Maine FFA State Officers Attend Maine Agricultural Trades Show

Pictured: Maine FFA State Officers Ava Cameron (Secretary-Treasurer), Graham Berry (President) and Camryn Curtis (Vice President) stand above the many agricultural organization displays for the 2020 Maine Agricultural Trades Show.

Student State Officers of the Maine FFA Association—formerly known as “Future Farmers of America,” with name changed simply to “FFA” to reflect increased diversity in agriculture including horticulture, natural resource management and other areas—participated in the 2020 Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center on January 14th & 15th.

Maine FFA State President, Graham Berry, State Vice President, Camryn Curtis, and State Secretary-Treasurer, Ava Cameron, toured the many displays showcasing organizations and growers involved in Maine agriculture.  Accompanied by their State FFA Advisor, Doug Robertson, from the Maine Department of Education, student Officers were impressed by the extent of agricultural entities and opportunities.  They also attended the Commissioner of Agriculture’s Luncheon, with guest speaker Governor Mills, as well as a legislative reception hosted by the Maine Potato Board, and held a meeting for interested students from prospective Maine FFA chapter Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Hinckley.

Maine’s State FFA Officer team was pleased to see in attendance at the Trades Show representatives from so many of their active sponsors including the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, Farm Credit East, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Maine State Grange, Hammond Tractor, Maine Beef Producer’s Association, and many others.

Maine FFA provides leadership trainings, competitions and awards to students grades 7 to 12 enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources, including science courses with practical applications through school gardens and greenhouses.  Maine FFA is affiliated with the National FFA Organization, the largest youth leadership organization in the United States.

For more information on establishing a local FFA chapter, please contact:  Doug Robertson, Maine Department of Education, doug.robertson@maine.gov  (207) 624-6744.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Questions about your state’s delegates, alternates or state selection process: Mr. Joe Schmidt at joe.schmidt@maine.gov or (207) 624-6828.

For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program:  Program Director Ms. Rayne Guilford at rguilford@hearstfdn.org or (800) 425-3632.

Maine Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program
Students Headed to Washington, D. C. and to Receive $10,000 College Scholarship

January 9, 2020, Washington, D.C. —The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Ms. Elena Ray Clothier and Mr. Michael Paul Delorge will join Senator Susan M. Collins and Senator Angus S. King in representing Maine in the nation’s capital during the 58th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 7 — 14, 2020. Elena Clothier of Lewiston and Michael Delorge of Limestone were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings the most outstanding high school students – two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity – to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

Elena Clothier, a junior at Lewiston High School, serves on the Principal’s Advisory Group at her school. She is a member of the state champion Lewiston Mock Trial team while also being a member of the school lacrosse team and the Blue Notes vocal group. She has been selected to participate in programming from the Androscoggin Valley Education Collaborative. Outside of school, Elena volunteers with SEARCH (Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope) and visits with members of her community. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a degree in political science and journalism.

Michael Delorge, a senior at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, serves as a member of his school’s Student Senate. He also chairs the Senate’s Academic Committee, is the president of his school’s robotics club, and an active member of his astronomy club. He is an award-winning jazz saxophonist and avid cross country runner. A Biddeford native, Michael is an Eagle Scout and a participant in the state YMCA Youth in Government program. Michael holds a great interest in public health policy and upon graduation, he plans to major in biomedical engineering with a minor in political science.

Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Mr. Lance Dinino, a resident of Kennebunk, who attends Kennebunk High School and Ms. Kristen Caldwell, a resident of Scarborough, who attends Scarborough High School.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Maine delegates and alternates were designated by Pender Makin, Commissioner of Education.

While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,700 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove, and Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana currently a candidate for president of the United States. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and other university educators.

For more information please visit: http://www.ussenateyouth.org
###

Maine FFA Aroostook Chapter Students Collaborate on Leadership

On November 15, 2019, 160 enthusiastic Aroostook County FFA student members (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) participated in a one-day workshop at the University of Maine at Presque Isle devoted to leadership skills of positive influence, prioritizing, time management, and teamwork.  The University’s Sustainable Agriculture program sponsored the event.

Student State FFA Officers Graham Berry (President), Camryn Curtis (Vice President) and Ava Cameron (Secretary-Treasurer) developed, organized and conducted the workshop, with assistance from Haillee Cunningham and Alli Kenney of Ashland High School and from Emma Burby, Brandon Dubie, Izzy Higgins, Rheanna Ortman, and Amanda Winslow of Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center.  Logistics were assisted by Doug Robertson, State FFA Advisor, Maine Department of Education.

All current FFA chapters of Aroostook County fielded students to the event:  Ashland High School, Ashland Middle School, Caribou Technology Center, Central Aroostook High School, Central Aroostook Junior High School, Easton Junior/Senior High School, Hodgdon High School, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center, Presque Isle Middle School, Washburn High School.

Considering Positive Influence in Leadership (left to right at table in foreground, five students facing camera): Hunter Cunningham, Ashland Middle School - Nick Margeson, Caribou Technology Center – Madelyn Buzza, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) - Creed Chasse, Ashland High School – Maggie Currie & Clay Gregg, PIRCTC
Considering Positive Influence in Leadership (left to right at table in foreground, five students facing camera): Hunter Cunningham, Ashland Middle School – Nick Margeson, Caribou Technology Center – Madelyn Buzza, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) – Creed Chasse, Ashland High School – Maggie Currie & Clay Gregg, PIRCTC

Maine FFA is a statewide organization whose nearly 500 members come from grades 7-12 classes devoted to areas of agriculture and natural resources (including science curricula infused with agriculture and natural resources topics).  Workshop content included discussion of topics, brainstorming, and hands-on illustrative activities.  In additional to leadership skills, students had the chance to meet and work together with peers from other schools.  Some students at the workshop had also recently returned from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, an event attended by nearly 70,000 students from across the country.  In addition to workshops and conventions, students in FFA are often involved in local community service and may benefit from numerous awards and scholarships.

Schools interested in starting new FFA chapters should contact:  Doug Robertson, Maine FFA Advisor, Maine Department of Education, doug.robertson@maine.gov  (207) 624-6744.

Green Ribbon Schools

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that Maine is joining the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools initiative to inspire and promote effective school sustainability and collaboration. The award highlights sustainability practices undertaken at the school, district, or post-secondary institution level that are cost-saving and health promoting.
The U.S. Department of Education developed three Pillars of a green school:

  1. Reducing environmental impacts, e.g. waste, energy, transportation, etc.
  2. Improving health and wellness of schools, students and staff through consideration of school food, air quality, physical activity, etc.
  3. Offering environmental and sustainability education that is authentic, civically engaging and green career preparing.

More information regarding Green Ribbon Schools can be found on the USDOE website, and Maine’s Green Ribbon Schools application should be submitted to shari.templeton@maine.gov.

Students Learn What it is Like to be an Educator at Thomas College Teacher Academy

With a steep teacher shortage facing many communities in Maine, Thomas College and the Maine Department of Education teamed up to offer a daylong experimental teaching environment to further engage Maine students who are interested in teaching as a profession.

Students from all over Maine spent the day at Thomas College to learn more about what it’s like to be a teacher. The aspiring educators were able to participate in college level education courses offered by Thomas College professors Richard Biffle, Katie Rybakova, and by Lawrence High School teacher, Eric Brown.

The courses covered lessons in social emotional learning, inclusion, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics education, and an overview of lesson planning and implementation – what to expect (or not expect), how to think on your feet, and how make the content relevant to students. The event aimed to give students a better understanding of education as a career path, by providing hands-on experiences that can help solidify their career aspirations, and at the same time give them a taste of post-secondary education.

The unique event drew coverage from WABI and Central Maine among others who were eager to report on a collaborative effort that aims to tackle the workforce shortage of teachers in the state of Maine.