Friday, January 29, 2010

Hats for Haiti in South Berwick and Eliot

“What can we do to help?” That was the question asked by Maria and Robbie Christian and Sophie and Manu Ritchie in Eliot after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12th. Thanks to Amy Miller, South Berwick resident and active supporter of Life & Hope Haiti, and Grace Jacobs, World Ambassadors Club advisor, children in our community are given a chance to help.
The World Ambassadors Club at Marshwood Great Works School in South Berwick kicked off the fund raising to help the children of Haiti. They organized a Hats for Haiti day at their school. Sophie, fourth grader, and Maria, fifth grader, set up a table at the door of their school to collect money from students if they wanted the privilege of wearing a hat all day. This idea spread throughout the MSAD 35 district. Vicki Stewart, principal at Central School in South Berwick, says, “Seeing other students and adults wearing hats-it was a sea of hats wherever you looked-allowed children to connect and sent the silent message, ‘I care.’”
After seeing what her older sister’s school did, Manu, first grader at Eliot Elementary School, said, “Our school needs to do something, too!” Manu and Robbie, a third grader at EES, made posters to hang around school and in classrooms, announcing EES’ Hats for Haiti Day. They then collected money from fellow students and teachers. When Robbie was asked, “How do you feel knowing that you are helping the children of Haiti?” his response was, “Helping the people of Haiti makes me feel happy and proud…and awesome!”
Hats for Haiti has raised over $3,000 at the three schools. The money will go to Life & Hope Haiti, a non-profit that MGWS has partnered with in the past to support the Eben Ezer School in Milot, Haiti. Currently, its founder, Lucia Anglade, has a mission to help her sister, Sister Claudette Charles. Sister Claudette’s facility, Aisle Saint Vincent Paul in Leogane, 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince and 5 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter was completely destroyed and many people there have died or were badly injured. The MSAD#35 community is collecting medical supplies, shelter materials, clothing and shoes for the victims in Leogane. Life and Hope is preparing for the long haul, raising funds and gathering emergency supplies to send down. If you would like to make a donation, please go to Article by Nicole Gastonguay Ritchie.
Photo caption: Manu Ritchie and Robbie Christian collecting money for Hats for Haiti at Eliot Elementary School. (Courtesy photo)

Teenagers Dip into Atlantic for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

A daring group of Wells High School students plunged into the Atlantic on Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Day, to raise money for the sophomore and senior classes and The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH) at Maine Medical Center in Portland. When the pledges were totaled, the students had raised $1,300, $500 of which for the BBCH.
The group had initially wanted to dip into the ocean at Wells Beach at noon, but powerful storm waves at high tide prevented them from doing so. One of the parents, Paul Littlefield, generously used his truck to plow out a portion of the parking lot at the end of Atlantic Avenue so the group could access the ocean at the adjacent beach area near one of the jetties.
According to Senior Class Co-advisor Kristin Taylor, about 20 students (half seniors and half sophomores) ran in, got wet from head to toe and ran back to dry land to towel off. “They braved it and went in,” said Taylor proudly of the group. “(It was a) grand old time; it was fun.” Taylor is an educational technician in the library at WHS.
Students warmed up at a gas grill and were treated to doughnuts from Congdon’s and coffee from Dunkin Donuts in Wells.
About 40 individuals showed up to witness the plunge. Some of those included Senior Class Co-advisor John Bailey and Brian Pagel, who is a Sophomore Class Co-Advisor. Senior Class President Evan Beals, Senior Treasurer Samantha Paquette, Senior Secretary Shelley Duplisea, Sophomore officers Whitney Lallas and Bee Theerathampitak were part of those to get soaked in the ocean.
Photo caption: Coming out of the water is David Littlefield on January 18th in Wells. (Courtesy photo)

Enrollment Continues to Surge at York County Community College

For the fifth consecutive year, York County Community College (YCCC) has experienced and sustained growth unmatched, in history, by any public or private college or university in Maine. During this period, credit-hour generation (the actual number of credit-hours for which students have enrolled) has increased 71%, while the total number of students enrolled at the college has increased 60%.
“The dramatic admissions growth can be attributed to a variety of circumstances,” said Dr. Charles Lyons, college president. Two major factors behind the enrollment growth are displaced workers returning to school and traditional-age students looking for a more affordable education, Lyons said. At $84 per credit for in-state residents, a student taking 12 credits would pay $1,008 in tuition costs as well as other fees.
YCCC, which is the youngest of Maine’s seven community colleges, showed the largest gains (up 44%) but the upward spiral continues throughout the Maine Community College System (MCCS). MCCS President John Fitzsimmons noted that in spite of severe budget constraints, the colleges remain committed to providing as many students as possible with the education they need to gain a foothold in a difficult economy.
York County Community College, established in 1994, is one of seven community colleges in the Maine Community College System. The college enrolls over 1,400 students in associate degrees and transfer programs and over 1,600 individuals in non-credit continuing education and professional development areas.