Friday, June 28, 2019

Volunteers feted at annual appreciation event

On Thursday, June 20th, despite the heavy downpours, 65 RTT staff and volunteers and family members gathered for RTT’s volunteer recognition event at St. Eiboh’s on Sebago Lake. Annually, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center celebrates and recognizes the contributions of its volunteers. This year RTT had a lot to celebrate!

“In 2018, you helped RTT surpass the 100,000 volunteer hour mark,” Nick Doria, volunteer coordinator told the crowd. Doria noted that this reflects hours recorded since 2003 and he estimates
that since RTT’s founding in 1998, the total number to be as much as 115,000 hours.

RTT volunteers contributed 10,592 hours of service in 2018, supporting client lessons, horse care, barn chores, administration and special events. Doria stated that “the collective contribution is valued at over $269,354.”

Executive Director, Sarah Bronson thanked the group and remarked that “We wouldn’t have the impact that we do without our amazing volunteers,” noting that “volunteers are a fundamental part of the organization allowing us to leverage limited staff and financial resources to provide equine assisted activities and therapies to more than 250 children and adults with disabilities each year.” 

Bronson went on to add, “Riding To The Top would have to hire 6-7 full time staff to replace the work that our volunteers contribute each year.”

This year a total of twenty-four RTT volunteers received The President’s Volunteer Service Award:
Bronze Level Awardees (Adult 100-249 hours/Young Adult 100-174 hours): Christine Blackadar, Jo Blinick, Earle Bonney, Cindy Elder, Emma Evans, Trish Friant, Tony Girlando, Stacie Hamilton Waldron, Fran Maxwell, Liz Wood, Nancy Robinson

Silver Level Awardees (250 to 499 hours/Young Adult* 175-249 hours):
Janis Childs, Barbara Foster, Mark Fuller, Jodi Peasley, Bryony Urquhart, Trish Vaughan

Gold Level Awardees (500 or more hours/Young Adult 250 or more hours): Julia Hamilton, Lina Jordan,Sarah Miller ,Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli, Clayton Peters, Patty Shaw
Special recognition of outstanding service to RTT included: Clayton Peters (Volunteer of the Year); Lina Jordan and Gina Carbone (Youth Volunteer of the Year); Earle Bonney (Administrative Volunteer of the Year); Eve Abreu (Rookie of the Year Award); Patty Shaw (Volunteer (Horse) Schooler Award), Kate Fox (Barn Volunteer of the Year).  Sarah Bronson presented a special award to Allie Mannette for Youth Philanthropist for her service in the community raising funds for RTT.

Three students are recipients of the Raymond Lions Club scholarships

The Raymond Lions Club members congratulate three exceptional students who are examples of what our high school students are capable of achieving. We wish all three much success in continuing their education and in their careers.

The funds received from the bottle collections at the Raymond Town Office and at the entrance to Jordan Bay Animal hospital go their scholarship endeavors. Please feel free to recycle your bottles at both locations and help contribute to a students’ future education and growth.

Haley Froisland (pictured receiving the award from Jake Jacobson) who graduated from Windham High and will attend Gordon College in Wenham, MA, studying math.

Not pictured: Carlee Richmond who graduated from Windham High and will attend Southern Maine Community College studying criminal justice. Maelah Nadeau is a senior at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY.  She has been accepted into an accelerated speech-language pathology master’s program

Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program: A summer reflection

By Dave Tanguay

I spend time each spring and again in early winter walking the cemeteries of Windham. During my walk I check to see that each veteran grave has been remembered with an American Flag prior to Memorial Day and, for the last six years, the placement of a wreath on some 900 graves in the cemeteries in Windham. 

Financial donations are always needed
to remember our fallen soldiers
While walking the lanes, I recall a book by John Dunning, a memoir with a subtitle that states, “You’re not dead until you’re forgotten”.  As I check the graves, I reflect on the fact that many of these veterans have been forgotten. If it were not for the local veterans, scout groups and other volunteers that place the flags or the wreaths on the graves, no one would have visited their graves or remembered these men and women who defended our country.  

Many of the gravestones are in poor shape and are slowly being overtaken by the earth surrounding them. Some are broken into pieces, some fallen over, some now unreadable. All, however, mark the last resting place of one of our fallen soldiers. If not for the volunteer visits, no one would remember their name.

I mention these visits because there is an opportunity for the Windham community to help this process of remembering.  Each year, the local VFW and Legion Post act as agents of the town to place flags on the graves of our Veterans. In the late fall, around December 1st, the local veterans also remember those vets with the placement of a wreath on the graves. The Program, Everlasting Gratitude, was initially started by Studio Flora and is now coordinated by American Legion Field-Allen Post and ALA Unit 148.

The Post is now accepting donations to support the “Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program” for the coming year. Typically, a wreath with bow costs approximately $5 in volume. The Post will need 900 -1000 wreaths this year. A donation on your part of $25 will purchase approximately five wreaths and bows, $50 approximately ten wreaths, etc. Your donation, no matter how small, will go a long way to help the “Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program”, remembering our veterans so that their names are not forgotten. We Remember! 

Donations can be made to: Field-Allen Wreaths, PO Box 1776. Windham, Maine 04062

Friday, June 21, 2019

State Farm Agent Tricia Zwirner helps take the bite out of dog-related injury

With an estimated 89.7 million dogs living in U.S. households, accidents are bound to happen. Most dogs will never bite, but it is important to remember that any dog CAN bite regardless of breed or type. In 2018, State Farm paid $123 million as a result of 3,280 dog bite and injury claims.  Over the past 10 years, State Farm paid more than $1.1 billion for dog bite claims.

Maine was ranked #47 in 2018 in number of State Farm dog bite claims, with an average pay out of $34,000 per claim.  This is an improvement from the state’s #41 ranking for 2017.  The top three states for 2018 dog bite claims are California, Illinois and Ohio, respectively.

“Children make up more than 50% of all dog bite victims and the highest risk group in children are ages 5-9 years old,” says Windham State Farm Agent Tricia Zwirner.  “The elderly and home service people, like mail carriers, are also high on the list of frequent dog bite victims.  Being bitten or attacked by a dog can leave physical and emotional scars. For the dog, it can be a death sentence.”
State Farm is one of the few insurance companies in the country that does not have a breed restriction list and does not exclude homeowner or renter insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned.  “We also recognize that, under the right circumstances, any dog might bite,” says Tricia. 

“That is why we encourage people to be responsible pet owners and educate the public, especially children, on how to safely approach a dog.”

Tricia offers these tips to help prevent dog bites:

NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by dogs in their own household.

Make sure your pet is socialized so he feels at ease around people and other animals.

Walk and exercise your dog on a leash to keep him healthy and provide mental stimulation.

Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog. A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
Be alert. If someone approaches you and your dog, caution them to wait before petting the dog. Give your pet time to be comfortable with the stranger.

Understand and respond to changes in your dogs’ body language. Look at the eyes, ears, tail, and posture to know when your dog may be happy, fearful, or angry.

Spay or neuter. This procedure can help reduce your dog's aggressive behaviors.

Homeowners should talk to their insurance agents about coverage under a standard homeowner policy. Pet owners should consider a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP) to provide extra coverage in case their dog does bite someone. Renters should consider getting renters insurance because most landlords do not provide coverage should there be a dog bite incident.

Additional resources:
When Your Dog Bites:
Pet Friendly Fixes for Inside and Out:

Successful Project Grad 2019 into fundraising for Project Grad 2020

By Elizabeth Richards

2019 Windham High School graduates had a chance to celebrate one last time as a class with a three-state excursion that included plenty of food, physical activity, and a four-hour cruise around Boston Harbor at the 2019 Project Grad event.

Although fewer students than anticipated attended the event, 2019 chairperson Robin Mullins said 110 graduates took part from the class of approximately 215 students.

The evening started with students arriving at the high school after graduation where Subway
The 110 graduates leaving on their safe Project Grad Tour/Party
sandwiches, chips and drinks were waiting for them to enjoy while checking in. Students then boarded three buses and headed to Portsmouth, NH where they spent two hours at Get Air, a trampoline park.

At 9:30 p.m., the students got back on the bus and headed to Boston Harbor where they boarded a four-level yacht for their private cruise. From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., students had the run of the boat. Activities included casino games, henna tattoos, a caricature artist, a DJ with dancing and karaoke, and more. One highlight of the evening was a hypnotist.  “From what I hear, the kids loved him,” Mullins said.

At 3 a.m., students re-boarded the buses and headed back to Windham, arriving just before 5:30 a.m. Once back at the school, each student received a gift card to Aroma Joe’s as well as one to either Good Life Market or Beacon Pizza.

Mullins said, “I think they had a good trip, based on the feedback I’m getting.” She said this year’s trip was quite similar to the one she coordinated for the class of 2017.  Mullins said that although many classes have done other things, such as white water rafting, a trip that keeps the kids on the move can help eliminate any issues that could arise, and is over by early morning, which can be good for both chaperones and students.

Mullins said she thinks Project Grad is important for two reasons. First, she said “It’s great to have one final trip as a class that they can all go on and be together.” Second, an organized event means that parents know their kids are safe.

Putting the event together was a year-long process, and requires a lot of commitment, Mullins said. For the 2019 event, the group held a fundraiser every month and raised about $31,000.  Because they had fewer than anticipated students attend, they ended up with a surplus of approximately $2100, which they will be passing on to the class of 2020 for their Project Graduation event.

Although there was a good group of 12 to 20 parents involved in the fundraising, Mullins said “I’d like to see more kids go, and I’d like to see more parents involved in the process.” With a class of 200 students, she said, if every family participated in just one or two fundraisers it would ease the burden on the core planning group. 

The chair for Project Grad 2020, Sarah Elliott, said that they are having trouble finding volunteers to staff the fundraising, and would welcome anyone interested in being involved.  Volunteers don’t have to be parents of graduating seniors, though that is often the case; grandparents, family members and friends are also welcome. Elliott said they are also reaching out to the students in the class of 2020 to help once they are finished raising funds for graduation expenses.

Fundraising for Project Grad 2020 is already underway, with plans to have a table at Summerfest where they will be selling sausage subs (with meal deal options), iced coffee, Ring Pops, and Airhead. They also plan to hold a yard sale over the summer, and their golf tournament is scheduled for October 6th at Spring Meadows at 11 a.m.

Other fundraising activities for the year will include concessions at Gambo Fields during soccer season, a craft fair, pallet parties, a princess and superhero party, and partnering with local businesses. Elliott said they are open to hearing any ideas others may have. 

Elliott said that Project Grad is a long-standing tradition that gives students a safe place to celebrate the night that they graduate.  “It’s their last night before they hit the “real world,” she said. “I really like the idea of just having that one last night together and parents don’t have to worry where they are,” she added.

The outgoing chairperson plays a vital role in getting the next group going. “Robin has been an absolute godsend to helping us,” Elliott said, “I’ll do the same for the next class.”

Anyone interested in getting involved with Project Grad 2020 can message through the Facebook Page, WHSprojectgrad2020 or email Elliott at

Odyssey of the Mind: World Finals update

By Craig Bailey

The team of students from Windham Primary and Manchester Schools have returned from their trip to participate in the Odyssey of the Mind (OOM) World Finals. The event took place at Michigan State University, from May 22 to 25. The team consisted of students, in grades three to five, including: Nick Verrill, Nick Jenkins, Cameron Weeks, Ewan O’Shea, Marek Slomczynski, Ashlynn Cuthbert and Adam Slomczynski. The first five previously competed in the OOM World Finals, along with their coach April O’Shea.

OOM Students
OOM is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. 

Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential. OOM proves that students can have fun while they learn.

The team reports their two days of driving, nine hours each day, to/from the event went smoothly, although their goal is to fly to the event next year. They were especially appreciative of the school for lining everyone up in the hallway to see the team off as they entered the vans for departure.

As for the team’s experience at the event, it was summarized as “fun, exciting, hectic and overwhelming” due to all the things going on and the number of people in attendance (900 teams of seven students each, along with parents).

The team had two performances. First, their hands-on “Spontaneous”, for which they were presented a problem to solve with no prior knowledge as to the nature of the challenge. It consisted of tuna cans scattered about the room and a coffee can in the middle. The team was supplied with pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and other materials to build bridges between the cans, without touching the floor, connecting all cans to the center. The team tied for first place in their category and was very pleased with the outcome. The team was surprised at the end of their performance as they were doused with silly string, a long-held tradition.

The second performance was the execution of their skit, sharing their solution to the problem “Hide in Plain Sight.” The skit involved four scenes in which a searcher was seeking a sea creature that morphed into many forms, including an octopus with tentacles that moved via the team’s custom-made hydraulic system! Everyone on the team had a character in the play or worked the creature. The team had the audience laughing and unanimously agreed that the performance went flawlessly!

The team’s overall placing at the event was 26 out of the 58 teams in their problem category.

The most anticipated aspect of the event was pin trading. Trading Odyssey of the Mind pins (from various states and countries) is a tradition that goes back more than 35 years. During this year’s event Windham students scored pins from such far-flung places as: China, Korea, Poland, Switzerland, in addition to Canada, Georgia, Connecticut and Illinois.

There were numerous activities and forms of entertainment including a DJ, magician, a giant Jenga game, and many more.

When team-members were asked for their impression of their OOM experience, the responses included: Verrill stating, “It was better this year because we had a bigger group and more. We are older and knew more about what to expect.” Jenkins indicated, “We did better, placing higher than last year because of our experience having done this before along with the new additions to the team.” O’Shea stressed, “It was very exciting to go there for a second time as the only Windham team to have done so.” Cuthbert shared, “It was exciting and sometimes overwhelming. I knew I wanted to do OOM. I felt like I belonged in OOM and really like the creativeness vs. classroom learning.”

All in all, the team agreed they would do it again! More importantly, the team encourages others to give it a try, as Cuthbert reinforced, OOM gives you a real sense of creativity.

Coach O’Shea emphasized, “The program requires significant parental involvement. The premise is that the kids do everything themselves. However, they need guidance, and this is a way for parents to get involved with their kids in something worthwhile such as developing lifelong skills and friends. There really is something for everyone, with opportunities to build, sing, dance, write, do the technical things, etc. The program helps the kids realize what they are good at.”

One parent reinforced, “My son wasn’t interested in acting, but a place came up for him to do so and he really enjoyed it!”

The team would like to sincerely thank the school system for the support provided, including help with fundraising activities and providing resources, as well as the community of Windham for helping to fund the trip.

Hawthorne Community Association continues Strawberry Festival

By Lorraine Glowczak

In an effort to keep a bit of history, cultural and literature alive and well in Raymond, the Hawthorne Community Association will host their annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 29 at the Nathaniel Hawthorne House at 40 Hawthorne Road in Raymond. The event will begin with a guest speaker at 6:30 p.m. followed by homemade strawberry shortcake, coffee, punch and a social hour.
Nathaniel Hawthorne house in 2007

Briefly, Hawthorne’s boyhood home was built around 1812 by Richard Manning, who was an early settler in Raymond and an uncle to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne is known to have lived for some years with his mother and sister in this house, and probably continued to visit it during his years at Bowdoin College (1822–25). Many are aware that the home was eventually converted into a church, but few realize that it was also a tavern.

Former Windham High History Teacher and the guest speaker for the evening, Terry Christy, will present his talk: “Taverns, Shanties and More” about the home’s incarnation as Colonel Scribner’s Tavern in the mid-1800’s. The community will also learn about the time when canal boats and stagecoaches were the most modern means of travel and people needed places to rest for the night. Christy is a known to have an entertaining and informal style you will be sure to enjoy.

Donations for the event are $10 per adult or $5 per child (8 and under). All proceeds go to preserve and maintain the Nathaniel Hawthorne boyhood home. Although walk-ins for the event are welcome, reservations are helpful for planning purposes. Please make your Strawberry Festival reservations before June 24th at e-mail, call 207-655-7660 or text 207-756-9260.

Escape Room Challenge was a success

Fourteen Windham Middle School sixth graders completed the 30 Book challenge this school year. Each of these students read and wrote summaries on 30 books of varying genres and got to enjoy the Maine Escape Games to celebrate accomplishing the book challenge.

“They worked so hard to get here and continued their hard work to try to escape the rooms,” stated WMS Teacher, Cory DiDonato. 

The 30 Book Challenge will continue for next year’s students.

Congratulations to Windham/Raymond Adult Education graduates

On Thursday, June 13 Windham-Raymond Adult Education hosted their annual graduation, with more than 20 students setting off towards a bright future.

Often overlooked in the season of college and high school graduations, Adult Ed programs offer many students a fresh start and second chance at success.

Congratulations to:

Hailie Boulanger
Josue Chavez
Cooper Gaudet
Jayme Graham
Peter Jordan
Abigial Lumsden
Emily MacDonald
Sam Mazziotti (not in picture)
Kyle Nelson
Arnold Nkulu
Eleonora Popov
Golaleh Rashidi
Tiana Stribling
Mary Strickler
Dennis Townsend
Treva Valliere
Camden Viger
Owen Wert

Also, in the photo are: Superintendent Sandy Prince, Adult Ed Director, Tom Nash, Adult Ed ABE Coordinator Catherine Giuffre-Renaud and RSU14 Board Member, Marge Govoni.

Before the memory fades: Edith Pride Elliot Day on June 24

By Walter Lunt

In Windham, June 24 is a day of special recognition in honor of an esteemed centenarian. Since 1977, the day is observed by those who remember Edith Pride Elliot.

The remarkable Edith Gertrude Pride was born June 24, 1876. For the next 100 years she would earn the undying respect and affection of her friends and fellow citizens. Edith was known for her interest in everything, love of reading and staunch independent nature.

As a young girl, Edith helped out at the town’s first library at Windham Center, founded by her mother and grandmother.

Edith Pride Elliot
At age 14, Edith took up oil painting. She shared her works freely with appreciative family and friends.

One of her proudest moments came in 1897. She was valedictorian of the first graduating class of Windham High School, located in the red brick building that is now the Windham Historical Society museum on Windham Center Road. Just prior to the graduation ceremonies at Windham Hill Church, Edith became ill with a bad cold. Fearing it would turn to pneumonia Dr. Harper, who lived nearby, cared for her overnight in his nearby home until the hour of her address the next day. Her senior year report card rests in a research file at the Windham Historical Society and reads like the true scholar she was:  Fall term, 1896 – Latin, 100; Geology, 100; Astronomy, 96; Civil Government, 100; History of Civilization, 93 (Frank Usher, Principal).

In October of 1899, Edith Pride married Orin Elliot. He died seven months later of tuberculosis. She never remarried.

In 1905, Edith earned a teaching certificate and taught “common” school for four years at a one-room schoolhouse near her home at Windham Center. She was paid $6.00 per week.

In her lifetime, Edith Elliot would witness the administrations of 21 U.S. presidents. In a memoir, written in 1970, she noted, “…while (visiting) in Washington D.C. in 1924 and 1930, I had the opportunity to shake hands with Presidents Coolidge and Hoover. I have voted (in every presidential election) since 1919.”

She also recounted memories of trips “into town” (Portland) for supplies and clothing, twice a year.
Elliot’s uncountable contributions to the town she cherished came over the decades following her brief teaching career. She was active in the Crossroads Garden Club, the Helping Hand Club, The Windham Library Association, The Windham Republican Club, the Evangeline Chapter-Order of the Eastern Star and was a founding member of the Windham Historical Society. She maintained a faithful allegiance to Windham High School throughout her life, attending every graduation ceremony and alumni banquet into the 1970s.

Later in life, during winters, she accompanied her father to Saint Cloud, Florida until he died at age 95. She continued the Florida visits until she was 88 years old. She was active there, as well, helping to organize a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

“I was a joiner,” she once commented, “I joined everything but the Boy Scouts and the Masons.”
In that memoir, written just after her 94th birthday, Edith recalled some momentous events that occurred during her life.

“…my mind goes back over memory lane to 1888 when Union Station was built with that wonderful clock tower. (And) Riverton Park, which opened in 1896. (It) gave pleasure to young and old for many years.”
She continued, “During my lifetime I have ridden by horse and buggy, stagecoach, horse cars, steam cars, electric cars, bus and now the automobile. But I couldn’t get on an airplane.”

On her 100th birthday in 1976, while holding the gold cane for being the town’s oldest living citizen, and still residing in the Windham Center house in which she was born, Edith Elliot reflected on the changes over the last century. “Back along, you knew everyone in town. Now you’re lucky to know your next-door neighbor.”

June 24 was proclaimed “forever” Edith Elliot Day by then Town Manager David Miller and the Windham Town Council. The following year, 1977, in a special dedication sponsored by Rep. Bill Diamond, Maine’s 108th Legislature paid tribute to her for a century of contributions to the educational, cultural, political and charitable life of Windham, Maine.”

And there was one final honor: only a week before her death in May 1977, the town and several local garden clubs designated a plot of ground next to the Windham Public Library to be Elliot Park. A plaque bearing her name next to a small gazebo remains there today. Nearby, a time capsule bearing cultural items of the time was sealed, to be opened on June 24, 2076 – the anniversary of Edith Pride Elliot’s 200th birthday. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

2019 Windham Summerfest theme: “We are a Little Bit Rock and Roll”

It will be a rockin’ good time for this year’s Windham Summerfest to be held next Saturday, June 22 at Windham High School. Living up to its motto, “Bringing Unity to the Community”, the Summerfest committee has been working hard to incorporate a variety of family games, activities, and more.

Expect more diverse food options, hand-made craft selections as well games the whole family can play.
For the younger family member, the popular inflatable park at ‘Kiddie City’ will be back again this year. All with the sole purpose of bringing unity to the community in a fun, hometown and old-fashioned way.

The day’s activities will begin with the parade at 10 a.m. led by the Grand Marshall - the Cub Scout Troup 805. From there, one can explore all the Summerfest has to offer. At 11:30 the main stage entertainment will begin with a legislative welcome and hometown hero award which will be presented to Nolan Cyr. At noon, musical entertainment will begin with performances by five local and popular bands – ending with the band of Windham High School teachers, “Cousin Itt” – with the one and only musical extraordinaire, Dr. Rick Nickerson.

As always, the Summerfest will include the Duane Clark Memorial Car show and will end with a bang as a beautiful array of fireworks will begin at 9:35 p.m., don’t forget – those of you who enjoy a morning run, walk – or roll can sign up for the Toby Pennels Memorial 5K and 1-mile run. The race will start at 7:45 a.m. To register or donate:

Last, but not least, the Windham Summerfest would not be possible without the hard work and efforts of the Summerfest committee. “I want to thank all the committee members for their dedication - making the Summerfest an event for the whole family,” Windham Parks and Recreation Director, Linda Brooks said. “I wish to give a special thanks to co-chairs Deb Matthews and Robin Mullins.”

So, put on your dancing (or running) shoes and come rock and roll with the town. For more information visit them on Facebook or the website at <

Sen. Diamond welcomes Senate pages from Windham to State House

During the last week of May, Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, welcomed Windham Middle School students Noah Henry, Tobias Perkins, Finn Smith and Heidi Muse as well as Portland High School student Kyessah Pina of Windham to serve as honorary pages in the Maine Senate. The students and their chaperones took the picture below with Sen. Diamond in the Senate Chamber.

The program gives students a unique chance to participate and observe the State’s legislative process. As honorary pages, students deliver messages, distribute documents within the Senate Chamber, interact with senators and, most importantly, take part in a real world, legislative learning experience.
To learn more about the honorary page program, please contact Sen. Diamond’s office at (207) 287-1515.
Sen. Diamond poses with Windham Middle School Students Heidi Muse, Noah Henry, Tobias Perkins, Finn Smith and their chaperones

Sen. Diamond Poses with Portland High School student Kyessah Pina of Windham

The Raymonds celebrates local film makers

Kindergartners from Mrs. Spearin's Class
Photo Courtesy of John Powers

By Briana Bizier        

Did you catch this year’s hottest celebration of moviemaking talent? With its red carpet, elegantly dressed movie stars, golden statuettes for the winners, and emotional acceptance speeches, it’s certainly a night to remember.

I am talking, of course, about The Raymonds, the annual festival devoted to artistic collaborations between the students of Jordan Small Middle School and Raymond Elementary School. Each year, students from JSMS work with classes at the elementary school to produce short movies. The Raymonds celebrates these artistic endeavors with a night of awards, speeches, and musical performances.

The Windham Eagle offers a hearty congratulations to all the participants!

People's Choice Awards
Shark Attack - Kindergarten
The Suspicious Sub - 4th Grade

K-2 Division
1st - The Beast - Grade 2
2nd - Disappearing Kids - Grade 2
3rd - The Friendly Dragon - Kindergarten  and Shark Attack Kindergarten

3-4 Division - Are you smarter than an 8th grader?  - Grade 4
2nd - The Suspicious Sub - Grade 4
3rd - 4k Ultra HD calculator  - Grade 4

5-6 Division
1st - Jacob's Detective Agency - Grade 5
2nd - Mixed up Music - Grade 5
3rd - Tricks R4 Kids -Grade 5 and Flex Tape - Grade 6

7th Division
1st - Gratitude - Grade 7

8th Division
1st - The Cloning
2nd - Lazy Raymond and Google's Order
3rd - Mishap at the Mansion and The Competition

McIntosh Award (Best in Show)
The Cloning 

Finally, current eighth grader Al Potter was recognized with a new award for Excellence in Film Making and Outstanding Dedication. Potter won his second McIntosh Award this year and finished his four years at JSMS with nine total trophies. This outstanding young filmmaker is leaving his middle school years after achieving a first place in every movie category other than K-2. 

Congratulations, Potter, and perhaps someday we’ll see you celebrating on another red carpet!

Congratulations Windham Christian Academy graduates

Zeb Cleaves

Zeb began attending Windham Christian Academy as a kindergartener in 2006. He was a recipient of the WCA Scholar Athlete Award in 2018 and played soccer, basketball and disc golf throughout his years at WCA. Zeb will be attending the University of Maine Orono, studying engineering. He is receiving the UMaine Heritage Scholarship and the UMaine Director's Award. He also hopes to pursue a military career as a Navy Seal and knows God has placed a call of worship upon his life. 

Rose Hagerstrom  

Rose began attending Windham Christian Academy in the second grade. When not in school, Rose, a skilled dancer, can be found at Western Maine Dance and Gymnastics. Rose plans to attend University of Maine Fort Kent in the fall and has been awarded the Bengal Gold Scholarship. She is entering their nursing program in the hopes of becoming a medical missionary in the developing world.  

Molly Kramschuster

Molly began attending Windham Christian Academy in the sixth grade. She is a talented artist and took college level drawing at St. Joseph’s College this spring. Between her aspirations to be a writer, and the talent she brings towards illustrations, Molly hopes to become a novelist.  For right now, Molly plans to take a gap year and is seeking employment.  

Alewives in action: PRLT hosts an alewife viewing hike in Mill Brook Preserve

Jack Alan with a salamander found by Mill Brook
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Gill
By Briana Bizier

Did you know that hundreds of animals are migrating past Windham right now?

Every day, schools of alewives brave waterfalls, predators, high rivers, and strong currents in order to reach their spawning grounds. Last Saturday, thanks to the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT), we got a chance to view these impressive fish in action during the Trust’s first Member Thank-You hike in Mill Brook Preserve.

Opened in 2016, the Mill Brook Preserve protects 130 acres of forested land along Mill Brook in Westbrook. My family and I hiked part of this five-mile trail system in January, and I promised my little hikers that we would return in the spring to watch the alewives. Saturday’s event was a perfect opportunity to make good on that promise.

This is a really exciting natural phenomenon,” said Toby Jacobs, PRLT Stewardship and Outreach Manager.

The alewives, a species of herring, spend the majority of their lives at sea but return to fresh water to spawn. Unlike the slightly more famous spawning species salmon, most alewives do not die after they spawn. Instead, they return to the ocean and make their inland trek again the next spring.

The restoration of alewives to their traditional migratory paths and spawning grounds has been a tremendous success story in Maine. With the removal of several large dams and the addition of fish ladders and fish elevators, alewives now run through many of the major rivers in Maine, including the Kennebec, the Presumpscot and, of course, Mill Brook. Alewives provide an invaluable food source for raccoons, mink, herons, osprey, and bass, as well as serving as lobster bait for local fishermen.

How far do you think these fish swim?” Jacobs, who led the family friendly hike, asked our group of children, parents, and grandparents as we set off down the trail.

Fifty thousand miles!” someone offered.

One hundred miles!” another added.

Not quite,” Jacobs answered. “These fish swim eleven miles to get from Casco Bay to Highland Lake.”

Given that the fish are, on average, only ten to twelve inches long, this journalist was quite impressed by their eleven-mile trek. We were also delighted with the trail, which set off from the MAGAN trailhead at the intersection of Route 302 and Willow Drive and then dropped through a majestic hemlock grove and into a large, boulder-strewn clearing. Here Jacobs distributed scavenger hunt checklists to the children, who took off running as they searched for treasures like insects, rocks, and pinecones.
You don’t need to pick the items up,” Jacobs explained when my eight-year-old assistant asked about finding a spider. “You just need to see them.”

One of the children, Jack Gill, even spotted a salamander among the oak leaves on the forest floor.  “He’s black and gray, and his name is Sammy,” Gill explained as he gently held the salamander for the other hikers to see.

This was a first time visit to the Mill Brook trail system for Jack and his mother Stefanie Gills. “We’ve fished in Mill Brook before,” Gills began, “but we had no idea that these trails and fish pools were back here.”

After checking off nearly all the boxes on the scavenger hunt list, the family hike set off in search of the very last item: a fish. The trail meandered through the woods, crossed beneath the power lines, and led us to a lovely little waterfall. At this pool, the family friendly group met up with the second nature walk, led by University of Southern Maine professor Karen Wilson. This faster group of nature walkers included Ralph Hatt who, along with his wife Marilyn, donated 33 acres of land to the Mill Brook Preserve.

rita.theriault@raymondmaine.orgThis area is really a jewel of the greater Portland area,” Professor Wilson explained. This winter, Wilson’s students studied local rivers and streams. Mill Brook had the least amount of road salt of any stream in the area. It’s a very healthy watershed, hosting strong populations of fish, birds, and even beavers.

And, yes, that also means lots of bugs,” Wilson added.

Hopefully no readers will be surprised to learn that an early June hike in the Maine woods led to a few mosquito and black fly encounters. If you plan on visiting Mill Brook to observe the alewives, I suggest insect repellent and a strong appreciation for the vital role robust insect populations play in a healthy ecosystem.

As the family group joined the second nature walk, several hikers pointed to a small pool halfway up the waterfall. There, to our delight, several dozen alewives were schooling together and resting before making the final push up the waterfall. After checking “fish” off the scavenger hunt checklist, my hiking assistants and I were lucky enough to see a few of the silvery alewives push their way up the falls as we cheered them on.

It was truly an awe-inspiring sight.

If you want to catch the alewives in action, Jacobs recommends the southern fish viewing pool in Mill Brook Preserve. To access this pool, park at the Methodist Road trailhead off of 302 in Westbrook, cross the brook, and then turn right, or south, on the trail. Please see map at