WMHS gets adventurous

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 7:30am

    When a student’s head hits the pillow after each day of a new summer program, Wiscasset Middle High School Principal Charles Lemonte wants that youth to feel like they put in an “absolutely exhausting, fun-packed, I can’t believe I Iearned so much,” hard day’s work, he said.

    In three, four-day sessions that started this week, the school’s “Outdoor Adventure” program is getting groups of eight to 10 students digging in the dirt and doing other tasks to learn some local nature, history and more. The other two sessions are in July and August. And Lemonte and teacher Jessica Anderson said several local institutions are helping, including Lincoln County Historical Association, Wiscasset Parks and Recreation, Midcoast Conservancy, Morris Farm and Chewonki Foundation.

    “I am absolutely elated ... It shows that we have a true community, one that supports the schools and the students and investing in the future of Wiscasset,” Lemonte said in a phone interview June 24. “It’s a full-blown effort, and I’m just really excited about it.”

    Anderson called it a “fantastic opportunity to highlight some of the strengths in the Wiscasset community” and partner with the organizations. Planning started in March.

    Monday morning, June 28, eight students weeded a garlic bed at Morris Farm. All who were asked said they were new to the chore. Did it spark an interest? Results were mixed. But incoming seventh grader Larmanio Small, 12, said it was getting him outside and away from playing Minecraft. And incoming eighth grader Gabby Dotson, 13, said the pandemic took away a lot of activities, so the chance to do things outside with other students she enjoys spending time with sounded like a good idea.

    A lemonade break followed inside. Anderson was also reminding students they could refill their water bottles there. They can fill them at each site, she said. Plans then called for a walk to LCHA’s Old Jail Museum for a tour and activities about “maintaining the prisoners,” Anderson said. Thursday, July 1, the group is headed to Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson for kayaking and more.

    This summer’s program is free for the students and for taxpayers thanks to COVID-19 funds covering costs including staffing and transportation, Lemonte said. Andersson said it is open to youth who have finished sixth, seventh, or eighth grade, primarily Wiscasset students but others also, including homeschooled students, she said. A few spots remained for July and August, she said.

    “It’s just a great opportunity for kids to get outside and unplug and explore some interests,” Anderson said. Email her at janderson@wiscassetschools.org