Southern School Notebook: SMMC cleans up, Red Riot goes for gold

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Composter enriches college curricula

Southern Maine Community College has acquired a high-capacity composter that gives students hands-on experience with sustainability while creating compost out of food waste.

The composter, called The Rocket, went into operation this semester and is part of the school’s commitment to sustainability. Each day, culinary arts students pour food waste from their cooking classes into the composter and horticulture students empty the finished product. The compost will be used for landscaping and gardening needs at SMCC’s horticulture building, in the college’s community gardens and elsewhere on the South Portland campus.

“This is a student-driven project that is incorporated into the curricula of the culinary arts and horticulture programs,” said Dave Palm, a horticulture professor who oversees the composter. “Students are learning about recycling, sustainability and the environment as part of their daily education.”

The composter was paid for through a grant and is located under a protective shelter behind SMCC’s Culinary Arts building. The 13-foot-long machine is capable of continuously composting up to 460 gallons of food waste each week.

SMCC also began another initiative this fall that reduces the college’s carbon footprint and promotes sustainability. Sodexo dining services contracted with a Portland-based composting company, We Compost It!, to pick up food waste that students dump into recycling bins in the SMCC dining hall. More than 28,000 pounds of food waste has been collected since the start of the school year.

SPHS band ‘sails’ into finals

SOUTH PORTLAND – The South Portland High School Marching Band will be marching for an unparalleled 10th straight gold medal at this weekend’s final marching band show of the Maine Band Directors Association’s (MBDA) 2015 season Saturday, Oct. 31.

Taking its theme from flight, more than 70 SPHS students will perform audience favorites such as “Avatar,” “Apollo 13,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Braveheart” and “Titanic,” among 10 other bands from Maine and New Hampshire. Under the direction of Craig Skeffington and led by senior drum major Kira Babcock, the SPHS award-winning marching band will perform music selections from composer James Horner at 7:45 p.m. at Hill Stadium on the campus of Thornton Academy in Saco. All MBDA events are rated against an established standard of performance excellence, and are based on a five-star system, with bronze, silver, and gold medals awarded at finals. More information can be found at

Scarborough student selected

Meghan M. Doiron of Scarborough has been selected for membership in the St. Lawrence University chapter of Psi Chi, the international psychology honorary society. Doiron is a member of the class of 2016 and is majoring in performance and communication arts and psychology. She attended Scarborough High School.

To be eligible for membership, students must have an overall grade-point average of at least 3.3, a psychology average of at least 3.4 and be in the top 35 percent of their class.

Founded in 1856, St. Lawrence University is a private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,500 students located in Canton, New York.

Students lauded for leadership

The Chet Jordan Leadership Award Fund of the Maine Community Foundation has awarded scholarships to Adrienne Damicis of Scarborough, who is attending Case Western Reserve University; Clarice Diebold, of Cape Elizabeth, who is attending University of King’s College; and Abbey Mitchell of Falmouth, who is attending Gordon College. The Chet Jordan Leadership Award of up to $10,000 is presented to students who are achieving their goals despite hardship, adversity, or disability. Recipients demonstrate leadership, independent thinking, initiative and hard work in their communities and schools. The scholarship was established in 1995 in memory of Joseph “Chet” Jordan, who grew up in Portland and spent his leisure time in Patten and Aroostook County. Jordan’s family and friends established this scholarship to celebrate the rich legacy of his leadership in business and civic affairs in Maine. Applications for the 2016 Chet Jordan Leadership Award will be available online in January at

SMCC Culinary arts student Tony Leslie pours food scraps into “The Rocket,” a new machine that turns food waste into compostThe Red Riots Marching Band is hoping to earn its 10th straight gold medal as band members head into the final competion of the season this weekend.