Topsham students take part in ‘powerful’ pandemic project

As a way to mark the one-year anniversary of the day the world shut down after the outbreak of COVID-19, Megan Bosarge, an eighth grade language arts teacher at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham, decided to challenge her students with what she called “a powerful project.”

The main goal was for students to convey how they’ve changed and what they’ve learned during the pandemic, Bosarge said in an email to The Forecaster. More than 50 students wrote a series of five memoirs to chronicle their personal experiences and struggles during the pandemic.

Comments by the students ranged from heartfelt to light-hearted.

“The COVID-19 has affected me in many ways, ways that are different than most,” Shannon King said. “Going from losing a dearest friend, to getting a new hobby and to overcoming my guilt. I never thought that things like this would happen but things come unexpectedly so be prepared for the unrehearsed.”

“This whole thing was like playing a game of Hide and Seek with nobody but myself,” Elena Willis said. “I lost who I was and then I found who I was again.”

Joshy Pelky wrote, “All I have to say about reflecting on the pandemic is I guess you have to chuck it in a bucket and move on.”

“It is a little like writing a fictional story about a virus, with myself being the main character,” Theodore Forcier said.

“At one point I thought I was writing about a zombie apocalypse,” Salin Bachor wrote.

Bosarge commented, “My students have turned these memoirs into e-books and even recorded themselves reading their own stories. I am in awe of how hard they have worked and how powerful these pieces are.”

For an in-depth look at the students’ e-books, go to bit.ly/3tVZ8yP.

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 theyellowtulipproject.org/our-story.