cole, Pam Moody-Maxon, Kim Yurga, and John Kreie.  

Sam Coleman wins WJHS Spelling Bee

posted Jan 22, 2020, 5:15 AM by Michael Richards

Wells Junior High School 8th grade student Sam Coleman emerged the top speller in this year’s Wells Junior High School Spelling Bee held on January 15th.   An equally excellent speller, 6th grader Jacob Ouellet, achieved runner-up status.

Students from 5th through the 8th grade classes were eligible to compete with their peers and become one of the 12 finalists (three from each grade) in this contest held before an audience of students, school staff and parents in the Ward Gymnasium. 

WJHS teachers Julie Esch and Marilyn Zotos were the spelling bee organizers. “The spellers all rose to the challenge,” commented Esch who teaches English and Language Arts (ELA).  “What a fun event for all.” 

“This spelling bee was the best in my 15 years of being involved in it,” said Zotos who also teaches ELA.   It was really a battle right to the end.  It was very exciting.  And as I said earlier (to the audience), it’s just as exciting as an athletic event.” She indicated that she was encouraged by the performance of the Bee’s contestants in an era where teachers have to compete with “texting” in teaching proper spelling.  “We need to fight for spelling,” she added.  

“Really good,” said Jacob Ouellet about participating in the contest.  He admitted, however, that he was worried about the outcome but concluded, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”  All 12 contestants displayed a show of spelling talent with none being eliminated for many of the earlier rounds.   

Judges included Esch, Zotos, Mary Rand, Cheryl Turner, Laney Yeomelakis, Sarah Downs and Angela Bishop.  Esch and Zotos also alternated as announcers. 

Sam Coleman ─with Jacob Ouellet as back-up─ will now compete in the York County Spelling Bee which takes place February 4th at Biddeford Middle School at 3:00 p.m.  The winner of that contest will move on to compete in the Maine State Spelling Bee on March 21, 2020.  The 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee will begin on May 24, 2020 in Fort Washington, Maryland.  The main prize for first place at that level is $50,000.

WJHS Spelling Bee Finalists 2020
In the photo are this year’s finalists in the 2020 WJHS Spelling Bee. In the back row (left to right) are Gabe Ordway, Evan Belanger, Derek Lippe, Eli Potter, Bobby Lucas, and Bee winner Sam Coleman.  In the front row (l to r) are Ainslie Donovan, Cole Gauthier, Ahlaya Coombs, Damian Cry, Amelia Connor, and runner-up Jacob Ouellet.  

WJHS Spelling Bee Champion at the microphone
At the microphone is 8th grade student Sam Coleman who won this year’s WJHS Spelling Bee on January 15th.

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