Friday, January 8, 2010

Freshman Wins State Essay Contest

On Dec. 16th, Brett Davisson, a WHS freshman, was notified from the Maine Secretary of State’s office that he had received 1st Place in the High School Division of the Maine Native American History and Culture Essay Contest for his 1,000 word essay, The Abenaki and the European Settlement of Maine.
Davisson moved recently to Maine from Pennsylvania with his family and was enrolled at WHS in October. Despite the big move and adjustments to a new school environment, Davisson wasted no time getting down to business on a couple of his passions: reading and writing about history.
Davisson’s essay focuses on converging cultures--white settlers and various native tribes--in territory that is now the State of Maine in the early to mid-1600’s.
In his essay Davisson reaches an interesting conclusion. “Without Native Americans, our lifestyle would be completely opposite, and colonization of the Americas may have been impossible. Americans owe a great deal to the Indians, and could not have successfully built a nation without their help.”
For his efforts, Davisson and his classmates will travel to Augusta at some point in the near future where they will be special guests of Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. While at the capitol complex they will tour the State House, the State Museum and the State Archives. The group will be able to view various historical documents such as treaties between settlers and various native tribes; rare historical items that are stored away in vaults and generally not available to the public.
According to Principal Jim Daly, Brett has another evolving passion: sports casting. Each Friday morning Brett visits the main office of the school to sit down at the public address system and read WHS sports news and scores. “He does a good job,” said secretary Lil Lagasse.
Davisson has a sister, Kara, who is a junior at WHS. Jody Selsberg is Brett Davisson’s ninth grade English teacher.
Photo caption: WHS Principal Jim Daly (left) with WHS freshman and historical essayist Brett Davisson. An image of a native American is in the background. (Reg Bennett photo)

York County Senior College Announces Winter Seminar Series

York County Senior College’s annual winter seminar series will focus this year on science, culture, mystery and music. The “intellectual smorgasbord” is designed to help seniors find respite from the winter doldrums with full days of learning, plus lunch provided by the Brothers of Christian Instruction in Alfred.
The seminars of Wednesday, Jan. 13, focus on China, as participants will hear from Noah Miner, an engineering graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, who sailed natural gas tankers throughout the Far East. Miner will describe his trip to China and his cruise to view the “eclipse of the century” taken off the coast of Iwo Jima, in “The China Eclipse Cruise.” That afternoon, Professor Ronald Morrison of the University of New England will shed light on the intellectual foundation and burgeoning of this no longer sleeping giant in Chinese Philosophy and Contemporary China.
The sea takes center stage on Feb. 10, with presentations that carry attendees from ocean to ocean. Sheri Poftak and Kathleen White, of the Friends of the Wood Island Light, will illuminate the history and personality of this 200-year-old landmark, one of just two island lighthouses in Maine open to the public, as part of their discussion of Wood Island Light: On the Road to Recovery. Following lunch, David Jordan, founder of Nauticos, a deep-sea exploration company, recounts his experiences in Adventures in Deep Ocean Exploration: The Search for Amelia Earhart and Other Tales, which took him 20,000 feet under the sea off Howland Island looking for Amelia’s Lockheed Electra.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) will provide a focus on immigration. The featured morning speaker is Dr. John F. Sutherland, retired history professor, whose illustrated talk will describe the immigration waves and roles of immigrants in the U.S. industrial explosion of the 19th and 20th centuries in They Came to America. During the afternoon session, Kennebunk’s Monica Grabin will bring her special brand of musical history to Ethnic Music of the Labor Movement, with a particular nod to the musical contributions of the Irish.
All seminars meet at Denis Hall on the campus of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, 133 Shaker Hill Road (off Route 202) in Alfred. Morning seminars run from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions take place from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. The $15 fee for each day’s program, payable at the door, includes a lunch of soup, salad, sandwiches, dessert and beverages, and coffee breaks. If Sanford Schools cancel due to inclement weather, the seminars will be cancelled. Call 1-800-696-3391 for reservations. All seminars are open to the public; membership in Senior College is not required to attend.
York County Senior College, providing low cost educational and social opportunities for York County adults 50 years of age and older, is affiliated with the University of Maine System. The University of Maine System, established in 1968, consists of seven unique universities and 10 university college regional outreach centers.