News About WOCSD

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

WHS Graduate Berger joins the National Civilian Community Corps

posted Nov 24, 2015, 11:17 AM by Michael Richards

Mary Berger, a 2015 graduate of Wells High School, has been inducted into a 10-month, 1700-hour term of service with AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), this news according to an AmeriCorps NCCC press release received recently by WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly.  Berger and two other Mainers were inducted into the program in Sacramento California on November 12th.   

“Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps NCCC is a residential national service program that supports disaster relief, the environment, infrastructure improvement, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.”  (Source: AmeriCorps NCCC)

“We a very proud of Mary's dedication to helping others,” said Superintendent Daly.  She is a tremendous young lady.” 

Berger arrived at the AmeriCorps NCCC’s Pacific Region Campus in Sacramento October 14th to begin a training process that focuses on teamwork, leadership development, communication, service learning and specialized skills.   She will become part of a 10 to 12 member team that will complete four service projects in California.   Her team will be involved with such projects as mentoring children, assisting with food bank donations, and making improvements to parks.

“I chose a term of national service because I like to give back and I enjoy the feeling of helping other people,” Berger was quoted as saying in the NCCC news release.  “It would also give me the opportunity to see other places”.  Mary Berger, who attended York County Community College, is the daughter of Jim and Patti Berger of Wells. 
For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit their website at   

WHS 2015 class photo of Mary Berger

Veterans celebrated at Wells Elementary School

posted Nov 19, 2015, 12:27 PM by Michael Richards

On November 9th, two days prior to Veterans Day, Wells Elementary School held its annual Veteran’s Day K-4 assembly.  Several veterans and five sailors from the submarine USS Scranton attended.  

All guests received personalized certificates of appreciation from students of Lynn McPherson’s classroom.   Certificates read in part, “Veterans Day.  In memory of those who served.  In honor of those who serve us now.”

Veterans honored were Melvin Bates (U.S. Army and Senior Vice-Commander of VFW District 11, VFW Post 6977), John Primerano, Jr. (U.S. Army and Vice Commander of VFW Post 6977), Chuck Andrews (U.S. Navy Submarine Service and Chaplain with VFW Post 6977), Raymond Farnham (U.S. Army and Service Officer with VFW Post 6977),  Brenda Blonigen (U.S. Air Force, New Hampshire Air National Guard and currently Service Master with VFW Post 6977),  Lt. Col. Robert Blonigen (U.S. Air Force. Currently with the New Hampshire Air National Guard and Trustee for VFW Post 6977), and five sailors from the USS Scranton including Petty Officers Soukup, Weston, Wring, Bequette, and Chief Camac.

The 45-minute event featured the WHS Band, Color Guard, and numerous students reading and singing, including a fourth grade student, Riley Nichols, who sang the Star Spangled Banner at the opening.  Cub Scout Pack 356 demonstrated how to properly fold the American flag and Wells High School students Kyle Crothers and Kiah Holsdworth played Taps.   

Students and staff also completed a campaign on November 9th of collecting packaged food, candy, toiletries, and other items to be shipped to wounded members of the military receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.    

Organized largely by WES Assistant Principal Ken Spinney, this assembly also functions as a real life lesson for students in demonstrating one of the school’s core values, “respect”.  At the end of the assembly students and staff lined up to shake hands and give “high fives” with the veterans and crew members of the USS Scranton. 

Veteran Mel Bates offered his perspective on the assembly.  “I am pleased to do this every year for the elementary school children of Wells,” commented Bates.  “I enjoy talking with these kids about what Veterans Day means to me.  I tell them that when I look at our American flag, it represents freedom and I try to impart this to them and ask various questions about our flag.  I am very proud that these children know the answers to my questions.”

Offering his sentiment following the assembly was Lt. Col. Robert Blonigen.  “It’s always great to see such young Americans and the fact that they are being taught about Veterans Day and what it means to honor veterans,” said Blonigen.  “It brings me back to my childhood when I was in school and it just brightens my heart to know that those values are still being taught in our schools.”   Blonigen and Retired Chief Master Sargent and former Command Chief of the 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease ANGB Brenda Blonigen are husband and wife. 

At left is First Sargent (Ret.) Mel Bates and Lt. Col Robert Blonigen greeting students and others at the end of WES’s Annual Veterans Day Assembly

In the photo receiving a certificate of appreciation from first grade student Devyn Woodman is Mel Bates, a 6-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served nine months near the DMZ in Korea.  Currently, First Sargent Bates (Ret.) serves as co-coordinator for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in the York County area. 

WJHS to present holiday dinner for area seniors

posted Nov 13, 2015, 12:51 PM by Michael Richards

Eighth grade students and staff at Wells Junior High School will present the 21st Annual Turkey Dinner for area seniors on November 22nd from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The dinner will consist of turkey with all the fixings plus coffee and dessert.  This popular event which serves about 400 annually is not only a gesture of goodwill offered to the community but a major ’service learning’ project for all eighth grade students.  For more information, please call WJHS at 646-5142.

Thanksgiving meal for seniors
A scene from the 2014 Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Wells Junior High School

WHS Color Guard members to perform in Macy’s Day Parade in NYC

posted Nov 3, 2015, 11:57 AM by Michael Richards

Three Wells High School Color Guard members, Adrienne Perron, Anna Libby, and Mallory Cashman have been accepted to be members in Macy’s Great American Marching Band performing in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. 

The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is an all-star band comprised of the best musicians, ‘flags’, and dancers from all over the United States.  Each year, approximately 185 musicians plus 40 “flags” and dancers pass an audition to be accepted into this band. 

“It is an immense honor to be chosen, but to have three students accepted from the same school is an even bigger honor,” commented Wells Guard Programs Director Bailey Smith.   According to Smith, Perron and Cashman will be on the flag line and Libby will be dancing.  Libby and Perron performed with the group last year and were invited again this year.  This is Cashman’s first year in the all-star band to be viewed by millions on national television. 

The three color guard members along with Smith as chaperone will leave for New York City on November 20th.   They will spend the week rehearsing and learning two new routines, one of which will be performed by them in Herald Square.  While in NYC they will be able to do some sightseeing, attend a leadership seminar and experience Les Miserables on Broadway.

“The entire Wells-Ogunquit Community School District has been extremely supportive and proud of these three young ladies,” commented Smith.  “Our town and our state could not have better representation.  These ladies are the best of the best.”

According to Smith, there is still a financial obligation for the students and chaperone to meet in order to travel to New York and perform.  If any business or individual wishes to contribute to this trip, a donation check can be made payable to “Wells Color Guard” with “Macy’s” in the memo line.  Donations can be mailed to:  Bailey Smith; Wells High School; 200 Sanford Rd; Wells, ME 04090.

From left to right are Mallory Cashman, Adrienne Perron, and Anna Libby
From left to right are Mallory Cashman, Adrienne Perron, Anna Libby and Wells Guard Programs Director Bailey Smith

Wells Elementary School PTSA to Hold ‘ALL-4-KIDS Consignment Sale’ this Saturday and Sunday

posted Nov 3, 2015, 11:52 AM by Michael Richards

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) for Wells Elementary School will hold its fall annual ‘ALL-4-KIDS Consignment Sale’ on Saturday, November 7th from 8 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 8th from 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Parents and the general public are invited to browse and shop for bargains. The sale will take place inside the gymnasium at Wells Elementary School rain or shine.

Items for sale include girls’ and boys’ clothing with sizes from newborn to size 18; children’s shoes and boots; toys; books; games; sports equipment; baby items and children’s furniture.  

This is a great opportunity to purchase great kids’ items at very reasonable prices while supporting Wells Elementary School.  Those who plan on attending should consider shopping early for the best selection.  

With funds generated from events like the ALL-4-KIDS Consignment Sale, the PTSA is able to sponsor popular annual events at WES including Colors Day and Starz for Broadway.  PTSA money is also granted to teachers for classroom items.

Wells Elementary School is located at 279 Sanford Road (Rte.109) in Wells.  For more information, please contact the PTSA at 646-5953 EXT 4330, or e-mail  

A scene from a previous ALL-4-KIDS Consignment Sale at Wells Elementary School. 

Founder of ‘Kindness Center’ speaks to WJHS students

posted Nov 3, 2015, 5:00 AM by Michael Richards

Author Michael J. Chase and founder of the Kindness Center in Biddeford refers to himself as the “Kindness Guy’ and, as a result, freely offers hugs and random acts of kindness to perfect strangers.  On October 14th, Chase spoke to a school-wide assembly of 500 students and staff at Wells Junior High School about how he came to be who he is and why.

Chase first offered some examples of meanness happening around the country reported in the national news. Then he offered a glimpse into his own childhood.  He said that his father was an alcoholic and his grandfather was so mean that he once tossed Chase’s toys into the trash.   Resembling Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining, Chase’s father eventually committed suicide throwing the adult Chase into a six-month sadness for not reconciling with his estranged father before he died.  Chase said his heart was shattered and he became withdrawn for months.   

But that all changed suddenly when Chase simply helped a small turtle make it across a busy highway in Gorham.  Chase experienced an unexpected and overwhelming sensation of joy by helping the small creature avoid being crushed by a car.  It changed Chase’s life when the turtle stuck its head out from under its shell and the two locked eyes.  It was an epiphany for Chase who decided to focus his life on kindness and random acts of kindness towards others. 

“Kindness creates happiness,” Chase said to the students after telling the turtle story. “Everyone deserves an act of kindness.”  Chase pointed out that there are many things one can do for others that cost nothing.   

Today Chase and his ‘kindness crew’ from the Center hit the streets to help homeless and others by offering meals, cups of coffee, smiles and hugs.  In 2015 Chase and his crew joined forces with other volunteers for what was called “24 Hours of Kindness” towards random strangers on the streets of New York City and New Jersey.  A video of a 24-hour kindness event was shown to the students. 

After the assembly at WJHS Chase offered hugs to students and staff.  Later he spoke to staff about ways they can continue motivating students to show kindness, empathy, and understanding to others.

“At Wells Junior High School we have great students, who make great choices most of the time,” commented Assistant Principal Robert Griffin on why this assembly was so important.  Griffin, who was largely responsible for the assembly, added, “When they do make poor choices it is often around issues of being unkind to one another.  Middle school is a great time to learn the important lessons of why being kind to one another will make our school, our community, and the world, a better place.”         

According to the Kindness Center’s website (, the center was created by Chase in 2007 with “the vision of creating a more peaceful and kindhearted world.  Rather than build a physical ‘center,’ he (Chase) decided to spread his message across the globe by creating ‘random acts of kindness’ events.”

Michael J. Chase offering hugs to students as they exit an assembly on kindness at Wells Junior High School

Speaking to hundreds of students at WJHS is Michael J. Chase

The comedy ‘Oh, Promise Me!’ on stage at Wells High School in November

posted Oct 22, 2015, 9:17 AM by Michael Richards

The Wells Players will present the Pete Williams' farce  "Oh, Promise Me!," in the Olenn Auditorium at Wells High School beginning Tuesday, November 10th at 3:30 p.m. Seats for this matinee are $5 with free admission offered to students and senior citizens.  

The show resumes after Veterans’ Day with evening performances beginning November 12th through November 14th at 7:00 p.m.  Ticket prices for these performances are $8 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens.

This production is directed by Andrew Lopez and features a cast of seasoned Wells High School performers.  “Oh, Promise Me!” is produced with special arrangement with Samuel French Inc., 235 Park Avenue South, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10003.  

The play revolves around Princeton graduate Barry Hollis who inherited a fortune from his father.  Already having an ‘old flame’ in Patsie Linden, Hollis meets and falls in love with another woman, Gladys Vance.  He persuades his aunt to send a note to Vance requesting a visit while another note is sent to Linden informing her “it’s all over” between them.  Somehow these notes are switched leading to hilarious situations and a surprise ending. (Source:

For more information please call Wells High School at 207-646-7011.

A drawing inspired by the comedy, “Oh Promise Me” by WHS senior Elise McCormack-Kuhman.  It represents how Barry Hollis gets himself in a humorous dilemma with characters Patsie Linden and Gladys Vance

Four WHS seniors achieve ‘Commended Student’ status’ in National scholarship program

posted Oct 5, 2015, 1:18 PM by Michael Richards

According to Wells High School Principal Eileen Sheehy, seniors Tamar Cimenian, Anna Libby, Elise McCormack-Kuhman and Seamus McDonough have received a Letter of Commendation from the 2016 National Merit® Scholarship Program for their “outstanding performance” on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test administered in the fall of 2014.   This announcement indicates that all four new “Commended Students” scored in the top 2.2 percent of 1.5 million entrants from 22,000 high schools nationally.   

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which administers the National Merit® Scholarship Program, released the list of Semifinalists and those achieving Commended Student status in September.  

Although these four students are no longer competing for scholarships in this program, receiving a Letter of Commendation from NMSC is a major achievement for a senior considering college and a career.    

“It’s definitely a boost towards the schools that I am looking at,” said Seamus McDonough. “It will be a big plus.  It may put my application to the top instead of getting lost; it may stand out more.”

Another WHS senior, Kate Macolini, was listed as a Semifinalist in the program which next spring will issue scholarships with a combined total of 32 Million to the last round of 15,000 Finalists, or Merit Scholars.    

“NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”  Source: National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Commended Students at WHS
Commended Students at Wells High School (left to right) are seniors Anna Libby, Seamus McDonough, Tamar Cimenian and Elise McCormack-Kuhman

‘Farm to School Week’ Adds Locally Grown Food to School Lunches and Brings the Classroom to the Farm

posted Oct 2, 2015, 12:52 PM by Michael Richards

The annual fall ‘Farm to School Week’ in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD (WOCSD) wrapped up this year on September 25th.    Begun modestly in 2005, it is a week set aside for learning about good nutrition and experiencing locally grown food at school lunchtime.  But that is not the whole story.

Prior to this week, hundreds of pounds of locally grown food was either harvested directly by students or purchased by the District’s Nutrition Services from local farms; all of which to be consumed during the following months in lunches prepared in the District’s three cafeterias.  

Director of Nutrition Services, Tyler Goodwin believes that increasing portions of fresh fruits and vegetables from area farms added into the daily menus is taking students in a healthier direction by reinforcing healthy eating habits.  Goodwin admits buying locally is slightly costlier than buying food elsewhere but he believes the long range health benefits far outweigh any added expense plus it is beneficial for the local economy. 

The concept of school lunch programs buying locally is not new to school districts in Maine but involving students directly in the harvest is unique.  Since 2009 in weeks leading up to Farm to School Week, hundreds of volunteer 4th and 7th grade students and a handful of staff have participated in the actual harvest of the crops grown for the District at Spiller Farm in Wells. 

Each year Spiller Farm sets aside certain growing areas for the WOCSD.  The farm grows the food but it is harvested in large part by these students.  This year students traveled by bus to the farm and picked 1,200 lbs. of potatoes, 1000 lbs. of apples and over 400 lbs. of green beans.   This product was then delivered to Wells Junior High School for processing by students and Nutritional Services staff.  Green beans, for example, are snipped, cut, washed, steamed, boxed and frozen all in a 24 hour period, enough stored for the entire school year.   Corn, not harvested by students, still needs to be shucked and cut.   All of this takes time and effort but is nonetheless a learning experience for kids who have never done this type of work much less made the connection between the grocery store shelf and the farm. 

The cooperation between Anna and Bill Spiller of Spiller Farm with the WOCSD is in its sixth year.  Food grown on Spiller Farm is sold to the District at a significant discount.  In an interview in 2014 Bill Spiller summed up one of the important benefits of the cooperative effort between school and farm best.   “I think it’s good to give kids an idea of where their food really comes from,” said Spiller

Wells Elementary School teacher Melissa Stapleton with students and just one of the many boxes of apples picked at Spiller Farm on September 18th.

WES students Katarina (left) and Drea carrying potatoes that they have picked for delivery to Wells Junior High School on September 18th.   Potatoes were initially dug out of the ground that day by Bill Spiller with his tractor and “digger.”

Bill Spiller of Spiller Farm giving students a quick lesson in picking and handling apples.  


Milliken Attends 2015 Teacher Institute on Art of the Renaissance at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

posted Oct 2, 2015, 12:47 PM by Michael Richards   [ updated Oct 2, 2015, 12:48 PM ]

Chris Milliken, an educator at Wells Junior High School, was selected as one of only 51 participants of the 2015 National Gallery of Art Teacher Institute on Art of the Renaissance held in Washington, D.C., in July and August of 2015. The six-day seminar brought together teachers of art, English, history, math, and related subjects from 25 states. The program emphasized the social and cultural context of Renaissance art in Italy and Northern countries between the 14th and 16th centuries. 

The term Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” refers to the humanistic revival of classical culture and learning with its underlying belief in the creative potential of humankind.  Participants studied works by leading Renaissance artists as represented in the Gallery’s permanent collection, including the painters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Jan van Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden.

Participants learned about the development of oil-painting techniques, the role of prints in disseminating new ideas, using works of art as primary resources in classroom instruction, incorporating art into interdisciplinary teaching, and strengthening students' visual literacy. 

Through lectures, gallery talks, and hands-on activities, participants analyzed Renaissance artworks and focused on interdisciplinary teaching strategies. Activities were designed to meet teachers' personal and professional enrichment needs. A demonstration of Venetian painting techniques and a site visit to a printmaker’s studio at Georgetown University rounded out the Institute’s course of study.

Teacher Institute 2015: For more than 25 years the Gallery’s Teacher Institute has offered educators the opportunity for intellectual renewal and professional exchange with colleagues in a museum setting. To date, approximately 2,600 teachers have participated in the program. To learn more about the Teacher Institute, visit  .

The Teacher Institute is a program of the Gallery’s division of education, which produces and distributes instructional materials on a free loan basis to schools throughout the nation.  To learn more about other educational resources of the National Gallery of Art, visit the Gallery’s Web site at  .

Milliken at Art Institute
Wells Junior High School teacher Chris Milliken at the National Gallery of Art

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