Raising awareness

Members of the junior class at Greely High School in Cumberland and their families see the fruits of their labor after planting over 4,000 tulip bulbs in October 2020. According to Junior Class Adviser Katie Dexter, the purpose of the plantings, besides adding beautification to the school campus, is to show awareness and support for multiple causes, including breast cancer, social justice, mental health and pride. From left are Nora Dexter, Ana Penza-Clyve, Lev Giffune, Quincy Segal, Alex Collins, Mia Raley, Carley Ferentz and Tory Bacall. Katie Dexter is in the foreground. Contributed / Nora Dexter

Local seniors named Presidential Scholar semifinalists

The U.S. Department of Education has named seven Maine students as semifinalists in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, including the following local students: Harshini K. Chaganti, Scarborough High School; Swetha Palaniappan, Cape Elizabeth High School; and Wade F. Wahlig, Falmouth High School.

The national program recognizes seniors across the country as being among the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.

Yarmouth student to attend Air Force Academy


Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Maine announced that Yarmouth High School senior Kathleen “Katie” Hughes of Yarmouth has accepted an offer to attend the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Both of my parents graduated from the Coast Guard Academy, and I have always loved hearing stories of their time spent at the Academy and in the Coast Guard,” Hughes wrote in her letter requesting a nomination from Pingree. “There are three main reasons why I wish to attend a service academy: I have a good sense of what to expect, I am excited for the possibilities and I believe I have what it would take to succeed.”

Baxter Academy senior’s art spotlighted in U.S. Capitol

Elwen Bernard’s “Passport Photo” will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year. Contributed / Elwen Bernard

Baxter Academy senior Elwen Bernard has won the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Maine’s 1st District, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced. As a state winner, the illustration “Passport Photo” will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

“In Elwen Bernard’s highly skilled and sensitive portrait, ‘Passport Photo,’ we encounter a real person whose strength, warmth, honesty, vulnerability and soul come through the finely layered and textured colored pencil markings,” said competition juror Juliet Karelsen. “In a format (a passport photo) where the subject so often appears guarded, wearing a ‘Say cheese!’ smile or as a one-dimensional version of the self, Elwen’s complex portrait challenges this norm and exudes incredible depth.”

The judges also recognized the works of five other 1st District students: “Headspace,” by Fiona Jason of Baxter Academy, second; “Don and Gunner,” by Katilyn Sawicki of Freeport High School, third; “In a Fog,” by Della Hutley of Baxter Academy, honorable mention; “I Can’t Breathe,” by Alexis Milem of Thornton Academy in Saco, honorable mention; and “Climate Change: How Much Longer Can We Hang On To Our Burning Home,” by Kaylee Demers of Falmouth High School, honorable mention.

Portland woman named student of year at SMCC

A Portland woman is one of seven students selected as 2021 Students of the Year at Maine’s Community Colleges.

Andrea N. Atkinson, who attends Southern Maine Community College, is enrolled in SMCC’s liberal studies program with a concentration in art. Atkinson attended college over a decade ago and says at SMCC she has gained new skills and a clearer direction for her career. She is the public relations director for the Student Senate, president of Phi Theta Kappa, a leader in her community and an advocate for other students. Andrea plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in art with a K‐12 education certification with the goal of becoming an art teacher.

One student was chosen by faculty and staff at each of the college’s seven campuses for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. Each will receive a $1,000 John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System. After John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint helped establish the fund for the annual awards.