Courtney Bilokonsky and Nicole Brassard of the Bath Elementary PTA ran the bake sale at the Bath Golf Club fundraiser for the school July 16. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

After a devastating fire wiped out essentially all materials and furniture at Dike Newell Elementary School, the Bath community is rallying to make sure students and teachers have a well-supplied and welcoming place to return to come fall. 

The Bath Elementary PTA held a golfing fundraiser last July 16 at the Bath Golf Club that raised about $10,000 for supplies and a bake sale at the event raised more than $800, according to PTA President Nicole Brassard. 

“Fundraisers like the benefit today have just blown up and our small community has come together, which has been amazing to see,” PTA Vice President Courtney Bilokonsky said during the event. “In general, it’s brought everyone together.”

The support is much needed because “we have a huge undertaking getting the new building ready,” said Bilokonsky, who is the parent of a pre-K student and a first grader.

The pre-K through Grade 2 school will operate out of the vacant Bath Regional Career and Technical Center this fall.

“We’re really relieved that the kids will have an actual building, but now we’re focusing on getting that building up to par for the students and replacing supplies for the teachers because their whole lives were in those classrooms,” Bilokonsky said. 


In addition to the structural damage from the fire, very little inside the school building was found to be salvageable, according to Principal Jennifer McKay. 

Allan Thomas Vigil of Bath, who police say set the fire, is at Two Bridges Jail, facing an arson charge — a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

“All of the teachers are so dedicated to their school and their kids so it’s really heartbreaking to think that all of their things are now gone,” Bassard said.

The PTA is holding a gift card drive through the end of July for teachers to restock their supplies, and accepting donations. For more information, visit the Dike Newell Strong Facebook page.

Tara Elwell, a volunteer at the PTA’s July 16 fundraiser, said she was amazed to see how much Bath has rallied around the school.

“It’s been a great turnout,” she said. “The community here is amazing. It’s different from other places – it’s really something special.” 


Also special, the parents said, was the immediate support for the Dike Newell students after June 10 fire, right before the summer break.

The Fisher Mitchell grades 3-5 school across town hosted a week of “Camp Dike-Newell” to keep the younger students connected and in high spirits. 

“It really allowed all of us to come together for the needs of the school in that last week,” Bilokonsky said. 

“I could not have judged them if they had just said ‘OK, let’s call it a summer,’ but they really came together,” said Dike Newall parent Sine St. Pierre. “It was a really admirable response.” 

Brassard volunteered on the last day of the camp.

“It was emotional to be there and to see what they were able to pull off in such a short amount of time,” she said. 

“Even the kids have come together,” said Bilokonsky, describing how the fifth-grade Fisher Mitchell students helped to unload supplies for the Dike Newell students and made cards to welcome them to camp. 

“It’s been heartwarming to see how the community has come together,” she said. “I was born and raised in Bath and have lived in Bath all my life, and I’m not surprised at all to see the outpouring of love we’ve received for our elementary school.”

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