December 31, 2015

Movie Time @ The Library

Do you love to watch movies? Are you looking for something to entertain you (or your kids) for a few hours? You might want to attend one of the monthly Movie Time programs at the Windham Public Library, 217 Windham Center Road. They offer movies for a wide range of age groups each month. Although the movie groups are aimed at a certain-aged audience, all ages are welcome to attend. Light refreshments are provided (thanks to our Friends of the Windham Public Library supporters), or you are welcome to bring your own. No reservations necessary, and-- as with all library programs-- attendance is free! Past titles have included “Theory of Everything,” “The Monuments’ Men,” “Out of Africa,” “Big Hero 6,” “Divergent” and “The Apple Dumpling Gang”.

Contact the library (207-892-1908) for more dates, titles, or other information, or check out our webpage at http://www.windham.lib.me.us/movie-time

December 24, 2015

Breakfast with Santa helps Lions Club raise money - By Michelle Libby


Saturday, more than 400 parents, grandparents and children flooded the Windham Veteran’s Center to eat pancakes and sausages while Santa sat nearby greeting children. 
 
“We do it because the kids enjoy it,” said Lions Club president Gene Tanguay. Breakfast with Santa has been a yearly event for the past 10 to 12 years. “All money donated stays within the community,” he told the crowd. 

The Lions Club has been saving for a new $8,000 eye screening machine, which will help make the tests more accurate. 

Along with a visit with Santa, children we able to get their faces painted, color or create an ornament with help from the Leo Club, a high school branch of the Lions Club.




Claire Tinker, 4, gets her face painted by Katie Skvorak.

Kaleigh Steeves, 5, and her grandmother Jackie Carter make an ornament. Kaleigh wants a real iPad from Santa.

Madisen, 4, and Briggs, 9, Valliere visit with Santa. Madisen wants a baby doll and Briggs asked for an Xbox 1.

Camden Waite, 2, isn’t sure about Santa as he sits with his mom Mallarie Waite.

Leo’s with Santa. Rachel Frost, Katie Skvorak (seated) Emily Skvorak, Zachary O’Brion, Santa, Liam Cassidy, Abbi Libby, Karen Petcher (advisor) and Julia Libby at Breakfast with Santa.  

December 12, 2015

Windham Historical Society salvages many materials from John Andrew School for future use


The John Andrew School in South Windham is slated for demolition, but the Windham Historical Society (WHS) has salvaged many period materials for use in their Village Green living history museum project.

The building, which has been used as storage for RSU 14, has been vacant for many years after the move of the REAL School. Heavy snow storms last winter damaged the building beyond the point of saving it. After the school board voted to demolish the school, the WHS was given the opportunity to get into the property and take what they could. 

 

According to Linda Griffin, president of the WHS, members have been busy since the vote, removing varnished woodwork, doors, trim, matched board wainscoting, floor mats, Pine flooring and blackboards with chalk trays, as well as 13 chalkboards.

 “The Windham Historical Society is pleased to have some of the architectural items from the John Andrew School to use in future buildings in our Village Green,” said Griffin. Blackboards will go in the one room school house, doors and trim will be used in many buildings, and wainscoting might be used in an ell on the back of the South Windham library, which will be a smaller replica of the railroad depot in South Windham, Griffin said. 

Dave Tanguay, vice president of the WHS, said that the society attempts to salvage materials from existing buildings for use in the Village Green any time they can. They need period materials to renovate period buildings, and the ability to salvage some of these materials saves a lot of money. 
 
“We bring back some of the past stuff and put it into the contemporary stuff, and it gives a sense of history,” he said. The biggest benefit, he added, is the cost savings. “I can get period wood for free,” he said.


Some salvaged blackboards may be used to create memorabilia of the John Andrew School, which will be sold to benefit the historical society, said Tanguay. Griffin said they also took the doors to the bathroom stalls, which could be painted and sold as souvenirs of the old school. 

Tanguay said that the Village Green project is moving slower than he’d like, but they are still making progress. The town wanted infrastructure in place before buildings, he said, so the society has been busy putting in a parking lot and planning for storm water run-off. This spring, he said, the one room schoolhouse will open to the public. 

Though it may take several years for the project to be complete, “We are in a better position now,” said Tanguay. Moving forward on some of the projects shows serious intent, and that is one of the criteria for grant writing, which is their next step, he said.

November 26, 2015

Unity of Greater Portland light tower completed after 24 years - By Elizabeth Richards

Unity of Greater Portland (UGP) recently completed work on a light tower that was part of the original vision for the building when the property was first purchased in 1991. On Saturday, November 22nd, 2015, the light tower was dedicated to the late Rev. Audrey McGinnis, in honor of her service as minister at UGP from 1986-1994. 






The ceremony was held in the sanctuary of UGP at 54 River Road in Windham. Rev. Pat Bessey led the ceremony. “We see the light tower as a beacon of light for the whole Greater Portland area,” she said in her introduction. The ceremony included heartfelt stories and memories of Rev. McGinnis and what she brought to UGP, shared by Bessey and members of the UGP community. 

Bessey was a congregant and member of the board of trustees when the building was purchased in March of 1991. A former dance hall, the building needed a great deal of renovation, and though the light tower was part of the original plans, it was never completed. 

Bessey began attending UGP in 1989. She was looking for a place to create a spiritual family, she said. When she found UGP, she said, “It felt like I came home.” She had found what she had been searching for. Bessey said it was McGinnis’ influence that inspired her to go to seminary. 
 
In August 2011 Bessey returned to UGP as their minister. It was her vision to see the light tower project finished, she said. “It felt like that was a completion piece that needed to happen.” 

During the ceremony, Bessey said that now that the original plans have been completed, UGP can begin to think about expansion needed for the children’s programming. In addition to the new light tower, the UGP building includes a sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen, bookstore, classrooms and offices. On the grounds is a memorial meditation garden and labyrinth.
 
UGP offers a Sunday service and children’s programs, classes and workshops, and service opportunities in the greater Portland area. It is currently engaged in "A Season of Interfaith-Intercultural Celebration."  More information about UGP can be found at its website at www.unitygreaterportland.com.


Former primary school principal named Junior Achievement Volunteer of the Year - By Elizabeth Richards



When Donna Stephen retired as principal of Windham Primary School, she didn’t stop being an educator. Her efforts as a volunteer for Junior Achievement of Maine were recognized in mid-October when she was named the 2014-15 Volunteer of the Year.


Junior Achievement (JA) is described on their website as “the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.”
 
All JA programs are taught by volunteers. “Our main goal is for students to be making connections between what they are learning in school and what they can do in real life,” said JA Maine President Michelle Anderson.

Stephen taught JA classes throughout the school while she was principal, and continued her involvement in her retirement, teaching the program in her grandchildren’s classrooms. When they moved on to the Manchester School, she went too, but the primary teachers still wanted her in their classrooms as well.
She has taught up to 15 classes a year, more than any other volunteer in the state, according to Anderson. “Donna is a shining example of a volunteer,” said Anderson. “She takes the curriculum and makes it her own. We are so grateful to have her.”

Stephen was honored at a volunteer thank you event, hosted by PROPEL, a young professionals group Anderson said has a strong connection with JA. Stephen is very well received by the teachers in classrooms, Anderson said, and is willing to go wherever she is needed. “She is a huge asset to our organization,” Anderson said.

Stephen said she believes in the JA curriculum completely, and feels it is a much needed missing link in education. She also said she thinks it’s good for children to see other people who believe in education coming into their classrooms. 

The teachers understand the value of the JA curriculum as well, she said, and have been flexible in their scheduling to accommodate her needs. She added that she’s pleased that Windham has been involved in JA since the early 1990s. 

Stephen was informed before the event that she would be honored, allowing her the opportunity to invite friends to celebrate with her. “I was delighted and I felt quite honored to have this award,” she said.

JA Maine is always looking for volunteers, said Anderson, since they try not to say no to any teacher who would like JA in their classroom. “The beauty is anyone can volunteer because everyone has unique life and work experience to share,” she said.


November 21, 2015

Peter Pan defies gravity with laugh out loud humor and flying - By Michelle Libby


Peter Pan is a well-known story. There have been many renditions of the play and Windham taking on the challenge of a musical and flying was exciting for all involved. 
 
Peter Pan is the story of the little boy who won’t grow up and the Darling children who go on an adventure to Neverland with Peter to meet the lost boys, the Indians and pirates lead by Captain Hook. 
The first time Peter Pan took off, there was a collective gasp. It looked so impressive from the audience. I know it was more than just the ability to fly. There are strong men in the wings playing the part of the fairy dust. Even knowing that, it was exciting to see how well the actors did with singing, twirling through the air and acting. They were professionals to the very end. 

Peter Pan was played by Anna Giroux, who led the cast with great talent in singing, acting and flying. Alexis Wintle was Jane, Michael was Sam Barry and John was played by Will Wheaton. The three of them captured the wide-eyed excitement of children on an adventure. 

Andrew Shepard as Hook was my favorite character. He brought life to the part and it provided laugh out loud moments for the entire audience. Tiger Lily played by Jaydie Allen lead her band of girls in many soft shoe numbers. And Lana Pillsbury did an amazing pointe dance displaying her talent as a ballerina.
The only drawback to the show was the almost three hours in length and some scenes that didn’t move the story forward for me. 

The music and lighting add to the mood of the play and were so flawless that it seamlessly woven with the other amazing things that went on on the stage. 
 
That being said, it was totally worth the price of admission. There is one more weekend to fly away with Peter Pan on a grand adventure. Tickets are still on sale at the door for Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) or call for reserved seating at 893-1742.












November 20, 2015

Windham Christian Academy hosts breakfast to honor local Veterans - By Jon Bolduc


On Tuesday morning, about 15 first and second graders at Windham Christian Academy started their day by hosting a pancake breakfast for local Veterans. 
 
According to first and second grade teacher Lynn Dodd, she was inspired by her husband’s 20 years of service to organize the breakfast.




“I’m very passionate about Veterans’ issues,” she said.

Over the past two weeks, students have learned about the sacrifices made by armed forces members, and have learned about the many different jobs they perform. 

“[It’s] a very important history, and there’s not much of that teaching,” said Dodd.

Dodd said that the students were asked to find a Veteran in their community, interview them, and invite them to the breakfast. 

“It’s the first [breakfast], and first annual,” said Dodd. “It’s a really great learning experience. They’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a Veteran.”

Isaiah Irish, a student at Windham Christian Academy, was excited to interview a Veteran.

“I asked him how many years he had served,” said Irish. “I learned that running in boots is hard,” he said.
 After the breakfast, the first and second graders recited a poem they memorized in honor of the Veterans, and presented them with gift baskets. 

Veterans at the breakfast served in a number of military branches. A number of students brought their parents to the breakfast, some still on active duty. After the ceremony, the students were given poppies and given a brief history lesson on the US Flag. 

“[Students] feel like they have a way to know about the freedoms that these people had to give up,” said Veteran Jennifer Eaton, who attended the ceremony with her son.