All Aboard!! Wells-Ogunquit students bring toys to Portland on Downeaster

Post date: Dec 10, 2014 7:22:25 PM

On December 1st, close to 100 second and multi 1-2 grade students from Wells Elementary School embarked on their annual journey by rail from Wells to Portland bringing toys to a collection point of the Toys for Tots Foundation, a mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. Each child brought along one unwrapped toy to give to Marines at the Amtrak station in the Portland Transportation Center.

“This event has been going on for several years now and is quite the tradition,” commented Assistant Principal Ken Spinney about the Polar Express-like ride to Portland each holiday season. Spinney, along with teachers and parent volunteers, accompanied the students in two train coaches. Wells-Ogunquit students have been taking this round trip, courtesy of Amtrak and the Downeaster, each December since 2010.

Their toy collection campaign and subsequent trip to Portland allows students to display one of the core values taught at WES, ‘compassion’. And what better demonstration of compassion than for a child to give another child of a family in need a new toy for under the tree.

Before boarding the train for Portland, students were met by WES Principal Marianne Horne and WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider who waited at the station till the train had departed.

In Portland, students were met at the station by several Marines and Downeaster staff. Holiday songs were sung and a child’s book about trains was read aloud to students. Marines also answered questions from the Wells-Ogunquit group while Downeaster staff gave each student a bag of treats to enjoy along with their lunch on the ride home.

Caption: Marines speak to students of Wells Elementary School at the Amtrak station in Portland.

Caption: First four youngsters in line (right to left) are WES students Camden Mosher (at far right), Madelyn Campbell, Ragan Schank, and Camryn Chase depositing toys in Toys for Tots collection bins at Amtrak in Portland on December 1st.