Village school reopens after COVID-19 flare-up

Village Elementary School in Gorham reopened Tuesday, a day after it was closed “to tighten” safety procedures in the cafeteria in the wake of five active cases of COVID-19 at the school, Principal Jodi Mezzanotte said.

The number rose to six cases at the school on Tuesday, according to School Department figures.

Superintendent Heather Perry said Tuesday that during the closure cafeteria tables were removed and replaced with desks and chairs to maximize space; additional lunch duty monitors were hired; and class schedules were changed to allow one grade at a time in the cafeteria.

Gorham High School had eight active cases on Oct. 29 but dropped to five on Tuesday. Unlike Village school, no changes are planned for the high school, according to Perry.

The middle school had two active cases on Oct. 29, Narragansett Elementary had four on Nov. 2 and Great Falls Elementary had none as Nov. 1.

 Top teacher, Collins connect

2020 Maine Teacher of the Year Heather Whitaker, right, meets Sen. Susan Collins in Washington, D.C. Contributed / Office of Sen. Susan Collins

Gorham Middle School teacher Heather Whitaker, who was the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year, met recently with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.


Collins also met with Portland educator Cindy Soule, the 2021 Teacher of the Year.

“Heather Whitaker and Cindy Soule are incredible Maine teachers who have inspired so many Maine students,” Collins said in a press release. “It was such a pleasure to meet with them in Washington and congratulate them on receiving the prestigious Maine Teacher of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021.”

Whitaker has taught alternative education to students with special needs for 18 years. She launched a school garden that donates more than 800 pounds of produce annually for the local food pantry. Whitaker was also a founding member of the backpack program to help feed students on weekends.

Soule has taught fourth grade for 20 years at the Gerald Talbot School in Portland.

New fitness center at GMS

Gov. Janet Mills and Jake Steinfield, chairperson of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, virtually cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center at Gorham Middle School Oct. 27.

The virtual ceremony also included staff and students from Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School in Deer Isle and SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft, which were also awarded new fitness centers.


The schools celebrated the unveiling of their new $100,000 fitness centers, gifted to them earlier this year following a competition from the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils DON’T QUIT! campaign. The trio were selected as the state’s most outstanding schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping their students fit.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation opted to celebrate by holding a “virtual ribbon-cutting tour,” where each school received a DON’T QUIT! kit that included shirts, face masks and ceremonial scissors.

Mills also signed a proclamation declaring October as “DON’T QUIT! Fitness Month,” encouraging Maine families and communities to make physical activity and healthy eating part of their children’s daily lives.

White Rock tree lighting

The White Rock Friendship Club will host its 37th annual Christmas tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at the White Rock Community Clubhouse, 34 Wilson Road, Gorham.

Santa will make a personal appearance, arriving aboard a White Rock Fire Station truck. The event will also include a reading of “The Christmas Story” and caroling around a holiday tree while enjoying hot cocoa.

The event is outdoors-only this year.

60 years ago

The Westbrook American reported Nov. 1, 1961, that services were held for Elizabeth Foye of Gorham at Neal Funeral Home on State Street. Foye was born in Limington in 1876. She taught school in New Hampshire and Maine and served as principal in Limington and Kezar Falls. Foye was also the first woman elected to the Limington School Board. Her daughter, Katherine Hurd, taught at Forest Street School in Westbrook.

U.S. taxpayer debt

The Bureau of the Fiscal Service reported Oct. 28 that the U.S. public debt was $28,908,774,731,742.71.

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