Freeport play focuses on women in Vietnam War

In its first spring offering at Freeport High School, the Advanced Theatre class is producing  “A Piece of My Heart” by Shirley Lauro, a dramatic piece that tracks the lives of six women during and after the Vietnam War. 

The high school expanded its performance opportunities for students this year through the new Advanced Theatre class taught by Natalie Safley, who said she saw a need to develop an opportunity for students who wanted to be involved in a play rather than a musical.

In “A Piece of My Heart,” a musician, a Navy nurse, an Army intelligence officer, two Army nurses, and a member of the Red Cross show what it was like to be in the middle of the action during the Vietnam War and what it was like after they came home.

Safley said she considered many other shows prior to choosing this one but “It came down to finding the best play to showcase the actors in the class. It is difficult to find a play with seven strong female characters and tell an amazing story; “A Piece of My Heart” does both.

The play will be staged at the Freeport Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 3, and 2 p.m. May 4. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.

CBHS students take a Junior Journey to Katahdin

Casco Bay High School 11th-graders took a trip to the Katahdin region in April during their Junior Journey to seek an answer to this question, “What is my relationship to, and responsibility for, our rapidly changing world/planet?”

During Junior Journey each year, 11th-graders go on a one week, cross­-cultural learning experience to expand students’ sense of the world and who they are through service and adventure learning.

In some years, the juniors have gone out of state, traveling to West Virginia, Mississippi, New York City and Detroit to assist in community improvement efforts, while also telling the inspirational stories of locals through oral histories and brief films.

Both this and last year, the students conducted a case study of the Penobscot River Basin, gathering data about water quality and ecosystem health near the headwaters of the Penobscot as they could in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. They also explored the river farther downstream where the ecosystem has experienced significant strain, in Millinocket as well as the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation.

Also, CBHS science teacher Jacque Kutvirt said before the trip, “students will reflect on each of their personal roles as actors in an ecosystem – building a foundation to think deeply about personal relationships with the land. Their background knowledge will start with the science of papermaking, lead into the concept of industrial waste in waterways and the chemical indicators of healthy ecosystems. Ultimately, we will tie in the human role in the ecosystem by highlighting the concept that, for about 10,000 years, indigenous peoples of Maine have been successfully balancing their needs with ecosystem health.”

On the days when students were not in the field, they explored communities that are adapting to life after changes in the paper industry.

Back at Casco Bay, students planned to synthesize their data and experiences and apply their deepened ecological understanding to the Portland community.

As a community service project, the CBHS juniors partnered with Our Katahdin, a nonprofit working to promote community and economic development in the area. The students helped renovate a large abandoned building in downtown Millinocket, to help transform it into two new storefronts and a community meeting space for local organizations.

During their Junior Journey, CBHS students planned also to host a community event at Stearns High School in Millinocket, celebrating the partnership between that school and CBHS. 

As part of their Junior Journey, from April 6-12, Casco Bay High School 11th graders conducted an ecological investigation of the Penobscot River Basin, performed community service and enjoyed the Katahdin region.

An Easter egg design created by Malek Dalal, a fifth grade student at Falmouth Elementary School, was selected to be featured at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll. Each year the U.S. Department of Education invites students nationwide to submit designs for eggs that are displayed to represent all 50 states.

Portland Water District Board of Trustees President Guy Cote presents Keith Nelson, of South Portland, the 2019 DiPietro Scholarship. Nelson, the first in his family to attend college, is pursuing a degree in HVAC at Southern Maine Community College.

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