Friday, May 31, 2019

Overdose recognition and response: A community forum and training

By Craig Bailey

On June 5th, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 informational and training event is taking place, at the Windham Weaponry meeting room, that just may enable you to save a life!

The purpose of the event is to educate the community on the opiate problem and equip attendees with a free NARCAN kit, as well as training on its use. 

The event is sponsored by Be The Influence Opiate Task Force, a collaborative group of Windham and Raymond community leaders working to raise awareness and address concerns caused by substance use and abuse in the area. Panel members for the event include: John Kooistra (Windham Deputy Fire Chief), Kevin Schofield (Windham Police Chief), Jonathan Sahrbeck (Cumberland Country District Attorney), Daniel Rideout (Westbrook / Windham Recovery Liaison).

The event will include training on the use of NARCAN (which reverses the effects of an opiate-induced overdose) by Lizzy Garnatz, Community Health Promotion Specialist. Immediately following, John Kooistra will provide training on CPR.

Laura Morris Executive Director of Be The Influence emphasized, “Anyone could save a life. This is very similar to the idea of having the public learn CPR.”

However, some might ask, what incentive does a person with an opiate substance disorder have to quit, if they can be saved from an overdose with NARCAN? acknowledged, “We need to reverse the stigma related to the use of NARCAN. To be clear, someone with an opiate substance disorder doesn’t aspire to receive NARCAN treatment. A heroin user in recovery relayed to me that being treated with NARCAN feels like you are in a microwave oven, being burned from the inside out. It is VERY painful. Those suffering from opiate-related disorders are not using NARCAN for their benefit.”

Morris encourages the entire community to attend the event to help with the opiate crisis. “Our goal is to equip the community with knowledge, training and NARCAN, to enable the saving of additional lives from opiate-induced overdoses.”

Please consider attending this highly impactful event. Who knows, maybe you will be in a position to save a loved one, or perhaps someone you don’t even know - yet…
Portland Public Health is supplying a NARCAN kit to all who attend, and the local Rotary club is providing space and light refreshments.

If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please send an email to Laura Morris, Executive Director, Be The Influence at: Or, just show up!

Grandparents Day celebration is an all-day event at Raymond Elementary School

By Briana Bizier

The classes at Raymond Elementary School looked a little different last Friday as approximately 300 grandparents and grand-friends joined students for a day of collaboration and celebration. 

Students working on their texture murals during the celebration
Grandparent’s Day, a long-standing tradition at Raymond Elementary School, offers families a unique chance to participate in their young children’s education and to have some fun at the same time.

Many schools have a grandparent’s celebration,” explained Beth Peavey, Assistant Principal at RES. “However, the way we do it is unique because our grandparent’s celebration runs throughout the day.”

To keep the school and parking lot from being overwhelmed with grandparents and grand-friends, different grade levels host their grandparents at different times of the day with the younger classes hosting their guests earlier in the day. When grandparents and friends first arrived at the elementary school on Friday morning, they were escorted to the gym and treated to coffee and donuts, which were generously donated by the Good Life Market and the Village Donut Shop. The guests also received an exclusive early screening of the iMovies RES classes have created in collaboration with students from Jordan Small Middle School. The iMovies will premier June 7 at Jordan Small Middle School’s annual awards ceremony The Raymonds.

Regardless of their grandchildren’s grade level, all grandparents and grand-friends had the opportunity to share lunch with their child, to visit their child’s classroom, and to join their child either at recess or for a trip to one of this journalist’s favorite elementary school activities: the Scholastic Book Fair. While not a required part of Grandparent’s Day, the book fair is an important source of fundraising for RES. Revenue from the fair is used to support everything from field trips to art supplies.

Sage Bizier and grand-friend Brian McCowan
at the Scholastic Book Fair
I really loved the book fair,” said Sage Bizier, a third grader at RES, as she proudly displayed her “Guide the Spookiest Places in the World”, a gift from her visiting grand-friends Brian and Patsy McCowan of Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

Visiting grandparents and grand-friends of first graders at RES were treated to a special performance of poems and songs. Gathering to perform poetry and music is a monthly tradition for the first-grade classes at RES. This Friday, their May poetry and songs were also incorporated into the first grade’s Grandparent’s Day celebration.

In Ms. Begin’s third grade classroom, Sage and her classmates painted seashells with their grandparents and grand-friends. These shells will later be decorated with positive messages and then hidden around the school for younger students to find. The third graders also had a chance to share their recent academic work with their grandparents. Student Ayden Strom logged on to a classroom computer to read his “twisted fairy tale,” a traditional fairy tale with a unique twist, to his grandparents.

I chose the three little pigs,” Strom explained, “but, instead of pigs, I wrote about three little otters. Otters are my favorite animal.”

Reading creative work was also a highlight for visitors to Mrs. Pelletier’s second grade classroom. Grandparents and grand-friends with students in second grade were treated to a poetry reading where the second graders shared their original work. The children and their grandparents then collaborated to write their own poems and, finally, they participated in an engineering exercise. Each team of children and grandparents was given a paper plate, water, and biodegradable packing peanuts and then challenged to build the tallest tower possible in eight minutes. The biodegradable peanuts stick together with water, although there were some complications. “When the packing peanuts get wet, they compress,” Pelletier explained. “So, some teams used a lot of water and then found their towers getting smaller and smaller!”

Of course, not every child has grandparents or grand-friends who were able to attend on Friday. “If students don’t have grandparents coming to visit, they are usually ‘adopted’ by another visitor,” Peavey explained, describing how visiting grandparents often spend time with several of their children’s classmates during the course of the day. My RES insider Sage Bizier reported that she was happily “adopted” by visiting grandparents last year when her family was unable to make the trek to Raymond. RES staff and volunteers also visit the classrooms during Grandparent’s Day to offer extra support to any students who may be feeling left out of the fun.

For first and second grade teachers Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. Vangelist, Grandparent’s Day was also the perfect time for their students to work on a large, collaborative art project. The first and second grades are currently completing a combined author study focusing on the imaginative work of Eric Carle. After their grandparents had departed, the first and second graders ended their Friday by working together to create a mural using unconventional artistic tools like brooms, cups, and balls to add paint and texture to a red and orange background. The students will later create their own animals to display on the mural.

Grandparent’s Day is a great chance for students to connect to their grandparents,” Peavey said. “It’s also a chance for the grandparents to see their grandchild’s school. Grandparents don’t always have that opportunity.

And the children are always really excited,” Mrs. Peavey concluded. “They all come to school saying, ‘Yay, my grandparents are coming today!’”

Windham Center Stage’s “Newsies” shines spotlight on a wealth of local talent

By Elizabeth Richards

I’m skeptical when a producer gets up on stage and says that the show they’re about to present will “knock my socks off”. After all, what else would the producer say? But in the case of Windham Center Stage’s production of “Newsies”, the show truly lived up to that promise. The incredible pool of local talent this community has to offer was on full display in this show on opening night.

The cast. Photo courtesy of Nini Bennett
From the first number to the last, this cast brought exactly the right mood to each and every scene. With a cast as large as this one, activity on stage could have looked cramped and muddled, but large ensemble numbers were impressively coordinated, energetic and evoked a wide range of emotions throughout the show. Voices blended in beautiful harmonies and complicated dance steps were executed with precision and grace.

The set offered plenty of visual variety with various levels, a stage extension, and integration of the cast into the audience on occasion. Set changes were incorporated seamlessly into the scenes. With so many people to watch, it was easy to forget the set was being altered at all, allowing the flow of the show to go uninterrupted.

Though the first act is lengthy, running about an hour and a half, the steady pace and engaging story made it fly by. The second act ran just as smoothly, and the cast never let their energy wane as they moved toward the final resolution. In fact, the curtain call was as energetic and fun as the rest of the show.

Matthew Scala played Jack Kelly with just the right blend of hope and cynicism. He, and all those who played Newsies, brought to life the challenges that children in poverty, with no protection from child labor laws, faced. The difficult choice between making a living and fighting for what was right was clearly demonstrated in the scenes before the strike took hold.  “The World Will Know,” evoked anger, frustration, and hope for a better future in a powerful, moving way.

Cecilia Guerra nicely conveyed her character Katherine’s optimism and bravery as she worked to change what was possible for herself as a woman and to improve the situation for the children working to survive.

This is the kind of show that highlights the talents of so many performers it’s difficult to detail them all. Some particularly memorable moments include the perfect delivery of hilarious lines by Alex Tukey as Les, and the touching “Letter from the Refuge,” sung by Will Searway as Crutchie.

“Newsies” runs for one more weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, as well as afternoon matinees on Saturday, June 1 at 2 p.m, and Sunday, June 2 at 2 p,m.  Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors (62 and older).

Raymond Village Library plant sale this Saturday

Memorial Day traditionally marks the last frost in this part of Maine, so now it’s time to think about your garden! On this Saturday, June 1, the Raymond Village Library will host their annual Plant Sale from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The library will be offering annuals, perennials, and vegetable seedlings, all donated by generous local gardeners, as well as expert advice to help you pick the perfect plant. Stop by Raymond Village Library at 3 Meadow Road to support your local library and pick up a few new favorites for your summer garden!

Are you finding that you already have more seedlings than space in your garden? Or is it time to divide your unruly perennials? The Raymond Village Library will be accepting plant donations this Friday, May 31, from 3 p.m. to 6 pm.

Second annual Windham Farmers Market offers more vendors and services

By Lorraine Glowczak

A steady stream of local food, craft goods and accessory shoppers hit the ground this past Saturday, May 25 at Turning Leaf Drive as the Windham Farmers Market opened up shop for another summer. Located at the intersections of Route 302 and River Road, the market is filled to the maximum of 15 vendors that include seven farms, three local food producers and five vendors that sale a variety of items comprising of jewelry, birdhouses, woodcrafts and items designed to improve wellness and elevate your energy to name just a few.

“We were delighted that customers started to arrive before our 8:30 opening and the market remained busy until closing time,” stated Lisa Fischer of the Windham Economic Development Corporation which oversees the farmers market. “I spoke with several people who were happy to come back from last year, and several who were coming for the first time.”

Fischer also stated that the farm vendors provide everything from vegetables, fruits, eggs, angus beef to maple syrup and essential oil products. One will also find marinara sauces, pestos, whoopie pies, cured meats and fresh sausage. There is certainly something for everyone.

In addition to adding more vendors to this year’s market, SNAP/EBT options are now available as well. “We hope to increase people’s access to fresh, locally raised foods,” Fischer said. “This year our market accepts SNAP/EBT and offers Maine Harvest Bucks, a bonus for SNAP purchases.”

Another feature is “The Market Bus” which is a program primarily for the Windham’s senior citizen population, which will provide transportation to the market every other Saturday. Registration is required. People who are interested should contact Windham Parks and Recreation for more information at 207-892-1905. 

There will also be a kids’ booth which offers some toys to play with along with a variety of activities and crafts for kids.

Although you will not find live music every Saturday morning, last weekend, the shoppers were entertained by the band, “Pond Lilies”. “We love it when they come to our market and they will be back in August,” stated Fischer. “We won’t have a band every week. Part of our challenge is that we have no electricity at the market site for electric instruments and amplification. The other challenge is that we don’t have a budget to pay musicians, although we do try to compensate them in other ways  We would love to hear from musicians who might want to play for us.”

Fischer stated that the market is expected to be open every Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until October 19th, weather permitting.

For more information on the market, check out their Facebook page @WindhamFarmersMarket and on their new website

Friday, May 24, 2019

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week: Do your part to protect Maine’s forest

In 2018, emerald ash borer, a tiny wood-boring beetle from Asia, was found in northern Aroostook and York counties in Maine. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a threat to all ash trees in North America and has already done considerable damage to ash in forests and residential properties across the eastern U.S. In addition to comprising an important part of our forest ecosystem, the wood from ash trees is valuable for flooring, cabinetry, hockey sticks and baseball bats. Many streets in many Maine towns are lined with ash trees and ash trees have been planted in residential landscapes for shade and to increase property values. In Maine, brown ash is an important part of the Wabanaki creation story and culture and has been used for generations for basket weaving.

Image of emerald ash borer. University of Maine photo
Emerald ash borer is a metallic-green, wood-boring beetle, only 1/2" in length. Adult beetles feed on the leaves of ash trees, but the major damage to the tree is caused by the larvae feeding under the bark, making serpentine galleries that, in effect, "girdle" the tree, preventing the transport of water and nutrients and resulting in tree mortality within 3 or 4 years of infestation. Since the beetle itself is small and the larvae feed under the bark and out of sight, most infestations are identified by signs and symptoms of decline in ash trees. 

These include: crown dieback in a vase-shaped pattern in the center of the crown; splits and cracks in the bark; tiny D-shaped exit holes in the bark where adults emerge in spring; evidence of severe woodpecker feeding known as "blonding," with large patches of bark chipped off to reveal the paler ("blond") wood underneath; and epicormic growth, or branches that sprout from the trunk below the crown. There are many other causes of ash decline - native borers, fungal diseases, damage by wind or ice - but if you are concerned about an ash tree and think it might be infested with EAB, look for these signs and symptoms ( images at and report the suspect tree by using the form at or by calling the Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation at (207) 287-2431.

The populations identified in Maine last spring and fall are most likely a result of natural dispersal from existing infestations in New Brunswick and southern New Hampshire. EAB can spread only a few miles a year on its own but can be moved long distances very rapidly in infested timber products, like firewood. The best chance we have to slow the spread of this destructive forest pest is to not move firewood - buy local wood where you intend to burn it! To facilitate this, Maine has joined Firewood Scout, an online directory of vendors of local firewood. Anyone can locate sources of local firewood on the Firewood Scout website at by entering the zip code of your location. In addition, local firewood vendors may list their businesses on the Firewood Scout website at

Currently, there is a quarantine in effect in Maine that includes all of York County and parts of Aroostook County in the St John Valley. This means that it is against the law to move many timber products from these areas without a special compliance agreement. More information about the quarantine and EAB may be found at

We can all help slow the spread of this destructive pest by learning how to recognize ash trees and the signs and symptoms of infestation, by not moving firewood, and by reporting any suspect trees.  If you think you have spotted an infested ash tree, please report your sighting by using the online form at or by calling Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation at (207) 287-2431.

For more information about EAB, its life cycle and how to identify signs of infestation; for information about other invasive forest pests; or to request a presentation on invasive forest pests for your town, garden club or conservation commission, please contact Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District at 207-892-4700.  And, please, don't move firewood!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Riding To The Top Executive Director receives recognition

Sarah Bronson

Sarah Bronson, Executive Director of Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) in Windham, Maine is the 2019 Region 1 PATH Intl. Credentialed Professional of the Year. PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) is an international voice of the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) industry. The organization advocates for EAAT and provides standards for safe and ethical equine interaction through education, communication, standards and research.

Sarah, a physical therapist and life-long equestrian, co-founded RTT in 1993.  Nominators Lorena Coffin and Kate Jeton noted, “Riding To The Top has grown to be a leading center due to the unwavering dedication and leadership of Executive Director, Sarah Bronson.”  Sarah led RTT’s transformation from serving a handful of riders seasonally at a leased barn to owning and operating a beautiful year round center located on a 52-acre farm. Today, RTT is northern New England’s largest PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center having provided over 50,000 client visits in its 26-year history. 
According to former board member and current advisory member, Dr. Candace Platz, “RTT is a grass roots effort involving many people, a true community mosaic. The person who holds the mosaic together is Sarah Bronson.”

In addition to being RTT’s full-time Executive Director, Sarah is a PATH Intl. Registered Level instructor and PATH Intl Registered Therapist, providing both therapeutic riding instruction and hippotherapy services helping RTT’s clients to improve their health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies.

Bronson’s award automatically enters her to be considered for PATH Intl.’s larger international award where all regional and international winners compete. The winner will be announced at PATH Intl.’s annual conference in Denver, CO this November.

Coach Chris McDonald knows the importance of giving back

By Matt Pascarella

Chris McDonald loves sports. He passed this love of sports on to his son, who is a sports fanatic. When his son started playing little league, McDonald had a hard time just sitting on the sidelines and wanted to get involved, and thus began his coaching career.

Chris McDonald
McDonald has been a coach for six years over all the different sports his son has played. McDonald owns Windham Powersports and is head coach of the Windham Powersports team, part of the new AAA little league division this year.

It was his son’s love of sports that got McDonald interested in coaching. He was at every practice and every sporting event in which his son was involved. “I go to everything I can possibly be at, and just me and my personality...I want to be a part of it. I want to offer any help that I can to make all the kids better in what they do.” He started out assistant coaching and just moved into the head coach position.

“At the little league level, coaches have two very important functions,” he explained. “We want to develop the skills and ability to play the sport...being able to do all the different parts of the sport. 

Almost equally important, we want to train the kids to have good sportsmanship.” McDonald and his coaches have a giveaway after every game, win or lose, two players have an opportunity to win a Windham Powersports, custom-made sports shirt. One shirt is awarded to the VIP (Very Important Player); a player who exceeded expectations during that particular game or a player who had a shining point in a game that made them stand out.

The other shirt goes to the best sportsmanship of the game; this includes cheering for your team as well as supporting the other team. Examples include letting an opposing team player know if they’re pitching a hot streak or if a player has had a good at bat. Encouragement is important says McDonald. “Winning is great, but to get all these kids to the same successful point is extremely important in all of my coach’s opinions for our team and every other team.”

Giving the shirts away builds the player and builds the person. McDonald and his coaches sit down at the beginning of the season and discuss where they’d like to go for the year. They go over practices and games and ask, ‘what did we see and learn for the individual boys in various scenarios on the field?’

Their objective is to take the boys to another level. They want to take the players from their starting point at the beginning of the season and by the end of the season, they want those players to be multiple steps above where they were. To be better at the game, and better people inside.

“I love the sport,” he added. “For me to be involved in a coaching position is what I can offer, and it makes me feel young.”

Although McDonald is a guy from ‘away, having been born in Connecticut, but Maine is in his veins. He went to Lake Region High School and is married with two kids and a stepdaughter he considers one of his own. He moved to Windham in 2005 and opened Windham Powersports roughly six years ago where he turned his hobby of fixing four wheelers into a job he enjoys.

Grandparents celebrated by Windham Middle and Primary Schools

By Matt Pascarella

During the school year, students from the Windham Middle School eighth grade classrooms of Pam Mallard, Lisa Hodge, Erika DuPont and Tricia Sabine spend time mentoring students from the Windham Primary School second grade classrooms of Brianna Butts, Casey Dubay and Haley Saurman. The goal is for the eighth-grade students to provide a leadership role for the younger students.

Eighth graders Ted Becker and Elise Schultz
welcome everyone to the celebration
On Friday, May 10 the classrooms had their Grandparents Celebration, held at Windham High School. This celebration allows students to connect with individuals of different generations and celebrate the mentoring program, as well as display the work they’ve done throughout the year.

The mentoring program, or ‘buddy program’ started roughly ten years ago. The educators and teachers wanted to add more of a connection piece with the students. They decided to include grandparents because they tend to get left out as students enter middle school and it allows the students to share a piece of their family with the schools and it makes the grandparents feel special.

Lucas Spencer, an eighth grader in Erika Dupont’s class, said the goal was for eighth graders to teach the second graders, and get together and just hang out.

Caleb Spencer, a second grader in Haley Saurman’s class, liked being paired with his older brother. They both had fun; the activities were fun and Caleb said his brother did a good job.

“During the school year we get together once a month to do a learning adventure and to share some time with our second-grade buddies,” explained eighth graders Ted Becker and Elise Schultz at the opening of the celebration to an audience of students and grandparents.

“One of our coolest adventures is this grandparent celebration. This allows us to bring many generations together to share this special program designed to show how much we care about you,” they added.

“We do a variety of events such as a share your favorite book, learning about bats, exploring the concept of thankfulness, and making Valentines for the nursing home.  This year the eighth graders made a sled for a science unit and went sledding with their buddies,” explained Pam Mallard.

The celebration began with Middle School principal Drew Patton speaking ‘words of wisdom’ about the importance of relationships. He emphasized working to keep those relationships along with making memories and sharing traditions with your grandparents. Relationships are essential because they guide us, not only through the happy times, but also through the difficult ones.

Second graders led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Students then sang songs and performed skits to honor and show appreciation for their grandparents. There was a video presentation about why grandparents are special to the students. Another video presentation followed about the community service done during the mentoring program; students did a Thanksgiving Day food drive with the Salvation Army, made pinecone bird feeders and started a fundraiser to get animal beds for the Animal Refuge League.

“It was very special to see my grandsons and their activities,” observed grandmother Sylvia Marin, who was very proud of her grandsons, Caleb and Lucas Spencer.

“It was really nice being here and seeing the makes us feel good as grandparents,” replied Paul Marin, grandfather to Caleb and Lucas.

Before the memory fades: The history, mystery and controversy of Windham’s Old Quaker Burial Ground

By Walter Lunt

This is the final in a series of three articles on Old Quaker Burial Ground.

Cemeteries cannot talk. But they do tell stories. This old adage may not apply fully to Quaker, or Friends, burial grounds.

As we learned in parts I and II of this series, the burying ground of Windham’s earliest Quakers had grown over and virtually disappeared by the mid twentieth century. Only when a local builder began clearing the property in the early 1970s did some “old-timers” speak up and save the site. Thus, the Old Quaker Burial Ground, located on the corner of Pope Road and Route 202 – which dated from 1780 – was preserved, cleaned up and rededicated.

Unmarked field stone grave markers
In part II, we asked, “How could a cemetery simply disappear?” The answer lies principally with the unusual customs and beliefs of this religious society, formed in England in the 1650s as a protest to the puritanical Church of England. Some believed the Church to be a false doctrine driven by personal pride. They would become the Society of Friends, and they held a deep belief in human equality, in life and in death. To that end, Quakers felt that grandiose tombstones were meant to elevate a person’s importance or dominance. To counter what they termed this “puffed-up vanity,” members of the Friends persuasion were interred in unbroken expanses of ground marked only by fieldstones.  By the 1800s, simple, unadorned headstones limited in height and width, and marked only with the deceased name and dates of birth and death were allowed. Both types, buried under decades of tree growth and earth, were evident in the Quaker burying ground at Windham Center.

By the early twentieth century, and with the advent of the automobile, many locals were complaining about the layout of the Pope Road/Route 202 intersection. Vehicles traveling through on Pope Road could not proceed directly across 202. Instead, it was necessary to turn on to 202, drive a short distance, and turn again in order to stay on Pope. The reason: one end of the cemetery extended tens of feet farther to the south than it does today.

At the behest of the Town, local resident Nathan Allen moved some of the marked headstones to the newer Friends Cemetery nearer the Friends Meeting House (church) a few hundred feet away on 202. He then proceeded to dig up the south portion of the old cemetery down to below frost level for the road we drive over today.

Interviewed by a reporter for the Portland Evening Express in 1972, Allen’s daughter, Natalie, confirmed the move, and added that her father told her, “…he never would do anything like (that) again.”

In an eerie side-note, the late Windham history buff Phil Kennard once wrote that “a family who lived a short way up the street from (the Old Quaker Burial Ground) said sometimes in the dead of night they heard voices, but upon investigation could find no one in the vicinity.” He was presumably referring to a time following the cemetery dig.

Clipping off portions of burial grounds to build thoroughfares was rare, but not unusual in earlier times.

In his 2017 book “Portland’s Historic Eastern Cemetery – A Field of Ancient Graves”, historian Ron Romano recounts the fate of the southern end of the city’s oldest burial ground near the foot of Munjoy Hill. Following the Great Fire of 1866, “…the city decided to clear the land and extend Federal Street from downtown to Munjoy Hill. In the process, some of the original hillside of the old Burying Ground was carved away….”

Romano says the debate among historians continues regarding the possible removal of human remains, but adds, “I do believe (given the great amount of earth removed) that some decomposed remains of early settlers were taken away…”

Given Nathan Allen’s earnest vow to never repeat such a removal project again, it would seem plausible the same thing might have occurred at the Windham site.

And given that Windham has over two dozen other cemeteries and numerous private burial sites, it also seems reasonable to assume that while they do not talk, many stories still remain.  <

Friday, May 10, 2019

Student of the Week: Mackenzie Gervais

Mackenzie Gervais, a seventh-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Gervais states that she enjoys playing softball, dancing and volleyball.

“Mackenzie Gervais is a young lady with a soft, gentle kindness who shows on a daily basis her appreciation, gratitude, and awareness of others,” stated her teacher. “ She willingly offers help to all of those who are around her.  Her wonderful attributes contribute to her being an outstanding student and an exceptional role model for her peers.”

Gervais believes that special projects where she gets to be creative is what makes learning fun. Her favorite music is country music. In her free time, Gervais loves playing outside with her dog, Nellie.
Gervais has one brother and one sister.

Students participate in Honors Music Festival

Here you will find photos of students who participated in the MMEA (Maine Music Educators’ Association) District II Honors Music Festivals this past winter and spring.  All seventh and eighth graders auditioned for judges and had to have a high enough score to be accepted.  They were competing with students from schools from Portland to Lewiston to Fryeburg. We're SO proud of our Windham Middle School, Manchester, and Jordan-Small Middle School musicians!

5th/6th Grade Elementary District II Festival (not in any particular order) From JSMS, WMS, Windham Christian Academy & Manchester:
Najala Boatman
Emily Talbot
Juliana Gagne
Ethan Fletcher
Nathan Hemond
Erik Dupont
Lillian Bouchard
Riley Yates
Addison Profenno
McKenzie Keeney
Fiona Harmon
Fletcher Vopal
Katelyn Cotter
Ashten Goblieski
Braedyn Elwell
Joshua Plummer
Ellie Duncan
Kaitlyn Dickson
Nicholas Davenport
Olivia Hamilton
Elizabeth Baker
Ellieana Davis-Archibald
Kirsten Mains
Leila Loszok
Lydia Marden
Rowan Cummings
Willow Washburn

7th/8th Grade Orchestra & Band (from WMS)
Kailey Chalmers
Greta Paulding
AnnMarie Andrews
Ellie Szostalo
Adrianna Wood
Sophia Vopal
Rylee Prescott
Gwen Kim
Alex Pooler
Lilian Nguyen
Sydney Brackett
Odessa Files
Noelle Denslow
Roman Thomas
Baxter Engelman

7th/8th Grade Chorus (from WMS)
Olivia Saucier
Noelle Denslow
Madelyn Hancock
Greta Paulding
Rachelle Cloutier
Sasha Funk
AnnMarie Andrews
Lila Schrock
Allona Popov
Morgan Policano
Dallin Duncan

Fourth annual PowerServe widens its reach

By Elizabeth Richards

PowerServe, originally planned as a one-time event to honor the life of Shane Donnelly, is now in its fourth year and has become a much-anticipated annual event. This year, PowerServe, which will be held on Monday, May 27th (Memorial Day), is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. 

Young Life Sebago organizes the event, which was founded four years ago to bring students, family members and community residents together to serve people in need throughout the community. A wide range of projects is planned, from painting and cleaning to building and maintenance. 

Kristine Delano said this year the committee has expanded its requests for sponsorship to be able to do some more extensive projects. “Sometimes, there’s a limitation to what we can do at a house because of not having the funding to do some of those things,” she said. 

Gorham Savings Bank has been the gold sponsor since the first year of PowerServe.  Other sponsors include Lowe’s in Windham, Sherwin Williams in Windham, Shaw Earthworks, Island Cove Building and Development, Benson Farm, and Windham Rental. “That makes a difference in our ability to provide people with more than just yard clean up,” said Delano.  

The committee is also expanding the number of projects this year. Last year, teams completed 22 projects. This year, Delano said, they’re on track to do thirty. “That’s really a blessing, to be able to do so many things and be so many places,” she said.

Being in their fourth year of PowerServe has helped them build credibility, Delano added. When people see how hard the teams work, she said, they want to be a part of it. Their growth helps them share the message that by serving together, they strengthen the sense of community, she said.
The move to holding PowerServe on Memorial Day also helped the program grow, she said.  

Previously they had struggled with fitting in a day for service amongst family and sports obligations. Having a full committee to share the work has also made a big difference. 

While in the first year, approximately 60% of volunteers were students, this year it seems more evenly divided into thirds, Delano said: one-third students, one-third family members of students, and one-third members of the community that have learned of the project in other ways.

Delano said it’s been nice to see the growth, and to watch cross generational teams work together.  Participants can sign up to work with their family and friends, but Delano said they also try to encourage people to meet new people and develop new friendships as they work.

Anne Daigle, another member of the committee, said one of her favorite moments of the event is at the barbeque, when she sees people choose to eat with the group they worked with instead of who they came with.  “I love to see that they got to know each other a little bit, and they want to sit down and eat with them instead of the people that they already know. I think that’s really cool.”

Morgan Colangelo and Rachel Frost are student members of the committee. They are working at the high school to get sports teams, clubs, and other students involved. 

“For me, it’s important to be involved in it because it brings everyone together in the community in a serving way, and you’re with people that you’re not typically working with. To be able to see people working towards a common goal together just to help one thing is a pretty amazing feeling,” Colangelo said.

“It’s a really impactful day,” said Frost, adding that her family has been participating in PowerServe since the first year. They travel on Memorial Day weekend, she said, but make a point to get back in time to participate.  “It means so much to our family seeing the whole community come together like that. It’s not just every day that you get to see that type of teamwork.”

Young Life Leader Cole Milazzo said that often people are reluctant to open themselves up and try new opportunities. “There are many opportunities to engage in community, but [PowerServe] is the only one I’ve been a witness to, in this area, where you have hundreds of people from Windham willing to take that step out and engage in the community that they live  in, hear stories and have conversations they wouldn’t have with people any other time,” he said.

Alex Thuotte, another Young Life Leader, added that people may be hesitant, wondering what the hidden agenda is. “I love being on this committee, being with PowerServe, because there’s no hidden agenda. The end goal is just to serve.”

There are both repeat projects and new projects each year.  The committee reaches out to the community to help identify those in need.  They strive to serve anyone in need, whether it’s the first time or the fourth they’ve needed help.

Delano said that there’s now a lot of history and recognition of what PowerServe is.  Colangelo said PowerServe is becoming a topic of conversation in the hallways at the high school.  It’s nice, she said, to hear others giving good feedback about the event and encouraging others to participate.
Volunteers are still needed, and anyone interested in participating is welcome.  Registration begins at 1 pm and projects take place from 1:30 to 5 pm.  After the event, all participants are invited to a barbeque put on by the Donnelly family. For more information or to sign up, visit

Mock crime scene allows students to apply classroom expertise

By Matt Pascarella

There is a common thought; especially in math and science classes: “when am I ever going to use this material?” For the second year in a row, Windham High School (WHS) along with help from the Windham Police Department, held a mock crime scene on Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 2 on the WHS campus. This involved several classes, along with members of the media and witnesses.

Students inspect and gather evidence from the vehicle
found on school grounds 
Students from various classes will work together at two separate crime scenes for the next three weeks. One group will focus upon the victim while the other will analyze the vehicle involved in the crime. The mock hit and run case will culminate in a law class holding a mock trial to figure out who is the criminal. Real district attorneys will be present and will try to poke holes in their case, making it more realistic.

“The purpose is to have the students learn about forensic investigation and give them a real-life application for the skills that they’re learning in school,” explained math teacher John Ziegler. “Here, we’re giving them a great example of when they’re going to have to use math in real life...with a real career-based application to it.”

There are several roles that different classes are fulfilling. The math and science class are going to be evidence technicians; doing forensic analysis at the scene. The English classes are going to be the detectives, interviewing suspects and witnesses and trying to get information about the case and piece everything together. A journalism class will gather information from various sources and publish new developments in the case as they emerge in ‘Eagle Eyes’, the school's online newspaper.

Students will be part of a Google Classroom. It’s set up with different folders, where they can store evidence, have discussions and work together in order to solve the crime.

Evidence technician and junior Kathryn Lucas collected samples from the scene of the crime. “He was hit on the left side of his body. On the bottom of his shoe there is a scuff and you can see there is a scuff down where the hat and the shoe are, further down the road. There are scratches on his legs and his knuckles; he had a broken femur sticking out of his skin and has an injury to his head as well,” she observed. There was also a vehicle found at another location on school grounds.

“I think it’s good for a lot of these students as we’re connecting so many different classes, they get a chance in their classrooms to learn English, math, science, but now they’re in an environment where they have to connect all those dots,” commented School Resource Officer, Seth Fournier. “A secondary consequence of this is they get to learn about my job, police work. How that stuff all shakes out when you get a big scheme like this and how complicated it can be, which is important for me.”

This is a very engaging and exciting opportunity for students. They’re processing evidence and speaking with witnesses. There is a lot involved in this crash; a lot of high-level math. There are many variables in what the students are learning with the case, it makes it hard to not participate. Students are really getting into this case.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for students to make real life application to what they’re learning,” said assistant principal Phil Rosetti.

Officer Fournier added “I think it’s super cool. All my guys are really excited about it. I feel like next year it’s going to build because we’re excited about it now.”