Girl power

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins met virtually with members of Girl Scout Troop 11 from Cumberland earlier this month. As a co-chairperson of the Girl Scouts’ Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, Collins, who is a former Girl Scout, led a successful bipartisan resolution recognizing the 109th birthday of the Girl Scouts of America. Contributed / Office of Susan Collins

PHS student Gold Key award winner

Portland High School junior Eden Swails recently won a Gold Key from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alliance for Young Artists and Writers for her poem, “Arachnophobia.”


Swails, a student in Jane Wellehan’s English class, wrote the poem in response to Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B.” This is the highest level from Scholastic for a regional award.

Students read and discussed the poem as a class. The poem contains the words: “Go home and write/a page tonight/And let that page come out of you–/Then, it will be true.” The students were told to follow those instructions.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in the U.S. for students in grades 7-12. The program for those in grades 7-12 is meant to recognize artistic and literary excellence in teens and has been running since 1923. All Gold Key winners will automatically be considered for national awards.

Telling Room welcomes new ambassadors

Several alumni of The Telling Room have returned to the youth writing program as ambassadors. This year’s group includes Edna Thecla Akimana, Alicia Brillant, Amanda Dettmann, Rachel Iradukunda and Ladislas Nzeyimana. Ambassadors play many roles within The Telling Room from advising and decision-making to presenting at public readings and events on behalf of the organization.

Maine community colleges offer free summer classes

Maine’s community colleges are offering free classes this summer to re-engage Maine’s high school students in their educational journey.


Maine high school seniors graduating this spring and attending a community college this fall can take a free summer class under the new “Momentum from the Start” program. All tuition and fees are waived and students only pay for books or materials. More information about Momentum from the Start is available from the college admission offices.

Yellow Tulip Project launches new podcast

A new podcast called “Taffy Talks” has begun at the Yellow Tulip Project, hosted by Danielle Whyte.

“Despite having just launched in January, we already have four episodes under our belt,” Whyte said. “From talks about the New Year to race to love to womanhood and all their connections to mental health with fantastic guests from various backgrounds, we’ve done so much in our short lifespan. You can tune in for the journey on Spotify under ‘Taffy Talks.'”

Founded by Julia Hansen when she was just a student, The Yellow Tulip Project focuses on smashing the stigma that surrounds mental illness and building a community where people realize there is help and hope. Learn more at

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