Southern School Notebook: Trails and apps

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Trail blazers

Teens To Trails Grants-To-Clubs program recipients for the 2015-16 school year include Cape Elizabeth High School, Cheverus High School, South Portland High School and Mt. Ararat High School. In all, 13 high school outing clubs across the state were awarded grants, including five new high school programs. The schools were awarded funds totaling $5,500 to help more teens get active outside. Since the inception of the Teens To Trails program in 2008, 106 grants totaling close to $50,000 have been awarded.

Students can apply themselves

Students in Maine’s 1st U.S. Congressional District are invited to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, which will be judged by a panel of experts convened by the Maine Technology Institute.

The application deadline to develop and submit apps is midnight Friday, Jan. 15.

Students must live or attend a high school in the district to be eligible for the competition. They can participate as individuals or in a team of up to four. In addition, students must also submit a three to four minute video explaining their app and how it works.

The apps can cover any topic. They will be judged on creativity and originality;  user experience and design of the idea’s implementation; and quality of coding and programming.

“I applaud how Maine schools are using STEM education to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. This competition is an exciting opportunity to put those skills to the test while learning how to develop the smartphone apps we use every day,” said U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math education.

Competition information and links to coding resources and submission instructions are on Pingree’s website at A winner for Pingree’s district will be announced in February.

This is the second year Congressional offices around the country are participating in the challenge, which is coordinated by the Internet Education Foundation.

Passport to fun

The 2015 – 2016 WinterKids Passport discount book is now available at The Passport allows families to try new winter activities, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing and dog sledding. Each fifth- through seventh-grader in Maine is eligible for a Passport, which contains free and discounted tickets, lessons, and rentals at 50 outdoor recreation areas all over the state.

WinterKids also offers a program for Maine’s youngest students. The WinterKids FunPass allows kids from pre-school through fourth grade to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free at 19 sites around Maine. The WinterKids FunPass is available at

WinterKids is the nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity.