News About WOCSD

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

Reading incentive program to award bicycles at WES

posted Apr 22, 2019, 4:29 AM by Michael Richards

The Grand Lodge of Masons in Maine and the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation are once again sponsoring their annual “Masonic Bikes for Books” literacy program to motivate more reading among elementary students and encourage healthy outside exercise.   

For the fourth consecutive year, Masonic Ocean Lodge #142 in Wells is bringing the program to Wells Elementary School. This year the organization will give away 54 brand new bicycles along with helmets and tee shirts to boys and girls from each of the school’s early kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms. 

Over a designated period of time, students will read books that interest them.  Each book read will allow a student to enter a drawing for a bicycle.   The more books read, the greater the chance of winning a bike when names are drawn in each classroom in June.  

“Evidence shows that schools participating in the program are witnessing improved reading scores among their students,” notes the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation on its website.   “Books also enlighten, inspire, bring happiness and success, challenge our perspectives and provide comfort at difficult times in our lives.”  According to this website, 90 Masonic lodges in Maine in just one year donated 3,000 bikes to elementary students.

At WES this program is being coordinated with Ocean Lodge 142 by Literary Specialist Bonnie Esty. According to a Bikes for Books brochure, the program is a statewide initiative “to foster literacy programs in local schools and encourage healthy exercise.”  
Bikes for Books Assembly
At a Bikes for Books kick off assembly at WES on April 11, 2019   are (l to r) members of Ocean Lodge #142 with WES Principal April Noble.  They include Ken Creed, Noble, Tim Yates, Wayne Smith, John Howarth (with the microphone) and Todd Burnett

Daughters and dads step into the “Old West” for a night of dancing and games

posted Apr 11, 2019, 4:03 AM by Michael Richards

Howdy partner!  With the theme of “A Western Hoedown”, Wells Elementary School featured its annual Girls Gala on March 23rd.   One hundred and eighty-six girls attended with their dads or a male relative.  After registering in the school’s lobby and receiving party favors including a small horseshoe, couples passed through a gate and down a path lined with murals of tall grass under a bright blue sky ending at the entrance to a large decorated room with a dance floor aka the school gym.  

Many of the kindergarten through 4th-grade girls and their dates arrived in western attire including boots, kerchiefs and lots of cowboy and cowgirl hats.  This annual event is sponsored, planned, and organized by the school’s PTSA.  This year a game area that included horseshoes, tic-tac-toe tables and an activity referred to as “lasso the steer” was added.  There was also a selfie photo area featuring a façade of a western town’s bank and jail to pose near. A variety of food and drink was available in the school’s cafeteria and there were many basket raffles featuring a variety of items including an American Doll and a gift card for $100 from York Hospital. 

As in past years, PTSA members and others have volunteered lots of time and energy with the lengthy setup process and later disassembling of decorations and so forth.  As with last year’s dance, a theme had to be formulated, researched and props built.  The engine behind all this was the PTSA’s Girls Gala Committee which, this year, consisted of co-chairs Alison Pucciarelli, Kim Bohn, Loran Townsend, and Jennifer Miles. 

According to Townsend, there were also portraits of the couples created by 2 photographers, Marina from Lumina by Marina Photography and Heather of Vintage Grace Photography.  The dance music was provided by DJ David Langway from Windham.

Allison Pucciarelli and Townsend noted that this dance was the most attended in recent years and attracted more volunteers then last year.  According to Pucciarelli, a combination of 38 area businesses and families donated items for the basket raffles and eight businesses plus 30 parents donated food and drinks.  Several businesses donated supplies and the 25 volunteers focused their creativity and time constructing props and putting up decorations.  Volunteers also shopped, made phone calls and donated western décor. 

“We have always (been) lucky and grateful to be part of such a wonderful town community that supports our school and event with donations…” commented Pucciarelli.  

Friends hanging out ahead of the dance
Caption: From left to right is Carl Cantara with daughter Camellia (2nd grade) and Mathew Ledoux with daughter Quinn (multi-grade 1 and 2).

Father and Daughter at the dance
Caption: Stephone Young with daughter Savannah Rose who is in kindergarten. 

Wells Elementary School’s “Most Improved” heading to a ball game

posted Apr 11, 2019, 3:51 AM by Michael Richards

Sixteen Wells Elementary School students were recently honored with achieving “Most Improved Student” status among their peers.  For this achievement, each received a certificate and a ticket to a Portland Sea Dogs home game on May 5th.  During the pre-game “Most Improved Student Ceremony”, they, and other area students, will be recognized by the Sea Dogs for their accomplishments.  The students will also have their names projected on the outfield scoreboard.   

According to Principal April Noble, classroom teachers at WES could nominate one homeroom student of theirs based upon a variety of factors including his or her improvements in grades and classroom expectations plus showing “progress in social behavior, cooperation with teachers and other students, completion of homework, study habits and general attitude.”

WES Improved Students
Honored with a “Most Improved Student” certificate at WES on April 5, 2019 are (in alphabetical order) Emma Abbott, Jordan Carter, Gracey Copper, Lucas Copper, Abigail Courtois, Antwan Green, Isabella Fagle, Jackson Hester, Bella LeBlanc, Jason Noble, Leo Orben, Cami Townsend, Konnor Roberge, and Hunter VanWeest.  Also honored (but not in the photo) are Phineas Madsen and Luke Michaud. (Please note that the order of listed names above does not correspond with the order of students in the picture).

Literary Achievement contest winners and ceremony date announced

posted Apr 10, 2019, 3:49 AM by Michael Richards

On Thursday, April 25th, at 6:30 p.m., the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District will present the 33rd Literary Achievement Awards ceremony on stage in the Olenn Performing Arts Center at Wells High School.  This event will recognize 67 students who placed in this annual creative writing contest which received 252 entries this year. 

Fourteen ‘first place’ winners from grades kindergarten through adult education will read all or a portion of their stories and poems before the audience.  At this time, prizes will be awarded including $500 to WHS senior Katherine Reidy for her first place story which is untitled.  

Other first place winners include Maya Roche (kindergarten), Addisyn Avery (Gr.1), Scarlett Lantz (Gr. 2), Sofia Passaretti (Gr. 3), Francesca MacEwen (Gr 4), Camden Mosher (Gr. 5), Victoria Chase (Gr. 6), Samuel Coleman (Gr. 7), Emily Kenney (Gr. 8), Arianna Leighton (Gr. 9), Kathryn Cafaro (Gr 10), Michael Patnaude (Gr. 11), and Paula Villa (adult education). 

This writing contest and ceremony is an annual event that encourages, recognizes and rewards outstanding creative writing at all grade levels.  Students submit various forms of writing including poetry, non-fiction, and fiction.  All entries are judged anonymously at two levels, first by district staff members then later by a community panel of judges.  The top winner at each grade level (with the exception of Grade 12) will receive $100.  Second place winners will receive $50 and third place winners will receive $25.  Honorable mentions will each receive a $10 gift certificates to the Steakhouse in Wells.  

The Literary Achievement Awards contest was established in 1986.  The program is sponsored by the Wells-Ogunquit CSD, the Rotary Clubs of Wells and Ogunquit and the Steakhouse in Wells.   Maryanne Foley and Reg Bennett are the co-chairs of the WOCSD Literary Achievement Awards.  
Community Judges
Standing (left to right) are the community judges for the 2019 Literary Achievement Awards: Jody Lagasse, Josh Lagasse, Ashley Toth, Brittany Maffai, Joyce Patterson, Karen Tufts, and John Madden.  In the front is Diana Abbott

Sherburne selected Student-Athlete of Month for January

posted Apr 2, 2019, 1:01 PM by Michael Richards

Wells High School senior Matt Sherburne was recognized on March 29th as WHS’s Student-Athlete of the Month for January of 2019.   He received this award for his academics, sportsmanship, and performance as point guard on the Warriors Basketball team. This is Sherburne’s second time receiving this award for basketball, the first being for January of 2018.
Presenting a plaque to Sherburne 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.

“We just (had) a good season,” said Sherburne when asked about receiving the award.  “It was fun.  I think we did (well) in the month of January.”   Sherburne said that he plans to attend the University of Southern Maine after graduation and continue playing basketball there. 

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Matt play the last 4 years,” commented John Kreie.  I recall his freshman year, seeing him play a little in a postseason game at the Cross Insurance Arena and thinking, wow, this kid’s going to be good.  He was the kid you wanted to have the ball at the end of a tight game and he played hard for every second of every game.  He’s a competitor and he led a strong Warrior basketball team to another regional championship game this year. Going to be big shoes to fill next year. He’ll be missed!”

According to Troy Brown, coach of the Warriors, Sherburne finished the season averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.49 steals per game.  Sherburne was named 1st Team Western Maine Conference All-Star and was selected to the McDonald's Class AA/A/B All-State team.  “Matt was a member of back to back Class B Regional Champions…and led the team to the Class B Regional Final this year,” commented Coach Brown. 
Student Athlete for January
From left to right is Pam Moody-Maxon, Matt Sherburne, Pierce Cole, and John Kreie.

Celebrating reading along with the birthday of Dr. Seuss

posted Apr 1, 2019, 3:42 AM by Michael Richards

On March 1st, Wells Elementary School held its annual Celebration of Reading Day as part of the NEA’s Read Across America Day, established around the March 2nd birthday of Dr. Seuss, a pen name for Theodor Seuss Geisel who authored numerous children’s books including “The Cat in the Hat”.  Invited guests were assigned classrooms to visit and share their love of reading with students by reading aloud one or two of their favorite children’s books.

Thirty-nine community members attended at various times throughout the day to reinforce the importance and joy of reading, not only in school but at home.  Guest readers included teachers, former teachers, parents, students and representatives from the Wells Fire Department, Wells Police Department, People’s United Bank, York Hospital, Ogunquit Rotary Club, and the Wells Public Library which hosted a “Dr. Seuss party” for all first and second-grade students in the school’s library.

“Celebration of Reading Day is always a wonderful day for the students, staff and the guest readers,” commented WOCSD Community Resource Coordinator, Maryanne Foley who coordinated the event.  “Having the community involved in promoting the importance of reading gives the students a different perspective. We love having visitors come in to celebrate reading.” 

One reader used an interesting way to reach students.  Kyle Burnell, a third-grade teacher at WES, and his wife Eileen Brazer Burnell, a teacher at Eliot Elementary School, connected classrooms via FaceTime so that she could read to his students on a class projection screen.

Wells Junior High School featured a scaled-down version of Celebration of Reading Day on March 1st.  Members of the Wells Rotary Club visited the school for about an hour and read in various classrooms.  One of the Rotarians read “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by author and illustrator Ryan T. Higgins whose mother, Deb Sheppard, teaches 5th grade at WJHS.  “Students enjoyed it,” said WJHS Librarian Lynn Mercier of the visit by members of Rotary.    
WES Celebration of Reading
Greeting students from left to right are Wells Police Dept. Sgt. Adam Shaw with police dog Bacchus, Detective Joseph LaBier (center) and Detective Jeffrey Galasyn.  In the afternoon they visited the fourth-grade classroom of Melissa Stapleton on Celebration of Reading Day.  Officer Shaw talked and answered questions about Bacchus.  Officers LaBier and Galasyn read books that they had selected to Stapleton’s class.  

Diggs recognized by school committee for exemplary achievement

posted Mar 29, 2019, 10:33 AM by Michael Richards

In early March, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee recognized Emanuel Diggs, a Wells High School 11th grade student also studying Automotive Technology at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) for placing first in the Universal Technical Institute’s Top Tech Challenge on February 9th.   Diggs and his teammate placed first among 36 two-person teams from New England competing in a demonstration of their automotive skills and knowledge.  Presenting a Certificate of Recognition to Manny Digs on March 6th for “exemplary achievement” was WOCSD Superintendent Jim Daly and Committee Chair Helena Ackerson.  Both Manny and his teammate received a $10,000 scholarship to attend UTI which has been described as a “leading provider of technical training for students seeking entry-level careers as technicians in the transportation industry.”   Diggs’ team also won $4,000 and a toolbox for PATHS.       
Diggs honored at School Committee Meeting
Manny Diggs with Jim Daly and Helena Ackerson on March 6th.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Coach and team recognized by the Wells-Ogunquit CSD

posted Mar 29, 2019, 10:29 AM by Michael Richards

On March 6th, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee recognized the Wells Warriors Wrestling team and coaches for a very successful season which ended with their third consecutive State Class B championship win.  

This past season the team scored 18 wins and three losses.  On their quest for the state title, the team first became Mid-State League Champs and then Southern Maine Class B Regional Champions.  In addition, Head Coach Scott Lewia was acknowledged for being named "Coach of the Year" for the third time in four years by the Mid-State Wrestling League.
Coach Lewia was also recognized for receiving "The Torch Award" for his role in the team's raising of over $30,000 in support of Spencer Smith, son of WHS alumnus, Nate Smith, whom Lewia had coached. 

Lewia was one of only four recipients globally presented with a Torch Award by the Sanofi Genzyme Corporation, a specialty care unit of Sanofi, a multi-national pharmaceutical company based in Paris.
Wrestling Team Honored
The Wells High School Wrestling team recognized at the March 6th meeting of the Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s School Committee.  At far left is Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent Jim Daly.  At far right is Committee Chair Helena Ackerson. To the left of Ackerson in the front row is Coach Scott Lewia.  Behind Coach Lewia is Assistant Wrestling Coach Jim Worthing. 

Sixth grade musicians and singers represent WJHS in music festival

posted Mar 26, 2019, 12:16 PM by Michael Richards

Several 6th graders from Wells Junior High participated in the Maine Music Educators Association’s District 1 6th Grade Honors Festival held at Old Orchard Beach High School on March 9th.  Once there, they joined with band and chorus members from several different schools in southern Maine chosen to attend based upon their musical abilities and citizenship in their home musical ensembles. Students first rehearsed then performed an afternoon concert with guest conductors.  The festival chorus worked with Brenda LaForce from St. Thomas Aquinas, and the festival band worked with George Shabo from Old Orchard Beach.   Selected for the band from WJHS were Reese Murphy, Andrew Watts, and Natalie Blaisdell.   Selected for the chorus were Lilian Sittig, Elana Vennard, Aidan Stockwell, Anne-Michelle Randle, Brandon Wallingford, and Molly Tavares. 
6th Grade Music Fest Participants
Attending the 6th Grade Honors Festival for 2019 from WJHS (back row, left to right) were Anne-Michelle Randle, Molly Tavares, Reese Murphy, Lilian Sittig, and Aidan Stockwell.  In the front row (l to r) are Elana Vennard, Brandon Wallingford, Natalie Blaisdell, and Andrew Watts.

Students’ artwork exhibited at Portland Museum of Art

posted Mar 22, 2019, 3:42 AM by Michael Richards

As part of Youth Art Month, one Wells Elementary School student and two students from Wells High School were recognized for their artwork by the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Portland, Maine on March 2nd.   

The three, along with many other K-12 art students representing various Maine schools, were selected by their art teachers to attend this celebration and student art exhibition’s premiere.  Attending students received a certificate on stage before a large audience in the PMA auditorium.  Along with their families, these students got a firsthand look at the student art exhibit which will be open to the public until April 1, 2019.  The exhibition is located on the lower ground floor of the PMA. 

Selena Sola, a fourth grade student at Wells Elementary School, was chosen to represent her school by art teacher Jenna Larochelle-Parry.  The title of Sola’s piece is "Calm Water" created with alpaca wool.

WHS seniors John Keniston and Sophia Zurlo were selected to display their work by teachers Vanessa White-Capelluti and Emily Knight.  Keniston’s work, titled “Self Portrait Collagraph”, is a collagraph print.  Sophia Zurlo’s ceramic piece is titled “Blue Sgraffito Bowl”.

According to a PMA press release, Youth Art Month is a national celebration and generally occurs in March.  It puts an emphasis on “…the value of art education for all children and encourages support for quality art programs…”  

For more information and PMA hours visit  Youth Art Month is sponsored nationally by the Council for Art Education.  The annual K-12 student art exhibit and reception in Portland is sponsored by the MAEA and the PMA. This year marks the 25th anniversary of their joint sponsorship of the event.
Sola accepting her award
Fourth grader Selena Sola at the Portland Museum of Art on March 2nd 
Her artwork is at left over her shoulder.

Sola artwork
"Calm Water" by Selena Sola

Zurlo artwork
“Blue Sgraffito Bowl” by Sophia Zurlo

Keniston artwork
“Self Portrait   Collagraph”   by John Keniston 

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