June 14, 2024

Raymond elects new selectman, RSU 14 budget passes district-wide

By Ed Pierce

Voters in Windham and Raymond cast ballots in Tuesday’s Primary Election and once the results were tabulated, several local issues and questions were decided.

In Raymond, voters rejected a referendum item creating an $8.1 million bond to construct a new Public Works Facility by a margin of 525-221. The issue caused friction earlier this year between Select Board members and Budget Finance Committee members as both groups agreed that a new facility is needed but they differed in opinion about the scope and size of the proposed project and selectmen then voting to nullify a Budget Finance Committee unanimous vote not to recommend the referendum item. All 35 other referendum items on the ballot were overwhelmingly approved by voters.

Incumbent Raymond Select Board Chair Joe Bruno lost in his bid for re-election for a three-year term to Raymond Budget Finance Committee member and former Raymond Fire Chief Denis Morse. Morse tallied 461 votes, while Bruno had 314 votes.

Three candidates were elected to serve three-year terms on the Raymond Budget Finance Committee. Christopher S. Hanson received 472 votes, former Raymond Town manager Don Willard received 455 votes and Clifford G. Small received 369 votes. Three seats on the committee were available.

Grace E.D. Leavitt of Raymond received 599 votes and was elected to a three-year term on the RSU 14 Board of Directors representing Raymond. She was the only candidate running for the seat in the election.

Raymond and Windham voters approved the RSU 14 budget proposal of $60,185,403 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024, and ending June 30, 2025. In Raymond, 501 votes were cast to approve the budget, with 278 votes opposed. In Windham, 701 votes were cast in favor of approving the school budget with 431 votes in opposition.

Republicans in Windham cast 509 votes for U.S. Senate candidate Demi Kouzounas of Saco while two candidates vied for the nomination for U.S Representative, including Andrew Piantidosi of Cape Elizabeth (261 votes) and Ronald C. Russell of Kennebunkport (284 votes). Russell won the nomination by picking up 56 percent of the vote overall in the state to Piantidosi’s 44 percent and will face incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree in the November General election.

Jerry Lynn Dewitt of New Gloucester received 503 votes in seeking the Republican nomination for Register of Probate in Windham.

Kenneth J. Cianchette of Windham was unopposed in seeking the Republican nomination for State Senator in District 26 and received 552 votes. Incumbent Barbara Bagshaw of Windham was unopposed in seeking the nomination for the Maine House District 106 seat representing part of Windham and received 296 votes. Mark Cooper of Windham was unopposed in seeking the Republican District 107 nomination to represent part of Windham in the Maine House and received 263 votes.

For Democrats in Windham, U.S. Senate candidate David Allen Costello of Brunswick received 375 votes and incumbent U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree of North Haven tallied 468 votes. In November, Costello will face Republican Kouszounas and Independent incumbent Angus King for the U.S. Senate seat.

Incumbent State Senator Tim Nangle of Windham was unopposed in seeking the District 26 nomination and received 458 votes. He will face Republican challenger Cianchette in the General Election this fall. In Raymond, Nangle received 294 votes and Cianchette received 326 votes.

Doris A. Poland of Windham was unopposed in seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in District 106 representing part of Windham. She tallied 229 votes and will face Republican incumbent Bagshaw in November’s General Election.

Susan G. Schwartz of Portland was unopposed in seeking the Democratic nomination for Register of Probate and received 444 votes.

Democrat incumbent Jane Pringle of Windham was unopposed in seeking the nomination for the District 107 Maine House seat, representing part of Windham. She received 229 votes and will face Republican challenger Cooper and independent challenger and former legislator Patrick Corey in the General Election.

In Raymond, Democrat Craig R. Messinger of Raymond was unopposed in seeking the nomination for State Representative in District 86 and received 298 votes, while Rolf A. Olsen, Jr. was unopposed for the Republican nomination for District 86 State Representative and received 332 votes. Messinger and Olsen will vie for the District 86 seat in the General Election.

Suzanne Carr served as the Raymond Town Meeting Warrant Moderator for the Primary Election in Raymond. <

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce donates $20K to local food pantries

By Masha Yurkevich

Food pantries play a vital role in helping communities thrive, serving everyone from low-income families, single parents, senior citizens, unemployed individuals, disabled veterans, working poor, and anyone else that comes to the pantry.

Checks were presented to several local food pantry directors
at the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce's
Business Break at the Roosevelt Trail Garden Center on
May 22. From left are Robins Mullins SLRCC
President/CEO, Gary Bibeau Raymond Food Pantry, Collette
Gagnon, Windham Food Pantry, Jonathan Priest SLRCC
Board Chair, Lisa Mokaba Standish Food Pantry, Debra
Howard Sebago Warming Hut, John Worrey Crosswalk
Community Outreach, and Donna Rand Gray Community
Food Pantry. SUBMITTED PHOTO   
On May 22, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce presented a check of $20,000 to several of the food pantry directors at the chamber's May Business Break at the Roosevelt Trail Garden Center.

The chamber's mission is “To foster economic growth and prosperity in our region,” says Robin Mullins, the President-CEO of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce (SLRCC). “Our region consists of Casco, Gray, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham.”

To that end, in 2016, the SLRCC created the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Charitable Trust, which oversees the Feed the Need initiative.

“The initiative was started because the chamber realized that food insecurity in the region was an issue and we wanted to help in any way we could,” says Mullins.

The chamber hosts fundraising events throughout the year and through the trust donates annually to the 12 food pantries in the eight towns the chamber supports. Fundraisers include the Sebago Lake Polar Dip held in February as part of the Sebago Lake Rotary Club's Annual Fishing Derby, the Golf Ball Drop which is part of Windham Summerfest, 50/50 drawings from some of the chamber's monthly Business Breaks, and donations made during the chamber's annual Bid of Christmas event each December.

“Private donations from individuals and other local businesses also help to fund the initiative,” says Mullins. “This year we donated $20,000 to those 12 food pantries in our region. The amount of each check is based on the number of individuals the pantry assists each month.”

To date, the Feed the Need initiative has donated more than $178,500 to the region's local food pantries. The chamber raises cash for the pantries, rather than doing food drives, as it allows the pantries to use the funds for items they need at their individual pantries. Sometimes the need is not food at all, but toiletries, personal items or diapers.

These are ways the community can help and contribute, too., Mullins said.

The community can help out by checking out the Feed the Need section of our website at sebagolakeschamber.com/,” says Mullins. “There they can donate directly to Feed the Need or they can participate in any of our fundraisers. In fact, we have a fundraiser going on right now. I am throwing out a challenge to the residents of the eight towns we support. Please purchase a golf ball (or two or 10) for our annual Golf Ball Drop that is part of Windham Summerfest on June 22. Golf balls are $10 each (you do not get a physical golf ball, but a number). At 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 at the Windham Summerfest, all of the balls we have sold will be dropped from the top of a Windham fire truck ladder. The person whose ball falls closest to the pin will win 20 percent of what we raise. So, if we sell all 1,000 golf balls, the winner would receive $2,000. There are lots of other ancillary prizes as well.”

What makes this even more exciting is that their sponsor for the event, Modern Woodmen, has agreed to match the first $2,500 that Feed the Need raises from this event and all of this will go directly to the Feed the Need initiative.

“We ask that you please buy some golf balls and by this you will not only contribute to your community, but it will also give you a chance to win a wonderful prize,” says Mullins. “You can purchase them online at our website or come and see us at Summerfest on June 22. We also have a fun putting contest where you can win a $100 Hannaford Gift card.”

For more information about the Feed the Need initiative, please visit sebagolakeschamber.com/<

Alewife migration a fascinating natural phenomenon

By Kaysa Jalbert

It's late spring, and the waters of Mill Brook near South Windham are warming up. The brook, winding through a secluded, hilly forest, becomes the stage for an incredible natural spectacle. As you walk along the trails, you come upon a viewing pool near the southern trailhead. In the clear water, thousands of silver alewives, a type of river herring, are gathering. These fish, each about 11 inches long, shimmer in the sunlight as they move together in tight, swirling schools.

Alewives enter the Presumpscot River from Casco Bay then
swim up Mill Brook until they reach their native spawning
ground at Highland Lake. FILE PHOTO
The fish congregate at the base of a small set of rapids. Here, the water bubbles and churns, creating a white froth against the rocks. Despite the challenging current, the alewives begin their ascent. The fish move up the falls in a determined scramble, oftentimes flipping onto their sides and sliding back down; trying many times to push forward through the flow of water. Some make it on the first try, while others are pushed back by the force of the water, only to try again moments later.

This is how Brenna Crothers, Community Engagement Manager of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust describes one of coastal Maines most fascinating phenomenon’s that is the alewife fish migration from Casco Bay to Highland Lake where they spawn, and you have a chance to witness it. Over the next few weeks, thousands of alewife fish will be swimming through Mill Brook Preserve.

Once in scarce numbers, the alewives have rebounded after Smelt Hill dam was removed in 2002, allowing migration numbers to reach over 70,000 in the past few years. This removal, along with other restoration efforts, like culvert replacements and fish ladder installations, has led to the significant return of alewife migrations.

“This is a species of fish that came back from almost a 250-year absence,” said Crothers. “Witnessing their journey, you can't help but cheer for these mighty fish. The schools of fish that make their way up rivers and brooks face many obstacles: shallow waters, fallen logs and trees, predators, swimming up seemingly impossible waterfalls without the grace of a salmon, but in a movement that can only be described as a determined scramble. These fish inspire.”

Each year, Alewives enter the Presumpscot River from Casco Bay, then swim up Mill Brook until they reach their native spawning ground at Highland Lake. This almost 11-mile-long journey typically takes two to three weeks. Adult alewives can make this round-trip about three to four times in their lives.

The migration will be visible from every one of the Mill Brook Preserve trailheads, the closet trailheads to the water being on Perry Court and north of 789 Methodist Road. The southern fish viewing pool is the most likely to spot fish, however the northern pool is more remote meaning at the right time you can see multiple fish ascend the waterfall.

The alewife migration is a family-friendly activity. Mill Brook has a two-mile hiking loop that crosses two bridges, includes nature scavenger hunt cards along the trail, and has a fairy and gnome village.

For the health of alewives during their migration, ropes have been placed around the viewing areas to ensure all people and pets stay out of the water, to stop soil from eroding into the stream and to make it clear fishing and collecting fish are not allowed.

The journey of migration is very stressful for Alewives. It begins in the ocean and estuaries, where they get eaten by larger fish and birds such as eagles, ospreys and cormorants. As they migrate into streams in the forest, new predators stand by such as raccoons and foxes.

Finally arriving at their spawning grounds, they must still be aware of larger fish like the freshwater bass. Survivors then find their way back into the ocean and their spawns follow some months later. The native range of the alewife stretches from the bottom of North Carolina up into New Brunswick, going up and around Nova Scotia as well.

Alewives have large eyes, a large black spot behind the gill cover, and their silver colors are darker on top, making for camouflage from water’s surface, and shinier from the bottom, giving them camouflage from below as well.

Another name for an alewife is “sawbelly” because of their narrow bodies that form jagged sharp scales along their stomachs. The alewife may also go as “Gaspereau” in Atlantic Canada, or “kayak fish” for its elongated shape.

To get more information or to download the alewife migration electronic guide, visit https://www.prlt.org/alewife-migration <

Messinger running for Maine House District 86 seat

Craig Messinger, a Democrat from Raymond, has announced his candidacy for Maine House of Representatives District 86, which includes Raymond, Casco, Frye Island, and part of Poland.

Craig Messinger has announced his candidacy
as a Democrat for the Maine House of
Representatives District 86 seat, which
includes Raymond, Casco, Frye Island, and 
part of Poland, He is a lifelong firefighter
and a longtime Raymond resident.
SUBMITTED PHOTO
“As a lifelong firefighter I know that when you’re fighting a fire there’s no time to stand around arguing, you have to work together to get people the help they need. There’s too much arguing and not enough working together,” Messinger said.” That’s why I’m running to bring teamwork to Augusta to solve the problems we’re facing as a state: out of control costs, ensuring our older residents can age with dignity, and equipping our youth to build successful lives here in Maine. I believe communication and listening is missing from our political environment today, which is why I always listen to both sides of a situation and don’t base my decisions on a political party or an agenda.”

Messinger is a longtime Raymond resident, where he and his wife raised their family. He is a deacon in his church, where he organizes community dinners, provides outreach to elderly congregants, and is a dedicated food pantry volunteer.

He’s also developed a strong understanding of local issues and needs. From delivering a baby in an apartment while serving as a firefighter/paramedic in Portland, to coaching softball and soccer when his daughter was in middle school, Messinger has spent his life quietly helping his community thrive. He now hopes to bring that track record of helping his community to Augusta.

“I’ve seen first-hand how hard it can be for our seniors to age in rural communities like ours, and we need to do more to support them. At the same time, we need to support our young adults as they seek to obtain an education and opportunities here in Maine. I’m lucky that my daughter has been able to get a great education here, and I want to make sure every Maine kid has the chance to be a lifelong Mainer.”

District 86 has been represented for the past four terms by Jessica Fay of Raymond.

As she terms out, Fay says Messinger will serve District 86 superbly if he is elected this fall.

“Craig is exactly the right person to represent us in Augusta,” Fay said. “He has always been an active member of our community. Craig has spent his professional career serving and caring for others. I believe that he will do the same for us in Augusta.” <

June 7, 2024

Voters head to polls in primary election June 11

By Ed Pierce

For Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell, the upcoming primary voting on Tuesday, June 11 will be another election in her long career, but for her counterpart in Raymond, Melanie Fernald, it will the first time she has overseen an election as Raymond Town Clerk.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for voters 
in Windham and Raymond casting ballots on Tuesday,
June 11. COURTESY PHOTO  
Sample ballots are available online and there are several contested races in the primary, but for the most part, voting will be for registered voters by party affiliation. The ballots will also contain 34 different referendum items in Raymond and for voters to approve or disapprove the RSU 14 annual budget in both Raymond and Windham.

On the ballot for Democrats in Windham, is U.S. Senate candidate David Allen Costello of Brunswick, and incumbent U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree of North Haven. State Senator Tim Nangle of Windham is running for re-election in District 26 and Doris A. Poland of Windham is seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in District 106 representing part of Windham. Susan G. Schwartz of Portland is seeking the Democratic nomination for Register of Probate. Incumbent Jane Pringle of Windham is seeking re-election for her District 107 seat representing part of Windham.

The Republican ballot for Windham includes U.S. Senate candidate Demi Kouzounas of Saco and two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S Representative, Andrew Piantidosi of Cape Elizabeth and Ronald C. Russell of Kennebunkport. Jerry Lynn Dewitt of New Gloucester is seeking the Republican nomination for Register of Probate and Kenneth J. Cianchette of Windham is unopposed in a bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Tim Nangle for State Senator in District 26. Incumbent Barbara Bagshaw of Windham is seeking re-election for her District 106 seat representing part of Windham in the Maine House of Representatives. Mark Cooper of Windham is seeking the Republican District 107 nomination to represent part of Windham in the legislature.

In Raymond, Democrat Craig R. Messinger of Raymond is on the ballot for State Representative in District 86, while Rolf A. Olsen, Jr. is on the ballot as the Republican candidate for District 86 in the Maine House of Representatives. Incumbent Democrat Jessica Fay currently holds that seat but is term-limited and cannot run for that position this fall.

Democrat candidates also on the primary ballot in Raymond are Tim Nangle (State Senate District 26), Chellie Pingree (U.S. Representative), Susan G. Schwartz (Register of Probate), and David Allen Costello (U.S. Senate). Republican candidates also appearing on the ballot in Raymond are Demi Kouzounas (U.S. Senate), Jerry Lynn Dewitt (Register of Probate), Kenneth J. Cianchette (State Senate District 26) and Andrew Piantidosi and Ronald C. Russell (U.S. Representative).

Three candidates are on the ballot to serve three-year terms on the Raymond Budget Finance Committee. They are Christopher S. Hansen, Clifford G. Small, and Donald L. Willard. Three seats on the committee are available.

Grace E.D. Leavitt of Raymond is the lone candidate seeking a three-year term on the RSU 14 Board of Directors representing Raymond.

Two candidates are vying for a three-year term on the Raymond Board of Selectmen. Incumbent Joseph Bruno is seeking re-election and is opposed by Raymond Budget Finance Committee member and former Raymond Fire Chief Denis Morse.

Raymond voters will also determine the fate of 34 different referendum items as part of a modified town meeting. The item labeled “X” on the ballot asks voters to approve a bond of $8.1 million to construct a new Public Works Facility. Select Board members and Budget Finance Committee members agree that a new facility is needed but differ in opinion about the scope and size of the proposed project. Select Board members recommend approval of the project, while Budget Finance Committee do not recommend voting for it. Getting that language on the ballot caused some friction between the Select Board and the Budget Finance Committee earlier this year when Raymond Selectmen voted to nullify a Budget Finance Committee unanimous vote to not recommend the referendum item. It does appear on the ballot though as recommended by Selectmen but not recommended by the town’s Budget Finance Committee.

Lastly, voters in Raymond and Windham will vote to approve the RSU 14 budget proposal.

During a meeting in May, the following budget proposal was put forward: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will authorize the School Board to expend for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 and ending June 30, 2025 from the Regional School Unit’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to Grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act, local funds for non-state-funded school construction projects, additional local funds for school purposes under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15690, unexpended balances, tuition receipts, state subsidy and other receipts for the support of schools. The RSU 14 Board of Directors recommends $60,185,403.

Voting in Raymond will be at Jordan-Small Middle School and runs from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters can cast ballots in Windham at Windham High School between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. <

In the public eye: Technology Specialist wraps up 25-year career at WMS

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce


It’s been a wonderful ride for Peter Mullen, but after 25 years of working at Windham Middle School, he’s retiring at the end of this school year.

Peter Mullen, the Technology Specialist for Student Support
at Windham Middle School, will retire at the end of the
school year after 25 years of working with students and
staff there. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
Mullen is the Technology Specialist for Student Support for WMS, and his primary responsibility is to maintain the fleet of laptops that the school uses for both staff and students.

But as he explains it, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We all work together in the IT Department so that devices in all buildings work as well, sharing our knowledge with each other and passing on tips and suggestions and having each other's back,” Mullen said. “Then there are all the side issues that contribute to how well the devices work including the network, the performance of websites and software not under our control, to printing and managing information. Teaching today involves technology at every level which provides a constant threat that something will go wrong. There is also a lot of bookkeeping involved to make sure everything is kept track of, and we know who has what device and where everything is.”

As a certified teacher, Mullen began working at WMS as a substitute in the spring of 1999. He agreed to serve as an Ed Tech in the fall of 1999 and went on to work as a long-term sub teaching computer technology. He then taught computer science through the 2003-2004 school year.

“In 2002, the first round of laptops from the MLTI program arrived in Windham and I guess it was natural for me to start managing them while I was still teaching,” Mullen said. “In the summer of 2004, a position was created to just deal with the laptops which I have now been in for 20 years. A new computer teacher was hired but it wasn't too long before that position was eliminated since the laptops sort of made the concept of a computer lab obsolete.

During his time at WMS, Mullen has witnessed the technology explosion in Windham and in virtually every school in the state.

“Maine is unique. It is the only state to ensure 1-1 access to technology,” he said. “There are smaller jurisdictions that have done this, but nothing on this scale. I have seen it grow from just seventh grade having devices in 2002, to every student and staff member in RSU 14 (PreK to Grade12) having their own device (iPads in PreK to Grade 2, laptops from Grades 3 to 12).

He grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire and he earned an Associate of Science degree in Computer Programming at night from Hesser College in Manchester. He went back to school and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science from The College for Lifelong Learning, a division of the University of New Hampshire, and earned his teaching certification at Franklin Pierce College.

His retirement wraps up a 44-year career in Information Technology.

“There were a couple of minor detours, but I consider my career to have started in 1980,” Mullen said. “I had moved to California and was lucky enough to start on the ground floor of a bank that was opening its own data center. I moved back east and managed a large financial data center in Boston in the 1980s. I started in IT in a large room with a large, noisy, mainframe computer with paper tape, keypunch cards, and other museum quality things.”

It was through a family connection that he ultimately landed at WMS.

“My cousin's wife is Marcia Mullen, who was the nurse at Windham Primary School for many years,” he said. “She suggested I come to Windham. It couldn't happen today, but within a day or two of her introducing me to former principal Donna Stephen, I was day-subbing. I wasn't a complete stranger to Windham as I had visited Marcia and her family many times over the preceding years.”

Of all the things he’s learned while working at WMS through the years, Mullen says one stands out above the others.

“Balance. I have never been accused of having too much empathy, but I have worked to try to find the right balance in that regard,” he said. “Part of growing up is the lessons of accountability and ownership. We hand out expensive tools to these children and things happen. My gut reaction is to hold them accountable which can include financial penalties among other repercussions that can affect a student's learning. But like I said earlier, it isn't always black and white, and I have gotten better at accepting that over the years.” <

Naturalization ceremony welcomes new U.S. citizens in Raymond

By Nicole Levine

Gathered in front of students and family members at Raymond Elementary School, 16 individuals began their new journey as United States citizens on June 3.

A new citizen waves an American flag
during a U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Service Naturalization
ceremony at Raymond Elementary
School on Monday, June 3.
PHOTO BY NICOLE LEVINE 
RES students and faculty opened up the school gymnasium to the public to conduct a Naturalization Ceremony there, welcoming individuals from 13 different countries, as the Raymond community gathered together to celebrate them becoming American citizens.

The ceremony was led by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Officer Jeffery Hamm.

“One of the ways our country is beautiful is our diversity,” Hamm said. “It offers a principal insight into how the United States is composed through its variety of backgrounds and cultures from around the globe. This concept only strengthens the meaning behind the ceremony.”

As the event drew to a close, the participants took the Oath of Allegiance, pledging their allegiance to the United States, officially earning their citizenship. Upon saying the final words of the oath, the audience erupted in applause. The new American citizens turned around toward their friends and family, with their smiles stretching ear to ear.

Hamm took the opportunity to also emphasize the importance of learning individual stories. Each one of the newly inducted citizens have their own unique journeys and fascinating stories to share.

One individual who gained her American citizenship on this day traveled all the way from Rwanda. Her motivation to move to the United States was her hope for finding a better life for her children.

All participants must take a test in order to obtain citizenship, where the process can be extensive and difficult, especially when English may not be the first language for many of them. Despite this, the Rwandan woman was determined and worked persistently over 13 years toward her goal of American citizenship, until she finally achieved it in 2024.

This was a day that will not be forgotten in the hearts of many. The RES students in attendance were also an integral part of what made this ceremony so particularly heartwarming.

Located on the wall behind the podium, students had hung colorful hand-drawn pictures and signs representing the American flag and included phrases such as “Welcome to the USA.'' Throughout the ceremony, the RES second- and third-grade chorus also sang American-themed patriotic songs to the new citizens, such as “The National Anthem,” “America the Beautiful,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and “This Pretty Planet.”

John Facella, Public Safety Educator for Raymond Fire and Rescue, along with two of his military veteran colleagues, carried the flags into the gym, while the students sang. Facella mentioned how Raymond Elementary has always been able to make the Naturalization Ceremony such a meaningful experience for all those involved.

Not only did the school create an incredibly welcoming environment, which provided a memorable day for the people being naturalized, it also served as an important learning experience for the students.

By being given the opportunity to see a diverse group of countries represented, it introduced them to a variety of cultures from around the world. This experience could also spark curiosity about their own family lineage.

In addition to the Naturalization Ceremony, during the prior week Facella offered an American flag lesson and demonstration to RES second graders. Within his lecture, he interactively taught the students about its history, how it was sewn, and why it is part of American culture to show respect to the flag. He also presented to the class an American Legion comic book, which also contains all this information in a visual format.

Facella explained that his motivation to teach the young students about the flag and its significance, is the importance of understanding its symbolism. He says that it represents the United States, the freedom we have, and the people who previously served to protect this country.

Facella’s flag demonstration served as a great introduction for the students, in relation to the Naturalization Ceremony. It illustrated the concept of being a United States citizen and provided a background for why these 16 individuals have worked so hard to become American citizens.

Both Facella’s presentation and the Naturalization Ceremony contributed to the students' understanding and expanded world view. Most of all, 16 people memorably earned their citizenship after all their hard work and dedication. <