Monday, November 25, 2013

Where in the world is Mr. Day? - by Rob McClure

Donna Morton’s fourth grade class at Windham’s Manchester School is studying geography while looking for Mr. Day. It’s similar to the game “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” only Carmen is a stuffed moose from Maine named Marco who gets to travel around the world on UPS jet flown by Windham’s Kevin Day aka Mr. Day, who is also the parent of one of Mrs. Morton’s students, Audrey Day. 

When Mr. Day’s job takes him across the globe, he brings Marco along and challenges the kids to find him. The clues, sent by Mr. Day are posted on a website run by Morton. As soon as the clues are posted, the kids set out to locate Mr. Day and Marco using whatever resources they can. Some of the kids use EarthView, some use Google Earth, and others use the atlas. Whatever they decide works best for them is ok with Morton, who reminds them “As in life, there is rarely only one way to do something.” 
Mr. Day came up with the idea for "Where in the World is Mr. Day?" when his son was in the fourth grade. He would correct his GROW (Geographic review of our world) homework and thought he could help make learning about geography more fun and more personal. “When I was a kid the world seemed like such a huge place, and to me countries where just names on a map. Because of the nature of my job the world has gotten a lot smaller and I've learned a lot about many different cultures. I hope that through this game I can pass on some of my experience to the kids,” Mr. Day said. 
“My favorite part of this game is engaging with the kids,” he said. “I've learned so much with my job and love the opportunity to share it. Knowing that I can add to what Mrs. Morton is teaching is rewarding.” 

Since every child has access to an Apple laptop, they can access technology such as Google’s Street View and virtually do things such as walk across the Golden Gate Bridge as they did when they narrowed in their search to San Francisco. They also learned about the Gold Rush and Alcatraz at that time. “It has really has evolved into a dynamic learning experience,” said Morton, who also doubles as the school’s technology coordinator. 

“Every year I try to do something new and exciting for the kids. I get excited when the kids get excited,” said Morton, who has been teaching for 37 years. She speaks in terms of adoration when referring to her students. She keeps photo albums of all her classes going back to 1976. “I’m now teaching my former students children. It’s like I am their grandmother and I love it,” said Morton. 

Morton wanted to acknowledge her fourth grade students who are participating in this project: Sam Baker, Colby Connolly, Audrey Day, Emma Debrosse, Lauren Deluca, Marshall Dillon, Mercedes Dyer, Wyatt Flibbert, Juliane Fuller, Xander Greslick, Gianna Howie, Kylee Keene, Alexa Lachance, Preston Linscott, Tayshawn Lindsay, Alexis Livingston, Dylan Mathieson, Xander Paradis, Norberto Ramos, Tyler Reynolds, Tanner Simagna and Kiara Stuart.
Together, Morton and Mr. Day have created a very special way for the students to learn not only geography, but also a broader awareness of the world including other cultures and religions. The kids were especially excited when they discovered the iconic McDonalds golden arches in China, only the letters were in Chinese, not English. “It’s really about solving a mystery, and who doesn’t love a mystery?” asked Morton as she pointed out exotic places where Mr. Day and Marco had been previously, places such as Dubai and South Korea.

“It has also been a fun for the parents, who can access the site with their kids at home. I try to encourage those parent/child conversations,” said Mr. Day. The website is accessible for anyone who would like to see the clues on the webpage and are welcome to guess along. 

The website address is:

Windham eighth-grader to travel abroad with People to People Ambassador Program - By Elizabeth Richards

Isabella Rosborough was first invited to apply for the People to People Ambassador Program when she was in fifth grade. This July, after a lot of hard work, planning and fundraising, the eighth-grader will take the opportunity to travel with the program. Her trip will span 19 days and take her to France, Italy and England.
The People to People Ambassador Program has taken students of varying ages abroad since 1957. The program travels to a different place each summer. When Rosborough received a letter last summer with the information for this year, she knew it was the trip she wanted to take. “I’ve always wanted to go to Europe,” she said.    

Rosborough is poised and well-spoken, and displayed great motivation and enthusiasm as she discussed the trip. She is looking forward to living with a family for a few days. “I think it’s really cool that we get to stay with a French or Italian family for three days and get to know what they do in their daily life. I’ve always been interested in how other countries differ from America,” she said.

The other thing she is most looking forward to is visiting Normandy. She has a great interest in history, she said, and thinks it will be interesting to visit a place of such historical significance.

The People to People Ambassador Program appealed to her for a variety of reasons. “I think it’s a great opportunity to learn things that you wouldn’t have normally. I’ve always been interested in history and social studies,” she said. “I really like talking to people and meeting new people and I thought this was a really fun way to do it,” she added.

One of the program expectations is to know about the governments and current events in both the United States and the countries they will visit, said Rosborough. The group will meet with a current or former member of the British Parliament while in England. She said she knows some of the basics, but there is a lot to learn before then as well. The meetings she attends with the group will help her prepare.

Rosborough said she is a little nervous, but also excited about the trip. She said that there are no other students from Windham in the Greater Portland group she’ll be travelling with, but she has already connected with a couple of girls that she met at the first meeting. The group will meet every other month to do a variety of things, including asking questions, getting to know you activities, learning local customs and going over program expectations and procedures.

Rosborough said she’s been saving money for the trip since she first heard of the program in fifth grade. Last year, she started selling homemade peppermint bark, knowing that a trip like this was something she wanted to do before her senior year in high school. She is once again making and selling the homemade bark for $10 per pound, $6 for a half-pound, and $3 a quarter-pound. Another fundraising effort is a raffle that her family is putting together. The top prize is a choice between four Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, which can be delivered and set up anywhere in the continental United States. The second through fifth prizes are a choice between four wall and mantel clocks. Tickets, which are being printed now, will be $10 each. In addition to her personal fundraising, the larger group will be doing some fundraising as well.

Rosborough isn’t a stranger to trying new things. Last year, she joined a school group to enter a competition to build a section of a wind turbine. It was the first time the school had taken part in the competition. 

Rosborough’s group came in 27th out of 40 entries, and most of their competition was high school students, since there were only three middle school groups. She is planning to participate in that competition again this year. Rosborough has also been involved in Odyssey of the Mind, recreational soccer, swimming and tennis.

Her father, Bob Rosborough, said the trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Isabella, and said she’s worked hard to raise money, including babysitting, selling the peppermint bark and the upcoming raffle. “We kind of tested the water to see how serious she was,” he said. “She’s very serious about it.”

Isabella said she’s very excited about the trip. She wants to be a power engineer when she gets older, and said that is a very competitive field. “People who go on this trip have a 70 percent higher chance of getting into the college of their choice because colleges really look to see that you’re worldly,” she said.

Anyone interested in buying peppermint bark or raffle tickets can contact Bob Rosborough at 310-8016 or

RTP bus service starts Monday - By Elizabeth Richards

The long awaited and much anticipated Portland to Naples bus route will begin service on Monday, November 25th, according to an announcement on the Regional Transportation Program’s website.  And for the rest of 2013, the service will be free.
The bus has stops in Portland, Westbrook, Windham, Raymond and Casco.  The regular fare will be $3 for a one-way ticket, and includes a free transfer to METRO and the South Portland City Bus Service, to be used on the next available bus to the rider’s end destination.
The service begins in Portland at the METRO Pulse station on Elm Street.  The stops en route to Naples are: 333 Elmwood Avenue in Westbrook (Pride’s Corner); The North Windham Mall at the entrance to Smitty’s Cinema at 795 Roosevelt Trail; Sunset Variety at 1337 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond; Clyde Bailey Drop-In Center at 224 Roosevelt Trail in Casco; and the American Legion Hall at 26 Casco Road in Naples.

Service will run Monday through Friday, with no service on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Patriots Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The bus has four scheduled runs each way, with the first bus leaving Naples at 6 a.m, and Portland at 7:20 a.m.  There are two morning runs, an afternoon run and an evening run each way. The full schedule is available at the RTP website,

Questions and comments can be directed to Daniel Goodman,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lady Eagles - Class A State Soccer Champs - By Stephanie Coffin

The Lady Eagles Girls varsity soccer team’s week in review in three easy steps: 

1. Monday - Coach Lebel gives birth to baby Benjamin.
2. Wednesday - the Lady Eagles win the Class A Western Maine Regional Finals against Thornton Academy.
3. Saturday - the Lady Eagles become Class A State Champions!

Top-ranked Windham hosted number three Thornton Academy Wednesday night under the lights at the Windham High School Stadium. Coach Lebel, who gave birth to her son on Monday, came to cheer her girls on along with the fans for both teams. The photographers were surrounding the soccer field ready to capture the moment in picture as we all waited to see who would be crowned champion.

The Lady Eagles took an early lead in both drive and desire by keeping the ball in Thornton Academy’s territory for most of the first half. Sophomore Ciera Berthiaume scored Windham’s first goal showing TA that she was here to play and to the delight of the Eagles Nest crowd making the game 1-0. Senior Jenna Soucy showed TA’s defense that she also was here to perform and could get by their defense to score the second goal for Windham.

 The second half started with Windham 2 – TA 0. However, the TA’s offense must have gotten a pep talk by their coach because they stepped up their game scored their first goal within two minutes of half time. The game continued as a fast paced, aggressive performance from both sides that was just too exciting to remain seated. Emily Gilman and a TA player collided that resulted in the TA player sitting out the remainder of the game. 

Ciara Berthiaume scored again with an assist from Cassie Symonds, making the score Windham-3 to TA-1. TA rallied back with back to back goals tying and forcing the championship game into overtime.

The first 15-minute overtime period went scoreless making the fans wonder if it will all come down to penalty kicks as the semifinal game against Scarborough did. Moving in to the second overtime period with 10:47 left to play, Berthiaume forces TA to a corner kick. Kicking the ball low, Berthiaume found senior Emily Gorrivan as she made her way through the TA players using her body to drive the ball home. Gorrivan, not even realizing or believing what she had just done took a moment to realize that she made the Lady Eagles champions!

As the Lady Eagles headed to states on Saturday in Bath against the Bangor Rams they carried with them their motto “Offense wins games but defense wins championships”

And that is just what happened on Saturday, the offense took charge of the game out shooting Bangor with shots on goal 38-8. While the defense kept the ball from getting too close to goalkeeper Kate Kneeland and the net by keeping the ball over the midfield line.

The first half of the game went scoreless. However, 51 seconds into the second half Ciera Berthiaume accepted a pass from Shannon Valente to score the first of three goals for the Lady Eagles. Once the momentum started there was no stopping the girls from Windham. Luisa Sbardella scored the second goal of the game 27 minutes later when she accepted a pass from Jenna Soucy and out maneuvered Bangor’s defender for the ball. Jenna Soucy wrapped up the third goal about three minutes later when she accepted a pass from Emily Gorrivan while making her way past three Bangor defenders to find her way into the net. 

The Rams were trying their best throughout the game to bring the ball into Windham territory, while Cassie Symonds, Shannon Valente and Katie Herzig continued their efforts to push the ball back and block any attempts made by Bangor. The Rams were successful a few times and got down field, however, the Lady Eagle defenders consisting of Emily Gilman, Ariana Davidson, Lauren Shoemaker, Laura McKenna, Jordan Sargent and Hannah Haskell just would not allow that to happen and made the Rams go home scoreless.
The ‘Eagles Nest’ classmates came to Bath to cheer on their Lady Eagles and it was exciting to see all the fans, parents, family, and friends and school faculty that were there also to support them. It was a great year to be a part of this team in any of these positions. The team is made up of a wonderful bunch of girls, great parents, great fan support and great coaching. Fans can’t wait to see what happens next year.

Congratulations Windham Lady Eagles Varsity Girls Soccer!

Windham students compete on Kick Start - By Elizabeth Richards

On the current season of Kick Start, a game show for eighth graders that airs on WPXT, seven of the 27 contestants are from Windham schools. Any eighth grader in the state of Maine can audition for the show, and this year, many of those kids came from the Windham area. During the auditions, kids are asked about themselves to be sure they are comfortable on set and in front of a camera, said Megan Littlefield, who is the promotions coordinator for WPXT, and one of the executive producers of Kick Start. “All the Windham kids have been great,” she said.
The show has 13 episodes per season. The winner of each of the first nine episodes moves on to a semi-final show, and the three semi-final winners compete in the finals. The winner of the final round receives a $2,500 NextGen College Investment Plan. 

Kick Start is split into three sections. The first, The Speed Splat Throwdown, has contestants competing for points by buzzing in to answer as many of the questions as they can in three minutes. The Buildy Thing incorporates some kind of physical challenge with contestants creating something within a specific time frame. The final section, the Slop Drop Showdown, has all competitors answering true/false or multiple choice questions at the same time to compete for points. Contestants who answer three of these questions incorrectly end up doused in slime.

Littlefield says the station produces the show because they want to be involved in communities and help encourage kids to start thinking about college at an early age. All eighth graders in the state are invited to audition. Though they try to put on as many kids who audition as they can, Littlefield says, “It turns out a lot of eighth graders are very nervous to get in front of camera.” The show will be filming again in the spring, so current eighth graders who wish to get involved can audition for that season. 

Windham Middle School had five students on the show this season: Wyatt Yost, Matthew Kluchnik, Graham Giroux, Jaren Preston and Glenn O’Brien. Two students from Windham Christian Academy, Anna Blaschke and Corban Ridlon, also appeared this season. 

When asked why they decided to audition, many of the students who were on this season said they had known people – a relative or a friend – who had been on the show in previous years. Others heard about it on Q97.9, whose morning show host Jeff Parsons is also the Kick Start host. “I thought it would be really cool to be on a TV show,” said Ridlon. 

Preston, whose brother had been on the show, said he’d been thinking about it for a while. “It was fun to watch and looked like an enjoyable experience,” he said.

The students had positive things to say about the experience, and said they enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the show. “The best thing about it is all my friends and family, everyone I knew wanted to watch it, and even those I didn’t know. I felt like a totally celebrity,” said Giroux. 

Kluchnik was interested in the technical aspects of the show, and he said that seeing the set design was what he enjoyed most. “That was really cool,” he said. The experience was a good one overall, he said.
Yost, who was the winner on his episode, said “It was one of the best experiences of my life.” His semi-final episode will air on December 12th.

The Buildy Thing was the most talked about among participants. For some it was their favorite part, while others found it to be the most challenging aspect of the show. “I liked the buildy thing. We had to build foam noodles on your fingers. It was fun, but it was scary,” said Ridlon.
Giroux was tied for points with another contestant moving into the buildy thing. His challenge was to build a cookie tower without using his hands, which he said he was surprisingly good at. He left that round in the lead, but ended up getting slimed in the final round.

Blaschke said she enjoyed trying to build a boat. “It didn’t work out too well, but it was fun trying,” she said. She also said she found the boat building to be the hardest part for her. Many of the questions, she said, were fairly easy. 

Ridlon, on the other hand, said she thought the final round questions were the hardest part. For Yost, the most challenging was the speed round because answers had to come immediately.
Many of the students who were slimed said it was not fun. “I used to watch Nickelodeon shows and thought it would be really cool to get slimed, but it’s not,” said Ridlon. 

Blaschke agreed. “The slime was nasty,” she said. 

But Yost had a different opinion. “I loved the slime,” he said. “It was just really fun.”

Some participants said the show helped them gain some important insights into themselves. “It made me feel a little more – upbeat with life,” said Giroux. He said he felt he’d been more negative than usual for a while before the show, participating gave him a better outlook. “Because I lost and just dealt with that. It made me learn that sometimes you’ve got to lose, and sometimes you’re going to win,” he said.

Blaschke, who came in second on her episode, said she learned a few things as well. “It’s a lot easier to go in front of people than it was before,” she said.

And some other skills were developed as well. “I’m better at making structures out of spaghetti and marshmallows,” quipped Yost.