May 27, 2016

Student of the week - Mia Mizner

The Windham Eagle student of the week is Mia Mizner, a 12-year-old at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond. The seventh grader likes English/language arts.

Mia’s mother is Melissa Mizner. Her grandparents are Jim and Sissy Mizner and she has a brother Lucas. She also has a dog, cats, bunnies and a Guinea pig. 

Mia’s hobbies are drawing, singing and listening to music. When she grows up she would like to be a theater actress. She feels that education is important because it helps later in life with jobs, “helping your kids and everyday life.” 

“The seventh grade teachers agree wholeheartedly with comments made by fellow students of Mia who nominated Mia. ‘Mia is a great friend and always does her best.’ ‘Mia stays on task and always is on time and focused.’ ‘She always does what she thinks is right and she is very kind to others.’ She has a certain determination and drive. She never shies away from a challenge and always approaches difficult tasks with a ‘can do’ attitude. Mia lifts her peers up, encouraging them to do their best and never give up,” the teachers said.

Favorite TV show:  The Vampire Diaries
Favorite Animal:  Elephant
Favorite movie:  The Final Girls

Rotary Pizza Challenge a savory success - By Michelle Libby

Sebago Lake Rotary and Interact Club

The Sebago Lake Rotary Club’s sixth annual pizza challenge drew hundreds of people last Thursday night. The smell of cheesy pizza hung in the air at the old Card Smart location at the Windham Mall, while hungry patrons tasted the various flavors of pizza from area restaurants, convenience stores and even schools. 

“It all goes to charity,” said Rotary president Deb McPhail. The money goes to various charitable organizations. Last year they helped the Windham Food Pantry, Life Flight, Camp Sunshine and Windham Backpack Program. They evaluate each donation as requests come in. 

“Everybody has a smile on their face. It’s wildly successful. I’ve never collected so much money from people with smiles,” said Rotary member Peter Brunette. 

Pizzas were donated, at least 15 from each store with some bringing 60 pizzas and others going back for a second order. Flavors included taco, pizza with a red hot dog in the crust, s’more pizza, steak and cheese and so many more.

People have asked that the event be held twice a year, but McPhail doesn’t want to burn out the vendors and locations to host the event are at a premium. “We’ve had a hard time finding a venue in Windham,” she said. 

Places serving were Crazy Stallion Pizza Pie Factory, Rose’s Italian Restaurant, Little Caesars Pizza, Pat’s Pizza Windham, Sunset Variety, Deck House Sports Tavern, Portland Pie Westbrook, Masa Sub and Grill, Pizza Hut, Duck Pond Variety, Pearson’s at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Sebago Cafe (Windham) and Jane Watson, who served cake that looked like pizzas. 
The returning champs were Crazy Stallion from the UFO Store in Naples. Judges Tom Nash, from Windham-Raymond Adult Education, Peter Bodwell, chef at Sudbury Inn in Bethel and Jason Hilton, manager at Hannaford in Windham, tested all of the pizzas to determine best meat, best crust and most creative. 

This year’s award winners were: Best meat – Masa Sub and Grill, best crust – Pearson’s at Saint Joseph's College of Maine. Most creative by the judges and the people’s vote was The Crazy Stallion Pizza Pie Factory!

In addition to the pizzas, Molly’s Cupcakes, Deb Hall and Lee Trailer Sales & Service all donated desserts for the bake sale table. There was also a silent auction featuring gift baskets, artwork, tickets and more, all donated by Rotarians and businesses, with the profits helping around the area. 

This year 10 Interact kids from Windham High School came to help. Interact is a junior version of Rotary. They manned tables and helped with the clean up. 

Sebago Lake Rotary has 23 members and meets at Rose’s Italian Restaurant on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. “It’s a small group for all we do,” said McPhail. The Rotary hosts the ice fishing derby, Feet for Food and various outreach events in the community. For more information about the organization, visit 

Air Away wins Key Club Battle of the Bands - By Ryan Lowell

From album releases to regional competitions, this spring has been a busy one for the musicians of Windham High School. The WHS Key club, a group formed to give students an opportunity to make a difference in the community, celebrated the WHS music scene by hosting a battle of the bands on May 16th. 
Air Away, a self-described alternative metal band featuring WHS juniors Kaleb Eddy, Zach DeFosse, and Zack Bailey, beat the other three bands that competed. Guitarist DeFosse and drummer Eddy have been playing together for several years, but the battle of the bands was their first show with a new lineup that included Bailey on bass, Portland local Shannon Hiatus singing, and a recently added second guitarist. Eddy said the band treated the battle like a practice performance and was surprised to win. 

Air Away is an Internet success story, as Eddy got in touch with Hiatus through a Facebook page focused on Maine youth punk music. “(She) commented on a post that she wanted to jam with some people,” Eddy said. “I messaged her before anyone else did. A bunch of people were messaging her so I had to lay it out to convince her to come here.”

Eddy and his band mates convinced her by outlining he and DeFosse’s vision for the band, whose influences include Rise Against and Story of the Year. DeFosse said the mission of the band is to show “a perspective on the world that people don’t normally see or that people tend to ignore. We try to make people aware and open their eyes.” Defosse said the band writes about topics like “violence, corruption and environmental destruction,” in hopes of raising awareness that can lead to positive changes. 

“We don’t write anything that doesn’t have some kind of motive,” DeFosse said. 

On top of using Facebook to find a singer, the band also uses it to balance its members’ busy schedules, which are filled with sports, jobs, Portland Youth Symphony, and lots of AP classes. “Our singer works a lot,” Bailey said. “We have a Facebook group where we see who’s free when and try to find a time that works for everyone.” 

Fortunately, the end of the school year will mean a lot more free time for the band. Air Away will work on recording an album to release either this or next year, and their solidified lineup will allow them to book more shows and continue spreading their message. 

“There’s not a single band in the area I know that has the same vision,” Eddy said. “It’s something we hope more bands will do in the future.”

Air Away will perform at Summerfest on June 25 at Windham High School.

Windham Town Council gives town manager the approval to negotiate sale of Gambo Fields - By Michelle Libby

The Windham Town Council voted 5-1 last night in favor of proceeding with the sale of 3 Soccer Drive to Windham Youth Soccer Association who has been caretaker of the property for almost 30 years. The sale terms will be decided between Tuesday night and July 15, 2016, pending approval from the council. 

“Decisions do matter,” Dan Hancock said, quoting council chairperson Donna Chapman. “This makes a big difference to all the kids, parents and volunteers.” He also said that it matters to the taxpayers who shouldn’t have to pay for the updates to this property that WYSA has taken care of for the last three decades. 

The council chambers were filled with parents and soccer players in support of the sale. 

“Gambo field wouldn’t be the same without your support,” said Hancock. 

A few soccer players spoke, including fifth grader Caleb Young. He talked about the three sports venues in Windham. One is Lowell Field, which he called “The Field of Dreams”. This one is run by Windham Little League under the care of Bill Ciccarone, the Windham skatepark, which is owned by the town and he can no longer use, and finally the “beautiful Gambo fields.” He asked them to give the fields to someone who could maintain them. 

Volunteer coach and parent Dustin Roma addressed concerns about the town wanting to put a boat launch in and he was confident that the town and WYSA can come to an agreement in order to construct and maintain those future facilities.

Chapman supported the sale from day one referenced the pictures of children playing soccer last weekend at Gambo. “You can really see the community at work,” she said. 

Councilor Dave Nadeau was the only one to vote against the sale, citing that he never wants to sell off town assets. One of the early concerns was access to the property from other organizations. 

“Windham Youth Lacrosse congratulates WYSA on their successful acquisition of the Gambo fields. They've made substantial investments over the years and I'm confident they will continue to do so to make it a fantastic facility for the youth of Windham,” said Rusty Babb, president of Windham Youth Lacrosse Organization. “Admittedly, we had our differences a few years back, but I'm very optimistic about the possibilities of our two groups being able to work together in the future to promote activities for all of the kids of Windham to be able to participate in.”

WYSA agreed to pay $80,000 for the property in an earlier proposal.

Windham's alumni banquet brings back 100 years of memories - By Walter Lunt

A gathering of Windham High School graduates from long ago and today – celebrated most of the last 105 years.
One of Windham’s oldest institutions is the annual Windham High School Alumni Banquet, held recently at Windham Middle School. Over 200 WHS graduates, many with spouses, gathered for a meal, memories and more on what was the 105th year since its creation in 1911. 

The storied gathering featured alumni from the class of 1939 to 1995, and even 2016. Giant PowerPoint slides flashed overhead during the event, showing high school yearbook pictures and personal information of all the classes in attendance.

The predominant activity is talk. Typically, classes are assigned a table where classmates enjoy the meal together. But before and after dinner and the events, which include various raffles, recognition of the classes and special acknowledgement of veterans, graduation years fade as all ages meld into reminiscing, idle chit-chat and the always recurring theme of the aches and pains of advancing age.
Dinner, consisting of stuffed chicken and sauce, green bean almandine, baked potato and ice cream and cupcakes donated by the attendees, was prepared by the middle school culinary staff and served up members of the Union Parish Church Youth Group. 

“They volunteer every year,” said alumni association president Sam Simonson, “and just their presence alone adds so much to the occasion. We appreciate their public service.”
Jane (Lowell) Sudds, Windham High School Class '39, poses with her niece Pam Lowell, class '77 at Windham Alumni Banquet

The head table is reserved for the 50th year class – this year the class of ’66, most of whom sported maroon and white t-shirts with 66 prominently displayed across the front.

“It’s our graduation year and our age,” joked one class member. The shirts were designed by Robert Lundy (class of ’66) who was not present due to illness. “We’re wearing the shirts with love and appreciation.”

The most senior alumna was Jane (Lowell) Sudds, now of Falmouth, representing the class of ’39. When asked to share something about the class of ’39, Sudds thought for a moment and replied, “Nobody’s left.”

“We survived the Great Depression because we lived on a farm,” Suggs said. “My father worked for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration). She remembered prom and graduation as “simple but nice.” And her favorite class: Home economics.

The 1939 Windham High School yearbook noted that Jane Georgianna Lowell was “…one of the school’s star basketball players (and) helped add a little dignity to our mischievous class. She has maintained a perfect record of never being tardy or late for all four years.”

Windham Union Parish Church Youth Group - volunteer servers.
Sudds also shared recollections of her early school years in Windham.  She attended Ireland School, a one-room schoolhouse once located on the corner of Nash and Falmouth Roads. She spoke fondly of her teacher, Clara Nash (a historically significant figure in the history of Windham education). “The school had an outhouse,” she remembered, “and you had to dress warmly because the wood stove was located at the front of the room.” Following high school, Sudds became a nurse at the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary, the predecessor to Maine Medical Center.

The alumni association was born with Windham’s first high school (now the town hall).  After construction was completed in 1910, the first graduating class established an organization that would honor and reward all succeeding graduates.

As originally conceived, the association sponsored a banquet for graduating seniors and awarded a scholarship for Most Improved Student (from freshman to senior year), which is still awarded today.
Today’s graduating seniors, however, do not attend the banquet.  The scholarship, along with another entrusted to the association by the now defunct Windham Grange, is awarded to deserving seniors during the high school’s regular graduation activities. During this year’s banquet, Simonson learned that one of the youth group servers was a 2016 Windham High School senior. He told her that, based on tradition, she should have joined the attendees. Simonson said she responded, “No, that’s all right. I’m enjoying helping out.”

Windham historian Kay Soldier said, “Early banquets were held in a variety of places, including local restaurants, until the gym was added to the high school in the 1920s…During the war years (early 1940s), the banquet was skipped because so many graduates were overseas.”
50th year class, '66

Soldier said the first alumni award in 1911 was for $2.00. It has risen to $500 in 2016. The Grange scholarship is given to a student planning to pursue work in agriculture or a related field.

Soldier commented, “Windham’s annual high school alumni banquet is unique; few towns can boast of such an event, which brings so many people together, all with a common bond. This is how a community thrives.” 

Windham Alumni banquet is held annually in May on the first Saturday after Mother’s Day. 

Simonson said, “There’s always room for more,” and encourages more classes to become involved. Association secretary Susan Simonson said a reminder notice will be sent a few weeks ahead of the event and anyone interested in attending can contact