National Merit Scholarship winner

National Merit Scholar David Botana, center, a member of the Casco Bay High School Class of 2020, and a college-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winner. Botana plans to attend Northwestern University this fall and study biomedical engineering. Portland School Board Chairman Roberto Rodriguez is at left, and Botana’s father, Superintendent Xavier Botana, is on his right. Contributed

Portland middle schooler is Maine State Spelling Bee champ

Competing from her bedroom in the virtual Maine State Spelling Bee on June 4, Lincoln Middle School seventh grader Rose Bolduc fought through 32 rounds to win the contest and become Maine’s 2020 Spelling Bee champion.


Bolduc was among 12 of the 15 county champions competing in the state bee. Instead of being together on a stage, they each took part virtually from their homes on the honor system.

Lincoln teachers Antona Briley and David Santoro described the contest: “Rose was up against many returning Maine State Spelling Bee contestants this year, including last year’s state champion. The competition went for 31 rounds before her champion word in round 32: opine. She also had to spell words such as Xerox and decoction,” the teachers said. “Rose’s intellect, quiet confidence, perseverance and poise have been just a few of the qualities that brought her success in this competition!”

They said Bolduc has been involved in Lincoln’s spelling bee since sixth grade and each time went on to the Cumberland County Spelling Bee.

“She is an avid reader and writer and along with her spelling skills, she plays the viola in our school orchestra,” the teachers said.

Usually, the Maine State champion goes on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but that event is canceled this year for safety reasons. Rose is a hometown hero, however.


As her teachers put it: “We are so proud of you, Rose!”

Local students graduate from Maine Connection Academy

Halimo Sugule of South Portland and Joshua Turner of Topsham were among those who recently graduated from Maine Connections Academy, the state’s first online charter school for grades 7-12. An online commencement ceremony was held June 4 to honor 77 students in the sixth class of graduating seniors.

As an online school, Maine Connections Academy students learn from wherever there is an internet connection across Maine; the online graduation was just one more way of collaborating. Maine Connections Academy students “walked across the stage” and showed each other meaningful images and words to capture their time together at the online school.

Brunswick student to attend U.S. Air Force Academy


Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that Sara M. Scrapchansky of Brunswick and Kelly T. Yoon of Falmouth have accepted offers to attend the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“My father is a retired Naval Commander and my role model. He encouraged me to face challenges as opportunities,” said Scrapchansky, who is the daughter of Keli and Derek Scrapchansky. “Through my father’s honesty, integrity and grit, I learned the value of facing stress with optimism. I do my best to follow in his footsteps by integrating his attitude and discipline into the way I lead my life.”


In her letter requesting a nomination, Yoon said, “I have always known that I want to help the world. The stressful and structured conditions in the military are exactly the environment in which I think I can achieve that. Let me evolve into my best self to make the most effective and positive difference I can in this world.”

Yoon is a recent graduate of Falmouth High School and the daughter of Edward and Regina Kim Yoon.