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Maine’s First Lady Receives Quilts Made by WJHS Students

posted Jul 2, 2014, 10:57 AM by Fran Prentice

Maine’s First Lady Ann Le Page visited Wells Junior High School on May 20th to receive 11 student-made lap quilts on behalf of the Veterans Strong Program and quadruple amputee Staff Sargent Travis Mills.  The quilts are bound for Mills’ new National Veterans Family Center in Belgrade. 

Mrs. Le Page was invited to WJHS by fifth grade teacher Rachel Kilbride who, along with other fifth grade staff, guided the 87 fifth graders who worked on the five month service learning project.  Accompanying the Governor’s wife to WJHS was Lynn Harvey, Director of the Blaine House and Executive Assistant to Maine’s First Lady and Christina Toriello Project Manager for the National Veterans Family Center.

State lawmakers who attended included Representative Kathleen Chase and Senator Ron Collins.

In the school’s multipurpose room, Mrs. Le Page, WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider and other attendees including school staff and fifth grade students watched a slide show featuring students at work on the quilts, each with a distinctive “lone-star” design.   During the event, Mrs. Le Page, Principal Chessie and Superintendent Schneider made brief comments about the fifth grade project.

After the slide show, groups of students lined up to pose with quilts that they had worked on with the First Lady.  The idea for the quilt project formed in Kilbride’s mind after she attended a presentation by Carole Carroll, a creator of ‘Miracle Quilts’,  an effort to provide quilts for those (especially those wounded) who served in the armed forces; all in honor of Pfc. Joseph Miracle who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.    

“This fall I asked the other fifth grade teachers on my team if we could do something like this as part of our Geometry Unit,” commented Kilbride.  “They thought it was a good way to help students understand the geometry skills and give back.”

In December of 2013 the quilt project began.   The squares for the quilts were designed with triangles.   Each fifth grader created a star quilt square from nine squares creating a distinct look.

Kilbride wishes to thank teachers Cindy Roche, Alice Meader, Cheryl Turner, Donny Abbott, Beth Goodwin, Linda Gaidimas and school volunteer Carol Dalton who assisted with the project.  She also wishes to thank the WJHS Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) for providing snacks for the First Lady’s visit and funding for batting and fabric and parent volunteers who donated fabric and time helping students on days there was in-class sewing.       

Caption: From left to right are State Senator Ron Collins, Rachel Kilbride, Ann Le Page, and State Representative Kathleen Chase with quilts made for the National Veterans Family Center in Belgrade.

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