Portland School Notebook: April 20

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MAMM SLAM finalists announced

The Maine Academy of Modern Music has announced the finalists of the 2016 MAMM SLAM who will compete in the finals May 14: Liam Swift (Casco Bay High School); Work In Progress (Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough high schools); Yard Sail (Thornton Academy, Casco Bay and Cheverus high schools); Fading Dawn, (Camden Hills Regional and Oceanside East High Schools); and Psycho Brahe (Windham High School). The MaineToday Wildcard winners were The Rubber Band of Windham High School.

Winners of the 2016 MAMM SLAM have a crack at $1,000, along with recording time, radio appearances, plum gigs, a tour of Gateway Mastering, and college scholarships to the Maine College of Art of up to $16,000 per year to each member of the winning band.

The finals will be held at Portland House of Music & Events. Doors open at 1 p.m. and tickets cost $12.

Lincoln students raising funds to aid needy families

Lincoln Middle School eighth-graders are working on an unusual list of gifts that includes goats, ducks, rabbits, bees and clean water. A fundraiser is underway to students can buy those “gifts” and others for families living in poverty around the world. “We are partnering with Heifer International to support families living with hunger and in extreme poverty,” said math teacher Claire Olson-Crocker. “Students learned about how this program helps people become self-reliant instead of giving them a temporary handout. Each student has identified a ‘gift’ that they want to purchase for a family.” Students are employing a number of strategies to raise money for their project. For example, Olson-Crocker said, “each student has written a persuasive letter to a business, telling them about Heifer International, the gift they hope to give and asking for support.”

“Some students who have not shown much interest in writing before have actually written multiple letters,” Olson-Crocker said.

The students also have watched videos that educated them about poverty and hunger in various locations. They are also making a list of people who might be able to help, and are saving their spare change.

Heifer International is a nonprofit that works in 125 countries to help families in poverty attain sustainable livelihoods through community-owned interventions.

The students, who will be accepting donations into early May, hope to raise $3,000. “We hope to be able to have twice the impact” through local matches, Olson-Crocker said.

College team takes first place in leadership competition

A seven-member group of University of Southern Maine students — USM’s entry in the second annual Collegiate Leadership Competition — brought home the grand prize April 9 at Cleveland’s John Carroll University.

“They did extraordinarily well,” said Dan Jenkins, an assistant professor and director of USM’s Leadership and Organizational Studies program. He also served as the team’s co-coach along with Sean Joyce, a graduate leadership student.

The team included six competitors: Salina Mallory, Camden Ege, Andrew Kiezulas, Christina Marie Williams, Autumn Duguay and Steven Dee Jr.

In a dozen challenges, the students demonstrated their ability to work together, to communicate and act decisively, Jenkins said. One test forced them to communicate efficiently as they verbally guided blindfolded teammates through a maze. In another, they built and navigated a boat made from household items such as cardboard and tape.

“Their’s was the only boat that didn’t break,” Jenkins said. “They didn’t win all of the events they competed in, but they did well in enough in most of them and never placed last.”

The team succeeded because the members worked together, Mallory said.

“It’s one of the things that I’ve learned throughout this competition,” said Mallory, a junior who is studying criminology and psychology. “Not only is being a leader about leading the group, it is also equally about following and understanding the group in its entirety.”

Besides earning the top prize, they also took home the spirit award for their demeanor during the competition.

East End Community School opens new makerspace

East End Community School recently announced that a new makerspace has opened in the library. A makerspace is a DIY space where students can gather to create, invent and learn. Students in the school’s Rise and Shine program will be able to tinker with materials and solve problems collaboratively using 21st century tools and technology.

Makerspaces typically have 3D printers, software and hardware supplies, tools and more. Funding from the Portland Education Foundation allowed the school to purchase a 3D printer for students to use. Rise and Shine is EECS’ extended-learning engagement model that began about five years ago. Students in grades three-five choose from more than 80 engagement opportunities facilitated by staff, parents and community volunteers.

USM Portland students recently inducted

The following USM students from Portland recently were initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines: Briana Coletta, Emily Collins, Justin Fenty, Lauren Gates, Emily Harris, Justin Hayes, David Kahill, Molly Baughman, Amanda Burgess and Dana Twombly.