Portland school custodian honored as finalist for custodian of year

Ocean Avenue Elementary School held a surprise ceremony June 11 to honor lead custodian Donna Colello for being a finalist in the Cintas Corp.’s 2021 Custodian of the Year contest and for her dedication and hard work.


Cintas representatives, students, school and district staff, and Superintendent Xavier Botana gathered at the school as Colello was presented with a $1,000 check from Cintas for not only her hard work and dedication during the contest but throughout her tenure at Ocean Avenue School. Colello also is eligible for free tuition to one ISSA Cleaning Management Institute training event, valued at $1,500.

This is the eighth annual Custodian of the Year contest for Cintas, an Ohio-based company providing specialized products and services to businesses. Colello was the only finalist from the Northeast and one of only two women to make it to the top 10 nationwide.

“In our eyes, Donna Colello is clearly a winner,” Botana said. “We are extremely grateful to Donna, one of our most respected, hardworking custodians. She not only provides dedicated service to students and staff at Ocean Avenue School, but also has been a district leader in figuring out ways to best keep our school buildings safe during the pandemic.

Portland High School seniors are Olympia’s leaders

Five Portland High School seniors recently graduated from the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute.

Ella Whelan Anderson, Skye Ferris, Dalycia Greeley, Ange Ishimwe and Lucia Stone were among more than 150 young women from 35 Maine high schools who graduated from the institute in a virtual ceremony in May. The group was the fourth class of program participants in the institute’s history.

More than 750 students, advisors and school contacts participate in the institute’s program each year, which is a three-year progression through the themes: My Value (10th grade), My Voice (11th grade) and My Vision (12th grade).

The evidence-based curriculum is designed to raise the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them develop the skills to become leaders in their lives, families, careers, and communities.

Legion scholar

Brianna Foley, a 2021 graduate of Freeport High School, is the winner of the J. Arthur Stowell Scholarship Award in the amount of $5,000 from American Legion Post 83 in Freeport. Foley plans to eventually become a neurosurgeon. From left are, Joyce Clarkson-Veilleux; her mother, Catherine Foley; Foley; and Jim Dryer. Contributed / Jay Finegan

Dollars for scholars

Yarmouth High School graduate Camden Rollins and Maggie Amann, a Scarborough High School graduate, were each awarded a Mainely Character Scholarship for $2,500, given each year to Maine high school seniors who demonstrate exemplary concern for others, responsibility, integrity and courage.

Rollins is passionate about helping those less fortunate. He volunteers at a program at his local Senior Center serving food-insecure seniors and became a volunteer home handyman. Rollins also engages with food-insecure elementary students.

Amann also thrives on helping others. She describes herself as “a surfer, runner, Irish dancer, student, daughter, sister, leader and someone who cares a lot about others.” Maggie spent the past three summers volunteering at Maine Medical Center, supporting patients and their families.