A few quick news items as we head into the Thanksgiving break.

First we have a short piece from David Bruneau from the South Portland Thornton Heights Lions Club and the incredible work they do with vision screening in South Portland Schools. Second, we have a recap of the wildly successful first Project Graduation dodg ball tournament to raise funds for the class of 2020.

Wishing all a peaceful time with family and friends.

Lions Club vision screening does it again

The following results are history for another year regarding vision screening students in the South Portland School system. The South Portland Thornton Heights Lions Club members, one member from the South Portland Lions Club, four members of the Cape Elizabeth Lions Club and two personal friends made up the team who succeed in the completion of all students required to be vision tested for the current school year. Our team initially screened on site at each school then did a sweep of all schools to pick up those absent on first visit.

Records show 1,360 students tested with 171 referrals for those who needed to see professional eye care doctors to do a more complete eye exam to determine if glasses are needed or other more extensive services will be required. That’s about an 8 percent referral rate, which is dropping since some of those tested are repeats. Classes consist of preschool, kindergarten, first grade, third grade, fifth grade, seventh grade and ninth grade students.

The Lions Clubs offer assistance in the expense of additional testing and glasses along with the Nurses’ Association. I am so grateful to the school nurses and principals of your schools, who are professional in every way. We all are so proud of your staff. Your school’s endorsement of our services have resulted in many other schools requesting our services. This has placed a burden on the demand for the use of the SPOT cameras. The investment required is over $7,000.00 each and funding is needed to purchase new additional cameras.

Yours in Lionism,

David Bruneau, vision screen chair

South Portland Thornton Heights Lions Club

Start of a new Red Riot tradition?

On Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019 South Portland High School hosted its first Project Graduation dodgeball tournament to raise funds for the class of 2020. When we began planning this event a mere 2 months ago, we didn’t realize how much of an impact this event would have. Incorporating teams of middle school, high school and adults made this event just as much about community building as it did raising funds for a great cause.

The day began with 28 teams competing for the coveted first place prize in each division. There were memorable moments of sportsmanship, team strategy, unity, and best of all the epic moment that earned a spot on ESPN’s top 10 moments of the week -South Portland High School freshman Thomas Caouette’s dodge and double catch.

Included in the teams were South Portland Firefighters and Police Officers who put the “fun” in fundraiser. They certainly added to the amount of healthy competition that was evident throughout the day.

To quote the movie dodgeball, all teams participating remembered the 5 D’s of dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. It was an incredible event and there is already talk about planning the second annual Project Grad dodgeball tourney.

We do have a few T-shirts from the event, which are discounted for students for only $5. SPHS students can see a senior class officer to order and pay.

A huge thank you to all who made it a great success.

Amy Brier, Project Grad/dodgeball tourney volunteer

Important dates & meetings

Dec. 2, School board and city council inauguration, 4 p.m., City Council Chambers.

Dec. 5, middle school building committee, 6 p.m., SPHS, room 221.

Dec. 9, school board meeting, 6 p.m., SPHS Lecture Hall.

Ken Kunin is superintendent for South Portland Schools.

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