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News About WOCSD
Wells High School administrators have selected senior Michelle Desjardins to receive the distinction of Student-Athlete of the Month for September of 2016. This award is in recognition of a combination of factors including academics, sportsmanship and her performance on the WHS Girls Volleyball Team, an evolving team in existence for just three seasons.
Presenting a plaque to Desjardins on November 21st was Pamela Moody-Maxon of Moody Maxon Real Estate and John C. Kreie of Cole Harrison Insurance Agency. Both companies are sponsors of the Athlete of the Month awards program at WHS.
Before the presentation, Desjardins speculated that she had been picked to receive the award, in part, for her successful role in motivating and rallying her teammates while playing a tough opponent, Kennebunk High School, in a WHS Homecoming game in September. “I helped bring our team up to the challenge,” said Desjardins.
WHS Girls Volleyball Coach Ryan Fairchild agreed about the motivational role that Desjardins played in that matchup. Fairchild said that she scored “seven aces, one kill and had ten digs.” “Her consistent play across the board allowed us to be competitive throughout the match,” added Fairchild.
“I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen out of all the other great athletes in this school to receive Athlete of the Month,” commented Desjardins. “It's awesome to see all the hard work that I've put into volleyball paying off and being recognized.” On the team, Desjardins plays the positions of “left side and opposite outside hitter”.
According to Moody-Maxon, “Michelle is the epitome of what a scholar-athlete should be. She is a well-rounded individual who not only excels in the classroom…but also on the volleyball court. She has a strong work ethic and that shows both on and off the court.”
Michelle Desjardins is the daughter of Gary and Cindy Desjardins of Wells. The Student-Athlete of the Month Award has recognized high achieving student-athletes at WHS since 2007.
From left to right is John C. Kreie, Michelle Desjardins and Pam Moody-Maxon. Both Kreie and Moody-Maxon are former athletes at and graduates of Wells High School.
The drama club at Wells High School will present Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the school’s new performing arts center, November 30th through December 3rd.
Dates, times and ticket prices for this show are as follows: Wednesday, November 30th at 3:30 pm with students and senior citizens admitted free. Adult ticket prices are $5; Thursday and Friday, December 1st and 2nd at 7:00pm (students and senior citizens $5, adults $8); and a final presentation on Saturday, December 3rd at 1:00 pm (students and senior citizens $5, adults $8).
A Christmas Carol is based on the classic, haunting tale by 19th century English author Charles Dickens. It was adapted for the Wells stage by Director Andrew Lopez and produced by Jay Audet. About 30 students are part of the production of this first play to be presented in the new venue.
“My adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the original novel, adapted for the stage,” commented Lopez. “Other than one scene written by myself, all dialogue is verbatim. I created a five character "Greek Chorus" to deliver narration that I considered essential. It is a dark show, full of music, dance, and special effects.”
Indeed the Olenn Performing Arts Center is now capable of wonderful special effects with state of the art sound and lighting technology. This new venue with a balcony can seat an audience of about 440.
In addition, this play introduces David Littlefield as assistant director for this and future plays at WHS. Littlefield is a 2010 graduate of Wells High School and a 2014 graduate of Burlington College in Vermont where he majored in video production. He is currently a substitute teacher in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD and owner of the video production company, David Littlefield Productions.
“It’s been really exciting for me to come back to the school and see the new stage and see that there is so much more participation in the drama department...,” said Littlefield who, as a student at WHS, played a role in numerous play productions produced in the old Olenn Auditorium. Littlefield added that “it is also great to see that arts and drama are…flourishing. I think the new stage is helping to facilitate that growth.”
Assistant Director David Littlefield next to a poster for A Christmas Carol presented at WHS from November 30th through December 3rd. The play, with a student cast and crew of 30, is produced by Jay Audet and directed by Andrew Lopez.
Eighth grade students and staff at Wells Junior High School presented their 22nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for area seniors on November 20th. According to organizers, a record 550 area seniors were served a traditional holiday feast including dessert and coffee. For those unable to attend, numerous boxed dinners were prepared and delivered.
This popular event is not only a gesture of goodwill offered to the community but a ‘service learning’ project for all eighth grade students who make decorations and table settings, check coats, serve food, wait on tables and help with cleanup. Most of the school’s 88 eighth graders were present and dressed in white shirts and black slacks. As in previous years, a valet service was provided by a small group of Wells High School students.
“The kids that run this…and serve do a wonderful job,” said Rita Baer who, with husband Stan, have been attending this dinner for some time. “They’re very sweet, they’re very kind” she added.
Along with the students, those that helped make this event possible included Wells IGA Super Food Market for donating 27 turkeys cooked by Congdon’s Doughnuts Family Restaurant and Bakery and carved by Roger and June Messier. The WJHS School Nutrition Services staff, led by Lisa Currie, prepared mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash and gravy and Dunkin Doughnuts of Wells donated the coffee. In addition, various school staff baked a selection of pies. Eighth grade student Negel Martell filled the dining room with piano music joined at times by singing students and others.
Julie Esch, an eighth grade English Language Arts (ELS) teacher at WJHS, said that the dinner is the culmination of a Generations Unit studied in ELA classes. In this unit students study issues relating to aging in today’s society and visit residents at Sentry Hill in York Harbor.
Along with students, over 20 staff and others contributed time and effort in preparation of this enormous project including, but not limited to, Gary Leech of Congdons, and WJHS staff Julie Esch, Vicki Aldridge, Linda Gaidimas, Susie Dugovic, Principal Robert Griffin, and Assistant Principal A.J. Dufort.
A group photo of Wells Junior High School’s eighth grade students at WJHS just prior to this year’s 22nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner where 550 were served a Thanksgiving meal.
The WJHS Annual Thanksgiving Dinner can sometimes involve entire families. Here is an example from this year’s dinner which served 550 and employed almost 88 students: From left to right is WJHS ELA teacher Tasha Potter, her sons, Jonah Potter (an 8th grade student), Nolan Potter (a junior at Wells High School, member of the WHS Warrior Football Team and helper at the dinner), and (seated) Tasha Potter’s parents Sandra Walker and Robert Walker (Mr. Walker a former teacher at Kennebunk and Noble high schools).
On Friday, November 18th, a day before the Class C State Football Championship game between the teams of Wells High School and Mount Desert Island, the Warriors took time for a morning visit with students at Wells Elementary School.
“This was an amazing thing for our children, commented WES teacher and PTSA co-president Pam Lear. “Their (the students) look of awe was amazing.”
With music playing over the intercom, students, many holding signs, lined the hallways to greet and cheer the players. Both teachers and students received red Warrior towels to bring to Saturday’s game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
As it turned out for Wells, the Warriors were victorious over MDI with a score of 44 to 0 making this the Warriors’ third state championship win.
“It was so special for the players to share their time with us,” commented Lear about Friday’s visit. “Our children loved it! Making a connection between the younger students and our older role models is so important. These kiddos will remember this”.
The Wells High School Warriors Football Team standing outside of Wells Elementary School on November 18, 2016 following a visit with the school’s teachers and student body. A day later the team would go on to win the Class C Football State Championship
On November 10th, a day before this year’s Veterans Day, Wells Elementary School held its annual Veteran’s Day K-4 assembly to honor local veterans and those still serving in the military.
Numerous veterans attended this year’s event and were introduced and recognized before a large gathering of students and staff. First grade students, who made flags earlier to display, presented the vets with certificates of appreciation. Multi-age third/fourth grade students presented them with personalized cards.
Several guests spoke about what Veterans Day means to them including Army Major Shane Maxon, Commander of the 20th Special Forces, Charlie Company, and veterans Roger LaPlante (U.S. Air Force) and John Primerano (U.S. Army). Assistant Principal Ken Spinney also took a few moments to read aloud the names of many area service men and women deployed overseas during the upcoming holiday season.
The WHS Band and Color Guard performed and the Wells-Ogunquit Webelos Cub Scout Troop demonstrated the proper technique for folding the America flag. They also explained what the folds of the flag represent.
Others students who participated in the assembly included Nolan Motter (who explained the meaning of the Star Spangled Banner), Chloe Madsen (the meaning of playing Taps), Molly Tavares and Bobby Lucas ( answering “Who is a Veteran ?”) and Derek Martin (the importance of gratitude and how there are heroes all around us).
“They’re a great bunch of kids,” said World War II Army Veteran John Primerano about the students in the assembly. Primerano, was 19 years old when he made his first combat jump with the 101st Airborne Division. Primerano served from 1943 to 1946.
Kin Hamlyn of the Patriot Riders of America Maine Chapter 1 spoke to students about the importance the ordinary household items that they, their parents, and school staff had collected in a special collection that ended the day of the assembly. These items will be distributed to furnish housing for newly relocated homeless veterans. According to Marty Crier of WES, six pickup loads of supplies, including furniture, was donated for this cause.
Several members of the Patriot Riders produced a banner that was hung over the front entrance to the school, marched in the assembly and lined the hallway from the school’s gymnasium as students and veterans exited.
As one might conclude, this assembly not only honors veterans but is a learning experience that aligns with the WES’s Core Values including Respect and Compassion. An important goal of the assembly is to teach students about the meaning or Veteran’s Day and why it is celebrated and observed as a national holiday.
“I think it is important for the kids to get a sense of history and (understand) how we got to where we are as a country,” said Cindi Davidson who served 11 years in the U.S. Army. “It’s not like getting history out of a book, it’s like meeting people who were there and did things.”
Larry Wicker, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force in Korea, said that this particular assembly was the best that WES has produced. “Ken does a good job,” said Wicker of Assistant Principal Spinney who coordinates the Veterans Day K-4 assembly.
Faculty and staff who assisted with the production of the assembly included Marty Cryer, Karen Taylor, Maryanne Foley, Jere՛ Pierce, Suzanne LaPlante-Killoran, Selena Nickerson and Principal Chris Roche.
WHS student Kiah Holdsworth playing Taps at the Veterans K-4 Assembly at WES on November 10th, 2016
At the end of the assembly, students lined up to shake hands with the guest veterans. In this photo, World War II Veteran John Primerano greets students at the end of the Veterans K-4 assembly at Wells Elementary School on November 10th. Behind Primerano is Roger LaPlante, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Wells High School Principal Sheehy has announced that seniors Richard Patnaude and Issac J. Michaud are the recipients of the 2016 National School Development Council Award for Academic Growth and Student Leadership in Learning. Formed in 1969, the Council, a network of regional school study councils, seeks to acknowledge the positive contributions that students make to schools. Recipients of this award exemplify admirable character and accomplishment.
Richard and Issac “are wonderful examples of the many positive ways students can influence a school,” said Assistant Principal Josh Gould.
Principal Sheehy added, “They are natural leaders who model commitment, compassion, and citizenship. Their dedication to academics along with their positive presence in our school make them outstanding role models. Over the years at Wells High School, Issac and Richard have …consistently contributed to the culture of our entire school community.”
Richard Patnaude is the son of Mary Beth and Jeffrey Patnaude of Wells. Richard has made a five-year commitment to the WHS music and dramatic arts programs. A talented tenor saxophone player, he is an integral part of the marching band program culminating in his selection as the Drum Major in both his junior and senior years. He has participated in all fall plays and spring musicals consistently holding lead roles. A National Honor Society member, Richard has been recognized by the WHS faculty with several awards in the fields of English, math, Spanish and health. Last summer he participated on an analytical research project as part of the Maine Space Grant Consortium program.
Issac J. Michaud is the son of Michelle and James Michaud of Wells. Isaac has recently earned Eagle Scout status through the Boy Scouts of America. He has participated in numerous community service projects and models leadership through various fundraising efforts with the younger cub scouts. This fall he planned, organized and led a community volunteer program that built four new benches placed in front of Wells High School. A three-year soccer and lacrosse team member, Isaac was named Student of the Trimester by WHS faculty and has received awards in Physical Science, Advanced Placement Biology, English 10 and Geometry.
Richard Patnaude (left) and Issac J. Michaud
Organizers of the most recent All-4-Kids Consignment Sale at Wells Elementary School had a few extra hands helping them set up for their October 15th sale of children’s clothing and other items. It turned out that the entire Wells High School Warriors Football Team showed up at the WES gymnasium the day before the sale to do some community service by helping set up the many awkward and heavy tables needed for merchandise displays.
“We were asked by Pam Lear (PTSA co-President) if we could help set up,” commented Wells Warriors Coach Tim Roche recently. “It was game day and we had to catch the bus but, according to Pam, we saved them a ton of time.”
The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) for Wells Elementary School has been sponsoring and organizing this event since the fall of 2006. According to sale organizer and PTSA member Margaret Borkowski, this bi-annual sale has raised over $50,000 during the sale’s 10 year existence. Borkowski says the first year’s profits were about $750. According to Pam Lear, the recent sale generated $2,600 following payment to the sale’s consignors. Lear added that the next All-4-Kids Sale at WES will take place in April of 2017.
With funds generated from events like this, the PTSA is able to sponsor large annual events at WES including Colors Day and Starz for Broadway. PTSA money is also granted to teachers for requested classroom items. According to Lear, money raised also goes towards student activities and school supplies.
The Wells Warriors Football Team before the start of WES’s fall All-4-Kids Consignment Sale
On October 25th, students in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD participated in the Maine Student Mock Election held in schools statewide by the Department of the Secretary of State in Augusta.
Of the combined total votes cast in the three schools for president, Republican Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State and Democrat Hillary Clinton by just 13 votes out of 648 votes cast. In Maine’s 1st Congressional District race, Democrat Chellie Pingree defeated challenger Mark Holbrook by 53 votes from a total of 600 votes cast.
Results in the WOCSD mock election show a preference for Clinton for president in the youngest grades with Trump winning at the junior high and high school levels. Third and fourth graders favored Holbrook for Congress while the higher grades preferred Pingree.
All three WOCSD schools provided an area for voting complete with a registration desk, voting booths and ballot boxes to give students the experience of the democratic process of voting thus allowing them to share their collective preferences before this year’s national and state elections on November 8th.
Those facilitating the mock election in the WOCSD included Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley, and school volunteers Molly Talevi, Maureen DeFelice and Elaine Talevi.at Wells Elementary School; Student Council Advisers Lynn Mercier and Cindy Mitchell, members of the student council and various teachers at Wells Junior High School; and Ann Bechan, Student Council co-advisor Rachel Graceffa, teacher Becca Redman and numerous student council members at Wells High School.
“We could not have done this without the support and help of those teachers,” commented Mercier regarding the election at WJHS which was held in the school library. “I think I can speak for both Cindy (Cindy Mitchell) and I in saying it was a fun day and a successful event.”
According to an October 26, 2016 press release from the Maine Secretary of State’s office, students from 155 Maine schools elected Donald Trump president, and returned Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin to Congress in the 2016 Maine Student Mock Election.
Students vote in real voting booths on loan from the town of Wells in a mock election at Wells Elementary School on October 25, 2016. At far right is school volunteer Elaine Talevi.
As WJHS student Vivianne Brousseau (at right) monitors the ballot box, student Alan Woodman deposits his ballot. In the background to the left are three voting booths with a registration area in the far background
A chart displaying how students in the three Wells-Ogunquit CSD schools voted in the 2016 Maine Student Mock Election:
-The Presidential race:
Wells Elementary School - Wells Junior High School - Wells High School
Clinton/Kane 79 127 35
Trump/Pence 55 141 58
Johnson/Weld 25 25 19
Stein/Baraka 7 17 3
Other 16 31 10
-Maine’s 1st District Congressional race:
Mark Holbrook 90 120 50
Chellie Pingree 67 180 66
Other 9 16 2
Unlike students at WES and WJHS, students at Wells High School voted on the 2016 Maine ballot questions. The results are:
Question 1 (marijuana) YES: 70 NO: 59
Question 2 (tax for K-12) YES: 69 NO: 56
Question 3 (background checks for firearms) YES: 77 NO: 47
Question 4 (raising the minimum wage) YES 72 NO: 53
Question 5 (ranked choice voting) YES 84 NO: 39
Question 6 (transportation) YES 59 NO: 63
Wells High School hosted its first Breakfast of Champions of the 2016-2017 school year on October 20th. This event is held three times each school year in honor of students, staff and community members whose service and/ or generosity have enriched Wells High School. Students who go “above and beyond” in service to the school or contributed to the positive culture of Wells High School are recognized.
Those that are nominated include students, teachers, secretaries, custodians and others. They are generally nominated by a coach, teacher or staff member based upon a variety of criteria including academic progress, positive contributions and/or demonstrations of excellence in the classroom and the school community.
This time, sixteen students, one staff member and a community member were honored at the breakfast.
Students (in alphabetical order) included: Ashleigh Bolduc, Tim Bullard, Matthew Chase, Tyler Evans, Jackson Gilliland, Seana Grealey, Lily Iannillo, Paige Ladlow, Taryn Lambert, Dylan MacKay, Jade Moffett, Wesley Moody, Ivy Pevear, Estell Reardon, Kimberly Towne, and Michael Wrigley.
Staff member Paula Brayson and owner of Me and D’d Diner in Wells, Marianne Shaw, were also honored at the breakfast as school champions. Shaw was selected to team up with a student and do vocational training in baking.
It has been 10 years since Wells Junior High School Science teacher Saul Lindauer envisioned a greenhouse at the school. The construction and operation of a greenhouse was seen as a multifaceted and ongoing learning experience. It was also a part of Lindauer’s desire to help make the school “green” through a combination of recycling, composting, and practicing sustainability in part by learning to grow various plants.
“There is a direct link to the sustainability strand in science,” commented Lindauer. “The (Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s) “Farm to School” initiative with local farms also connects students to the local sources for food. It is very important to connect kids to their world through real work and this (greenhouse) project informs students about the food they eat and the choices they have as consumers.”
The greenhouse was first planned to be a post and beam structure but, despite having the funding in place from donations, unexpected roadblocks caused delays that lasted years. In 2014, teacher Bob Winn and his technology education students constructed the greenhouse’s foundation, added sides and put up a metal frame from a “hoop house” kit. Still, two more years would pass before school volunteer David Littlefield stepped forward to supervise the last phase of construction before winter.
Over a two-day period beginning, October 12th, a handful of seventh-grade science students, Ed Tech, Morey Hallett, and Littlefield covered and secured the 15 X 24 X 10 foot frame with a durable clear plastic. They added doors, brought in wooden plant beds, and created a compost area to receive daily compostable items from the school’s cafeteria.
“I feel very good about it,” said seventh grade student Joseph Ritchie. “It took us about two days to do it,” said Ritchie who added, “I just hope we can grow stuff that is good for everyone and healthy.” Student Jason Licardo was also among those working on the greenhouse and expressed confidence in the structure’s ability to last. “We made it with love, care and compassion. It was fun.”
Currently kale (from Littlefield’s garden) and 150 daffodil bulbs are planted. The bulbs were purchased from funds raised by the school’s “Green Team” collecting returnable bottles. The Green Team also did some digging work for the greenhouse. The daffodils will be sold at WJHs’s 2017 Mother’s Day sale. Others helping included the school’s head custodian Mike Provencher who contributed grass clippings and leaves for the compost.
Seventh grade student Joseph “Joe” Ritchie watering plants in the WJHS greenhouse.
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