Four named as National Merit semifinalists
Cape Elizabeth High School seniors Oscar Gustafson, Sarah Hagan, Claire McDonald and Clara Parker have been named National Merit semifinalists for their performance on the PSAT administered in January.
These students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth nearly $30 million, that will be offered next spring.
Now in its 67th year, the National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships.

District names new director of special services
The Wells-Ogunquit Community School District has selected Karen Lenk Tufts as its new director of special services. The administrative position oversees a team of 13 case managers in the District’s Special Services Department, to serve the varying special needs of more than 140 kindergarten through grade 12 students. Other department staff includes 10 related service providers and 40 ed techs.
Since 2018, Tufts has been the WOCSD’s IEP Coordinator/K-12 Instructional Strategist. She holds a bachelors in communications from Emerson College and a master’s in communication disorders from the University of New Hampshire and has extensive experience in the field of speech pathology. She managed and worked from her own pediatric speech-language practice for 20 years and has contracted with school districts for speech/language evaluations and therapy services.

Waban awarded grant from CMP
Central Maine Power had awarded Waban with a $10,000 grant to purchase SMART Boards for their pre-K, and kindergarten through grade 4 classrooms.
Waban will use the electronic whiteboards to promote interactive online lessons for students, as well as providing online forums and curriculum expansion for teachers.
Smart Board technology enhances the way students learn by providing them with an enriched hands-on experience. Using visual elements and games that the boards and the accompanying software provide, teachers are able to accommodate different styles of learning.
The Fraser Ford Child Development Center has recently incorporated two SMART Boards into its classrooms as a way to complement their offerings to students at the special purpose therapeutic school for children with autism and other developmental/intellectual disabilities.
For more details, go to or call 324-7955.

Playwrights Festival now open for submissions
Acorn Productions, producers of the annual Maine Playwrights Festival, has begun accepting scripts for this year’s 20th edition of the state’s long-running incubator for new plays by local playwrights. Maine residents are eligible to submit a new play for consideration in the festival. Those submissions should be between eight and 30 minutes in length. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 28.
The festival is centered on developing and honing short plays, from submission through staged readings, rewrites, and culminating in public performances. The 2022 Maine Playwrights Festival will be comprised of two weekends of fully staged performances of short plays, to be performed in Portland in April and May of 2022. The festival anticipates selecting five to seven short plays for production this year. The selected playwrights will receive extensive support revising their pieces during a workshop phase before the plays go into rehearsals.
In addition to the festival productions, several playwrights not selected for the full festival will also get the opportunity to workshop their plays with this year’s professional playwright-in-residence. Acorn is also offering a playwriting workshop this fall – to be taught remotely via Zoom – for playwrights of all experience levels to work on refining their scripts for submission. Those interested in submitting a new play for consideration, or registering for the class, should visit Acorn’s website at for complete details.

4-H livestock auction at the fair
The 4-H Livestock Auction at the Cumberland Fair will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Show Arena at the Cumberland Fairgrounds, at 197 Blanchard Road.
Baby beef, market lambs, and market hogs, raised by local 4-H members, will be auctioned off. Proceeds go directly to the 4-H’ers who raised the animals.
To purchase an animal, you may bid from the arena by raising your hand or bidding number, to be recognized by the ring persons. Immediately after the sale, buyers must go to the cashier to pay with cash or check only, and complete the paperwork. For more information about the 4-H Livestock Auction please visit

Logging Operations Program honors graduates
Twelve graduates of Maine’s only college training program for operators of mechanized logging equipment were recognized Sept. 16 at a ceremony held at the site where they spent weeks harvesting timber using state-of-the-art machines like those they will encounter in the logging industry.
Students of the 12-week Mechanized Logging Operations Program spent the summer and early fall gaining hands-on logging experience, guided by veteran logging instructors, for training that is unmatched by any other logger education program in Maine and neighboring states.
Graduates included: Andrew Hatchell of Readfield, Andrew McLaughlin of Bangor, Benjamin Carroll of Dixfield, Christopher Glidden of Carroll Plantation, David Lessard of Jackman, Dawson Chauette of Waterboro, Junior Tyler of Farmington, Josh Clark of Brewer, Nathan Bacon of Sidney, Nathan Hilton of Bryant Pond, Robert Stuart of Bridgton, and Colton Carlow of Peru. All who enrolled in the program completed their studies, with most students hired by contractors even before graduating.
The program was jointly developed by the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine and NMCC with support from Milton CAT/CAT Forest Products, Nortrax Inc./John Deere, and other industry partners. Students gain broad knowledge of the most common mechanical systems found in modern timber harvesting equipment, and an understanding of the variables of timber growth, tree species, and markets.
Supported by the Maine Community College System’s Maine Quality Centers, students pay no tuition or fees and the program provides all required personal protective equipment. Maine Quality Centers develops and supports skilled in-demand and high wage occupations in Maine through a variety of training opportunities.
For more details on the program or to enroll, call Leah Buck at Northern Maine Community College at 768-2768 or go to

Rashod Taylor recipient of 2021 Arnold Newman Prize
Maine Media Workshops + College has honored Rashod Taylor as the recipient of its 2021 Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture. The $20,000 prize, one of the nation’s largest awards in the world of photographic portraiture, is annually given to a photographer whose work demonstrates a compelling new vision in the genre.
Taylor’s award-winning work, entitled “Little Black Boy” – modeled in part after a family photo album – offers a window into his family story as well as the Black American experience.
Taylor is an emerging contemporary photographer, who uses the frameworks and methods allied with the history of fine art portraiture to contemplate his own family’s narrative within contemporary America. His photographs are deeply rooted to photographic traditions and break new ground. He pays particular attention to the relationship between father and son in his series. He uses the analog practice to capture his images, that he later produces from his darkroom at home.
Taylor earned a bachelor’s in art, with a specialization in fine art photography, from Murray State University and has since exhibited and been published nationally and internationally.
Other 2021 finalists this year include Donovan Smallwood with “Languor,” Christian K. Lee with “Armed Doesn’t Mean Dangerous,” and GOLDEN with “On Learning How to Live.”
Taylor’s work, entitled “Examining Themes of Race, Culture, Family, and Legacy,” will be exhibited, along with the works of other finalists, from Oct. 5-24 at The Griffin Museum of Photography, 67 Shore Road, Winchester, Mass. An awards ceremony and reception also will be held there at 7 p.m., Oct. 7.
For more details, call Raffi DerSimonian at 756-0916 or email [email protected]

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