Sunday, April 20, 2014

Community Day at Manchester School raises awareness for local causes - by Jessilyn Austen

On Wednesday morning, Manchester School presented their Community Day projects. All the children at Windham’s Manchester School worked very hard this year to improve and do great things for the community, the staff said. To start off the celebration, the children learned about the history of Manchester School. It was named after Stephen Manchester and two of Stephen’s descendants were in attendance to explain the history to the students. They learned about several of the landmarks in Windham that have been around since the days of Stephen Manchester. After a brief history of the school’s founder, the first principal of Manchester School, former Senator Bill Diamond, spoke. “What makes you proud?” Diamond asked the students. Many little hands shot up. Grades were one of the many answers the kids had. Diamond continued by telling the packed gymnasium what the school was like forty years ago when he was principal and how back then they were considered “pioneers” for how they conducted classes as there were no walls inside the school at that time.

After listening patiently and intently to the speakers, it was the children’s turn as they treated the parents, teachers and community members to their school song led by Charles Oehrtmann. Art teacher Angelika Blanchard and her students spoke before the presentation of the donations. The first donation was made by Deb Luce’s fourth grade class for $515 to the wounded Warriors project. All the children in her class worked very hard to raise the money for this great cause, she said. 

The second donation was made by Donna Morton and Adam Beals’ classes to the Windham Land Trust. They raised $450. Stacey Sanborn then spoke about their beautiful garden shed which was painted with butterflies and flowers by Blanchard and her Reach art students. 

The American Legion was the beneficiary of the third donation raised by Sabrina Nickerson’s class. They raised $452 which was presented to Karle Learner and Mel Greenier of American Legion Post 148. 

The fourth donation went to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA). The $262 raised by Mrs. Fischer’s class which was presented to a member of the MSSPA and Bill Diamond, who is on the board of directors and the current treasurer. 
The final donation was raised through last Friday’s talent show which netted $1,300 and was presented to Officer Matt Cyr for the DARE program and another $300 from DARE bracelet sales, which Officer Cyr said would go to help fund the wonderful work that the DARE program does. 

A surprise announcement was made at the assembly that teacher Donna Morton, who has been with the Windham School Department for 37 years, has chosen to retire at the end of this school year. She looks forward to pursuing many hobbies and interests including painting, reading and travelling. The American Legion announced to the group that they have selected Donna Morton as this year’s teacher of the year. With all the wonderful things she does for the school, she will be dearly missed, the staff said. 

The ceremony was concluded with the children singing the song “Manchester School” written by Mike Nobel, led by Oehrtmann and a slide show of the children at Manchester School throughout the year dancing to the song “Happy” put together by Morton. After the presentations and the ceremony, people were able to walk around the gym and look at many of the projects the students had worked on throughout the year. The projects were on a variety of topics to benefit the community, including quilts for Ronald McDonald House and fundraising still happening for MSSPA. Manchester School would like to thank several people including Blossoms for providing them with all the flowers, the kitchen and custodial crew, Oehrtmann for the music as well as the Community Day committee made up of Morton, Blanchard, Sanborn and Melissa Azzaratta along with all students, staff and volunteers that helped make Manchester Community Day such a positive experience for everyone.

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