“The best part of my day is working directly with my students,” said Elizabeth Sanborn, Sacopee Valley High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator. “It is a lot of fun helping them discover their interests and then create opportunities for them to explore careers.”
Sanborn is invigorated by the students’ excitement and commitment to their experiences with extended learning opportunities. The new initiative also helps reinvigorate schooling and reconnect the students, the school, and the community, especially following the health restrictions that felt like they separated schools and communities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of Sanborn’s recent successes include helping a student make a connection with a local tattoo artist to learn more about the career, including how to run a successful business. Another one of her students got the opportunity to interview several registered Maine guides and is currently studying for his own test in the spring. “He attended a three-day training class back in January and sent in for his Maine guide license just last week,” said Sanborn.
Here are some more student success stories, directly from students:
“I decided to do an ELO to make connections in the law field before going to college for law next year,” explains Abigail Sanborn, a Sacopee Valley senior. “This past semester I was partnered with a local civil law firm, where I went twice a week for an hour. I got to participate in simple drafting of documents, acting as a witness for estate planning, and got to interview several clerks, judges, and lawyers. During this second part of the year I am doing day trips to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s where I’m job shadowing different prosecutors. I am also exploring other avenues of law by doing ride-alongs; I wasn’t expecting to like police work, but that is what ELO’s are for. It’s an experimental opportunity for students to determine what they like and don’t like. Mrs. Sanborn has been a huge part in helping me find these opportunities and is always willing to find you experiences that you may not think of!”
“My ELO journey has been sort of complicated, but Mrs. Sanborn has been the best at getting me where I want to be,” said Elise Hermance, an 11th grader at Sacopee Valley High School. “I started off knowing I wanted to be a dog trainer and breeder. I sat in on a few classes up in Conway, NH. I came back to Mrs. Sanborn after going around three times and told her that this wasn’t for me. I know I want to do something with animals, but I am not sure that dog training is for me. I then did a job shadow at the Sacopee Valley Veterinary Clinic with a vet tech and it was so fun. They were all so nice to me. Now I am applying for a volunteer position at the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland. I am so excited to have this opportunity in my life. Not just the job shadowing and knowing what I want and don’t want to do but the fact that I have learned so many different skills. I know how to reach out to people that I don’t know. None of this could be possible without Mrs. Sanborn!”
“It is amazing to be able to help a student fulfill a lifelong dream that they weren’t sure how to navigate before Sacopee Valley High School had this program at our school,” said Sanborn.
Sanborn has started to make some great connections with area businesses and hopes to continue that work throughout the year. “We have a lot of industry professionals who are excited to work with our students, and it really will be a win-win situation for all involved,” she added.
Sanborn would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Chris Parent at Sacopee Valley Family Dentistry, Bonnie Gould of Heritage Law, Tasha Berouty at Hallow Point Tattoo, and Wendy McGary and Ashley Blanchard at Sacopee Valley Elementary School, just to name a few!