As we send another class of Bowdoinham fifth graders up to Mt. Ararat Middle School, I can’t help but reflect on the ways our community contributes to make elementary school a rich, meaningful experience for Bowdoinham’s kids. Here is just a smattering of great opportunities from this year alone:
- Community, staff, and parent volunteers offered 15 unique electives classes for students in grades 2-5 (skateboarding, sewing, mask-making, field hockey, folk music, etc.), including a gardening elective run by Cathy Reynolds to get plants in the ground this spring.
- Our Lunch Bunch program, coordinated by Fred Cheney, brought several committed community volunteers into our school every week to read high-quality picture books to our K-3 students during lunch.
- The Bowdoinham Historical Society once again brought “Bowdoinham Day” to our school, teaching our students about the history of our town.
- Our third annual Theatre production, A Midsummer Night’s Dance Party, premiered in April – in original Shakespearean English – and included 41 of our students in grades K-5.
- Our partnerships with the Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA), the Merrymeeting Arts Center, and Bowdoin College grew and provided new opportunities for learning and enrichment.
- Our students took field trips to the Maine State Aquarium, the Common Ground and Windsor Fairs, Maine State Music Theater, a Citizenship ceremony and of course, the traditional fifth grade trip to Boston; and engaged in learning experiences around the school: tapping maple trees, helping create a mural at the skate park, and exploring at our new outdoor classroom – with fire-tender extraordinaire, Frank Burroughs.
In addition, our very active and supportive Parent Partnership group led fundraising efforts to help make some of these above-and-beyond experiences possible for our kids. I want to recognize our supporters at the In It Together level, who made monetary or in-kind donations totaling at least $350 to our school this year: The Town of Bowdoinham, Cathance Children’s Center, Innovative Physical Therapy and Wellness Center, Country Fare, Inc., Casco Bay Frames & Gallery, Tourtelotte Excavation, Sarah Gagnon Photography, Wicked Joe Organic Coffee, and Headlight Audio Visual, Inc.
Supplementing the generous financial and volunteer support from our community, we applied for and received grants from the following organizations to fund the good work: The Richard Ferrier Scholarship Fund (field trip support), Trust for Our Future (outdoor campus improvements and gear), Midcoast Hospital (playground improvements), the Maine Society of Manufacturing Engineers (a 3D printer), and the Maine Humanities Council (visit from author/illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien).
As we continue toward our vision of Meaningful Learning That Lasts for all students, we are working to streamline our system of fundraising, with a new website that makes it easy to support school enrichment projects. After July 1st, check out enrichBHM.org. If you have time or other resources you feel compelled to give to the school for our kids, I would be grateful to connect with you at any time – firstname.lastname@example.org, 666-5546 (school office). Thank you, Bowdoinham, for helping make our little community school something to truly be proud of.
Chris Lajoie, Principal