Friday, October 16, 2009

International Students reflect on
First Weeks at Thornton Academy

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
At the start of the school year, Thornton Academy welcomed 40 international students into its inaugural boarding-student program. A month into the academic year, it’s clear that these students indeed feel welcome.
“I love this place,” said Chou Han, a junior from the Chinese city of Suzhou, which is near Shanghai. He believes the best part “is the relationships between the teachers and the students.”
“I think it’s a great school,” said Denitsa Atanasova, a junior from the island nation of Malta, located in the Mediterranean Sea. “It’s an amazing opportunity for all of us to be here and I hope that we all make the best of it.” Atanasova has wasted no time in taking full advantage of the opportunities that Thornton offers, having already joined Speech Team and the Interact Club (a community service organization). “And I’ll probably join some more,” she added.
“It’s much, much, much better than I thought before I came,” said Shirley Zhao, a junior who came all the way from China’s capital city of Beijing.
“I’m on the Cross Country team and in Interact,” said Melody Chen, a junior from Taiwan. “And that’s really fun,” she added.
The best part of junior Atanasova’s American experience so far is “how friendly everyone is. We came by ourselves and we knew no one. Everyone is always so nice to us, and we made so many friends in the course of a month. That’s really helped us sort of adjust to living here, and being away from home and away from our parents and family and all that.”
The American approach to signing up for classes was the biggest surprise for Alex Li, a sophomore from Beijing. At Thornton “we can choose the classes. In China we can’t choose our classes,” he said.
11th grader Chen also noted the difference between TA and Taiwan: “Compared to Taiwan everything’s different. Every class is really different. In Taiwan we all stay in the same classroom all day.”
“There are a lot of sports teams, and a lot of games everyday,” noted Melo Geng, a sophomore from Bozhou, China, a small city in the middle of the country. “I had never seen a football game (before).” For his own sports plans, Geng says, “I want to join the basketball team.”
Thornton Academy constructed a new dormitory for the boarding program, and the international students have been impressed. “I never was in a boarding school before,”
explained Daniela Montoya, a 9th grader from Columbia. “So to see the dorm is amazing, it’s very nice.” Chen concurs: “It’s amazing, we have everything, and it always smells good, at least the girls side.”
And for 9th grader Emily Hu from Shanghai, the best part is simply “the kitchen.”
With regards to his new adopted home state, sophomore Li says Maine is “very quiet, and it’s very beautiful, and very natural I think. Very different from Beijing where there is a lot of noise.” 9th grader Hu’s first impression was that there are “a lot of trees.” 9th grader Montoya says, “It’s cold, but I love the cold!”
11th grader Atanasova summed it all up saying, “It’s so much different then what I imagined, and so much better too.”
Photo caption: Thornton Academy welcomed 40 international students to its campus this fall. The students are pictured in front of their dorm. (Jenn Haas photo)

Hussey Seating remains an Industry Leader

By Barbara Leech
Staff Columnist
The latest product to come out of Hussey Seating Company, a family-owned business since 1835, is part of recent renovation projects at two major sports arenas in Kansas City.
The Quattro Extreme Series stadium seat, which combines the comfort of an upholstered indoor chair with the durable weather-resistance of an outdoor seat, has been installed for the first time at Kauffman Stadium (home of the Kansas City Royals) and Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs).
“We got the contract about five months ago to renovate the VIP sections of these arenas with our latest product,” Tim Hussey, sixth generation, President and CEO of North Berwick’s Hussey Seating Company said. “We did the seating there about ten years ago, and that was the largest contract in our company’s history at that time, so it was exciting to be called back. And it’s always nice to see a new product going in.”
Hussey’s high quality range of spectator seating includes fixed plastic and upholstered chairs, telescopic platforms, and telescopic gym seating traditionally known as bleachers.
According to Hussey, 51, the Quattro Extreme seating stands up to the elements with everything from rust-proof stanchions and marine-grade fabric to the use of Gore-Tex thread favored by the sailing industry.
The company, started by William Hussey 174 years ago, began with the invention of a new type of plow designed to handle tough New England soil. The company thrived for 60 years as the Hussey Plow Company, but following a fire that destroyed the facility, the Hussey family decided it was time to rebuild and evolve with the times. New product inventions, including seating, were born. Since then, the Hussey name has become a world leader in developing and manufacturing seating solutions for sports arenas and schools around the globe.
A total of 1,500 of the new Quattro Extreme upholstered chairs, which took about one year to develop, were recently installed in Kauffman Stadium and 2,000 of the chairs went into Arrowhead Stadium’s renovations. According to Hussey, these were relatively small contracts and were among the 1,200 to 2,000 contracts the company handles annually, but they represented the first placement of a new product, which he hopes will go far.
“It is exciting to see a new product out there in a major arena… it is good publicity for our company and I believe it is the best product in the industry,” Hussey said. “We have found that even in this recession, renovation projects such as this keep us moving ahead and successful.”
For many schools and sports arenas, the present economy is bringing about more renovations and fewer costly new construction projects. This, according to Hussey, has kept his business going and supports the marketing of the new seating product as a means of making VIP section seating better and keeping fans happy.
“Many sports and entertainment venues, including schools, have sections of club or suite seating for season-ticket holders and other special guests,” said Hussey. “The Quattro Extreme, is ideal for this purpose because it can differentiate that area from the rest of the stadium and justify a higher price of admission.”
The new Quattro chair is presently being installed as part of a 40,000 seat project, Estadio Chivas (, which is a new soccer and multi-use arena being built in Mexico. Hussey said that arena is using the new product for the majority of their 45,000 seating.
“They wanted a top of the line arena and the comfort and durability that these seats provide,” he said. “Everyone is looking to stay competitive and seating is an important part to fans.”
But for Hussey Seating, which employs 185 people at their facility tucked away on Dyer Street, it is on to the next project, which most likely will be a school renovation or small arena.
“About 75 percent of our work is K-12 schools,” he said. “Right now work means reseating a 40 year old arena in San Diego with 1,000 telescopic seats. We have managed to keep up with the times and our industry and thankfully remain very busy.”
Hussey says his company is making plans for a big celebration for next year, their 175th anniversary. For more information about the company visit online

Land Conserved in the York Pond Region

Great Works Regional Land Trust and Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative (MtA2C) announced on Oct. 8 the successful purchase of 91 additional acres of conservation land in the York Pond region of Eliot/South Berwick. The forested parcel on Rocky Hill features wetlands, vernal pools and the headwaters of Quamphegan Brook. It is the seventh project that Great Works Regional Land Trust has secured in the York Pond region.
Interest in conserving the lands around York Pond began in the late 1980’s and efforts that began over 20 years ago have now yielded over 600 acres of permanently protected land in this rapidly growing region of southern Maine. The York Pond Conservation Area is situated between Routes 236 and 91 on the northerly shores of York Pond and Bartlett Upper Mill Pond, and encompasses much of the abandoned settlement of Punkintown. The lands are owned by Great Works Regional Land Trust, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Town of Eliot (Eliot Town Forest) and Town of South Berwick. The conservation area is home to rare and endangered species, historical and cultural artifacts and lies within a 3,000-acre region of unfragmented forest.
This recent addition to the York Pond Conservation Area was purchased with funds generously donated by 94 individuals in the community, generous grants from the Davis Conservation Foundation and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, along with monies raised by MtA2C. This is the 47th successful acquisition since 2003 made possible by the MtA2C campaign.
MtA2C has received recognition by the State of Maine Department of Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its landscape-scale and multi-organization approach to the land protection in southern Maine. A coalition of ten conservation partners, MtA2C is comprised of The Nature Conservancy, Great Works Regional Land Trust, York Land Trust, Kittery Land Trust, The Trust for Public Land, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, US Fish and Wildlife Service/Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, and York Rivers Association.
The focus area for MtA2C covers 48,000 acres from the Tatnic Hills south over Mt. Agamenticus to York Pond, down the York River and south along the coast to Brave Boat Harbor and Gerrish Island in Kittery; and includes six communities (York, Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, Wells, and Ogunquit). This focus area represents the largest unfragmented coastal forest between Acadia National Park and the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Initiative aims to conserve a broad assemblage of ecological, scenic, agricultural and recreational lands that weave together the rich fabric of the region’s lifestyle. MtA2C has protected over 2,554 acres of land in the region since the Initiative began in 2002.
Great Works Regional Land Trust has scheduled a Nov. 8th hike on the new property. Contact GWRLT for more information:, 207-646-3604 or visit the website