Friday, March 5, 2010

Marshwood High Students Win Statewide U.S. Constitution Competition

On April 23, students from Marshwood High School will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will represent Maine in the national finals of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. About 1,200 high school students from all fifty states and Saipan will participate in the highly prestigious academic competition on the U.S. Constitution.
The Marshwood students have studied for months to prepare for their role as experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. To represent Maine at the national finals, the class won the state competition held in Portland on Feb. 5.
“It is a tremendous honor to represent Marshwood and the state of Maine at the National Finals, ” said Matt Sanzone, a social studies teacher who led the class to the championship. “This group of students is incredibly talented and motivated. Their performance at the state championship was exceptional.”
The first round of the national finals will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia, April 24 and 25. Now in its 23rd year, the competition involves entire classes making presentations and answering questions on constitutional topics before a panel of judges recruited from across the country. Constitutional scholars, lawyers, and government leaders, acting as congressional committee members, will judge the students’ performances. The combined scores of the classes during the first two days of hearings will determine the top 10 classes to compete in the championship round Monday, April 26 in congressional hearing rooms in the Senate Dirksen Office Building.
The annual three-day final competition is the culminating activity of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, the most extensive civic education program of its kind in the country. The Marshwood students have been studying We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, developed by the Center for Civic Education. The text provides students with an understanding of the fundamental values and principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. During their stay in Washington, D.C., the students will tour historical sites and have an opportunity to visit Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and District 1 Representative Chellie Pingree.
Students representing Marshwood at the National Finals are: Dennis Ailinger, Elizabeth Barker, Meagan Beckert, Emily Bryant, Natasha Chabot, Emma Collins, Isabella Connelly, Rob Harper, Kelsey Hoyt, Tim Jefferson, Coby Jones, Steve Lachance, Caroline Muise, Tucker Nixon, Tad Olsen and Hannah Perry.
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the United States Congress. The program is directed by the Center for Civic Education in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Nationwide, the program is implemented at the upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers during its 22-year history. A 2006–2007 independent study examined the effects of the We the People program on civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes, evaluating We the People participants and a matched comparison group of high school government students. We the People students scored 30 percent higher than their peers on a comprehensive test that measured understanding of core values and principles of democracy, constitutional limits on governmental institutions, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
“Our big challenge now is fundraising. Each student needs to raise approximately $600 to help pay for the travel and lodging expenses. We are hoping that the community will be supportive and help finance the trip,” said Sanzone. Anyone interested in helping can contact Matt Sanzone at Marshwood High School at (207) 384–4500.
Photo caption: Marshwood High students will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in a national competition on the U.S. Constitution. (Courtesy photo)

Amsterdam in Letters: The Anne Frank House

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
(Editor’s note: Chip Schrader, our book review editor, recently took a trip to Amsterdam, during which he visited the Anne Frank House. This is his account of that visit.)
Before Frank McCourt’s tortured memoir as a blue collared youth in the slums of Limerick, there was a diary found in the back of a home where an entire family hid from Hitler’s reign of terror. Anne Frank, a sassy and intelligent thirteen year old, decided to keep this diary as her childhood became increasingly endangered by the Nazi occupation of Holland.
Today Amsterdam, named after the dam that holds back the Amstel, remains a major tourist Mecca with its intricate canal system lined by stone streets, bridges and buildings that have existed since the time of Washington, and long before. In mid-February, the air is icy with the occasional spit of hail floating in the North Sea breeze revealing the breath of the city’s old soul.
The most notable of the canals was named after Anne Frank. The peaceful walk along this canal makes it difficult to realize it was once patrolled by the Nazis. Now with the cyclists, dogs, and tourists that mingle throughout this quiet, yet busy city, those who roamed here were not always so carefree.
Amidst the graceful bustle, the Anne Frank house looks like any other house in Amsterdam. It somewhat resembles what we call a townhouse in the United States. It is only the attached museum that gives this landmark away. In a sense, being so common and unsuspecting, it makes sense this location was used to hide the Franks from imprisonment, but living like this was an imprisonment in itself.
Anne was always cheerful in the pages of her diary. Her constant worry about footsteps being heard in the warehouse below, and the absence of sunlight never seemed to rob her of her youth. Within the house, the cutouts of movie stars and other scenes Anne’s father gave her to liven up the plainness of her quarters remain encased in glass in the very spots she placed them. Various editions and drafts of her diary, and film footage of her father (the lone survivor) are placed throughout the house.
An interesting feature, besides having covered windows, is that the stairs had to be so steep, the steps overhung each other hazarding the climber to bump their shins (numerous times). The doorway through which Anne had to hop through to the back house is still intact. It is a knee-deep step that brings the visitor to the flooring of the house’s hidden quarters. On the walls, pointed passages from the diary are printed in a neat script to remind the visitor of the significance of each room.
Among the most chilling of the displays are the lists of Jewish citizens, some of whom may have successfully escaped the pogrom, some of whom had that fate still awaiting them. Displayed beside photographs, relics and papers of the Frank family is a golden star with the label “Jude,” a tag that Jews were required to wear in the streets so that other citizens knew who they were.
Perhaps the Jewish Joan of Arc, Anne Frank’s humanity and unrealized future shook the world upon her diary’s publication. Toward the end of the exhibit, the numerous translations of her diary are collected to illustrate the worldwide coverage this brilliant young journalist had achieved after her early fate. Now humanity prays this book will continue to prevent history’s repetition as one of the world’s most beautiful cities continues to celebrate the legacy of Anne Frank.
Photo caption: Anne Frank ( photo)

Warren’s Lobster House Celebrating 70 Years of Service

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The well-known and popular Warren’s Lobster House has a long and interesting history, which will be celebrated in March with a four-day Open House.
In 1940, Warren “Pete” Wurm opened a six-stool clam and lobster stand on the Maine banks of the Piscataqua River.
Over the ensuing 70 years of operation Warren’s Lobster House has grown into a 350-seat restaurant, bakery, lobster pound, gift shop, lounge and 200-foot boat dock and become a virtual Kittery icon.
It also features a well-known and popular salad bar and full-service open-air deck.
Most of the expansion of the restaurant took place between the time it was opened and 1955,” Scott Cunningham, the current owner said during an interview in his office. The exceptions are the solarium and seasonal 80-seat deck in the 90’s. “Other than that the facility was the way it stands today.”
The Cunningham Family has owned the restaurant since 2006 when they bought out their partner, David Mickee. Cunningham and Mickee had owned the restaurant since 1984. Joining Scott and his wife Claudia in the business are their son and daughter, Brad Cunningham and Colleen MacDonald.
The 70th anniversary will be celebrated at the restaurant during the month of March with a four-day Open House recognizing the current and former owners. These include Wurm on March 23, represented by his daughter and family; the Anton and Assad families March 24, the Mickee family March 25 and the Cunningham family March 26.
Details of the celebration can be found on the Warren’s website.
Wurm operated Warren’s until the mid-50’s when the Anton and Assad families purchased it. That group sold it to Mickee and Cunningham, who were working in the food service industry in Manchester, N.H., in 1984, after several interviews.
“We decided we wanted to do something different, so we bought this,” Cunningham said of he and his long-time partner.
Cunningham and Mickee made few changes to the facility.
“We’ve done a number of things over the years in upgrading,” Cunningham, who comes from Pittsburgh, Pa., and currently lives in Barrington, N.H. said, “But we tried to keep it looking as it did originally. We’ve been fairly successful in doing that. We did not want to change what it was all about.”
The restaurant became a year-round operation shortly after Cunningham and Mickee purchased it.
“We decided early on we didn’t want to be a seasonal restaurant,” Cunningham said. “So we did anything and everything we could to bring customers in to make it viable year round to have a year round staff.”
He said in the first summer they noted staff was leaving just when they had learned the ropes, and that underlined the importance of having a year round staff.
Currently, Warrens employs approximately 90 people year around, many of them long-time employees. The staff grows to about 140 during the summer season.
Although well known locally, Warren’s “is a destination restaurant,” Cunningham said. “People plan whatever they’re doing to stop at Warren’s. They come from all over New England.”
Cunningham estimates that about 80 percent of the restaurant’s business came from away when he and Mickee bought it. He now estimates 55 to 60 percent of Warren’s business comes from people visiting the area with 40 to 45 percent from local residents. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do to make it viable year-round.”
Warren’s has been around for a long time and intends to continue to serve the public as well in the future in its own accomplished and widely recognized style.
Photo caption: Warren’s Lobster House is celebrating its 70th anniversary in March. Here it is a long time ago... (Courtesy photos)