The Dike Newell Elementary School PTA is the recipient of this year’s Community Spirit Award, awarded by the city of Bath. 

“We appreciated being even looked at for this award. We were shocked and all up there crying,” said Nicole Brassard, PTA president.

The award, along with three others, were announced at Bath’s annual Citizen Involvement Day earlier this month to honor those who make significant contributions to the community. Each year, community members and city staff suggest nominate deserving residents and present them to the Community Development Committee, which takes a vote. 

In the wake of a fire at Dike Newell at the end of the last school year, Brassard and other PTA members worked to raise money for teacher materials, to replace damaged library books and to set up the former Bath Regional Career and Technical Center for the school this year. 

They were able to replace all necessary materials, to give each staff member a $250 Amazon gift card to buy supplies and ensure that each grade level had money to spend on what they deemed to be most needed. As for the new location, “you would never know it wasn’t meant to be an elementary school,” Brassard said.   

The most rewarding part of their efforts was the support that came in from Bath and surrounding towns, she said. Westport Island massage therapists, for example, donated massages to all the Dike Newell teachers, she said.


“It made that hard time so much better to know people were pooling around the community,” Brassard said. “We worked hard to coordinate that, but we couldn’t have coordinated anything without the community involved. There’s been so much outpouring of love, so we appreciate it so much.” 

The team behind Maine’s First Ship celebrates their Community Project Award win. Contributed / City of Bath

Maine’s First Ship won the Community Project Award.

Executive Director Kirstie Truluck said their win also came as a complete surprise. The team spent 11 years building a reconstruction of the 1607 pinnace Virginiawhich they launched in June. 

“These are people who never say quit and are such creative, artistic souls,” Truluck said. They can make things out of nothing and problem-solve, and they’re curious.” 

On the day of the ship launch in June, they planned for around 1,000 people but drew a crowd of 5,000, she said, and since then she’s been delighted to see the level of interest in the ship and the museum around it.

“We had more to offer than an archaic shipbuilding group down by the river,” she said.  


Working on the project showed her that “our heritage goes back farther than anyone realized. It gives people a sense of their history, and they have a lot of fun with it.”

The Community Project Award recognized how important the launch was for everybody “and that was meaningful. We launched a wooden vessel for the first time in centuries and got to share that day with so many people,” Truluck said. 

Judith Barrington won the Citizen of the Year Award  for her decades with Sagadahoc Preservation, of which she was a founding member. She has also spent many years volunteering with organizations such as Main Street Bath and the Bath Garden Club and supporting the Maine Maritime Museum and Patten Free Library.   

Madison Malcom received the Youth Award.  “Whether in school in her honors classes, playing softball, reciting poetry, or leading other young women in her role as president of her church’s youth group, her energy and enthusiasm adds to any community she is in,” the city said. She also volunteers her time to the Bath Area Food Bank. 

Comments are not available on this story.