Portland School Notebook

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Maine Principal Association announces 2016 award winners

The Maine Prinicipals’ Association announced the winners of the 2016 MPA Principal’s Award from the Portland Public Schools’ three high schools: Moses Small, Portland High School; Josie Pierce, Casco Bay High School; and Sahra Ahmed, Deering High School. The students received their awards at an honors luncheon in Bangor on April 2.

Each year, Maine high school principals nominate one senior from their schools to receive the award from the MPA in recognition of academic achievement and citizenship.

Small has distinguished himself in the classroom, in the performing arts, and as a leader in the school and the community. He is also the “voice of Portland High,” responsible for daily school announcements and serving as emcee for a variety of school functions. As a junior, Moses interned at Maine Public Broadcasting Network and plans on pursuing broadcast journalism. He has been accepted to honors programs at both Emerson College and Syracuse University.

“He is an outstanding school citizen, a natural leader and an impressive role model,” said PHS Principal Deborah Migneault. “Moses is a strong student academically who has availed himself of every opportunity to learn and to make a difference.”

As a member of Seeds of Peace, whose mission is to create strong leaders and future change-makers, Small has helped to organize and facilitate student dialogues at PHS around controversial topics. He serves on the student council and the executive board and joined the cross-country and indoor track teams his senior year. An outstanding musician, Small is the first violinist in the PHS Orchestra and interns with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, helping with the management of public relations and community outreach.

Ahmed Sahra wasn’t sure which high school she would choose four years ago. She wasn’t very excited about high school, and admits she was uncommitted to the entire process. She finally decided on Deering because of the four-block schedule. Little did she know that decision would set her on a journey of discovery and a career choice by her sophomore year.

Ahmed remembers her excitement at joining the debate club, and decided in ninth grade she would be a lawyer. Then, in 10th grade, she was introduced to biology and chemistry and she was hooked. Ahmed knew then she wanted to study biology and neuroscience after high school and become a doctor.

As a junior, Ahmed became the student representative from Deering High School on the Portland Public School Board. She has been an impressive member of the DHS Debate Team, Model UN, Student Senate, and Robotics Club. Her favorite activity is collecting data for the city’s stormwater research, and Ahmed said she is most proud that the information she helps is used to implement safety measures for Portland’s citizens and wildlife.

Pierce was described by Casco Bay HS Principal Derek Pierce as “(A) young woman of precocious substance, both academically and ethically. Her diverse excellence can surprise you – and sometimes herself.”

Pierce, an introvert with the impish smile, won last year’s Class Orator award. The house band bass player was also the chief videographer and editor of the school’s 10th anniversary video; “Distinguished Delegate” at the Maine Model UN Conference; and the co-writer and director of our award-winning comedies for the last two years at the One-Act Play Festival.

A top student, Pierce, will be attending Sarah Lawrence next fall, was an obvious choice for National Honor Society, and will graduate summa cum laude.

Portland Public Schools receives Partner for Equality Award

EqualityMaine, founded in 1984 as the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, is celebrating its 32nd year by honoring Portland Public Schools.

The Portland Public Schools was recognized by EqualityMaine for providing safe and inclusive school learning environments for youth. The district received EqualityMaine’s Partner for Equality Award at the organization’s Annual Awards Gala April 9, at Holiday Inn By the Bay.

The group said, “Portland educators are visible allies to the LGBT community … Teachers, administrators and school counselors regularly participate in EqualityMaine’s ongoing professional development trainings and conferences, always seeking to improve the experience for LGBT students.”

In addition, EqualityMaine said, “The system took a bold step last year and became the first school system in the state to march in a Pride parade, proudly driving a PPS school bus full of students, teachers and parents down Congress Street in Portland.”

EqualityMaine’s Youth Initiatives, including a partnership with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network of Southern Maine,  seek to create more inclusive, supportive and affirming school communities for LGBT, questioning and gender nonconforming youth in Maine.

KMS athletic director is excellent administrator

King Middle School Athletic Director Harry “Duke” Madsen won the 2016 Excellence in Middle Level Athletic Administration Award April 7, at the annual spring conference of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

The MIAAA created the award with a special emphasis on the work of the middle level athletic administrator. The recipients have to have contributed to middle school athletics in a positive manner at the local or state level.

“Madsen has been an integral contributor to the Southern Maine Middle School Athletic Conference, where he serves as basketball liaison for the Cumberland County Division and the umpire assignor for the sport of baseball,” the MIAAA said. “In addition, Madsen has demonstrated creativity and innovation in increasing participation opportunities for students in his school.”

Shown from left are 2016 MPA Principal’s Award winners Moses Small, Portland High School; Josie Pierce, Casco Bay High School; and Sahra Ahmed, Deering High School. 

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