• 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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  • Poetry Out Loud Winner Named

    Posted by Mark Messer on 12/12/2019 9:00:00 AM

    Magnolia Vandiver

    Magnolia Vandiver '21 recites a poem by John Keats

     

    Vandiver Advances to Poetry Regionals

    Junior Magnolia Vandiver was selected the winner of the George Stevens Academy schoolwide Poetry Out Loud competition in December. Sophomore Emma Snow was named runner-up.

         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. English teacher Maria Johnson organized the GSA event and introduced the competitors.

         Vandiver, Snow, and freshman Rose Kazmierczak each recited two poems, one contemporary and one from before the 20th century, in front of a panel of judges. Vandiver recited “Advice to a Prophet,” by Richard Wilbur, and “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be,” by John Keats.

         Though she won the schoolwide competition last year and made it all the way to state competition, Vandiver was surprised to win again. “There were ... other great people in the competition,” she said, “and poetry is so subjective that it’s hard to tell what made me win.”

         To practice, she read and spoke the poems aloud a lot, taking the time to think about each line to better understand the poets' intentions.  

         Snow recited “Harold & the Purple Crayon,” by D. Gilson, and “England in 1819,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Kazmierczak’s two poems were David Kirby’s “Broken Promises” and “She Walks in Beauty,” by Lord Byron (George Gordon).

         “The performances were remarkably mature and impressive,” said judge Anya Antonovych, an art teacher at GSA. The other judges were Libby Edwardson and Liffey Thorpe. The accuracy judge was Tim Seeley. Score tallier was Elisabeth de Sévigné. Michael Kazmierczak was prompter, but none of the competitors needed prompting.

         Vandiver will compete in the Northern Maine Regional Finals at Hampden Academy on Monday, Feb. 3. For this, she must learn a third poem, which she already has selected, “The Greatest Grandeur” by Pattiann Rogers. If for any reason she cannot compete, Snow will take her place as runner-up.

         The Poetry Out Loud “program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life,” according to The Maine Arts Commission.

         Visit https://www.georgestevensacademy.org/Page/1006 for a version of this story with a photo of each competitor.

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  • Student Eulogizes Silent Hero

    Posted by Mark Messer on 12/4/2019 11:50:00 AM

    Kennedy Vaessen O'Hara

    Kate Kennedy, Josef Vaessen, and Elia O'Hara at the Netherlands American Cemetery

     

    O'Hara Eulogizes Silent Hero

    Gets Sense of the Sacrifice of War

    A junior who traveled to the Netherlands to honor a World War II solider has called her experience “truly life changing.”

         Elia O’Hara of Blue Hill was one of ten students from the United States to participate in the National History Day Silent Heroes project in November.  

         Each student researched “a serviceman or woman of the U.S. Armed Forces who died honorably in World War II” or soon after due to injuries received in battle, according to the Silent Heroes website.

         The subject of Elia's eulogy was First Sergeant Louis Patrick Levasseur, who was born on Nov. 26, 1918, in Van Buren, Maine, very close to the town where Elia spent the first five years of her life.

         It took her six weeks to research and write the text for the video eulogy, which is expected to go online in January at nhdsilentheroes.org. When asked what struck her most, Elia said it was the sacrifice of so many families during World War II.

         “His brother just the year prior had died in the South Pacific,” she said, and Louis Levasseur “was actually reported missing in action for about three months,” a long time for his parents to wait and hope to hear that he was alive.

         The research and writing process created a “strong connection” to Levasseur for the GSA junior, but it was only after arriving in Amsterdam that she began to realize how impactful the trip might be.

         Though she read Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” in eighth grade, Elia said, “nothing compares to the feeling I got when I walked to the bookcase, up the narrow stairs, and into the annex.” The experience left her and chaperone Kate Kennedy ’99, a social studies teacher at GSA, “in awe.”

         Before giving the eulogy at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Elia met the 91-year-old man who started taking care of Levasseur’s grave a few years ago, Josef Vaessen.

         At age 16, Vaessen was the only person in the area who spoke English, Elia said, so American soldiers naturally turned to him with questions. After he learned that a soldier with whom he was particularly close died in battle, Vaessen rode his bike 15 miles each way until he located the soldier’s grave at the makeshift cemetery. Since then, he has adopted more graves to care for, the latest being Levasseur’s.

         Vaessen “is the kindest and most giving person I have ever met,” Elia said, and having him join her and Kennedy at the reading of the eulogy “made that moment even more powerful and humbling.”

         In addition to giving eulogies, Elia and the other program participants also placed markers, “Vectors of Memory,” along a nearly 2,000-mile trail that will follow the footsteps of the Allied troops from London to Berlin when it is completed in May 2020. The Liberation Route Hiking Trail will celebrate the “freedom, harmony, and peace” that resulted from the end of the war almost 75 years earlier, said the Liberation Route Europe website.

         “Walking through the same woods along the same trail as the U.S. soldiers did was a chilling moment,” Elia said. “As I walked, I imagined the utter chaos and horrendous fighting” that took place then, and how “because of their bravery, I can walk” in this peaceful place.

         To learn more about Liberation Route Europe, click here. Scroll down for their story about the U.S. Students Vectors of Memory project. It includes a short video about the project. The video can also be viewed on YouTube here.

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  • Larson '79 Tells Twinkie Tale

    Posted by Mark Messer on 11/20/2019 9:00:00 AM

    Bennatti and Rosemeier

    Reuters video screenshot

     

    The Snack Heard round the World

    In early November, when Soren Larson visited GSA for the second time since graduating in 1979, he had an appointment with Assistant Head of School Libby Rosemeier ’77, but he wasn’t here to catch up on gossip. He was here to research a story for one of the world’s largest news agencies.

         Larson works for the New York bureau of Reuters producing videos, a job that wasn’t really on his mind when he was a student at George Stevens Academy. But as many will tell you, the path from high school to career success is rarely straight.

         Larson enjoyed his time at GSA, which he called “a very good school with some very good teachers,” in a recent email. “I remember specifically Mr. Marshall and Mr. Blair, both English teachers. I also liked Mr. Bennatti and Mr. Farrar, who I learned architecture and woodworking from.” Those skills proved useful later on.

         After graduation, Larson took some time off, then studied at the University of Maine at Orono. In 1985, he moved to New York, where he did odd jobs for a year or two, painting, carpentry, and the like. After taking some classes, he decided to give video production a shot, and it seems to have been a good decision.

         Larson produced corporate video for Salomon Brothers for five years, then was a freelance news cameraman for two more. In 1995, he started at Reuters, where he now works as a cameraman/producer and intake editor for the international news organization.

         It was as a cameraman/producer that he returned to his alma mater to interview Rosemeier and retired science teacher Roger Bennatti for a video story about a science experiment that had gone on far longer than anyone expected.

         In 1976, Rosemeier was a junior in Bennatti’s chemistry class. The topic of food preservatives came up, so the teacher sent a student out to buy a package of Twinkies. He ate one promptly and set the other one on the chalkboard in his classroom.

         There the Twinkie stayed for years. Around 2006, Rosemeier said, her father, James Austin, built a display case to hold the now-desiccated snack cake. The case sits on a shelf in her office.

         But the video is not just sitting on a shelf somewhere. Since Larson posted it online at Reuters, the story has been picked up by other news agencies and shared by scores of newspapers, radio stations, television stations, bloggers, and individuals.

         A quick internet search revealed that the original story and versions of it have appeared in several languages and in countries around the world, including Ireland, the U.K., Spain, Ghana, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. One video post alone, from Now This News, was viewed more than 22,000 times in two weeks.

         The popularity of Larson’s story on the 43-year-old Twinkie tells us one thing for sure: even though he had no idea when he was in high school that he’d get into the news business, he is very good at what he does and is clearly in the right career.

         But the real lesson for GSA students and high school students everywhere is that “the right career” may be one you haven’t thought of yet.

         To watch Larson’s original story on the Reuters website, click on this link.

         For a version of this story with more photos, click here.

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  • Quarter 1 Honor Roll Announced

    Posted by Mark Messer on 11/18/2019 11:00:00 AM

    2019-2020 Quarter 1 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 1 Honor Roll for the 2019-2020 school year.

    High Honors: 90-100 in all subjects

    Honors: 80-100 in all subjects

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  • Career Panel Includes Alumni

    Posted by Mark Messer on 11/5/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Career Panel

    From left, Mike Astbury, Tony Bryant, Heather Brackett, and Brian Larkin.

     

    Diverse Routes Lead to Career Success

    Seven alumni were among nine area business owners and employees to share career insights with sophomores and juniors at panel presentations here last week.

         Some knew at a young age what they wanted to do, like Toni Staples '86, the school’s pastry chef.

         When Toni was young, she started cooking with her grandmother and mother. It was a way to make people happy, she said, and she knew early on it would her career.

         After graduating high school, she earned a degree in culinary arts and returned to the area, where she worked first in the restaurant business, then at the Adams School. Toni took the job at GSA three years ago so she could focus solely on baking, a position at which she excels.

         “People have to eat,” she said, “and they like to have other people cook for them,” so there will always be a lot of good jobs in the area.

         Last summer, she said, local restaurants were desperate for cooks, and some were offering $25 an hour.

         Doug Veazie '18 has been into cars and motorcycles as long as he can remember. One day, he went to Stanley Subaru and asked for an unpaid internship in the service department. Maybe he “should have made a resume,” he said, but everything worked out.

         Doug is now a service technician at the dealership, where he is able to pursue his passion. The company frequently sends him to Boston for further training, which he likes because the better he is at his job, the more he earns.

         There is no shortage of jobs in the area for automotive technicians, and Doug said that success in the business depends on building good relationships. To do that, “patience is key,” especially for people in his generation.

         Shelly Schildroth '00 also knew early on what she wanted to do for a living. She loved school, and her friends told her she was good at helping other people learn, so teaching was a natural fit.

         She earned a degree at the University of Maine and went into teaching. After years in the classroom, Shelly was asked to be an interim curriculum coordinator, and after that, she took her current job as principal at the Blue Hill Consolidated School. Her success all along the way, she said, depended on having good mentors. Everyone should find someone they aspire to be like and learn from them.

         Her advice for students considering a career in education: there’s always a need for good teachers in the area, but it isn’t a high paying job, so “you should only go into teaching if you have a passion for it.”

         Heather Brackett’s passion for having her own money brought her to the working world as an eighth-grader. She continued working, largely in hospitality, until she went to college for business on the advice of a family member.

         “Mom was a banker,” Heather said, and when she was younger, she “was never going to be a banker,” but after graduating, she decided to give it a chance as there were “lots of jobs in” in the industry. After working in many different roles, she is now the Blue Hill branch manager at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust.

         “I can’t tell you how much of a difference having a positive attitude makes” in career success.

         She also stressed the importance of keeping an open mind, particularly when things don’t seem to go well. When a new employee gets job feedback, they should remember that “criticism isn’t a bad thing. Think of it as coaching.”

         Like Brackett, Tony Bryant '84 did not want to follow in his parents’ footsteps. When he was young, Tony worked at his parents store, now the Eggemoggin Country Store, and he swore he would never own one. He kept his word for quite some time.

         After high school, Tony took a job at the Bucksport mill, and his interest in the business helped him rise in the ranks, ending up “No. 2 from the top” overseeing multimillion dollar budgets. He saw a lot of people hired, many straight out of college, but “more important than any degree was how well people could learn.”

         Before the mill closed, Tony retired, and then went back into the family business as owner of Mike's Market II in Blue Hill. He also remodels homes and typically works 80 hours a week between the two jobs. That might sound like a lot to some, but he enjoys what he does, and “if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do well,” he said, encouraging students to choose their careers carefully.

         Mike Astbury '03 “started at the end of a shovel and a rake,” putting in new lawns and landscaping for the family groundwork and construction business, M.E. Astbury and Son. After heading to college, he continued working as much as he could in summers and joined the company full-time after graduation. He now works as a project manager for the company, drawing up estimates for customers.

         Two things got him where he is today: “a good work ethic” and a “good attitude,” Mike said. He encouraged students to consider working in the field, as there are a lot of jobs now and there will be even more in the near future, he said, as the average Mainer in construction is 50 years old.

         A good attitude is also important at Brooklin Boat Yard, where Brian Larkin is a project manager. “The people who are successful here have the best attitudes,” and the positive culture they have created keeps turnover low, as exemplified by Brian himself, who took a summer job at the boatyard and has never left.

         This positive culture also helped the boatyard recover quickly from the recession in the late 2000s. One key, he said, is to hire from the local community when possible, as people who already live here aren’t surprised by the winter.

         Samantha Haskell '05 studied community development in college. When she returned to the area, she took a job at Blue Hill Books, owned by her friend’s parents. In 2017, she bought the business.

         The transition to ownership was easier, Samantha said, because of “the mentorship aspect” of her time there as an employee. It “was a huge help in getting to know the ins and outs” of running a bookstore, which includes lots of work outside business hours.

         Samantha sees her role as a business owner not just as selling books, though. She also uses Blue Hill Books as a tool for community development, hosting or sponsoring various events throughout the year.

         David W. Gray '80, owner of David W. Gray Carpentry, knew he “wanted to get out of high school fast” and had no interest in further formal education. “College isn’t right for everyone,” he said.

         David found work in construction and eventually started his own business 23 years ago. He stressed the availability of jobs in the trades, which includes electrical, plumbing, heating, masonry, carpentry, and more.

         “There are tons of positions,” he said, for contractors and subcontractors, and he is happy when he can hire locally. “The money stays here,” he said, and people who live in the community tend to care more about the community.

         The career panel was part of a special program at GSA that takes place quarterly during extended advisory periods. The program aims to educate students on important topics that might not otherwise be covered in their classes. While sophomores and juniors considered career opportunities, freshmen worked in small groups on media literacy, and seniors learned about voting.

         Thank you to all the panelists for helping to show our students that there are many different paths to career success!

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  • Three Going to All-States

    Posted by Mark Messer on 10/24/2019 3:00:00 PM

    Quinn Zeke Joseph

    From left, Quinn, Zeke, and Joseph.

     

    Three among Best in State

    Joseph Mitchell '20 of Orland, Quinn Stabler '20 of Blue Hill and Zeke Sacaridiz '21 of Blue Hill have been selected to participate in the Maine Music Educators Association Jazz All-State Festival at Bangor High School Jan. 2-4.

         “I’ve been playing guitar since freshman year,” said Joseph, who will play jazz guitar for the SATB Jazz Choir, “and now own way too many.” “I play lots of blues and rock at home, but love playing Latin and jazz with our combo,” who auditioned for the festival together.

         To prepare for that audition, held Oct. 11 at the University of Maine at Augusta, the group worked with combo director Steve Orlofsky. “I don’t think I would have the passion I have for music today without him,” Joseph said. “He played our audition song with us many times.”

         Quinn, who will play bass in the JAS Combo, also is grateful to Mr. O for his help not just with the audition but over the last three years in jazz at GSA. “He’s so passionate about the music, it’s contagious,” he said. “He’s inspired me to be so much better.”

         Quinn started playing guitar in third grade, but picked up bass guitar as a fifth-grader, which is when he also started playing jazz, his favorite genre. The bass, he said, is “such an important part of the band, but it isn’t in the spotlight most of the time,” and that suits him just fine.

         Zeke started playing African hand drums when he was seven years old, but at eleven, he took a turn on a friend’s drum kit. He was hooked. Drumming is “so tactile,” he said, “the sticks feel like an extension of my hands, and I love the engagement of my whole body.”

         Zeke wouldn’t have discovered his love for jazz drumming if it hadn’t been for Mr. O, and now it’s his favorite genre. He will play jazz drums in the JAS SSA Jazz Choir.

         “Auditioning and being accepted is a huge accomplishment,” said Mr. O, who noted that the scores and rankings show that in all of Maine, Joseph is the No. 5 high school guitarist, Zeke is the No. 4 drummer, and Quinn is the No. 1 bassist.

         “I am extremely proud and happy for [them],” he said.

         With their respective ensembles, the students will rehearse with guest conductors to prepare several musical selections. They will play these sets during a grand finale concert open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 4, in Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High School.

         Congratulations to all who auditioned and especially to Joseph, Quinn, and Zeke! GSA's reputation for music excellence is in good hands. 

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  • Sailor Koos '12 on World Tour

    Posted by Mark Messer on 10/15/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Courtney in classroom

    Courtney, Iona Taylor in Sri Lanka. Courtesy Maiden Factor/Kaia Bint Savage

     

    Voyage Supports Girls' Education

    “I always found school and sailing to be incredibly empowering,” said Courtney Koos, who was educated at George Stevens Academy and Bowdoin College and sailed for both schools, in an email.

         It’s no surprise then that Courtney, a member of the GSA Class of 2012, has chosen to help promote access to education for girls as the engineering crew member aboard the historic yacht Maiden on its thirty-month voyage around the world.

         This is not Maiden’s first trip around the world. In 1989-90, Captain Tracy Edwards and crew competed in the Whitbread Round The World Challenge, the first circumnavigation of the globe by women at a time when so many said it couldn’t be done and some were openly derisive of the attempt.

         That journey and that “legendary vessel,” Courtney said, inspired her as she grew up on the water in Castine, sailing with her family and at local yacht clubs many summers. Even so, “it was a bit daunting,” she said, to join the GSA sailing team in the spring of her freshman year. “I knew there was a lot to learn from the upperclassmen.”

         And so she did learn a lot, sail a lot, and win a lot of races. Courtney credits much of this success to the support she received at GSA and in the community, whether from her teammates or the “fantastic coaching” she received from team Tom Gutow, Dee Powell, and Patrick Haugen, “who spent hours freezing in tenders chasing us around the bay” or driving to regattas in Southern Maine and other New England states. Tom Brown and Caroline McNally spent countless hours with the team at practices, the sailor said, doing “chalk talks” in their offices at MMA.

         These people and many more, Courtney said, “went out of their way to give me the opportunities and tools needed to prove myself on the water. It really does take a village.”

         But worldwide, around 130 million girls don’t have the support they need to get a primary and secondary education, according to a 2018 fact sheet from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This is simply unacceptable to Courtney. It is also unacceptable to Tracy Edwards, who started The Maiden Factor as a way to tackle these tough problems in partnership with other nonprofits.

         One such nonprofit is I Am Girl, a Fields of Life initiative for which Courtney is an onboard ambassador. The responsibility of fetching water often falls on girls in East Africa, she said, to allow boys to attend school. So I Am Girl helps to build wells, enabling girls to attend, too. 

         The group also promotes health education and good hygiene, said Courtney, building separate washrooms for girls so they are not embarrassed in the presence of male classmates as they go through puberty, providing reusable sanitary products so girls won’t have to stay home when menstruating and breaking down other invisible barriers to education.

         The cost of these and other impediments to completing a secondary education is high, not just for women, but for the nations where they live. According to a United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative report, women who have not earned secondary diplomas earn a combined $15-30 trillion dollars less in their lifetimes. These women also are likely to face difficulties related to child marriage, health and nutrition, and their roles in their communities.

         “To use sailing around the world on Maiden” to support equality in education, said Courtney, “is so important to me, especially as I come to understand the vital roles schooling and sport have played in fostering my independence and confidence.”

         Courtney found out about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from two of her role models, sailors Belinda Henry and Tilly Ajanko, with whom she has raced many times. Both told her that they had applied for permanent crew positions on this voyage, and once she found out exactly what it entails, she “started shooting off emails like it was going out of style.” Initially a member of the yacht delivery crew, Courtney then was “incredibly fortunate to step into the role” of engineer.

         The Maiden Factor World Tour began in Hamble, U.K., in November, 2018, and after making 23 stops in 13 countries, the voyage is expected to end in the Mediterranean in May, 2021.

         Along the way, Courtney said that “the best thing about being offshore is no two days are identical. Every day is a school day.” When the crew experienced foul weather and equipment failure in the Indian Ocean, “we all came together … to troubleshoot,” and the experience confirmed “that there is no other team that I would rather sail around the world with.”

         For Courtney, those challenging days are not the worst days. The most difficult part of being out at sea, she said, is not knowing whether they are achieving their goals of “raising awareness for our partner charities and empowering young girls around the world.”

         But that isolation, she realized, makes her appreciate even more their school visits, in-person meetings with partner charities, speaking engagements, and open boat days.

         Best wishes, Courtney, for smooth sailing and success in all ways on this journey. We look forward to hearing more of your story in person after the conclusion of the voyage.

         Visit www.georgestevensacademy.org/Page/995 to see a version of this story with more photos.

         Follow the voyage at www.themaidenfactor.org.

         To watch a trailer of the movie “Maiden,” about the first circumnavigation of the world by an all-female crew, visit www.sonyclassics.com/maiden/.

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  • Case, Chadbourne Join Board

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/30/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Bill Case and Sally Chadbourne

    Bill Case and Sally Chadbourne recently were named trustees.

     

    New Trustees Bring Experience, Passion

    A retired teacher from Blue Hill and a current GSA parent from Castine recently were named trustees at George Stevens Academy.

         “The board is thrilled to welcome two new trustees, Bill Case and Sally Chadbourne,” said board Chair Samantha Politte.

         “Although he will not officially represent the faculty, Bill will bring a unique perspective and deep understanding of the curriculum, the students and the daily life of the school,” said Politte.

         Case received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Syracuse University. He taught and coached in high school for 36 years in upstate New York. For the past 11 years, he taught social studies at George Stevens Academy, where he coached the varsity girls’ basketball team for four years.

         At GSA, Bill served on many committees and was graduation speaker in 2013. For the past three years, he has served on the Colloquy Downeast steering committee. Presently, he is teaching a course on the Holocaust at Maine Maritime Academy. He lives in Blue Hill with his wife, Deborah. They are active in the Blue Hill Congregational Church. They have two daughters and five grandchildren, all living in California.

         Of Chadbourne, Politte said, “Sally currently works at Maine Maritime Academy’s Center for Student Success and is excited to bring her vast array of skills and knowledge to GSA.”

         Since she moved to the area 18 years ago, Chadbourne said, she has been “impressed with the school and appreciative of GSA’s essential role in the community. Now that two of my sons are GSA students, my support for the school has intensified. I look forward to [helping GSA] carry out its mission and continue to provide a first-class education for all our students.”

         A native of Alabama and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Chadbourne has extensive government and nonprofit experience, including work for the EPA, the Department of Defense, the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, the Marine Environmental Research Institute (now the Shaw Institute) and the Castine Historical Society.

         She has volunteered with the Friends of Witherle Memorial Library, the Adams School PTC and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine. She lives with her husband, Delacroix Davis, their three sons and a goldendoodle.

         Welcome to the board!

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  • Junior Pursues Marine Research

    Posted by Mark Messer on 9/23/2019 10:00:00 AM

    Dyer holding fish

    Hannah Dyer holds a yellowtail kingfish.

    Dyer '21 Grabs Future by Yellowtail

    When she was an eighth-grader, Hannah Dyer of Brooklin had no clear career aspirations. “I really didn’t know what I wanted to be,” she said.

         But after settling in at George Stevens Academy, Hannah decided to step beyond traditional courses, like math and English. “Going into high school, I didn’t know anything about marine animals,” she said, so she decided to take a leap into Ocean Studies her sophomore year “just for fun.”

         In that course, Hannah “met a lot of cool classmates” and “learned a lot from Dr. Flenniken.” She and her classmates did field-based research; interacted with marine scientists, fisheries-related businesses and policy experts; and participated in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, winning the Great Idea Award for their work on a remotely operated vehicle at the regional end-of-year Skippers presentations in May.

         Megan Flenniken, the Ocean Studies teacher, was impressed by Hannah's work. “Hannah is talented and inquisitive,” she said, “and I thought she would gain a lot from an internship.”

         Flenniken, friends with Carla Scocchi, who works in 4-H youth development at the University of Maine, suggested that Hannah look into a summer opportunity with the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, a project with which Scocchi was involved.

         “I didn’t really know what aquaculture was all about,” Hannah said, but she decided to go for it, and “my experience in Ocean Studies prepared me quite a bit.”

         With six other interns, Hannah spent eight weeks raising yellowtail kingfish, hatching them, weighing them, checking their dissolved oxygen, and feeding them till they were ready to sell to sushi restaurants. They had to be the “right size,” she said, “they don’t want them to be humongous.”

         The interns also cleaned the halibut tank. “They are huge fish,” she said. “They’re pretty cool. We got to dissect one and grill it.”

         The summer program included visits to Sea and Reef Aquaculture in Franklin, a business that raises and sells aquarium fish to retail pet stores, and to Little Island Oyster Company in Brooksville, owned by GSA parents Frank and Tonyia Peasley.

         “I learned so much about [aquaculture], but also about marine biology,” Hannah said of her experience. The GSA junior thinks both fields are “really cool,” and it looks like she is firmly on track to a future in either or both.

         To that end, she is currently enrolled in GSA’s Marine Ecology Research Honors course and plans to create an alternative course contract to continue her research in yellowtail kingfish with Flenniken, some of which may be used for a Maine State Science Fair project.

         Also, Hannah is considering a project in sea urchin restoration or another internship with the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research for her GSA Independent Study and Internship Project, a program in which most GSA juniors and seniors participate every February.

         Whichever ISIP she chooses, it looks like Hannah no longer wonders where her future lies. It lies in the ocean.

         A version of this story with two more photos is available here: https://www.georgestevensacademy.org/Page/992.

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