• Yoder Doc to Honor Mr. O

    Posted by Mark Messer on 3/26/2020 12:00:00 PM

    Mr. Orlofsky Documentary Image

    Image from themroproject.com


    Tate Yoder Crowdsourcing Stories

    Tate Yoder '15 is producing a documentary about Steve Orlofsky, the single biggest force in building GSA's reputation for music excellence, and he needs help from the thousands of students, parents, staff, and community members who have been impacted by Mr. O's passion for music education. 

         Visit https://themroproject.com to learn more about the documentary, to submit your story, and to read stories already shared by Molly (Gross) Varnum ’95, Matty Harris ‘97, Kate Durost ‘03, and more.

         Check out Tate’s video introducing his crowdsourcing effort at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWHS88lrYBU.

         Tate, we look forward to seeing the documentary and all the love that our community has for Mr. O. Thanks for doing this!

         And if you know someone else with stories to tell, share this story with them!

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  • Student Lands Prize Perch

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/28/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Perch Wins Derby

    Layla Pickering '23 landed a 2.65 pound white perch in the recent G&M Family Market Hancock County Ice Fishing Derby. Though not a state record fish, it was big enough to win her the derby in that category.

         Click here to read John Holyokes article in The Bangor Daily News.

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  • Students Present Recycling Resolution

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/28/2020 6:00:00 AM

    Seniors Lead Effort

    Wanda Gould '20 and Cassidy Carlson '20 recently led efforts to present a recycling resolution to the Blue Hill Board of Selectmen. They were inspired by a presentation in Megan Flenniken's Maine Environment course in the fall.

         Click here to read all about it in Eli Forman's article in The Weekly Packet. Way to go, Wanda and Cassidy!

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  • Jazz Heading to States

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/27/2020 3:00:00 PM

    Melodious Thunk

    Melodious Thunk


    Every GSA Ensemble Advances

    All three jazz combos and the jazz band at George Stevens Academy will move on to state competition after performing in the District 6 High School Instrumental Jazz Festival at GSA on Feb. 26.

         The GSA Jazz Band, composed of Erika Hipsky on alto sax and flute, Margaret Nevin on alto sax, Jenna Blodgett on tenor sax, Ian Bowden on tenor sax, Will Kaiser on tenor sax, Ian Howell on baritone sax, Gabe Hall on trumpet, Dawsen Astbury on trumpet, Will MacArthur on trumpet, Kelly McKay on trumpet, Duncan Howell on trombone, Chloe Sheahan on trombone, Nora Spratt on trombone, Joseph Mitchell on guitar, Morgan Davis on vibes, Juliette Claybaugh on piano, Quinn Stabler on bass and Zeke Sacaridiz on drums, earned a gold rating.

         Soloist certificate awards were presented to these jazz band members: Astbury, Davis, Hall, Hipsky, Duncan Howell, Ian Howell, Mitchell and Sacaridiz.

         The GSA combo Melodious Thunk, composed of Hipsky on alto sax and flute, Hall on trumpet, Ian Howell on bari sax, Duncan Howell on trombone, Mitchell on guitar, Stabler on bass guitar and Sacaridiz on drums and vocals, also earned gold. Soloist awards went to Hall, Hipsky, Duncan Howell, Ian Howell, Mitchell, Sacaridiz and Stabler.

         The GSA combo River of Jazz, composed of MacArthur on trumpet, McKay on trumpet, Nevin on alto sax, Blodgett on tenor sax and vocals, Hunter Sargent on guitar, Davis on piano, Emily Whiting on bass guitar and West Hope on drums, earned a bronze rating. Soloist awards went to MacArthur, McKay, Blodgett, Sargent, Davis and Hope.

         GSA's Big D’s Septet, composed of Astbury on trumpet, Jillian Eldridge on alto sax, Will Kaiser on tenor sax, Amara Birdsall on vocals, Grace Broughton on piano, Andy Hipsky on bass guitar and Tony Esposito on drums, also earned a bronze rating. Soloist awards went to Astbury, Eldridge, Birdsall, Broughton, Hipsky and Esposito.

         Ensembles from Brewer, Bucksport, Ellsworth, MDI and Shead also competed at the district festival. Combos advancing to state competition from those schools were MDI’s Finger Lickers, Milkmen and The Gallery; Bucksport’s Spread Too Thin and Kitchen Sink; Brewer 1 and Brewer 2; Ellsworth’s Rhythm Wall and Viable Frequency; and Shead.

         Jazz bands from Brewer, Ellsworth and MDI also advanced.

         The Maine Music Educators Association State High School Instrumental Jazz Festival, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14, will take place at South Portland High School. Admission costs $3 for students and seniors, $5 for other adults, $15 for families.

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  • Jazz Combo No. 2 at Nationals

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/17/2020 10:00:00 AM

    Melodious Thunk at National Jazz Festival

    Melodious thunk and Mr. O after their performance at the National Jazz Festival.


    Melodious Thunk No. 2 at Nationals

    Melodious Thunk earned second place in the inaugural National Jazz Festival in Philadelphia on Feb. 15.

         “Phenomenal,” said Director Steve Orlofsky of the group’s score of 192 out of a possible 200 points. The group finished just two points behind an ensemble from Princeton (N.J.) High School in Small Ensemble Division 2. The scores of the remaining groups in the division ranged from 130-186 points.

         “Excellent group playing, wonderful dynamics,” said judge Matt Davis of Melodious Thunk’s performance of “Strasbourg St. Denis,” composed by Roy Hargrove. They also played “Feel,” by Jacob Collier, and “Two Timers,” by Victor Wooten.

         Melodious Thunk is composed of seniors Erika Hipsky on alto saxophone and flute, Duncan Howell on trombone, Ian Howell on baritone saxophone, Joey Mitchell on guitar and Quinn Stabler on bass; junior Zeke Sacaridiz on drums and vocals; and sophomore Gabe Hall on trumpet.

         Duncan Howell and Sacaridiz were named Outstanding Musicians in their division, two of three musicians to be so honored.

         Three of Melodious Thunk’s musicians, Hipsky, Ian Howell and Stabler, were part of a GSA combo that took third place at last year’s Berklee High School Jazz Festival. Berklee’s decision to no longer host its high school festival is one reason why the National Jazz Festival was founded.

         Melodious Thunk and other groups from GSA will compete with ensembles from Brewer, Bucksport, Ellsworth, MDI, and Shead in the Maine Music Educators Association District 6 Instrumental Jazz Festival, to be hosted at George Stevens Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 26. For more on this opportunity to hear great jazz performed live, visit georgestevensacademy.org/jazzfest.

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  • Quarter 2 Honor Roll 19-20

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/6/2020 11:00:00 AM

    2019-2020 Quarter 2 Honor Roll

    Honor rolls are announced after the end of each quarter. To be eligible for honor roll, a student must carry five credits or more. Honor rolls are published quarterly in the local newspapers.

    Click here for a PDF of the Quarter 2 Honor Roll for the 2019-2020 school year.

    High Honors: 90-100 in all subjects (called "highest" in the list)

    Honors: 80-100 in all subjects

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  • Student Advances to Poetry States

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/4/2020 3:00:00 PM

    POL Finalists

    Magnolia Vandiver, second from right, stands with the other finalists after the finals in Hampden.


    Vandiver on to Poetry Out Loud states

    “The feeling of being on stage is indescribable,” said Magnolia Vandiver, of competing in the Poetry Out Loud Northern Maine Finals Feb. 3. “I love the exhilaration that comes from performing.”

         The George Stevens Academy junior is one of five finalists chosen at the regional competition in Hampden to join five from Southern Maine at the state competition.

         “I was once again surprised to win,” she said, after being named a finalist. “There were so many amazing recitations.”

         “I was awed by the humility, graciousness, and skill of the other reciters. … There were people who I was sure would advance who didn’t,” said Vandiver, who sees this as a reflection of the “subjective nature of any arts competition.”

         The other four Northern Maine finalists to join her at state competition are Ella Shaffer of Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Emi Verhar of Hampden Academy, Ogechi Obi of Bangor High School and Hannah Nilsson of John Bapst. The Southern Maine Finals were scheduled for Feb. 10.

         Vandiver recited “Advice to a Prophet,” by Richard Wilbur, and “When I Have Fears that I May Cease To Be,” by John Keats, and “The Greatest Grandeur,” by Pattiann Rogers.

         The Poetry Out Loud State Finals will take place at the Waterville Opera House on Monday, March 2, at 3 P.M. Admission is free and no tickets are required. Poetry lovers, even those who don’t know the competitors, are encouraged to attend, as the level of competition is very high.

         In preparation for state competition, Vandiver said she will “continue to explore my poems, reciting them, reading them over, and pondering them. She also plans to work on her enunciation.

         She’d like to thank Emma Snow, the runner-up at the GSA contest. Snow “came to regionals to watch and cheer,” Vandiver said, “and has been incredibly supportive.”

         The winner of the state competition will represent Maine at the national competition in Washington, D.C., in late April.

         Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition organized at the national level by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is administered in Maine by The Maine Arts Commission. Throughout the state, thousands of students participated. According to the commission, the “program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.”

          Best of luck to you, Magnolia, in March!

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  • Junior Heading to Junior Olympics

    Posted by Mark Messer on 2/3/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Hope at Capitol Clas

    Hope Bowden at the Capitol Clash. PHOTO COURTESY OF HOPE BOWDEN


    Bowden Heading to Ohio

    Hope Bowden of Orland, who studies fencing with John Krauss of the Down East School of Fencing, will compete in the Junior Olympic Fencing Championship, set for Feb. 14-17 in Columbus, Ohio.

         This will be a return trip for the George Stevens Academy junior, who started fencing in fifth-grade, partly because she thought swordplay looked cool. There’s a lot more to fencing than slashing with a sabre. Last year, she said, the competition was a lot faster, “so I got to see what I need to do to get up to their level with footwork.”

         Bowden has made progress in that regard on the way to this year’s Junior Olympics, but she would advance faster if there were more saberists in her age group at the local level. To help draw more girls to the typically male-dominated sport, Bowden helped with the Down East School of Fencing’s January Sisterhood of the Sword event and was interviewed by a reporter from WABI TV. (Click here to watch that report.)

         “I wasn’t prepared for it,” Bowden said of the interview, but she believes the event has drawn more girls to the school.

         She also competed recently in Capitol Clash in Maryland, where she learned “the level I kind of need to be at mentally, mentally prepared, to think ahead. … If I parry, am I going to go for an attack? Or am I going to try to be the last one to parry, and then go.”

         She hopes to learn even more at the Junior Olympics, where she will compete in the Junior Women’s Saber event on Saturday and the Cadet Women’s Saber event on Monday, according to the Junior Olympic Fencing website.

         Bowden prefers saber, one of three fencing disciplines. Saber involves more slashing and is more aggressive, according the U.S. Olympic Committee website, and it’s faster, she said.

         The other disciplines are foil and epee, and Bowden keeps her hand in all three disciplines. “It’s better to be able to fence everything so you can help out other people,” she said.

         The sport isn’t just fun for Bowden. It has benefits that extend into daily life. They footwork and physicality of it, she said, have prepared her well for physical education class, but there are mental benefits as well. Fencing requires her to think ahead and ask herself “Am I prepared?” That practice helps her a lot with her studies and in the classroom, where it is easier for her to keep her composure in stressful situations.

         Though there is no fencing club at GSA, she hopes that fencing can be added to the physical education offerings at the school.

         Regardless, Bowden plans to continue fencing. After graduation in 2021, she would like to study marine ecology or marine biology at a college with a fencing program.

         “And it’d be cool to go to the Olympics,” she said, “but I’d have to focus more on it, and I’m not sure if I can balance [fencing and college studies] at that level.”

         For anyone interested in the sport, Bowden offers this advice: “Try it out, hopefully like it, and continue with it. It’s a great thing to get into, and I believe it’s one of the safest sports.”

         It is indeed, Hope. Best of luck in Ohio!

         For information on classes offered in the area, visit the Down East School of Fencing Facebook page.

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  • Seeley Interviewed by WVII

    Posted by Mark Messer on 1/23/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Seeley on WVII  

    Topic is Tuition Proposal

    Kayla Hevey of WVII in Bangor interviewed Head of School Tim Seeley Wednesday for a news story about GSA's proposal to start closing the gap between the cost of a GSA education and the tuition paid by our sending towns. 

         As Tim said, "Having a high quality high school on the peninsula that every child can come to, I think it's better for our communities."

         Click here for a link to the story on the station's website

         Click here for more on our proposal

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  • Seniors Chosen for Medical Mission

    Posted by Mark Messer on 12/19/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Mara and Vanessa

    Mara, left, and Vanessa will join the Hancock County Medical Mission in February.


    Seniors Chosen for Medical Mission

    Mara Pickering and Vanessa Sherwood, seniors at George Stevens Academy, will travel to the Dominican Republic with the Hancock County Medical Mission in February.

         Nearly every year since 1989, medical professionals and others from Hancock County have volunteered their time to provide primary care and surgical services to underserved populations in Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic. This is their seventh trip to the Dominican Republic, where they and others from the United States and Canada are hosted by Medical Ministry International.

         “We’ve booked 10 flights,” said HCMM’s Ted Spurling Jr. in an email, “and it looks like we’ll fill them, and [we] hope to get a few more members besides.”

         “The surgical team will work in the hospital in El Factor again,” Spurling said, “with the family medical team going out by bus each day to various small towns” for general checkups, aches and pains, infections, health lessons, and surgical referrals.

         “We’ll live in a Catholic church camp in Nagua, … a quiet space with great cooks and time in the evening to hang out, play cards or Triominos.”

         Pickering and Sherwood found out about the opportunity to join the team from George Stevens Academy Spanish teacher Nancy Buckingham. GSA students began participating in the program 20 years ago, Buckingham said, and have gone on the mission most of those years.

         Though the application process is open to juniors and seniors from all Hancock County high schools, “it’s mostly from GSA, Ellsworth, and MDI that we get applicants,” Spurling said.

         In addition to Sherwood and Pickering, Rachel Barnes, a senior from Ellsworth High School, and Rebekah Woodward, Pickering’s mother and a registered nurse, will travel to the Dominican Republic.

         Pickering said she was so excited to find out that she and her mother would be able to go together. Her mother has been a real role model, she said, and is one reason why she looks forward to a future as an orthopedic surgeon. The other reason? She has broken a lot of bones.

         Sherwood also plans to pursue a career in the medical field, perhaps as a doctor or dentist, and she may have been inspired by family. “My grandparents were nurses,” she said, “so that might have something to do with it.”

         When she found out she’d been selected, Sherwood was “really happy,” she said. “I want to travel, and I think learning about other cultures is important … and I want to be able to speak Spanish better.”

         The two students will use their Spanish language skills as translators, but they also will play other roles during the two-week mission, perhaps sterilizing instruments, or working as medical assistants or in the pharmacy, said Spurling.

         The seniors will take part in meetings with other mission volunteers between now and their departure. They also need to work on their Spanish medical vocabulary.

         As this is Sherwood’s first trip to another country, she needs to get her passport and check to see if she has all the necessary vaccinations, but “going somewhere I’ve never been before and being immersed in the culture” will make it all worthwhile, she said.

         Pickering is all caught up on her vaccinations, as she traveled to the Dominican Republic on a family vacation in 2018. Though the purpose of her vacation was to relax, she said she saw people who looked like they needed help, and she is happy to go back to do just that.

         To donate toward the purchase of supplies or to learn more about the Hancock County Medical Mission, visit hcmm.homestead.com.

         Congratulations, Mara and Vanessa! Be sure to share some photos after you return!

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