Wednesday, April 16, 2014

20 Under 20 - Teens making a difference

The 20 under 20 teens are each unique in their own ways. Each one contributes or has overcome adversity to be the strong people they are becoming. The Windham Eagle solicited nominations from the community, schools, scout groups and through the newspaper inviting readers to tell us about outstanding teens in our community. 

Once they were nominated, we selected the top 20 and invited them to submit a 100-word essay explaining how what they do now makes a difference. As individual as the teens are, their essays are also unique. Some were long and some were short. Some detailed physical challenges while others talked about what the teens were doing to make a difference. We hope you enjoy reading about these outstanding teens in this special pull-out section of The Windham Eagle.

We also want to thank the businesses and individuals who sponsored this special section.

1. Allyson Tibbitts
2. Madison Mooradian
3.Steven Nadeau
4.Brandon Berry
5.Clay Hatch
6.Sierra Yost
7.Hailey Melvin
8.Celine Baker
9.Jaren Preston
10. Nadine Letourneau
11. Hawar Haddadi
12. Danielle Breton
13. Hailey Applebee
14. Andrew Shepard
15. Zach Bailey
16. Rhiannon Pelletier
17. Brad Meader
18. Margaret McGovern
19. Emily Callahan
20. Calvin Field

Allyson Tibbitts – Windham – Windham High School

Allyson, a senior, has always made school an important part of her life. She works hard for excellent grades. She is a four year varsity cheerleader with talent and a great heart. When Allyson encouraged her friend Becca to try out for the cheerleading squad, she had no idea how it would affect her.
This is what happened in Allyson’s words.
“Life is very different for every individual, especially for those who are born with a disability. Everyone deserves the same chance to achieve his or her dreams no matter what. When it comes to Becca, I would do anything for her. After making sure that she tried out for Winter Cheerleading like she wanted, I helped her become comfortable around the team along with giving her rides to and from practice. I do not treat her any different than I would anyone else. She is truly one of the smartest young ladies I have grown to know. If you were to tell her one thing to do, a minute later she will be over on the side practicing it. That girl 100% earned it. So how does what I do make a difference? I am simply just a support for Becca along with her family. I guess I would look at myself as the little bit of “push” that she needed to finally go after her dream.
I never knew it would become such a big news story. I never did any of this to be on television or be in the newspaper. I just look at Becca as an ordinary girl and I would help anyone else out in a heartbeat. She was the positivity that we needed on the team. She makes us all better. And she is an inspiration for everyone that holds back from going after what they aspire. I would say I am a part of a difference in Becca’s life, but I would also say that she has made an even stronger difference in mine. She has truly opened my eyes and I am so blessed to have her in my life. The first time I ever heard her tell me I was her best friend, all I could do was smile. Becca is not the only one who gained something from the experience. By making a small difference in her life, I have gained a new friend. And that is something stronger than just a simple high school tryout.”


Madison Mooradian – Windham – Windham Middle School

Madison has an amazing attitude on life. She has always been resilient and overcome many challenges. She received honor roll this last report card period even after losing her hearing completely on her right side when she developed and infection and had to have her cochlear implant removed, said her mother Robbyn. She is profoundly deaf and is mainstreamed in a public school. 
She travels as an advocate for her CI company, and talks to other children and families about hearing loss. She has never complained. She always worries about everyone else. She made a difference in 2001 being the youngest candidate to be implanted in Florida and she still is paving the way for others.

From Madison’s essay:
“I am honored to have been chosen as one of the finalists. I am 13 years old. I was born profoundly deaf and received cochlear implants as a toddler. I have had some challenges growing up but have never let anything get in my way. 
I love to talk about my hearing loss and my experiences. I travel to different conferences all over the US and talk to other kids just like me and their families. I am what is called a patient advocate. The manufacturer of my cochlear implant allows me to do this. Families always have lots of questions about cochlear implants and how they work. I also get to sit on panels where people from the audience ask questions and I can answer them. It is really fun and rewarding to see the excitement in some of their faces when they are realizing how well the device works and that it may be something that is available to them. It is also rewarding for me to get to talk to other teenagers just like myself who have some of the same thoughts and questions. Hearing people don't always understand how hard it can be sometimes when you are in a large group. Even though I have cochlear implants it is still challenging when more than one person is talking. I think I am lucky to be deaf. I get to turn my ears off when I don't want to hear. I also get to meet a lot of neat people.”

Steven Nadeau – Windham – Windham High School

Steven was nominated for his volunteerism and unselfish service that he shows for anyone and everyone in the community. “From helping at the food pantry to cleaning his neighbor’s driveway without being asked,” said his brother Michael who nominated him. Steven just completed the steps to earn his Boy Scout Eagle award. This honor is only achieved after a lot of hard work and a service project. Steven also leads the Order of the Arrow group, an honor society within the Boy Scouts. He is a leader in the community. 

Steven spoke about his project in his essay:
“I have been able to make a difference in a variety of communities through the many service projects I have helped to complete. The biggest impact I have made was at the Windham Public Library where my Eagle project was held. I built a seating pavilion to give the library a sitting and teaching area through the warm months. As a kid I spent much time at the library and wanted to give back in a much bigger way. I believe my project will give back to many people that enjoy the library as much as I used to, for many years to come.”


Brandon Berry – Naples – Windham Christian Academy

Brandon uses his talent for music to express his joy and develop his leadership skills. He learned how to play the piano and guitar on his own. “He is amazing because of where God has lead him with his music.
This is Brandon’s story in his own words.

“We all have a destiny and purpose when we come into existence. No matter what we are meant to do and become in life, it usually is the duty of serving others and making an impact on people’s lives. My story is a testimony of this.

My mother came from the concentration camps in Cambodia to America before I was born. It’s another story itself of how she miraculously got here safely. Let’s just say, by some crazy divine intervention, she was able to come here.

My sister and I were born at Maine Medical Center. My mother was unable to take care of us so we were placed in foster care. Then my adopted parents took us in, as well as our older brother and older sister. We were all raised up in a Christian, church going home, raised with high moral standards and taught to give people as much respect as possible. We have been growing up at their home ever since, and now my older brother and older sister are out of the house, having been raised by two of the greatest parents.

By the age of eight, I always heard my older sister singing. I enjoyed singing, but at the time wasn’t really great at it. She spent the reluctant time teaching me how to sing, and I started to develop a pretty good singing voice. I then picked up the guitar, drums and piano. Now, I’ve been a worship leader in my school chapel, youth group, and church ever since fifth grade, helping to lead my peers, the congregation of my church, and teens in worship.

However, I felt like worship music wasn't enough. By the age of eleven, I began to listen to electronic dance music. It immediately became one of my favorite genres. I began composing and producing much better songs with the right equipment. A couple of my friends have even started to make electronic music because they have seen through me it is not impossible. I now use my music making to inspire and encourage my peers to never stop trying to be more than society says they are and to break stereotypes of what society says teens are supposed to be like.

Music is not the only thing I do. I’m also a leader in my school and youth group. I’ve been on two youth leadership conferences, have been an officer, or leader, in my middle school performance ministry, called LOL, and now I’m starting a ministry event of my own, meant to kick off this late spring.
How my ministry/event idea began was when I started getting, if you will, ideas from God, telling me to start a two day ministry event that is meant to inspire, encourage, and support teens with talents, skills, and abilities.

Although I may have numerous talents and skills, I never got the appreciation and encouragement I wanted. I have low self-esteem, but I believe it’s a good thing, to keep my ego at bay. However, I remembered that life is not at all about ourselves, but about others, and how we can better other people’s lives. I flipped my desire of wanting to be more appreciated, and recognized there were other talented teens just like me that need encouragement and support for their talents and skills. I used this as motivation to want to actually push this event into motion.

We all are given talents, but there must be a reason we have them, so I’ve started this ministry to give a helping hand to those who have found their talents and are yet to. I remember a speaker coming to my youth group telling me, "If you don't try your best to start the plans and ideas in your head, how will they become reality?"

I believe people my age can make a difference here, right now, where they are at, in their school, and town. I am making a difference now, by being there for my friends and others, to support, to encourage, to protect others, and to inspire them to think that working to make a difference is not impossible with divine intervention, encouragement, and inspiration, and an optimistic heart. I help people make an impact on the world and show that I am living proof that we are born with a purpose, and that we can break the stereotypes of the world.


Clay Hatch – Windham – Windham Middle School

Clay showed initiative and drive in creating and selling origami to bring his soon to be new sister home from Ethiopia. He launched a website to showcase his work and to take orders. “He worked exceptionally hard, fulfilling orders all over the country” including being commissioned to create the favors for two weddings and surpassing his goal. Clay turned 11 the year the adoption of his new sister was finalized.

This is the essay written by sixth-grader Clay Hatch:

“When I was nine my mom went to an orphanage in Ethiopia. While she was there she met a 1-year-old girl and her name was Sitota.  A few months after my mom came home, my family decided we wanted to adopt Sitota. 

I made a difference by selling origami that I made to raise money for her orphanage. After a while I had raised enough money to pay for Sitota's plane ticket so she could come home. It was over $1,500. 

Even after she was home she still didn't know how to speak English or know what a brother or a sister was. We had to teach her and play with her and sometimes take her to Ethiopian parties, all so she could feel more comfortable. 

Sitota's story isn't over. As her brother I continue to help her learn and try new things like riding her bike or learning how to say and pronounce new words. The Ethiopian parties we all go to are important to her, and to us because we get a chance to meet other people who are from Ethiopia. We get to see families who are a little like ours.

I'm not just teaching her because I am her brother, but I'm also teaching her what it means for her to have a brother.”

“I'm also teaching her what it means for her to have a brother.”


Sierra Yost – Windham – Windham High School
Sierra is the top student in her sophomore class and scored in the 99th percentile on her PSATs, but she is a top teen because she not only excels in school, but out of school as well. She writes for The Windham Eagle and participates in dance, drama, cross country, track and lacrosse. She volunteers and is an environmental advocate.

Sierra discusses what she does to make a difference in her community and state.

“To me, making a difference can be anything as small as making someone smile to something as large helping the environment. I like making someone’s day better by smiling at them in the hallways. Being a force of positive change is really important to my life. I live everyday trying to be a better, happier person, therefore becoming a better daughter, student and friend. 

Studies have shown that volunteering can make people happier and healthier. Long before I knew that, I was helping at the Windham Public Library. The summer after my fourth grade year I started shelving books in the teen section of the library. Every summer since then, I have shelved books one day a week.”
“I also make a difference at a larger level. In eighth grade, I proposed an ordinance to Windham’s Town Council that would have banned plastic bags and taxed paper bags in large stores. I wrote the ordinance, and then gave my proposal to the council at a Town Council meeting. Though it was not passed, my proposal brought attention to the issue at hand. Plastic bags are bad for the environment. I was featured on a Channel 13 news story and was written about in the Portland Press Herald. In addition, there was a short story about my efforts written by the Associated Press. I found this to be my greatest success. I had spread the word about the dangers of plastic bags on a national level.

However, I did not stop after the ordinance was not passed, I moved to the state level. I wrote a bill that would allow towns in Maine to ban or tax disposable bags if they felt it necessary. Representative Jane Pringle sponsored the bill, but it was after regular legislative voting.”

I also like to volunteer on a more personal level. I volunteer as an assistant coach during middle school indoor track. I find it really important to work with athletes at this level. I also work with many athletes during summer track. It is really rewarding to watch them succeed. 

I believe that little actions can make a difference as well. I cut off my hair and donate it to Locks of Love to make someone smile. I am currently growing my hair out for the fourth time. Knowing that my hair is used to make wigs for kids so they feel more self-confident is fantastic. 

Helping the Town of Windham, its residents, and Maine is a very rewarding thing. I try to give back to the community that has helped me grow into the person I am today. I hope that everyone gets the chance to feel like they have made a positive difference in someone’s life, because it is the best feeling in the world.


Hailey Melvin – Raymond – Windham High School

Hailey is a graduating senior at WHS. She is no ordinary teen according to Pamela Blake Hartig, who nominated her. “Hailey was born with a rare vascular malformation in her hand and arm that forced her to begin seeing specialists in Boston at nine months old. At her young age, she has undergone six sclerotherapy treatments, four surgeries and her care is ongoing.”

Hailey was unable to continue in the sports she loved because of her condition, but she put a positive spin on her life and devoted her time to dance. Her mother owned a dance studio when she was young so he was introduced to all types of music, dance styles and looked up to the older dancers. She now primarily focuses on jazz and hip-hop. 

She has a part-time job at a hair salon and helps her mother out with her daycare. She plans to attend college in the fall. “Hailey is a prime example of a teen that works hard, doesn’t give up and embraces the obstacles that life tends to throw your way with a smile,” said Hartig. 

In Hailey’s words this is how she makes a difference.

“How I make a difference is by allowing those with so much to say finally speak. I’m a girl that wears a glued together heart on her sleeve. There are so many people out there that are not being heard. I listen to those broken souls. I am a sound booth for those who want to scream and cry. Two minutes of listening can save someone’s life. I listen to people because I never was heard myself. To see people suffer like I have suffered is not an option. All anyone ever wants is to be cared for.” 


Celine Baker – Windham – Windham High School

Celine is an overall great leader and has been involved in pageants to spread her mission called “A Full Table”. She is involved in her church and in chamber singers. This freshman at WHS is “a great example of a well-rounded individual.” 

Celine talks about her volunteer work:
“Through my volunteer work at Wayside Food Programs in Portland, St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry in Portland, Monday Night Meal Program in Windham, being the Nursery Coordinator at my church in Windham, and advocating for my own personal platform, “A Full Table,” I have seen smiles appear on people’s faces just from getting a wholesome meal. I’ve seen hope twinkling in the eyes of a young mother as she picks out donated baby clothes, and I can imagine the appreciation an operations manager will feel after receiving donations that will benefit so many people.

This June, I will be competing for the title of Miss Maine’s Outstanding Teen 2014. One of the requirements of this pageant is to have a personal platform. “A Full Table” is my own non-profit program that I created to benefit local soup kitchens, food banks, and organizations that sponsor food resource centers, through food drives and volunteer work. The Wayside Food Program is one of the organizations that I am helping. After meeting with Don Morrison, the operations manager, I realized that donations are key to making organizations like Wayside successful, so I have organized a small food drive with the Windham Chamber Singers that will benefit Wayside. He told me that having teens like me get involved in something that they are passionate about is amazing and will change lives. I hope he’s right.

Even before I got started with my personal platform, I was very involved in volunteering. St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry and Monday Night Meal are places that I volunteer on a regular basis. St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry is held at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland and is for anyone who lacks daily living essentials like soap, shampoo, diapers, etc. Donations of clothes, games, toys, shoes, kitchen utilities and useful knick-knacks, are accepted. I usually volunteer with my church’s youth group. On Christmas Eve of 2013, we all went to volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s and afterwards I felt overjoyed. To see the smiles on people’s faces, little kids running around with new toys in their arms, and compassion radiating through the room, makes a difference. Monday Night Meal is a free meal sponsored by different churches on Monday nights. Again, with kids from my youth group, I volunteer to help cook, serve the 60 or so people who come to enjoy a home cooked meal and clean up. To know that people are going home with full stomachs, who usually don’t, is rewarding.

Not only does it make a difference to the people who haven’t had a complete meal in a week, the parents with kids in the nursery which I run, the people who now have diapers for the next week, and the people who see all the donations come in, it makes a difference to me. Throughout my years of volunteering, I have come to appreciate everything I have. I now realize that people in this world, let alone this community, are struggling just to put food on the table. I want to help and I am helping. What I do makes a difference because I am empowered to give back and to appreciate the little things in life. Henri-Frédéric Amiel states, “Life is short and we have not too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. Oh be swift to love. Make haste to be kind.”


Jaren Preston – Windham – Windham Middle School

Although Jaren is eighth grader, he exhibits the same traits as people who are supposedly older and wiser than he is. As the troop leader for Troop 805 in Windham, he is responsible for organizing and running meetings and working with the adults in the troop to keep things running smoothly, which isn’t the easiest thing for a teenager to do, but Jaren does it with finesse and a positive attitude. What Jaren does in his free time and with Scouts is helping to shape him into the person he wants to be. 

“Many of the things that I do now make a difference in who I am. One thing that am very involved in is track, cross country and just running in general. These activities make me strive for personal records, faster times and they take lots of commitment. I am also part of my schools orchestra. I play the cello. This too requires commitment. And I participate in the school play. But out of all of these I most actively participate in scouting. This is an activity that I really enjoy because I get to spend lots of my time hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors.

Some of the things I do now make a difference in the lives of others and the community. I will often run five kilometer races that benefit charities. The money you pay to run the race goes to different charity organizations. As a scout I do plenty of service projects. These are just some projects I do to help people where I get no benefit for my actions. Currently, I have one hundred service hours documented. Some of the many things I have done include passing out metals to marathon runners and improving the Windham Community Gardens. Something that I have done more recently was place wreaths at the graves of fallen veterans in Windham. Writing this essay really brought to my attention how much I really do make a difference in myself and in the lives of others.”


Nadine Letourneau – Windham - Windham High School

Nadine is very dedicated to her work and is ambitious to get where she wants, said Ben Kosticzak, who nominated her. Being ambitious is a skill learned from experiences in her life. 

Nadine’s words:
“At the age of 14, I went through scoliosis surgery where I had to have my curve in my back fixed with two rods and 26 screws. As human beings we take walking and having a nice back to our advantage, I learned to value my life and what I have to offer to the people that surround me. My scoliosis surgery has made me who I am today. I learned the importance of being a teenager and how one may enjoy their teenage years and how these years allow us to gain knowledge for our adulthood lives. I perceive the world as a playground, that even though one may get hurt and fall down, one is still able to stand up again and take a step forward into their life. What I do now for my fellow peers makes a difference because I strive to teach them what really matters in our lives from making mistakes to experiencing excitement, because we are young it does not mean that we are a nuisance to our community, we are the community. 

We are making mistakes learning how to achieve the perfect mindset that may not even exist as a teenager. I make a difference for myself and others because I allow them to see that I am a dedicated student, which doesn’t mean I am “sucking up” or “being someone I am not.” I am allowing them to see that even though I may have a teenage mentality I am able to have a different mindset of my own, that I have the confidence to do so. When discussing our futures as peers, friends or acquaintances, I strive to teach them that when one is a dedicated person, one can achieve anything as long as they set their mind to it. In conclusion, I make a difference because I value people’s opinions in hope to teach others about my experiences as a young adult. I am a dedicated, hardworking student that has many hopes in dreams wanting to show my fellow peers that when one is hardworking and dedicated anything is possible. I hope one day to achieve my goals of becoming an architectural engineer and to broaden my education as a young adult. To finalize my words in one sentence, I use a quote from Eric Thomas, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe that is when you become truly successful.” 


Hawar Haddadi – Windham – Windham High School                                                                                                              
Hawar was nominated for his involvement in sports and service clubs. “He is smart, kind and involved and exemplifies a teen that is well-rounded and a leader that others can and should look up to.” Beyond that, Hawar has lived a fascinating life he described in his essay:

“Making a difference in people’s lives is what I strive to do on a daily basis. My life has been anything but easy. At a very young age my family fled my home country of Iran in search of religious and educational freedom. My father was a freedom fighter and fought against the Iranian regime to end the religious persecution that was brought upon by a brutal government. My father fled Iran and left his entire family there. He has not seen any of his family for the past 20 years because he was outlawed for speaking out against the government. If he were to ever return he would be publicly hanged. We traveled as refugees for months, avoiding the police at every turn. We eventually managed to arrive in Turkey. This is where our dreams of coming to America finally came true. Once we arrived in America we had absolutely nothing. My parents had no idea how to speak the English language. This unfortunately meant that they were not able to get jobs. Our family of six lived in a small, mold-infested, apartment in the crime ridden streets of Phoenix, Arizona. I remember going to the store and wanting all of the toys and not being able to get anything because we did not have enough money. My grades suffered as a child because my parents could not help me with my studies. I had trouble adapting from my mother tongue of Kurdish to the English language. This made communicating with the other students a struggle. I did not have many friends as a child. When we moved to Windham, Maine my parents were extremely lucky to land solid jobs. Our terrible luck had finally come to an end, or so it seemed. When my family (except my father) traveled back to Iran to visit family, we were held hostage by the Iranian government. We were interrogated for hours and I truly felt as if I was going to die. This single day transformed my life. When I arrived home and saw all of my friends I thought about how lucky I was. Millions of people have gone against the Iranian regime and have not lived to tell the tale. The reason I am so involved in my community is because I have experienced pain, misfortune and bad luck. Why would I not help people who are in the same position as I was many years ago? There is nothing worse than not people able to go to sleep at night with a stomach full of food and being around your loved ones. During my academic career I have accumulated well over a thousand hours of community service. Currently, I have given up any free time that I have in order to better my school and community. I am president of my junior class, a three sport varsity athlete, and enrolled in as many Advanced Placement classes as my schedule allows. I hope to one day become a doctor and return to Iran to help the poor and impoverished people of my country and change their lives just as this country has changed mine.


Danielle Breton - Windham – Windham High School

Danielle was nominated for being an “amazing girl who is willing to try anything new.” She is also on the swim team and acts in the high school plays. However, since she was 12 she had had a different type of challenge. 

This is Danielle’s essay:                                             
“Since I was 12 years old, I have had type 1 diabetes. It has definitely had its ups and downs these past few years, but I have gotten through it. One thing I have found to be interesting is that many people do not know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I believe I have begun to make a difference by educating people about this disease. My family and friends are always asking about it out of concern, and I help them understand diabetes more. 

Throughout my school life, I have been a very shy person. I don't start conversations most of the time, and I am just a true introvert. This became a concern as a diabetic, since I have to explain my condition to teachers, coaches and friends. Due to the importance to people knowing I have this disease, I had to buckle down and just tell them. I knew that if I informed people I could make a difference with my safety and health while in school. 

Doing so has helped to bring me out of my shell and become a more confident person. I have reached out and done community service, as well as the fall musicals and swim team for the past four years. It's not always easy for me on many levels, but my prior actions have given me the courage. I really want to raise awareness and help the world understand not only me, but thousands of other kids like me who have diabetes.”


Hailey Applebee – Raymond – Jordan-Small Middle School

Hailey is a leader in the classroom, sports teams, musically and in the community. In sixth grade, she has made high honors every semester since she started at Jordan-Small Middle School. She plays sports and placed second in the state cross country meet this year. Recently for her 12th birthday she collected donations for the animal refuge league instead of receiving gifts from her friends. She is passionate about animals. 

From Hailey’s essay: “I love to play sports, hang with my friends and play music. I play the clarinet and guitar and recently I made District Two for clarinet. Running is my favorite sport and is a very good way to keep active and healthy! You can run anytime of the year, even in the winter! Last summer I competed in the state 3,000 meter where I placed second. This fall I competed in the state cross country meet where I also placed second and this earned me a spot to race in the regional meet in New York. 

I also enjoy school. My favorite subject is science and I someday hope to become a marine biologist.
Something I feel is really important to me is donating charity. I recently donated food, toys and other supplies to the Animal Refuge League. I have donated a couple of times and will keep donating. I love to donate because I love animals so very much and would take all of the animals home if I could. I know that they will eventually get good loving families and will be taken very good care of. You can make a difference too by simply helping out from helping at an animal shelter to picking up trash on the streets.”

“…I love animals so very much and would take all of the animals home if I could.”


Andrew Shepard – Windham – Windham High School

Andrew dares to be himself and hare his love of music and theater. Through his work with the Windham Middle School fall production as assistant director, he is sharing that love. He sings with the Boys Singers of Maine, takes voice lessons, is in the band and twirls baton. 

He also gives to the community. “At 15, he is already touching people with his kind words and talents.”
Andrew expresses himself through his many activities. Read about how he’s making a difference.

“I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Windham High School. I feel blessed that my family has supported me as I explore different avenues of the arts including baton twirling, theatre, and music as a way of showing my true colors. I have grown up believing that everybody should express themselves and not be afraid to step outside of the box that society norms have put them in. One of my life goals is to share with the world that you can be who you want to be no matter what others think and expect.

From an early age I have pursued the sport of baton twirling. I have developed inner strength and self-confidence through my passion for the craft. Throughout the years I have won several state, regional, and national titles including most recently representing the state of Maine along with my team and placing third in my division at the USTA National Championships. I aspire to continue after high school by becoming a certified coach and judge in order to give back what the sport has given me. Even with great success, it has not always been easy being one of the only males in the country that participate.
When my mother first introduced theatre to me I never realized how life changing it would be and the impact it has had with becoming who I am. The stage has provided me with the opportunity to express myself and provide a safe environment to be who I am. My first time on the stage opened my eyes to the opportunities I have had not only in the Windham community but in other communities throughout the state. For example, short films and professional theatre companies. This year I have had the opportunity to give back to the Windham theatrical arts by being the student representative of the WCST board of directors and allowed to assistant direct the Windham Middle School’s production of Aladdin Jr. under the direction of Mary Wassick. That opportunity taught me how rewarding it is to be on the other side of the process seeing young minds grow as they find part of who they are.

When I am not on stage, I focus on my grades and take pride in being a straight A student. High School has opened my eyes to many different possibilities including developing a love for Spanish and science. I look forward to continuing my knowledge of the foreign language as I become a member of the Spanish Honor Society and begin teaching Spanish to a Primary School class through the “Aguilitos” program.
I make a constant effort to be accepting of other people’s differences and make sure they feel welcomed. You never should take for granted a small gesture or a smile for that could turn someone’s day from bad to good. 

As I look into the future, I hope to surround myself with opportunities that can provide personal growth and self-expression. I never stop dreaming and pursuing personal goals as I continue through the journey called growing up. My dream is to be a successful physician as I experience the world with eyes wide open. I live each day feeling blessed for what I have accomplished and hope to make my life spectacular as I cherish every moment. Whether the experience is good or bad, it will shape me into the person I aspire to be.


Zach Bailey – Windham – Windham High School

Zach is a senior at Windham High School. He is described as a bright spot in the community and a natural leader. He promotes inclusivity and stands up for other students, according to Amy Beth Brochu-Krikken, the woman who nominated him. 

"The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment," said Tony Robbins.

My imagination tends to be one of my weaker traits, but it has led me to helping start an ultimate Frisbee team two years ago at Windham High School. Commitment, along with a little help from fellow teammates, helped me raise almost $600 to help pay for the costs of having the team. I also referee soccer, and Windham Youth Soccer Association every year has a friendly 4-on-4 tournament to raise money in which they need volunteer referees. I have commitment to my assignments and my job as a referee has led me to volunteering for that the past few years. 

Seeing and going after what you want and believe is what makes Zach one of The Windham Eagle 20 under 20.


Honorable Mention

Rhiannon Pelletier – Raymond – Saint Joseph’s College
Rhiannon is a sophomore at Saint Joseph’s College studying writing and publishing. She is a principal soloist with Maine State Ballet and performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker this past year. She also teachers at Center Stage in Raymond and Maine State Ballet in Falmouth. A straight A student, she is proving that if you apply yourself you can accomplish all of your goals.

Brad Meader – Raymond – Windham High School
Brad, a senior, was nominated by his English teacher. “Brad is an outstanding student and leader at Windham High School. He is involved not only in drama and Windham Chamber Singers, but he also serves as president of the National Honor Society and has been generous with his time tutoring and fundraising. He is extremely talented.” He also has his own videos on YouTube.

Margaret (Maggie) McGovern – Windham – Windham High School
Maggie was nominated for the outstanding work she does outside of school in addition to being a great student at WHS. She is in her junior year. “Maggie is the first student from Windham High School to participate in Portland School of Ballet’s C.O.R.P.s. program, which stands for Collaboration, Outreach, Responsibility, Performance, Scholar.” It is a performing arts program. She attends classes at WHS, then attends Portland School of Ballet for three hours of intensive classes Monday through Friday.
Maggie will be in a Kids 4 Kids production of Around the World with Flat Stanley this month. She has also attended summer intensive ballet programs at Boston Ballet and Interlochen School for the Arts in Michigan. She also plays violin in the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and studies voice with Elisabeth Marshall at USM. She was a member of the Windham Chamber Singers for two years and has been in All-State chorus and District 2 for both violin and chorus. She is planning a career in performing arts.

Emily Callahan – Raymond – Windham High School
Emily was nominated by Raymond resident Sandy Winde who was diagnosed with inoperable cancer almost two years ago. This WHS senior has worked tirelessly on behalf of Sandy and his family “to alleviate some of the financial stress and burdens this diagnosis has created. With a huge heart full of compassion and creativity, Emily, has the organizational skills of someone far more experienced than a 17-year-old young lady.
Maintaining excellent grades, working, sports and the active social life of a high school senior, one would think Emily would not have the time nor energy to devote to a non-family, a mere community member in this, his time of need.”
“She has earned my greatest admiration, love and respect from the simplest of things, she cares about others. Through her actions she shows all that she touches, the amazing heart which lies within.”

Calvin Field – Windham – Saint Joseph’s College
After graduating from Windham High School, Calvin sustained a brain injury that prompted him to stop playing the sports he loved, especially baseball. “He was on the 2009 state championship football team, and the 2013 American Legion state championship baseball team. He went to the New England Regionals for high jump in 2012.”
Now he coaches the next generation of Windham athletes. He has been a volunteer coach for Windham Middle School football and a volunteer umpire for Little League. He would also like to coach middle school baseball this spring. Calvin is studying sports management and is in the honors program there.

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