April 13, 2015

Windham Primary third graders re-tell Windham's history at concert - By Michelle Libby

Under the direction of Nancy Cash-Cobb, the Windham Primary School third graders took turns narrating their spring concert filled with details about Windham’s past. From when the first settlers set up house in town, to when a bus picked kids up for school, more than 100 different students spoke at the microphone between patriotic and historical songs. 
The speaking lines were written by local historian Kay Soldier, who was born in South Windham and has lived in town her whole life. She was unable to attend. “I was glad to do it. It’s always good to keep the kids interested. History should be fun, interesting and relevant.”

Walter Lunt, a local historian who also writes for The Windham Eagle, takes all third graders on a tour of historic sites in Windham each year. He was recognized for his work. He was also unable to attend.
The opening and closing song was written by local songwriter and singer Rick Charette for Windham’s 250th anniversary. The song was retooled for this year, the 278th year of Windham’s history. Charette was in attendance and was honored with flowers by the third graders. 

“I’m glad it was successful,” said Soldier. “Come over to the historical society and visit us this summer to see all the little treasurers we have.”

WPS students compete in OM tourney

Odyssey of the Mind provides creative problem solving opportunities for students using a team-based approach. At the state OM tournament on March 27th, a team of students from Windham Primary School competed in The Runaway Train long-term problem and finished in a respectable fourth place! Windham Primary School students and staff are very proud of their accomplishment! Team members included Sasha Funk, Brayden Funk, Rachelle Cloutier, Tabitha Good, Rory Good, Lucas Legere and Emma Thompson.

Seasons of Gratitude fundraiser concludes with a party at Dena's - By Michelle Libby

Friday night, Rick Yost representing Homes for Heroes and Shelly Afthim one of the leaders of Seasons of Gratitude hosted a party to conclude the fundraiser, which raised $1,545 for food-insecure people in the community as a thank you to teachers, administrators, police and fire employees who helped when the school was threatened this past winter. 

“This is to say thank you. For three days we were very scared. This is not about the event, but the super work.” The money was divided between the Windham Food Pantry and the backpack program at Manchester School. 

“The people we are honoring deserve a celebration,” said Yost, who works with Homes for Heroes which gives police, fire and veterans discounts on the costs of purchasing a home. 

Comedians were on hand to entertain the teachers and invited guests. 

“It’s a great event, very funny,” said Rodney Knights of Raymond. 

For more on Homes for Heroes visit, www.homesforheroes.com.

Illustrator Scott Nash drops by Windham Primary School - By Michelle Libby

Author and Illustrator Scott Nash flashed pictures of a cut out Flat Stanley on an airplane and at the Oscars with Clint Eastwood while kindergarteners and first graders listened to him speak about drawing and writing. 
Scott has illustrated 45 titles, including “Flat Stanley” and has written two novels. Scott draws every day and pays attention to his craft, which is what makes him better. His illustrations range from silly cows mowing lawns in bright colors to pen and ink drawing of blue jays dressed as pirates for his middle grade novel, “The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate”. 

Scott was invited to the school to help celebrate Mary Sanborn, a former teacher at the school who passed away. Her family donated the money to have Nash speak and to purchase $1,200 worth of books for the Adopt-a-Book program. The Adopt-a-Book program started when the school opened because there was no budget to put books on the shelves, said Linda Peterson, retired librarian. 

Marcia Steenstra, Sanborn’s twin sister, attended the presentation along with close to 25 other members of the family. Retired teachers were also invited. “She taught here for lots of years. Reading and literacy was one of her loves. She loved the idea of creative writing for children. It’s a nice tribute to her.” 

Librarian at WPS Kim Allen contacted Scott after the Sanborn family offered to fund it. 

He spoke to the children about thinking outside what’s easy. In his book “Cows Going Past” the author asked for a black cow in a green field. Scott drew a cow mowing the lawn. The audience giggled and his point was made. “It suddenly becomes interesting,” he told them. 

Matching the illustrations to the book is a lot of fun, Scott said. 

“He gives them drawing tricks,” said Nash’s wife Nancy. “Kids get so frustrated that he gives them tricks to get them more comfortable with drawing. Keep it loose is one of his tricks.” 

Scott showed the crowd how to draw faces from a baby to an 80-year-old man with just a few tweaks.
“I draw to inspire writing and I use writing to inspire drawing,” Scott said. 

The Adopt-a-Book program is always looking for donations. There is a formal application online through the www.rsu14.org website under Windham Primary School. 

Scott is currently at work on a book using children’s verse at his home on Peak’s Island.  

April 5, 2015

Sam Cole wins local Geography Bee at Windham Middle School - By Michelle Libby

Sam Cole won the Windham Middle School Geography Bee and participated in the State Bee in Farmington last week. 

“It was a great competition with more correct answers,” said local Bee coordinator Julie Anderson. The top 100 kids in the state based on the written test scores were invited to the state bee for grades 4 to 8. The winner at the state level goes on to Washington DC for the National Geography Bee. Cole did well at the State Bee, but did not move on. 

At WMS, the competition was stiff between Cole and Alex Saade. “There were 15 to 20 questions we kept getting wrong,” Cole said. “There were a bunch of places I’ve never hear of. It was kind of difficult.”
The questions for the bee could be anything one might find on a map: Capitals of countries, mountain ranges, history of a country and cultures. 

“He’s a gifted student. He was a very strong candidate in the bee,” said Anderson. 

Cole’s favorite subject is history. “I’d like to travel to a lot of places someday.” For now, he hasn’t been further than Florida. “Being a travel writer would be fun,” he said.  

The National competition is very competitive and to be successful the winners keep notebooks of facts, said Anderson. 

Cole’s winning question was: Which European country which borders France and Italy uses political units called cantons?  The answer: Switzerland.