Showing posts with label scholarships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scholarships. Show all posts

Friday, March 15, 2024

Windham Christian Academy student wins Maine 'Voice of Democracy' contest

By Ed Pierce

For the second consecutive year, a student from Windham Christian Academy has captured the state “Voice of Democracy” contest sponsored by the VFW and qualified to compete in the national “Voice of Democracy” finals in Washington, D.C. This year’s winner is Anna Seavey, 18, a WCA senior, and for her winning audio essay, she earned a $2,000 scholarship for college from the national competition.

Anna Seavey of Windham Christian Academy, center, receives
a $2,000 college scholarship during the national 2024 VFW
'Voice of Democracy' contest in Washington, D.C. She was
presented the award by the VFW National Commander Duane
Sarmiento, right, and VFW Auxiliary President Carla
Martinez on March 6. COURTESY PHOTO 
Seavey plans to use the scholarship to attend Southern Maine Community College this fall and plans to study early childhood education. She hopes to eventually teach at a daycare or preschool after college.

She said she was inspired to enter the local Voice of Democracy contest sponsored by VFW Post 10643 last fall after knowing several previous students at Windham Christian Academy who have won the contest in the past few years, including Hunter Edson of Windham, who won both the local and state contests last year.

“I was excited by the possible opportunities this contest offered including scholarships, a trip to Washington D.C., and meeting people involved with the VFW,” Seavey said.

Her 3- to 5-minute audio essay was based upon this year’s theme “What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy” and she said when she first heard about the topic, she was very excited to write about it.

The annual Voice of Democracy competition was established by the VFW in 1947 and encourages students to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society and provides students with a unique opportunity to express their own thoughts about democracy and patriotism with a chance to win college scholarship money. The national first-place scholarship prize is $35,000 and each year more than 25,000 students from across America submit audio essays for the competition.

According to Seavey, she was amazed when she learned that she had won the Maine Voice of Democracy.

“At first, I couldn't even believe that they read my name,” she said. “I was immediately filled with joy and excitement when I realized I would be going forward to the national level. I felt incredibly honored that I would get the opportunity to represent my state.”

The daughter of Michael and Maureen Seavey of Standish, Anna is the youngest of four children and says her family was excited to find out about her winning the state-level competition, the accompanying college scholarship and the all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete against other state winners.

“They were all incredibly supportive and encouraging to me as I prepared to go to Washington D.C. My parents were able to watch the parade of winners live, and my siblings watched from home on television. I am so thankful for the support they gave me.”

The national Voice of Democracy competition was held in Washington from March 2 through March 6 and Seavey’s parents accompanied her to the event.

“I learned so much from this trip. The most important thing that I learned is to not be afraid to try new things,” Seavey said. “Submitting my essay to this contest opened the door for an incredible, life-changing experience that I will never forget. I was also able to learn incredible things about our nation's history by visiting memorials in Washington D.C.”

In addition to the $2,000 scholarship she earned at the national level, Seavey received a $750 scholarship for winning the Maine Voice of Democracy and she also earned a $200 check from the Windham VFW for her win at the local level last November.

She said she’s considering using the scholarships she received for further education after she graduates from Southern Maine Community College.

VFW Post 10643 Commander Willie Goodman said he is impressed by how well Seavey represented Windham in the state and national competitions and very proud of what she has been able to accomplish.

“This year our VFW Post 10643 was thrilled to have chosen Anna Seavey to represent our post and move on to the district level. Anna then won at that level which meant she moved on to compete at the state level,” Goodman said. “We were ecstatic that Anna won, which meant she would be representing the State of Maine in a four-day all expenses paid trip for her and her parents to Washington, D.C.”

Goodman did not attend the festivities in Washington earlier this month, but said he watched it online and was impressed watching Anna march in with Maine’s VFW State Commander.

“Anna is a delightful young woman with an engaging personality and I’m sure this was an experience of a lifetime for her and her parents,” Goodman said. “They must be so proud of Anna, the person she is, the essay she wrote and in her delivery. Clearly, Anna is on her way to an extremely bright future and our post thanks her for her participation in our annual essay contest and allowing us to be a part of this incredible journey.” <

Friday, June 19, 2020

Two Windham residents receive STEM scholarships at Saint Joseph College

Alia Bradley
Two Windham residents have been announced as recipients of the new Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine Noyce scholarships at Saint Joseph College in Standish.

Juniors Alia Bradley and Taelor Freeman, both of Windham, were among six students at Saint Joseph College to be awarded the $25,000 scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year in support of their studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and secondary education.
“Saint Joseph’s College is deeply committed to educating the next generation of STEM teachers for Maine schools,” Saint Joseph College President Jim Dlugos said. STEM education remains the foundation and the number-one priority for training Maine’s future skilled and educated workforce. By working with SMCC and schools across Maine, this project promises to draw more students into STEM-Ed degrees, provide teacher training with diverse populations, and plant seeds with current high school and middle school students to become future STEM teachers.” to Dlugos, scholarship recipients will attend conferences, participate in field experiences, and hear from experts as part of a new deep-dive seminar series. Additionally, they will receive induction support and professional development upon starting their careers in math and science classrooms in high-need school districts.
He said that the Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine Noyce scholarships project was designed to increase the number of secondary STEM teachers in an era when nearly a third of Maine teachers are 55 years old and nearing retirement, and to address the decades-old shortage of STEM teachers in Maine. The program encourages students from high-need school districts to return to their communities as teachers and leaders of the next generation of science and math educators.
Taelor Freeman
“Teaching STEM is more than preparing the next generation of professionals. It is about sharing the wonder and awe that is the natural world, while connecting natural phenomena to our everyday lives,” Bradley said.
She is transferring to Saint Joseph College from Southern Maine Community College in South Portland to complete her Biology and Secondary Education degree.
“Studying life and being alive has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Teaching STEM is more than preparing the next generation of professionals,” Bradley said. “It is about sharing the wonder and awe that is the natural world, while connecting natural phenomena to our everyday lives. I hope to empower my students with the knowledge of the natural system, so they make informed decisions as it concerns their personal health, behavior, and local environment.”, a 2007 graduate of Windham High School, said she’s looking forward to meeting other peers in the STEM network and discussing ideas that will help them to develop professionally. She loves to spend time outdoors and, in the future, she hopes to have an opportunity to mentor students in research programs and science fairs.

Freeman, a Math and Secondary Education major at Saint Joseph College, said that the scholarship will assist her in preparing to give back to her community through teaching.

“I want to be a STEM teacher because I not only enjoy math, but I like helping others with it as well,” Freeman said. “I love seeing the moment it makes sense to someone and that I helped in that process.”

She said that the scholarship will provide her the opportunity to develop her teaching skills and to apply them in future experiences through the Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine Noyce program.

Freeman is a 2018 graduate of Windham High School. <

Friday, May 29, 2020

Windham High plans non-traditional events for 2020 graduates

By Elizabeth Richards

High schools across the state are finding creative ways to celebrate graduation and Windham High School is no exception.  This year’s graduation ceremony will be a small personal experience, but students will then have an opportunity to be together in a safe way as they gather at a drive-in theater.

WHS principal Ryan Caron said the school had hoped to have a video celebration now and hold an actual outdoor graduation ceremony in late summer. When state guidelines for August continued to limit gatherings to 50 people, those plans needed to change.   

Individual graduation ceremonies for 2020 graduates at Windham
 High School will be filmed and then shown
 to students and their families at the Saco Drive-In
 in Saco on June 9 with a rain date scheduled for June 10.
While some schools chose student-centered plans and others were more family focused, Windham developed a two-part plan that allows for both.

“We tried to find the best of both situations, given the limitations.  An opportunity for family to be involved, and also the opportunity for the kids to be together, even if they’re separated by cars,” Caron said.

During the first week in June, students will have an individualized ceremony, by appointment, in the WHS auditorium. A small group of family and friends will be allowed to attend this ceremony. 

Caron said that graduating students will wear caps and gowns and be announced, then walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, awards and scholarships. Photos and video will be taken of these individual ceremonies.

WHS senior Jessica Brooks said she thinks that the school is offering a great option in difficult circumstances. 

Many students were worried that there wouldn’t be any celebration at all, she said.

“Although not being all together for this is disappointing, for a lack of better words, I’m just glad we get the experience to walk across the stage,” Brooks said. “I’m also really glad that family and friends were able to be invited. I relied on my friends and family a lot the last four years, and I was worried they would not be able to be by my side for this accomplishment.”

Following these individual ceremonies, Caron said, a video will be made that includes many elements of a traditional graduation, such as speeches and a class song.  This video will then be shown to students and families at the Saco Drive-In on June 9, with a rain date of June 10. 

Caron said that feedback has been positive, even as people wish they could do something bigger.

“Everybody’s been really understanding,” he said. 

Some families have expressed concern about safety and have told the school they are unlikely to participate. 

Diplomas and gift bags will be mailed to these students, Caron said.

“We’re trying to respect everybody and make it as personalized an experience as we can,” he said.

The attention and concern for everyone is appreciated.

I think given the circumstances Windham has made the best of a tough situation. It is definitely apparent to me that our teachers and administrators truly care about their students,” said WHS senior Anthony Gugliuzza. “The way in which they have handled these past few months is incredible. It’s a huge testament to who they are as people.”

The drive-in night allows students to be honored in the best way possible, Brooks said, “I’m really happy to be a part of a district that is trying so hard to accommodate everyone as best as possible and make light of a pretty dark situation,” she said. “This graduation is definitely going to be one for the books, and it will be a story and experience we are able to share with younger generations, but I truly hope no one has to face these circumstances again.”

Although the traditional Project Graduation event was canceled, according to Sarah Elliott, chair of the school’s Project Graduation Committee 2020, said they’re planning to do something to bring students back together in late May or early June 2021.

The Project Grad committee also partnered with the school and local business to have lawn signs made up for all seniors. In conjunction with that, they held their last fundraiser, allowing friends, family, teachers, students, and community members to send personal messages to seniors.

These signs and messages were distributed on Friday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 26.

Arrangements can be made for any seniors who were not able to pick these up at those times.

Elliot said it was a touching experience to see the time and thought people put into the messages they sent. 

She said that the event next year is a way to give students an opportunity to be together one last time, when social distancing is more relaxed.  While it is uncertain what the event will be, Elliot said that they want to keep it similar in spirit to what they would have done originally while keeping it more local.

“We want to include as many graduates as possible,” Elliott said.

An Instagram page has been set up to continue communication throughout the year and as the event draws closer, she said.

To arrange sign pick-up and for more information, contact Elliott at <

Friday, March 13, 2020

Saint Joseph’s College to announce $1.45 million award to address Maine’s secondary STEM teacher shortage

President James Dlugos is set to announce that Saint Joseph’s College of
Maine has been awarded a five-year, $1,444,983 grant from the National Science Foundation’s
Track 1 Robert Noyce Scholarship and Stipend Program.

Governor Janet T. Mills will officiate at the announcement, which will be made on Monday,

March 16th at 10:30 a.m. in the Baggot Street Cafe of the Heffernan Center at Saint Joseph’s
College. The event will be open to media.

The Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine (GFSTM) project will provide two-year
scholarships of $25,500 per year to a total of 18 undergraduate juniors and seniors. The program
will provide special supports as they pursue STEM degrees in biology, mathematics, or physical
sciences-chemistry or environmental science, as well as secondary education certification., Noyce Scholars will work in high-need urban and rural schools across Maine.
GFSTM is a collaboration between Saint Joseph’s and Southern Maine Community College, and
a partnership with 7 school districts.

The seven GFSTM partner schools include: Deering High School, Lewiston High School, and
Westbrook High School as urban schools; Bonny Eagle High School, Windham High School,
Lake Region High School, and Old Town High School as rural schools.

The Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine project is designed to increase the number of
secondary STEM teachers in an era when nearly a third of Maine teachers are 55 years old and
nearing retirement, and to address the decades-old problem of Maine’s shortage of STEM
teachers, in particular. By partnering with a community college and seven high-need schools, the
Noyce project is designed to grow students from within those sites. The project will also
encourage students from high-need school districts to return to their communities as teachers and
leaders of the next generation of science and math educators.“Saint Joseph’s College is deeply committed to educating the next generation of STEM teachers
for Maine schools,” President Dlugos said. “STEM education remains the foundation and the
number one priority for training Maine’s future skilled and educated workforce. By working with
SMCC and schools across Maine, this project promises to draw more students into STEM-Ed
degrees, provide teacher training with diverse populations, and plant seeds with current high
school and middle school students to become future STEM teachers.”

Maine’s Congressional leaders expressed excitement about the program. “In order for Maine’s
students to gain STEM skills, we need to make sure they have dedicated and well-trained STEM
educators,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “For decades,
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has been giving teachers the tools they need to train the next
generation of STEM workers. This funding will help the college expand its efforts and make an
even greater impact on Maine’s students and economy.” Chellie Pingree said: As the number of STEM jobs in Maine increase rapidly, we
need our students to be well-prepared for their future careers,” said Pingree. “Increasing the
number of public school STEM teachers will go a long way towards preparing our children for
the jobs of tomorrow. My thanks to the National Science Foundation for recognizing how
important this STEM education is for the future of Maine’s workforce and for funding this

Representative Jared Golden added: “Saint Joseph’s College does critical work to prepare young
Mainers for jobs in education and other careers, positions we need to fill in our state. This grant
will provide Maine students with opportunities to develop valuable skills that they’ll bring back
to the classroom and help address our STEM teacher shortage. I’m proud to see the NSF
prioritize schools in places like Lewiston and Old Town to provide Maine students with access to
good jobs and a quality education.”

Matthew J. Lokken, Principal of Lake Region Middle School, a project partner, said: “We
appreciate that Saint Joseph’s College will address the shortage of science teachers in our region.
In the last few years, we have not had a large pool of applicants for posted STEM teacher
positions. It is essential that students at the middle school receive rigorous and authentic learning
opportunities in STEM education for not only academic success and opportunities, but to
effectively prepare the next generation of innovators.”

The first Noyce Scholars will be awarded scholarships in Fall 2020. The grant’s investigators
and creators are Dr. Patricia Waters, Assistant Professor of Education, Dr. Emily Lesher,
Associate Professor of Science, and SMCC’s Dr. Daniel Moore, Professor of Biological
Sciences.“This partnership provides new opportunities for our students who have a passion for math and
science,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “Besides helping our students, the program will
benefit Maine’s educational system by allowing us to do our part in delivering a new generation
of STEM teachers where they are most needed. This builds upon our mission of transforming
lives and communities through education and training.”

For more information about GFSTM, the scholarship criteria and application process, see or contact Oliver Griswold at 917-617-2103 or