• Carter Grant Buoys Boatbuilding Course

    Posted by Mark Messer on 10/29/2018 1:00:00 PM

    boatbuilding class


    Grant To Fund Second Year of Program 

    BLUE HILL — A boatbuilding class at George Stevens Academy will run for a second year thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation.

          In the class taught by master boatbuilder John Brooks of Brooks Boat Design, students will build a 14-foot Sundog Skiff with oars. Construction and fitting of the boat will take two semesters, and students can enroll in either or both terms.

          In the first year of the program, also supported by a Carter grant and taught by Brooks, 12 students spent last spring building the boat’s hull. This fall, 10 students are completing the skiff, which will be used by GSA’s Ocean Studies and Marine Research classes. The second boat, to be built next year, will be sold to help pay for materials for future boatbuilding courses.

          Not only is the course valuable to students considering a career in Maine’s boatbuilding and maintenance industry, but the math, engineering, drafting, and materials knowledge that students learn in the class can be applied in other fields, such as aviation, the arts, wind energy, theater production and building construction. Students also learn to focus on client needs and to negotiate; students in the current boatbuilding course and GSA’s Ocean Studies course have been meeting to discuss custom options and design decisions.

    Comments (-1)
  • Cimeno Shares Gap-Year Experience at Assembly

    Posted by Mark Messer on 10/29/2018 4:00:00 AM

    bella at end of trip

    Bella Cimeno at the water’s edge in Yorktown, Va., after her 4,210-mile ride to raise money for the Maine Women’s Fun. Cimeno recently spoke about her journey with students at George Stevens Academy. PHOTO COURTESY OF BELLA CIMENO


    GSA alum shares story of cross-country bike trip

    BLUE HILL — Bella Cimeno, a 2017 graduate of George Stevens Academy, returned to the school on Oct. 17 to speak to the student body about her extraordinary gap-year experience.

    In August 2017, the then-19-year-old embarked on a 68-day, 4,210-mile bike ride from Astoria, Ore., through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky to Yorktown, Va., where she dipped her tires into the Atlantic and went for a swim on Oct. 31. While traversing thousands of miles over the Cascades, Rockies, Ozarks and Appalachian ranges, and across deserts and the plains, she encountered wildfires, a rodeo, plenty of dogs, and the kindness of strangers.

    There are a lot of bad people out there, a man warned her, but, she told him that there are a lot of good people out there, too. She was helped by many of them along the way, and often was offered shelter at churches and fire stations.

    During the trip, she told the students, she grappled with whether fear, comfort and discomfort, and other feelings and thoughts, come from within or are imposed by society. Some of the men she met during her trip were surprised that a woman would take on a solo trip like this, but Cimeno insisted that being female should not limit what she can do.

    Her efforts raised $5,000 for the Maine’s Women’s Fund, which supports women’s education, health care, leadership, and safety across the state.

    During her talk, Cimeno also detailed a later trip across the Southern Tier of the United States, which started in February 2018. Her gap year behind her, she is now enrolled at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C.

    Cimeno’s presentation was part of the Lilla Bowden 1904 Memorial Speaker Series, established by Rebecca Wanbaugh ’41 and her husband, Robert.


    Comments (-1)
  • Tenney Named Trustee, Parson Honored

    Posted by Mark Messer on 10/12/2018 2:00:00 PM

    Zoe Tenney



    Alum To Strengthen Already Strong Board

    Zoe Robbins Tenney, a 1993 graduate of George Stevens Academy, joined the school’s Board of Trustees at the same September meeting at which Katrina Parson stepped down and was named an honorary trustee.

         Parson served two terms on the GSA board. “Her energy, enthusiasm and insightful thinking were the equal of anyone’s,” said Head of School Tim Seeley. “She brought … common sense as well as experience to her work. Although I know she will stay involved, I will miss her frequent presence, her good sense of humor and her unflagging dedication to the education of children on the peninsula.”

         After Tenney joined the board, she said, “I feel a deep responsibility to contribute to GSA’s successful education of the creative, compassionate, intelligent and courageous citizens of the world that these present and future students must become. … I’m honored … to be working in concert with the countless others who share their energy and resources, both locally and from afar, in support” of George Stevens Academy.

         “Her presence makes an already strong board stronger,” said Seeley. “It’s always a good thing when a graduate of a school joins its board. Graduates have a special connection to and knowledge of the institution that no one else has.”

         Tenney earned a bachelor’s in economics from Wellesley College and bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. From 2002 to 2017, she worked as a family nurse practitioner, primarily at Blue Hill Family Medicine. She is now the director for primary care clinical quality at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. Tenney has served on various committees and boards at the hospital, for the Wellesley College Alumni Association of Eastern Maine, at the Bay School and for the town of Sedgwick, where she lives with her husband, Keith, and her children, Oliver and Ansel, future GSA students.

    Comments (-1)
  • Donation Helps Students Eat Well

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/18/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Kristin LaPlante


    GSA Parent Gives More Food for Thought

    A $50,000 gift from the parent of a George Stevens Academy boarding student who graduated in 2018 has boosted efforts to make sure that all students are able to eat lunch at the school.

          The donor, a businessman from China, made the gift partly to honor what he said was the wonderful experience his child had at GSA and partly because of a lifelong interest in feeding people. The man grew up in a small town where many came to school without food. When his mother saw them going hungry, she insisted that they share their food with these schoolmates. She knew how important good nutrition was to education, and the lessons she taught her son about hunger and giving to others have stayed with him.

          The gift substantially expands GSA’s Food for Thought Fund, which was established last summer when Blue Hill resident Dorothy “Dottie” B. Hayes made a major gift to the school as an expression of her lifelong love of the Blue Hill Peninsula and strong commitment to education. Her experience in schools informed her belief, like that of the recent donor, that a hungry student cannot be a focused learner.

          Hayes passed away in August, but her support for the program lives on. Her family has asked, in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made to the GSA Food for Thought Fund, Friends of Blue Hill Bay and the Blue Hill Concert Association. Contributions to the school have already been made in her memory to help feed hungry students, of which there are more than some might expect.

          In Hancock County, the rate of child food insecurity, or not having dependable access to nutritious food, was approximately 20 percent in 2016, according to Feeding America. Information from a 2017 needs assessment by Downeast Community Partners revealed that more than 42 percent of Hancock County students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

          In a public school, the federal lunch program helps keep students fed, but as an independent town academy, George Stevens Academy does not participate in that program. Some of that need at the school is met by income from the Food for Thought Fund. While the approximately $7,500 generated by the fund helps tremendously, Head of School Tim Seeley has estimated that it will take nearly three times as much revenue to meet the need completely. Still, the school is committed that no student will go hungry.

          The anonymity of recipients of help from the fund was important to Hayes and is important to the school. A confidential survey went out in the school’s back-to-school mailing to determine eligibility for support. An application for help paying for lunches was included with that survey.

          Parents who have not yet applied for help can contact Fred Heilner of the business office at f.heilner@georgestevens.org or at 374-5081. The survey and application also are available for  download from the Documents, Back to School section of the GSA website,  www.georgestevensacademy.org.

          Anyone interested in supporting GSA’s efforts can mail a check made payable to “GSA-Food for Thought” to the GSA Development Office, 23 Union St., Blue Hill, ME 04614 or visit www.georgestevensacademy.org/onlinegift and specify the Food for Thought Fund.

    Comments (-1)
  • Duane B. Gray '64 Tournament

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/9/2018 2:00:00 PM

    am champs

    Morning champions Adam Gray '94, Mark Leonardi, Ron Allen '58, and John Bannister with Tom Gray of Community Pharmacy of Blue Hill.


    pm champs

    Afternoon champions Alex Drenga, Ebb Walton '08, Percy Zentz '19, and Finn Russet '19 with Tom Gray of Community Pharmacy of Blue Hill.


    Golf Tournament Sees Record Participation

    BLUE HILL — Eighty-eight GSA alumni, students, parents, faculty, and friends took part in the sixth annual Duane B. Gray ’64 Memorial Golf Tournament at the Blue Hill Country Club on Saturday, 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 represented Community Pharmacy at the tournament, which raised money for the GSA Annual 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 over 60 local businesses, including hole-in-one sponsors Darling’s and Stanley Scooters.


    Morning Results

          Champions: Adam Gray ’94, John Bannister, Ron Allen ’58, Mark Leonardi.

          First low net: Rob Clapp ’73, Mark Clapp ’03, Homer Lowell ’73, Josh Gott ’03.

          Second low net: John diPretoro, Frank Hull, Rick Ferretti, Adam Palmer.

          Third low net: Chris Pickering ’97, Erik Fitch ’99, Ryan Welch, Russ Flewelling.

          Individual morning winners (women, men) for closest to the pin on No. 5 were Libby Rosemeier ‘77 and Josh Gott ’03. Closest to the pin on No. 3 were Kitty Clements and Mark Rosenthal. Longest drives on No. 7 were by Jodelle Austin ’83 and Dan Walker ’87.

    Afternoon Results

          Champions: Percy Zentz ’19, Finn Russet ’19, Ebb Walton ’08, Alex Drenga.

          First low net: Tom Morris, Mike Rioux ’78, Jil Blake, Christine Russell.

          Second low net: Paul Raspante, Laura Pellerano, Michael Miller, Doug Wellington.

          Third low net: Phyllis Taylor, Will Taylor, Bebe Moulton, Terry Moulton.

         Individual afternoon winners (women, men) for closest to the pin on No. 5 were Christine Russell and Larry Flood. Closest to the pin on No. 3 was Larry Gray. Longest drives on No. 7 were by Bebe Moulton and Ebb Walton ’08.

          To view a complete gallery of photos of the tournament, visit www.georgestevensacademy.org/DBGtournament2018.

    Comments (-1)
  • Jazz Band Wows Fairgoers

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/6/2018 12:00:00 PM

    Jazz Band at Fair


    Jazz Band Entertains Fairgoers for 25th Year

    The George Stevens Academy Jazz Band wowed the crowd with a powerful performance at the Blue Hill Fair on September 1.

          The set list touched on several jazz genres, including big band, funk, bossa nova, swing and soul. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Cissy Strut,” “Mas Que Nada” and “Green Onions” were a few of the songs featured. Adam Mathewson sang a couple of numbers during the show, and numerous band members performed solos for the appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

          GSA Jazz Band members who performed at the fair were Courtney Bianco, alto sax I, senior; Erika Hipsky, alto sax I, junior; Margaret Nevin, alto sax II, sophomore; LeeAnn Varnum, tenor sax I, senior; Hannah Dyer, tenor sax II, sophomore; Ian Howell, baritone sax, junior; Meredith Bradshaw Thomas, trumpet I, senior; Danielle Bianco, trumpet I, senior; Dawsen Astbury, trumpet II, junior; Gabe Hall, trumpet III, freshman; Cody Haolin Yang, trumpet IV, senior; Duncan Howell, trombone I, junior; Susanna Jakub, trombone II, senior; Adam Mathewson, trombone III, sophomore; Rachel Whitmore, trombone IV, sophomore; Elana Williamson, vibes, senior; Tess Williamson, piano, senior; Juliette Claybaugh, piano, sophomore; Quinn Stabler, bass, junior; and Edward Conte, drums, senior.

          The band started practicing for the show on August 22.

    Comments (-1)
  • GSA Student Learns from Time in Colombia

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/6/2018 11:00:00 AM

    Howell in Colombia

    Duncan Howell, far left, with other counselors and staff members during an outing in Colombia this summer. Howell was a junior counselor at the summer camp for children from 12 nations. PHOTO COURTESY OF DUNCAN HOWELL


    GSA Student Travels to Colombia,

    Learns Personality Transcends Borders

    Duncan Howell, a George Stevens Academy junior from Blue Hill, learned more than he had expected to this summer as a junior counselor at an international peace camp in Medellín, Colombia.

          Called a “village,” this CISV USA summer camp was made up of 12 delegations of 11-year-old “villagers” from Guatemala, Brasil, Colombia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Indonesia and Portugal. The purpose of the camp, said Howell, was to help kids from different countries learn about each other and think not just about their own countries, but about the peoples of the world.

          To accomplish this, delegation leaders guided campers through educational activities at a local school where the camp was held. In an activity designed to develop empathy, Howell said that leaders put on the back of each villager a label that said something like “smells bad” or “rich.” Participants walked around and reacted to each other based on those labels without revealing what the labels said. The most important part of each activity, said Howell, was when participants reflected on the experience, generalized from it, and talked about how to use what they learned outside of the group and camp.

          As one of six junior counselors for the entire camp, Howell helped the delegation leaders. Though the activities were aimed at teaching the campers, Howell learned some important lessons about how people differ and how they are alike.

          Cultural differences among the villagers were evident in the music, movies and other objects they brought with them. “People have things that make us unique,” Howell said, “but equally important are the things that make us the same, and there are so many more of these.”

          “As humans, we each have personalities,” he said, and though music may differ greatly from country to country, personality types don’t vary as much as he thought they would. He met a number of people who had “the same feel” as people he knows at home despite their dramatically different circumstances and upbringings.

          In the near future, Howell plans to apply for another program for next summer, which will be his fourth. CISV also has a “junior branch” in Orono, where he and five or six others create small group educational activities and recruit students for local minicamps. Anyone interested in finding out more about these local opportunities should visit maine.cisvusa.org or, if you see Howell, ask him. He’s happy to talk about his experience.

    Comments (-1)
  • Class of 2022 Lands on Campus

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/29/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Class of 2022

    The Class of 2022 stands in a large circle on the front lawn.

     These Eagles Have Landed!

    Eighty-five members of the Class of 2022 convened for 9th grade orientation today. This class includes students from 14 different municipalities in Maine and China: Beijing, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Ellsworth, Fletchers Landing, Penobscot, Orland, Sedgwick, Stonington, and Surry.  

              The students arrived by 8:00 A.M., and then they went to an assembly where faculty members introduced themselves. After that, the new students split into their advisory groups for their first advisory of the year. By 9:00 A.M., the advisory groups had convened on the front lawn for several fun team-building and ice-breaking activities, most of which are included in a photo gallery (click the link below). After lunch, they ran through a very abbreviated school day so they could find their classrooms and meet their teachers. 

              As Mr. Kane said, you all bring so much to GSA, different interests, skills, and backgrounds. We're happy to have you with us!

              Click here to visit this story on the Students in the News page, where there's a gallery of photos and a two videos (including a cool time-lapse video of everyone coming into the gym for assembly!)

    Comments (-1)
  • GSA Jazz Band To Entertain Blue Hill Fairgoers for 25th Year

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/27/2018 6:00:00 AM

     jazz band rehearsal

    Members of the GSA Jazz Band and Mr. O at a recent rehearsal.

    That’s Some Band!

    The thump of bumper cars, the mooing, bleating and neighing of barnyard animals, and the chatter of folks who see each other only on this one long weekend a year are among the familiar sounds of the Blue Hill Fair, a longstanding Labor Day weekend tradition in Hancock County.

            Another such sound is that of the George Stevens Academy Jazz Band, which will take to the Grandstand Stage under the direction of Steve Orlofsky for the 25th year in a row on Saturday, Sept. 1, at noon.

           Various versions of the GSA Jazz Band and other ensembles have won numerous awards over the years, and that sort of success comes from practice, practice, practice. Though some enjoy the lazy days of summer right up to fair time and the start of school, the band and Mr. O., as the students call him, started evening rehearsals for this performance on Aug. 22. All those hours of practices are sure to pay off on stage.

            The set list touches on several jazz genres, including big band, funk, bossa nova, swing and soul. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Cissy Strut,” “Mas Que Nada” and “Green Onions” are just a few of the songs expected to be featured.

            GSA Jazz Band members set to perform at the fair are Courtney Bianco, alto sax I, senior; Erika Hipsky, alto sax I, junior; Margaret Nevin, alto sax II, sophomore; LeeAnn Varnum, tenor sax I, senior; Hannah Dyer, tenor sax II, sophomore; Ian Howell, baritone sax, junior; Meredith Bradshaw Thomas, trumpet I, senior; Danielle Bianco, trumpet I, senior; Dawsen Astbury, trumpet II, junior; Gabe Hall, trumpet III, freshman; Cody Haolin Yang, trumpet IV, senior; Duncan Howell, trombone I, junior; Susanna Jakub, trombone II, senior; Adam Mathewson, trombone III, sophomore; Rachel Whitmore, trombone IV, sophomore; Elana Williamson, vibes, senior; Tess Williamson, piano, senior; Juliette Claybaugh, piano, sophomore; Quinn Stabler, bass, junior; and Edward Conte, drums, senior.

            For more information about the Blue Hill Fair, visit www.bluehillfair.com. For more on George Stevens Academy, visit www.georgestevensacademy.org or follow the school on Facebook.

    Comments (-1)
  • GSA Student Interns on Ghost Story Film Set

    Posted by Mark Messer on 8/10/2018 6:00:00 AM

    Sean Schweizer on the set

    Sean Schweizer on the set of "The Bride in the Box." BAD REP PHOTO


    When Doug Bost decided to film a ghost story for the big screen, he knew two things: he wanted to use local people where possible, and it had to be filmed on the Maine coast.

         Karen Carberry Warhola of the Maine Film Office helped him with that first part. The crew of “The Bride in the Box” was mainly from New York, but several Mainers, sound mixers Michael Hambrock and Harper Mattraw, grip Owen Freeman and designer Brent Hutchins joined the team. Two local actors, Faith Erhardt and Stephanie Erb, were part of the cast. But it was a stroke of luck that brought Sean Schweizer, a 17-year-old student at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, on board as a production assistant intern.

         Teke Wiggin, who manages the Blue Hill Conference Center, GSA’s new summertime venture that provided accommodations for the crew, knew Bost needed a production assistant. Head of School Tim Seeley announced the opportunity to the student body, and Schweizer was among those who expressed an interest.

         After a flurry of emails, the deal was sealed. The filmmaker had his intern, and the intern had his big chance “to see how things really work on a professional level,” Schweizer said in an email.

         “The experience was great for me,” he said. Because the production was on the smaller side, Schweizer did “a little bit of everything, from set dressing to slating, running waters upstairs” and helping “the grip guys.” He even had a chance to create a spooky effect in front of the camera.


    Filming at RT1A Relics

    Filming underway at 1A Relics in Ellsworth. BAD REP PHOTO


         Schweizer met “a slew of interesting characters” on the set, which made for an “unforgettable experience,” he said. “I mean, hey, it’s the first feature-length film I’ve worked on. There’s no way I’m forgetting that.”

         So how impressed was Bost? Very. “Sean was game for anything,” said the writer-director, who was happy to have Schweizer on the team and to encourage the aspiring filmmaker, who is already 40 pages into a screenplay that he hopes to finish writing by the end of summer.

         But Schweizer’s experience filming wouldn’t have been possible if Bost hadn’t insisted on filming along the Maine Coast.

         Bost, who grew up in Orono but now lives in New York City, was visiting Mount Desert Island with his wife and daughter a few years back when a ghost story that a friend had told him came to mind. This part of Maine isn’t seen much in movies, Bost said, so he decided to share it on screen with a larger audience. 

         Most of the filming took place in Hancock in house that the writer and director called “wonderful” because it had a real summer cottage feel, likely because it hadn’t been remodeled in decades. Filming also took place at 1A Relics in Ellsworth, in Winter Harbor, at Little Tunk Pond in Sullivan and at the Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock.

         Another location was the Galley by the Bridge in Sullivan, which also provided catering services. The people there were very welcoming and nice, said Bost, as were the folks at Gull Rock Pottery in Hancock and the Frenchman Bay Conservancy.

         In “The Bride in the Box,” a husband, wife and their daughter go on vacation, but the couple is so caught up in their own conflicts that they don’t realize their daughter has come under the influence of a ghost from a local legend.

         The husband and wife are played by Victor Verhaeghe and Carolyn Baeumler, Bost’s real-life wife. The daughter is played by Baumler and Bost’s daughter, Acadia, yes, named after the national park they clearly love.

         Other cast members from New York are Tammy Faye Starlite, who plays Muriel, and Harold Robinson as George.

         Filming in Maine wrapped up on July 27. After another month of shooting in New York City and postproduction, the film should be ready by next summer, Bost said. They plan to enter “The Bride in the Box” into film festivals, like Tribeca and Sundance, with the aim of attracting a distributor. They may even enter the film into the Maine International Film Festival, which would give audiences here a chance to see the film sooner.

         When asked what he hopes audiences will take from the movie, yes, he said, he wants them to get a scare out of it. But this ghost story also raises questions about parenting and how much freedom to give children, about when we need to protect our children from the really scary things in life and when we need to give them the freedom to experience things for themselves.


    Cast and Crew

    Sean Schweizer, right, with the cast and crew of "The Bride in the Box" at Gull Rock Pottery in Hancock, one of several locations in Hancock County where the feature-length ghost story was filmed. Filmmaker Doug Bost is second from the left. BAD REP PHOTO

    Comments (-1)