School Notebook: Nov. 7

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Mt. Ararat girls soccer team raises funds for Coaches vs. Cancer 

Mt. Ararat High School Eagles girls soccer team during their Oct. 16 game versus the Brunswick High School Dragons raised $2,391.50 for Coaches vs. Cancer of Maine.

“We chose to support the American Cancer Society mostly because so many of the girls on both the MTA and Brunswick teams have been touched so closely and recently by cancer,” said team parent Dana Greenleaf. “They have parents and siblings fighting this tough fight now. They are close with others whose parents have lost the fight. We wanted to do something. We wanted to give back by honoring those families and helping many other families affected by this nasty disease.”

During the game, the team honored the following community members:

• Adam Sirois, the college-age brother of the MTA goalie, now in treatment for leukemia/childhood cancer. The MTA girls have been wearing yellow/gold shoelaces this season to honor him, while the goalies will wear yellow and orange laces.

• Marcy Cox, who lost her battle with cholangiocarcinoma on Aug. 17. She had three children, including two boys who go to Brunswick High School, Noah, a senior, and Evan, a junior. Their sister, Hannah, is college age and living in Bath. MTA wore white with green lettering in honor of her.

• Troy Solberg, the dad of Lila Solberg, a member of the Brunswick Girls soccer team. He is fighting brain cancer and heading to Ohio for a clinical trial. The Brunswick team has been wearing gray headbands all season in honor of him and wore gray jerseys at the game.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from the Mt. Ararat High School girls soccer team,” said Brian Casalinova, senior community development manager, American Cancer Society. “It’s always inspiring to see the next generation taking up our mission to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Hotel grant helps King Middle School expand outdoor program

To celebrate the new AC Hotel Portland Downtown Waterfront on 158 Fore St., Norwich Partners dedicated a $3,500 grant to Rippleffect to support one session of the school-based Rippleffect Outdoor Leadership Education program to King Middle School in Portland. KMS serves over 520 students from the most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhoods in the state.

Side x Side receives $2.5 million grant for art integration 

Side x Side, a Portland-based nonprofit arts integration organization for public school teachers and students, received an additional four-year, $2.5 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education. The funding will support Side x Side’s project titled “(Re) Imagining Education” to promote arts integration in Portland and Lewiston elementary schools. 

It is the second time that Maine has been awarded the highly competitive grant through the Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination grant program. Only 22 out of 96 applicants in the U.S. received the award for this year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Side x Side has grown from its beginnings in 2013 as a parent-run pilot initiative at Reiche Elementary School in the Portland Public School District to a multi-school, federally funded organization.

“This grant positions art at the core of all learning,” said Kelly Hrenko, associate professor of Art Education and chair of the Art Department at USM, Side x Side’s primary partner. “This means we are not creating visual aids to complement new knowledge, instead we are creating new knowledge through art-based learning processes. Real arts-based learning requires collaboration between classroom teachers and specialists, students, parents, content experts, visiting artists and community members. Such collaborative relationships contribute to increased teacher satisfaction and success, which leads to happy students, happy schools, and happy communities.”

Passages program accepting applications

Wayfinder Schools is accepting applications for Passages, a home-based high school diploma program for young parents and other Maine teens who are struggling in traditional school settings. 

Each student is matched with a teacher who provides individualized instruction in the student’s own home. They also participate in monthly group workshops, focused on anything from music to budgeting. Students also complete volunteer service projects and they must complete a final graduation project, or “Passage,” that addresses a personal challenge or goal. 

Wayfinder Schools serves 65 students each year, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, or to apply, visit

Members of the Mt. Ararat girl’s soccer team present a donation for Coaches vs. Cancer at the American Cancer Society office in Topsham on Nov. 1.