Former PE teacher-coach humbled but honored by dedication

Days before the 2022 Thanksgiving break, numerous Wells-Ogunquit CSD staff and others gathered in the weight room of Wells High School. They were there to celebrate the dedication of this state-of-the-art fitness facility to long-time, (now former) WHS physical education teacher-coach, Mark Lewia. With a new plaque on the wall declaring so, the room will now be officially The Mark Lewia Fitness Center.

“I really didn’t want this to happen,” said Lewia modestly afterward adding that he believed that there were many who coached at WHS during the past four decades equally deserving. However he added, “It’s a great honor.” Among his family members and relations accompanying Lewia to the dedication included his wife Annette and his parents Patricia and Robert Lewia.

Making opening remarks praising Lewia’s dedication to student athletics included WHS Principal Eileen Sheehy and Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent James Daly.

A colleague of Lewia, English teacher Ann Bechan also spoke, “It is so fitting that we are naming this weight room for Mark,” commented Bechan. “I have been Mark’s colleague for 34 years. As a fan of both football and wrestling, it has been my privilege to see Mark coach both of those sports.” At WHS Lewia also coached Track and Field. He retired from the District in June of 2022.

Lewia, who began working at WHS in 1983, said that he really enjoyed his job and didn’t consider it work at all. “If you enjoy your job, you are never coming to work,” said Lewia. “That was me,” expressing how much he enjoyed his 39 years serving the District.

In her comments, Bechan highlighted Lewia’s strong dedication to his former students. “He does such a great job of getting the best out of kids–their best athletic performance of course, but also their best training regimen, their best approach to nutrition, their best sportsmanship, and their best belief in themselves.”

According to Principal Sheehy, the weight room was not much bigger than a closet back in the 1980s when she was a student there. However this facility, with fitness equipment, treadmills, and weights has greatly improved and she gives a lot of credit to Lewia for his impact on the actual design of this busy student area. When WHS was being rebuilt into its current structure, Lewia was tasked with designing the interior of the fitness center.

Lewia’s other achievements while at WHS include being inducted into the WHS Hall of Fame and the Maine High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, as well as being a part of six state championship teams, (four football and two wrestling). Lewia indicated that he plans to continue coaching football and in 2023 will volunteer in the fitness center to assist students in preparing for the sports that they plan to participate in.

Coach Mark Lewia at WHS on November 21, 2022