Maranacook Community Schools participated in the WGME, Fox 23 School Spirit Challenge this winter and it was an amazing experience! Through donations of food and money from students, parents, and local businesses, we as a community raised 91,585.70 pounds!!!!!! We had fundraisers going at the high school, middle school and even our elementary schools!
The morning of the rally was really special. We began the day very early with buses picking up MS and HS students starting at 5 am! At 5:45 we enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display donated by Central Maine Pyrotechnics. The celebration of community and school continued with live coverage with Jeff Peterson from WGME, Fox 23 TV. Here are some links from the event:
The competition ended with a strong 2nd Place finish for Maranacook! We are very proud to have been a part of the work to end hunger in Maine and support the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine as well as our local food banks!
We would like to thank some of our local businesses for their support of the School Spirit Challenge.
Also, a special thanks to the Red Barn for a delicious and successful fundraising event on Wednesday, February 24th. They shared 50% of the profits and along with donations, we were able to raise over 17,500 pounds!
Students listened and took part in presentations from law enforcement and health professionals during Healthy Decisions Day.
BY JASON PAFUNDISTAFF WRITER
READFIELD — Skyeler Webb said she learned a lot in school on Friday. But the Maranacook Community Middle School eighth-grader wasn’t talking about math, science or social studies.
Webb said she learned a lot about substance abuse and drugs during the school’s Healthy Decisions Day.
“It definitely lets us know what the dangers are,” Webb said. “I learned a lot about new drugs, what they do and the consequences.”
Throughout the day, students listened to and participated in presentations about coping, the effects substance abuse has on the brain and refusal skills. Activities included yoga, martial arts, trivia and interactive theater. Presenters included members of law enforcement, fitness instructors and health professionals.
Webb took part in an exercise with motivational speaker and humorist Randy Judkins. He presented a list of seven skills every graduate needs for success including juggling and tricks using hats.
Judkins told students the importance of listening and being aware of their surroundings at all times. He said he enjoys keeping students engaged and involved when giving them important life lessons that “float to the top.”
“I wanted to create something memorable for the students,” Judkins said. “I wanted to study and present a collection of skills based in character. It’s something students can learn as a complementary experience to the classroom.”
This was the second year Maranacook held a Healthy Decisions Day, but with all the news in the state about substance abuse, Principal Cathy Jacobs thinks the day’s activities are even more important.
She said the students are at an age where they are starting to understand that the decisions they make now have an impact on them for the rest of their lives.
“It’s really important for us to help them make good decisions,” Jacobs said. “Every day they are faced with different things, so we want to make sure they have the facts and that they understand what using substances can do for their future. It’s really (meaningful) now because of what’s going on in our society.”
School officials have been combing over data from a Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey the school received earlier this month, so Jacobs said they are able to pinpoint the specific areas where students need the most guidance.
“I think they think they know a lot, and they are exposed to a lot, so we think it’s our responsibility to give them the facts,” Jacobs said. “We have some pretty good data.”
State trooper Bernard Campbell offered lessons on substance abuse and how it affects one’s future, and during one of his presentations, students asked a lot of questions about heroin, which Campbell figures is due to the seemingly endless stream of heroin news.
“We are seeing a lot of people with drug use and the demand for it (is so high), so if we can get kids at this age to think about the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on their development, career choice and career path, it’s huge in helping them look at the big picture,” he said.
Campbell enjoys interacting with the students and hopes they can learn something from his lessons.
“If it helps one kid, I’ve done my job,” he said. “Maybe this will prevent them from getting hooked on a drug.”
Rebecca Reynolds, director of the school-based health center, said the presentations by Henry “Skip” Gates, whose son died of a heroin overdose in 2009, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney during the morning session made an impact.
“It was important to have them here and to have our eighth-graders meet these people and hear their story,” Reynolds said. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude for them being here and our kids getting to hear their important messages.”
Reynolds said the goal of the day is to make sure the students get a message of prevention and to know they have the ability to make healthy choices in their lives.
The day concluded with students meeting with their advisory groups to discuss the day’s activities.
Jason Pafundi — 621-5663
Students can receive an associate degree while completing their high school diploma.
Thomas College and Maranacook Community High School have been collaborating on dual-enrollment courses for years, but last year, officials at both schools began to explore ways to expand the opportunities available to high-achieving high school students.
The schools on Wednesday announced a partnership to provide a pathway to an associate in arts degree at Thomas College. Students enrolled in the Pathways Program can pursue their associate degree while completing their high school diploma.
According to a news release, the program, which is expected to start in June, consists of a one-week, intensive format in the summer, online courses taught by Thomas College faculty members and dual enrollment courses delivered by Maranacook teachers who meet Thomas College requirements for appointment as adjunct instructors.
“Learning can take place in any location, and we wanted to be able to acknowledge that and say that here’s a pathway to breaking down the barrier that artificially divides high school and college-level work,” said Thomas Edwards, provost of Thomas College.
Conway said 179 students — or 42 percent of the student body — are taking dual enrollment courses this semester at Maranacook. Discussions about the new program began in late 2014, and it was approved officially in early December.
Junior Abigail Despres said she takes dual enrollment classes in part because “I now know that what I’m learning is going to have a direct impact on what path I take through college.
“I’ve always been a person who likes to get ahead of the game, so the idea of getting a jump on college is really appealing,” Despres said in an email from Thomas College spokesperson MacKenzie Riley. “It’s a way for me to learn in a different way than I have before, challenge myself and save time and money.”
Edwards hopes to have 15 students enrolled at the program’s launch and expects that demand will be fairly high.
“We’ve already had parents of incoming freshmen and students asking for more information,” Edwards said. “We believe that once the program is up and running, we may see higher demand.”
Aside from the benefit of completing a two-year degree while still in high school, there is a huge financial component to the program. In Riley’s email, junior Leah Pouliot said she is planning to apply to the program not only to show her perseverance, but also because it provides an opportunity to save money on expensive college classes.
Conway estimates the program would save participating families more than $300,000 combined in tuition costs because students essentially are getting their first two years of college free and in a supportive environment different from that of a college campus.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “(Students) are taking college courses while at home, where they are supported by their families and other people that are there to help them succeed, like counselors and advisers.”
Edwards said the credits will be equal to credits earned while taking regular courses at Thomas College, which means they would be transferable to any other institution. But he hopes that the students see his college as a real option when they complete the program.
“We think that the ability to assemble college credits at little to no cost makes the four-year degree from Thomas College much more accessible,” Edwards said. “We have been focused for a long time on providing access to education for Maine students, and this is a huge financial boost for families who see a huge financial barrier to higher education.”
Edwards is excited about the opportunity to enhance the lives of the students in the program. He said they “aren’t just transforming the students’ life.
“When a student walks across the stage with a diploma from Thomas College, their access to a better job with better pay is enhanced, which helps their entire family,” he said.
The news release said that in order to qualify for the program, students must be juniors or seniors with a high school grade point average of 3.0 or better, must have demonstrated capacity for college work and must have a recommendation from the high school guidance counselor.
by Jason Pafundi — 621-5663
I am proud to announce an increase in the RSU #38 graduation rate!! The Maine Department of Education has calculated the latest RSU #38 Four Year Cohort Graduation Rate (2014-2015 graduating class) at 91.09%. This represents an increase over the 2013-2014 graduation rate of 82.11% and the 2012-2013 graduation rate of 80.58%.
I would like to thank the staff and community of RSU #38 for the time, energy and financial commitment dedicated to the support and success of our students. We celebrate this increase as it represents the early attainment of the goal for 2016-2017 in our RSU #38 Strategic Plan of a 90% graduation rate, and more importantly because graduation opens the door to the future for each student who graduates.
Congratulations staff, community, and students!
Donna H. Wolfrom, Ed.D.