School Notebook: Oct. 12

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 ‘Give peace a chance’ NYA students say

North Yarmouth Academy celebrated the International Day of Peace Sept. 21 on the lawn of the Lower School, 148 Main St., Yarmouth. A special assembly included recognizing the installation of eight Peace Poles around campus, a presentation of the Lower School’s Pinwheels for Peace, and a performance of “Sing Peace Around the World” by the Lower School students.

A Peace Pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message and prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its four or six sides. NYA’s four-sided peace poles were elaborately decorated by NYA students from all divisions. The monuments serve as reminders to visualize world peace. First- and second-grade teacher Shannon Gallagher and fourth-grade teacher Ellen Gagne brought the idea to campus after they stumbled upon a few while traveling through Oregon in 2016. “We fell in love with them and instantly knew we wanted to bring these to NYA,” said Gagne. The project came to life with the help of Upper School art teacher Colby Myer, Middle School art teacher Tim McMahon ’93, Lower School art teacher Christa Mecham, and a multitude of NYA students from toddlers to 12th-graders.

Waldorf receives community spirit grant

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has announced that Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport was awarded $500 from the Foundation’s Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. Rosemary Teegarden, an employee of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, nominated the organization for the award. Funds will be used to support the renovation of the bridges and trails on campus.

To commemorate those Harvard Pilgrim members who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, Harvard Pilgrim and the Foundation created the Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. This program allows each Harvard Pilgrim employee to award a $500 grant, completely funded by the Foundation, to the local charity of his or her choice each calendar year.

Yarmouth summer lunch program a growing success

This summer, Lunch Crunch served 1,922 free meals to children in Yarmouth facing food insecurity, and a free camp experience to kids who might not otherwise be able to experience it.

The program is open to kids ages 2 to 18, but the majority of the participants are ages 5 to 11.

The program, now in its third year, is a partnership between Yarmouth Cares about Neighbors and Yarmouth Community Services.

“Lunch Crunch is a story of a community coming together as one,” said program coordinator Lynn Hynes. “Lunch Crunch has brought together many Yarmouth organizations and individuals with an eye towards the common goal of alleviating summertime food insecurity in our community.”

Lunch Crunch was launched in 2014 as a free-lunch service. In 2015, breakfast and a half-day camp were added to give kids a chance to socialize, play outdoor games, learn new crafts, and take outings to local parks and preserves. This past summer, for the first time, two paid professionals supervised the program and supported two high school students who worked as lead counselors. What’s more, 50 high school students earned community service hours volunteering for the program and eight adults spent countless hours preparing meals and ordering foods.

The number of meals Lunch Crunch serves has increased each year. In 2017, the number of breakfasts served increased by 20 percent over 2016. The number of lunches is up by nearly 70 percent over 2015.

“I think we’ve found the winning kid-friendly combination of food and fun,” Hynes said.

Students invited to explore a scientist’s world  

University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H will connect K–12 students in Maine and around the country to UMaine student researchers in the field as part of its Follow a Researcher program.

The program, now in its fourth year, is designed to give students a glimpse into a student scientist’s world by providing live expedition updates and facilitating communication between the youth and scientist. Follow a Researcher is offered by UMaine Extension with support from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and the Maine 4-H Foundation.

Through Nov. 10, participants can watch Lynn Kaluzienski, a graduate student at CCI, travel to the other end of the globe to conduct research in Antarctica.

Kaluzienski is a glaciologist, studying the formation, movement and effects of different types of glaciers, and will be conducting field research to better understand changes occurring in the ice shelves of Antarctica. Using the data she collects, Kaluzienski will develop a model to make predictions about the future of the ice shelves and their effect on sea level rise. Working with a team of scientists and engineers using satellite technology to measure ice movement, she will be mapping the harsh terrain hidden beneath the surface with the help of a robot.

Educators and students can join Kaluzienski and take part in the adventure by signing up to participate online at To request a disability accommodation, contact Jessy Brainerd at 581-3877,

Annika Wolak, a fourth-grader at Falmouth Elementary School, is already thinking about a career as a librarian, so she shelved books and did other tasks Sept. 18 during the Falmouth Memorial Library’s annual open house. “It’s always exciting when a young person expresses an interest in a career path that you yourself find fulfilling,” said Library Director Andi Jackson-Darling.  

Students at North Yarmouth Academy recognized the International Day of Peace in part with pinwheels for peace and by the installation of eight Peace Poles around campus.