• 26 Head to Haystack

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/17/2019 3:00:00 PM


    Rayven Chatto '21 in the woods workshop at Haystack.


    Workshops Enrich Arts

    More than two dozen students from George Stevens Academy traveled to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for three days of workshops with professional artists. 

         In the wood workshop, taught by Joe Lendaway, students learned various construction and design techniques in crafting one or more finished band saw boxes. 

         Jaydan Moore led the metals worskhop, in which students learned to make silver band rings and embellish them. 

         To leave with "an armful of books" was the aim of Erin Sweeney's book arts workshop, which covered various techniques for making and binding books, from stenciling to pop-ups and more. 

         You've got to eat, right? In Rachel Kedinger's blacksmithing workshop, students learned to use the tools of the trade to make the tools of the table, a fork, a spoon, and a butter knife.

         Emmett Freeman's clay workshop drew on group discussion and sketching as a way of figuring out what students wanted to say in their own ceramic speech-bubble wall hangings.

         The fibers workshop, taught by Kirsten Elfe, explored the design and construction of hats using upcycled materials.

         Though workshop participants this year came from seven schools, more than 40 percent came from George Stevens, which shows not only how interested our students are in the arts, but also how committed the school is to providing further opportunities for them to explore their creativity and prepare for possible careers in Maine's robust creative economy even as many schools across the country are cutting their arts and music budgets.

         Students and schools pay modest fees that cover the cost of materials and meals, but the program is largely underwritten by Haystack, with additional support from private donors and granting agencies.

         To read this article with a full gallery of photos, visit www.georgestevensacademy.org/Page/991.

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  • National Merit Semifinalists Named

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/11/2019 10:00:00 AM

    Gutow and Davis

    Syra Gutow and Chad Davis. 


    Finalists To Be Named in February

    Two seniors at George Stevens Academy are among 73 statewide to be named 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

         Syra Gutow and Chad Davis, both of Castine, were recognized at an all-school assembly by GSA Head of School Tim Seeley, who called the recognition “a great honor.”

         “It feels pretty good,” said Syra, who plans to study genetics or neuroscience in college. Chad said he might study computer science, software or engineering.

         PSAT scores were used to determine semifinalist status. Soon, Syra and Chad will start working on thorough scholarship applications in the hope they’ll be named finalists. From the pool of finalists, to be announced in February, 7,600 students will be selected in spring to receive scholarships worth a total of more than $31 million.

         Congratulations and best of luck to you both!

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  • Duane B. Gray '64 Tourney a Hit

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/9/2019 3:00:00 PM

    Dwayne goes over the rules

    Dwayne Carter '80 goes over the rules with golfers.


    Tourney sees record sponsorship, fun!

    Eighty-eight GSA alumni, students, parents, faculty, and friends took part in the seventh annual Duane B. Gray ’64 Memorial Golf Tournament at the Blue Hill Country Club on Sunday, Sept. 8.

         The tournament honors George Stevens Academy alumnus Duane B. Gray ’64, who was an avid golfer and pharmacist at Community Pharmacy of Blue Hill, lead sponsor of the event, before he passed away in 2012. Duane Gray’s nephew Tom Gray ’79 represented Community Pharmacy at the tournament, which raised money for The GSA Fund to provide essential support for all areas of school life, including academic programs, arts, athletics, and upkeep of buildings and grounds.

         A volunteer committee led by GSA golf coach and club manager Dwayne Carter ’80 and GSA Trustee and Development Committee Chair Phyllis Taylor organized the tournament, which was supported by hole sponsorships and other contributions from 68 local businesses, a record number, including hole-in-one sponsors Darling’s and Stanley Scooters.

    Morning Results

    Champions: Chris Pickering ’97, Erik Fitch ’99, Ryan Welch, Eric Hutchins.

    First low net: Brad Miltner ’77, David Gray ’80, Mark Gray ’81, Barry Duffy ’89.

    Second low net: Kitty Clements, Ed Grimball, Mark Rosenthal, Ed Volkwein.

    Third low net: Belinda Carter ’67, Bonnie Paulas ’69, Jim Paulas, Alex Drenga.

    Individual morning winners (women, men) for closest to the pin on No. 3 were Libby Rosemeier ’77 and Ed Volkwein. Closest to the pin on No. 5 was Mark Rosenthal. Longest drives on No. 2 were by Rosemeier and Simeon Allen ’01, and on No. 7 were by Bonnie Paulas and Ben Wootten.

    Afternoon Results

    Champions: John Bakeman II ’20, Dave DeHares, Nick DeHares, Rick Littlefield.

    First low net: Mike Astbury ’03, Josh Astbury ’08, Ebb Walton ’08, Alex Drenga.

    Second low net: John Richardson, George Semler, Michael Semler, David Taylor.

    Third low net: Larry Gray ’79, Bill Gray ’83, Glenn Daigle, Mark Politte.

    Individual afternoon winners for closest to the pin on No. 5 were Christine Russel and Michael Semler and on No. 3 was Michael Semler. Longest drives on No. 2 were by Julie Cluett and Ebb Walton, and on No. 7, Mikey Bannister had the longest drive.

         To read this story with sponsor lists and photo galleries from Sunday, visit www.georgestevensacademy.org/DBGResults19.


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  • Jazz Band at the Fair

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/31/2019 6:30:00 PM

    jazz band

    Jazz Band Keeps Crowd Grooving

    The GSA Jazz Band took to the Grandstand Stage at the Blue Hill Fair on Aug. 31 to perform for an appreciative audience of about 250 under the direction of Steve Orlofsky.

         The band opened with "Billie Jean," then moved on to the rest of the set list, which included a popular medley of K.C. and the Sunshine Band hits, "Valero," the Average White Band's hit song "Pick up the Pieces," and more. 

         Near the end of the show, Mr. O introduced the band, mentioning the class each student is in. He noted that it was each senior's last performance with the band at the Blue Hill Fair, but then joked that he hasn't graduated from high school yet. "Forty-two years," he said, referring to his career as a music educator so far. The crowd rose to its feet, giving the director a standing ovation.

         GSA Jazz Band members who performed included Erika Hipsky, alto sax, senior; Margaret Nevin, alto sax, junior; Gianna Codega, tenor sax, freshman; Jenna Blodgett, tenor sax, freshman; Ian Bowden, tenor sax, freshman; Ian Howell, baritone sax, senior; Gabe Hall, trumpet, sophomore; Dawsen Astbury, trumpet, senior; Will MacArthur, trumpet, sophomore; Kelly McKay, trumpet, sophomore; Hannah Webb, trumpet, freshman; Chloe Sheehan, trombone, sophomore; Nora Spratt, trombone, freshman; Joseph Mitchell, guitar, senior; Morgan Davis, vibes, sophomore; Juliette Claybaugh, piano, junior; Quinn Stabler, bass, senior; and Zeke Sacaridiz, drums, junior.

         Senior Duncan Howell was unable to play due to an injury sustained in an accident earlier this summer. Mr. O thanked Isla Brownlow '18 for standing in on the trombone and gave Duncan, who was in the crowd, his best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery. 

         The annual Jazz Band concert enriches the local community and enhances our reputation for arts excellence. It is just one way that we celebrate and strengthen our connections to the the people of the Blue Hill Peninsula.

         For a version of this story with a complete photo gallery and video of the band playing a Sonny Rollins' tune, click here: https://www.georgestevensacademy.org/Page/976.

         Follow GSA on Facebook and Instagram.

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  • Welcome, New Faculty and Staff

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/23/2019 9:00:00 AM

    New Staff

    From left, Peter Goss, Jaime Torre, Kate Kennedy '99, Steve Whitney, Emma Baker, Sarah Carter.


    Staff and Faculty Join GSA Community

    George Stevens Academy is firmly rooted in this beautiful Blue Hill Peninsula, its forests, fields, and dramatic coastline. Over the seasons, over the years, as trees branch, flowers bloom, and the tides wax and wane, the peninsula continues to inspire, even as it gradually, almost imperceptibly changes.

         GSA is much like this place from which we draw strength. The welcoming character of our school, a vibrant learning community brimming with diverse opportunities, endures, even as repairs are made to buildings, new shrubs are planted, one group of students makes the transition to alumni, and the Class of 2023 and other new students join our community.

         On Aug. 23, new faculty members gathered for orientation. We welcome them and new staff members to our community. Be sure to say "hi" when you see them.

         Emma Baker joins the faculty as a science teacher. She most recently taught at Vinalhaven School, where she taught a wide range of science courses. She will teach biology and chemistry. She is a Maine native from The County (Aroostook) and has moved to the Blue Hill area with her son. View profile.

         Matt Billings joins the staff as a cook. He is a recent graduate of GSA and the Hancock County Technical Center Culinary Arts program.

         Sarah Carter joins the staff as an ed tech. After growing up in Deer Isle, Sarah earned a degree in elementary education at The University of Maine. She then worked in New Hampshire before returning to the peninsula to raise two daughters. She currently lives in Sedgwick.

         Peter Goss joins the faculty as director of college and career counseling. He and his wife purchased a home in Penobscot. He worked in college counseling at several schools in his career, most recently at Sandia Prep in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also has worked as an English teacher and soccer, cross-country, and track coach. View profile.

         Kate Kennedy '99 joins the faculty as a social studies teacher. Kate is a GSA graduate and has taught a the Penobscot Community School, Blue Hill Consolidated School, and most recently at the James F. Doughty School in Bangor. While at Doughty, she was named Maine Social Studies Teacher of the Year and also was very involved with National History Day. She will teach U.S. History, AP Human Geography, Holocaust, Economics, and Current Affairs. View profile

         Jim Monaghan joins the staff as a custodian. He graduated from Calais High School and worked in maintenance at Washington County Community College for a couple decades. He now lives in Ellsworth. 

         Olivia "Maple" Pollock joins the faculty as a Hanley dorm parent. Maple is trained as an environmental educator and has worked extensively as a mentor for children of all ages, primarily in nature-connection and rites-of-passage work. Maple has a B.A. in International Intercultural Studies from Pitzer College, has lived many years abroad, and studied abroad in both high school and college. Maple is excited about helping our boarding students have a healthy, fun, and connective year at GSA.

         Jaime Torre joins the faculty as a math teacher. He is a native of Spain who moved to our peninsula last year with his family after living in Vermont and teaching math at Burr and Burton Academy. He will teach AP Calculus, Algebra II, Lab Geometry, and Personal Finance. He will live in the Hanley dorm with his family, including his wife, Maple, a Hanley dorm parent.

         Steve Whitney joins the faculty as a science teacher. He moved to Maine with his family after his wife took a job in the area. He has taught at Claremont Academy in Massachusetts and most recently at the Touchstone Community School, also in Massachusetts. He has a special interest in outdoor education. He will teach Exploring Earth Systems. View profile.

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  • Bringing the Swing!

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/14/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Jazz at Fair 2018

    Mr. O leads the Jazz Band at last year's Blue Hill Fair.


    Jazz Band To Play at Fair for 26th Year

    Big band, funk and swing will join the thump of bumper cars and the chatter of fairgoers when the George Stevens Academy Jazz Band takes the stage at the Blue Hill Fair under the direction of Steve Orlofsky on Saturday, Aug. 31, at noon.

         The band and Mr. O., as the many call him, started two weeks of evening rehearsals for this performance on Aug. 21. All those hours of practice are sure to result in a thoroughly entertaining show, which will include numbers like the upbeat Latin “Valero,” the familiar funk tune “Pick Up the Pieces,” and a jazz arrangement of Prince’s “Thieves in the Temple.”

         GSA Jazz Band members set to perform are Erika Hipsky, alto sax, senior; Margaret Nevin, alto sax, junior; Gianna Codega, tenor sax, freshman; Jenna Blodgett, tenor sax, freshman; Ian Bowden, tenor sax, freshman; Ian Howell, baritone sax, senior; Gabe Hall, trumpet, sophomore; Dawsen Astbury, trumpet, senior; Will MacArthur, trumpet, sophomore; Kelly McKay, trumpet, sophomore; Hannah Webb, trumpet, freshman; Duncan Howell, trombone, senior; Chloe Sheehan, trombone, sophomore; Nora Spratt, trombone, freshman; Joseph Mitchell, guitar, senior; Morgan Davis, vibes, sophomore; Juliette Claybaugh, piano, junior; Quinn Stabler, bass, senior; and Zeke Sacaridiz, drums, junior.

         The Jazz Band concert enriches the local community and enhances our reputation for arts excellence. It is just one way that we celebrate and strengthen our connections to the the people of the Blue Hill Peninsula.

         For more information about the Blue Hill Fair, visit www.bluehillfair.com. Follow GSA on Facebook and Instagram.

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  • Jam Bake's Last Jam

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/5/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Jam Bake

    Jam Bake moments before going onstage at the Stonington Opera House.

    GSA Combo Jams One Last Time

    GSA’s honors combo Jam Bake performed at the Deer Isle Jazz Festival on Friday, Aug. 2, opening for “jazz luminaries” Aruán Ortiz and Don Byron.

         It was the final performance together for these musicians, five of whom graduated from George Stevens Academy in June, and a fitting end to a strong performance year that included a Gold Medal 1 rating at the state instrumental jazz festival and a third-place finish at the Berklee festival.

         Jam Bake included Courtney Bianco ’19, alto sax; Edward Conte ’19, drums; Erika Hipsky ’20, alto sax and flute; Duncan Howell ’20, trombone; Quinn Stabler ’20, bass; LeeAnn Varnum ’19, soprano and tenor sax; Elana Williamson ’19, vibes and piano; and Tess Williamson ’19, piano and vocals.

         “They are a joy to work with,” said director Steve Orlofsky, who also said that he is “looking forward” to working with GSA’s new honors combo, as yet unnamed.

         Erika, Duncan, and Quinn will be joined in the new combo by Gabe Hall ’22, trumpet; Ian Howell ’20, bass; Joseph Mitchell ’20, guitar; and Zeke Sacaridiz ’21, drums.

         Thank you, Jam Bake, for a great year of jazz. Best wishes to the new combo!

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  • Seeley Judges Chinese Game Show

    Posted by Mark Messer on 7/29/2019 6:00:00 AM

    Tim and Judges

    Tim enjoys a lighter moment with the other Star of Outlook judges.


    100 Million To Watch Star of Outlook

    Though school is not in session in summer, administrators and staff are still busy preparing for the upcoming school year. Even so, there’s usually a chance to get away, and GSA's head of school has quite a tale to tell about a trip he took in July.

         Some details, though, are under wraps until the fall broadcast of what Tim Seeley called “a popular game show the heart of which is school.”

         Star of Outlook, A CCTV English competition in its 20th year, saw seven million hopefuls across China compete for spots in a nine-episode contest to be televised in October to an anticipated audience of 100 million. Tim was one of five educators to judge the competition.

         Fifty participants in six age groups reached the final rounds on the CCTV campus in Beijing, where they competed for the chance to make presentations in English. They were judged on the quality of their presentations and their spoken English.

         “The young kids were amazing, and their English was incredible,” Tim said, explaining that children as young as six were not at a disadvantage competing against participants as old as 29. They all made presentations on topics appropriate for their age, whether Pikachu or the importance of scientific inquiry. Those who did best moved on to the finals, from which one ultimate winner was selected. Top prize? A school or college recommendation letter from one of the judges.

         In addition to Tim, representatives from Stanford University, the University of Bath, the Wharton School at UPenn and St. Bees School, a 7-12 school in England, determined which competitor had what it took to be named Star of Outlook.

         So, how did the head of school from a small town academy in Maine find himself on stage and in the spotlight in Beijing? A consultant who helps GSA attract applicants to its boarding program told one of the directors about Tim and recommended him for the unpaid gig for which all expenses were paid by producers.

         The experience was “amazing” for Tim, who was on set 12-hour days for about a week. He was struck by “the great friendliness, generosity and good humor” of the people he met, and how “deeply serious” the students are. Of course, “they surpassed millions of their peers” to get there.

         Tim is grateful for the experience, but he also hopes the exposure in China will get more students to check out GSA and its “challenging and comprehensive academic and experiential programming, much of which is rooted in the human, cultural, and natural resources of our Blue Hill Peninsula community.”

         After links to the episodes are provided to Tim in the fall, GSA will share them so anyone interested can find out what it takes to beat 7 million other contestants in a presentation competition in China!

         Glad to have you back, Tim.

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  • Schildroth To Play for UMaine

    Posted by Mark Messer on 7/17/2019 7:00:00 AM
    Three Gold Balls
    The three state championship gold balls won while Taylor played for GSA. 
    Schildroth '18 Joins Black Bears
    Taylor Schildroth ’18 of Blue Hill, who helped lead George Stevens Academy to three consecutive Class C state basketball championships, will play ball at the University of Maine starting this fall, according to UMaine’s online roster.
         On the way to those three gold balls, Taylor scored 1,761 point, making him the highest-scoring basketball player in GSA history. Nine Eagles have scored 1,000 or more points during their high school careers. Second on that list is Morgan Dauk ’18 (1,461), who played for Williams College last year. Third is Matt Mattson ’91 (1,396), assistant coach of the boys' basketball team.
         Taylor also set the GSA record for points scored in a single game, 61, besting the previous record of 52 set by Coach Mattson.
         Thank you, Taylor, and every Eagle, for helping to strengthen GSA's reputation for athletics excellence. We'll be cheering for you at UMaine!
         Click here to read a Bangor Daily News story about Taylor joining the UMaine squad. 
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  • Student To Speak at Conference

    Posted by Mark Messer on 7/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Alex Tully

    Alex Tully '20 at an all-school assembly


    Alex Tully '20 To Present

    Alex Tully of Surry, a rising senior at George Stevens Academy, will speak at a climate conference hosted by the Reversing Falls Sanctuary and Robert Shetterly at GSA on Saturday, July 20.

         Alex and other students in Carol Bennatti’s science classes participated in the organization of the Climate Convergence Conference, which includes presentations and workshops on the science of climate change and its mitigation, as well as adaptation to and psychosocial aspects of it.

         High school students from Deer Isle-Stonington High School and MDI High School also helped organize the conference and will participate in “co-keynote presentations."

         For more information on the conference and a link for preregistration, visit www.reversingfalls.org.

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