Mid-Coast School Notebook: Jan. 26

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Topsham, Brunswick student action teams partner with seniors 

Local high school Action Teams from Brunswick and Topsham have been keeping busy this winter by planning and organizing events in and around their schools,

Supported by Major League Baseball players and Volunteers of America, Action Teams work to improve the lives of kids, families and seniors in their own backyards. Teams can be found in more than 100 high schools nationwide. In all, around 100,000 high school volunteers have helped more than 305,000 people in their communities.

The Brunswick Acapella & Action Team visited Bayview Heights residents in Portland recently to sing, share a meal and play games, and also stopped at the Preble Street program in Portland to donate clothing.

“The Bayview Heights residents love it when the Brunswick Action team pays them a visit. When these two groups are together there is no age gap – everyone has a lot of fun,” said Erica Koch, marketing and communications coordinator for Volunteer America, which helps support the teams. “This is a great group of kids who know the importance of giving back to their communities.” 

It was the third year in a row the Brunswick Action Team helped celebrate the Christmas season with the residents of Bayview Heights. Comments from residents ranged from  “I love it when the kids come; they are full of joy,” to “Seeing these young people gives me hope for the future.” 

Also getting in on the action was the Mt. Ararat High School Action Team at Westrum House in Topsham. The residents there take bowling very seriously – they’re in the regional finals – and the Mt Ararat High School Action Team joined to cheer them on and play. 

“What brings generations together? Wii bowling, who would have thought,” Koch said.

St. John’s students focus on community service during Catholic Schools Week

Teachers and staff at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick constantly seek ways in which to instill a call to service in their students, an understanding of the difference that caring for those in need can make, and an appreciation for the special school community that provides a venue of encouragement to answer the call.

During Maine Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, that hope will extend to those who seek assistance at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick. The MCHPP provides food for hundreds of local families through a food bank, food pantry, and soup kitchen. St. John’s students will fill large donation boxes, each labeled with a specific grade, as part of a weeklong competition that will produce two groups of winners: the grade with the largest amount of donations and the recipients of the food collected.

Catholic Schools Week celebrates the mission of Catholic Schools: to evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment.

On Monday, Jan. 29, Principal Timothy Forti will speak to students about the military and the importance of caring for veterans. Forti is an Army veteran and served as a commander in Kirkuk, Iraq. Forti was assistant adjutant for the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in Fort Lewis, Washington, and is a Bronze Star Medal recipient. St. John’s students will make letters, cards, and videos thanking servicemen and servicewomen.

Other special events scheduled during Catholic Schools Week include making Valentine’s Day cards for nursing home residents, homebound parishioners at All Saints Parish, and many others; an open house featuring religion fair projects and tours on Sunday, Jan. 28; a career day with community professionals on Tuesday, Jan. 30; and activities throughout the week, including a spelling bee, a trivia game with clergy, and clothing theme days.

For more about Catholic schools in Maine during Catholic Schools Week, visit http://bit.ly/2BoBqzv

The Brunswick Acapella & Action Team was one of two local school groups who visited seniors this winter as part of a program sponsored by Volunteer America and Major League Baseball players.