Congdon’s Family Restaurant & Bakery server Christine Jarowicz serves up chowder at the drivethru as part of a fundraising benefitting Good Shepard Food Pantry.jpg Photo courtesy Adam Leech

Drive-Thru Chowderfest Raises More Than $30,000 for Good Shepherd Food Bank


On a typical business day at Congdon’s Family Restaurant & Bakery, doughnuts sales are a main draw at the drive-thru. But a recent charity event had staffers instead dishing out containers of fish chowder, clam chowder and lobster bisque. It was all part of a fundraising benefiting the Good Shepherd Food Bank. More than $30,000 was raised after matching funds were provided by the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation.

There was no set price; guests donated whatever they wanted and picked up their soups at the drive-thru. Many also donated dry food items for the food bank.

“It was a great event, so many people showed up to contribute. Every dollar goes directly to Good Shepherd Food Bank,” said Congdon’s owner Gary Leech. “Times are tough right now, people are hurting, and there are huge demands on local and state food pantries. We just wanted to help in some way and there’s a lot of great organizations helping.”

Oakhurst Dairy, Shields Meats and Produce Inc, Southern Maine Masonic Lodges, Mike’s Clam Shack and Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant donated money, supplies and ingredients to help make the event happen. Leech said local Mason Bob Hoyt was integral to the planning, execution and coordinating of the fundraiser. The staff at Congdon’s and Southern Maine Masonic Lodges donated time to execute the event.

The mission of Good Shepherd Food Bank is to eliminate hunger in Maine by improving access to nutritious food for people in need, building strong community partnerships and mobilizing the public in the fight to end hunger. The food back serves all of Maine, but demand has been at record highs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.”Mainers helping Mainers is what this state is all about,” said Leech.

Martha Jacques named Biddeford High School Interim Principal. Photo credit  Karen D. Chasse.


The Biddeford School Committee approved the appointment of Martha Jacques as interim principal for Biddeford High School (BHS) starting July 1. Jacques currently serves as Principal of the Alternative Pathways Center and has been employed within the Biddeford School Department since 2009 in various capacities.

Superintendent Jeremy Ray said that when considering a potential candidate pool and search process, it was clear that Martha was the best person to lead BHS.

“She not only has a wide range of experience in business, nonprofits and education but she has data-driven results and advocates for the social-emotional needs of a diverse student population,” said Ray. “Martha’s multiple degrees in social work and education leadership undergird a unique skill set that is well-suited to meet the needs of the BHS faculty and student body.”

Jacques is an undergraduate of Castleton University, with a Master of Social Work from the University of Maine, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from St. Joseph’s College and Building Administrator Certification from the State of Maine. She is a licensed social worker, a board member of CHCC’s Project Alliance, and is involved with various community organizations including Apex Youth Connections, Engine, the Heart of Biddeford and the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

Jacques said she is humbled, honored and excited to have been chosen to lead Biddeford High School as its interim principal.

“I am looking forward to building relationships with staff, students, families and our community and continuing the great work that has been started, and extremely proud to be making history as Biddeford High School’s first female principal,” said Jacques.

Jacques resides in Biddeford with her husband and long-time teacher, Jon, and child, Grady, who attends Biddeford Intermediate School.

Berwick Academy Moves Annual Innovation Celebration


The 11th Annual Innovation Celebration at Berwick Academy made its first virtual premier via the Zoom platform last week.

The Innovation Pursuit (IP) program at Berwick, open to students in grades four and up, is a student-directed, project-based endeavor that includes original research, experiential learning and collaboration with field experts. The virtual celebration consisted of students presenting their projects to remote panels of judges.

This year’s virtual celebration featured the work of nearly 70 students and over 60 projects detailing topics ranging from the environment, cooking and nutrition, rocketry, glassblowing, fashion and linguistics.

South Berwick resident and Berwick Academy junior, Cahrianna Foster, shared her IP project on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It was her first IP and stated, “My favorite part of this experience was the knowledge I gained from my research, and the exciting future I could have in helping others learn how to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to their benefit.”

Cahrianna and other IP students worked through the last portions of their projects virtually with their assigned mentors. She noted, “Working virtually was challenging at times, but having the ability to Zoom with my mentor was a huge plus and made the process go smoothly.”

The Berwick Academy community moved its Pre-K through Grade 12 program to a remote learning platform due to COVID-19. Berwick teachers have strived to maintain a sense of community during this time through a careful balance of synchronous, asynchronous and offline learning opportunities in each grade level.

2020 Totus Tuus Summer Program Canceled at All Maine Parish Locations


After much prayerful consideration and discussion with participating parishes and families, organizers of the 2020 Totus Tuus summer program in Maine have been canceled.

“Taking into account the social and relational nature of the program itself, we felt that the program would not be able to adhere to the social distancing protocols currently in place in Maine,” said Fr. Seamus Griesbach, director of vocations for the Diocese of Portland and program coordinator for Totus Tuus.

Totus Tuus is a weeklong program that inspires a true longing for holiness in young people (grades 1-12). Over the last two summers, more than 1,000 Maine teens and children participated in the program.

This summer, 10 parishes were set to host the program in Fort Kent, Caribou, Bangor, Jay, Waterville, Lewiston, Windham, Brunswick, Saco and Sanford.

“The heart of the Totus Tuus program is relationships: our relationship with God and our relationships with one another,” said Fr. Griesbach. “The teams of college students and seminarians witness a joyful and active faith to the children and teens they meet over the summer in a way that simply can’t be carried out online or at a distance.”

Due to the uncertainty regarding the viability of summer programs this year, registrations had been far lower than previous years, making it difficult for organizers to move forward without risking a serious financial shortfall.

Fr. Griesbach is happy to report, however, that the program will be back, stronger than ever, in 2021.

“Totus Tuus is not going anywhere. We will be back next summer with two great teams of teachers ready to share the Catholic faith with Maine’s youth once again!”

For any families who have already registered their children online, fees will be refunded in full in the coming days. Any questions or concerns regarding reimbursement may be sent to [email protected]

College of the Atlantic senior Indiana Núñez Sharer .jpg

COA senior nets Watson Fellowship


College of the Atlantic Class of 2020 senior Indiana Núñez Sharer has received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, enabling her to travel the world for a year to learn about motherhood and matriarchal communities, and how mothers use their collective voices to work toward healing trauma and violence.

Núñez Sharer, a dual citizen of Costa Rica and the U.S. who grew up in the rural Costa Rican town of Montezuma, joins 47 Watson fellows from colleges and universities across the country who will receive a $30,000 stipend for her project.

“The fellowship is a way for me to explore some of my deepest interests through the perspectives of mothers and do so without a certain project outcome that needs to be met. The only outcome is the process itself, the process of listening and learning to how maternal communities function,” Núñez Sharer said. “I’m really excited about this.”

Núñez Sharer will engage with four communities in three countries where mothers and women have organized to help each other heal from personal, often intergenerational trauma and violence that they have experienced. She plans to travel to Colombia, Ghana and New Zealand in order to spend time with mothers to learn how motherhood has impacted their lives.

“I will use my Watson year to learn how mothers reclaim their voices, advocate for their communities and create supportive networks of healing,” she said.

Núñez Sharer came to COA after graduating from United World College Costa Rica and spending a gap year in India volunteering with the NGO Teach for India. In her studies, she has grappled with ideas of ethics, politics and community. Experiences during an internship at Maternidad La Luz, a midwife-run birth center on the American-Mexican border, turned her focus to women’s studies, showing her how trauma can affect motherhood, and how healing may occur in the right settings.

Núñez Sharer’s travel plans are somewhat up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as her trip is mapped out, she is scheduled to spend time in Buenaventura and Santa Marta in Colombia, the North Island of New Zealand and the Ashanti region of Ghana.

The Watson Fellowship offers a window after college and precareer for young people to engage with their core interests on a global scale.

Fellows conceive original projects, execute them outside of the United States for one year and embrace the ensuing journey. They decide where to go, who to meet and when to change course. They do not affiliate with academic institutions and may not hold formal employment.

The program produces a year of personal insight, perspective and confidence that shapes the arc of fellows’ lives. Started in 1968, Watson Fellows comprise leaders in every field. In addition to the stipend, the foundation provides health insurance reimbursements and the equivalent of 12 months of payments on outstanding institutional and federally guaranteed loans. There are just 40 colleges and universities, including COA, who may nominate students.

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