PCSS students learn more than academics

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GUILFORD — Middle and high school students at Piscataquis Community Secondary School enjoyed a recent spring fling that was about some different kinds of learning. The first half of the day on June 2 was devoted to the six SAD 4 member communities with a wide variety of service projects. The students then joined local business presenters for a barbecue lunch before visiting a health fair focused on teaching kids how to stay healthy and safe throughout the summer and beyond.

Principal John Keane likes the program because it integrates well with the typical academic learning but also goes far beyond it. “It’s an opportunity to teach soft skills — life skills — and have some fun in the process,” he said. “The kids play an important role beyond participating — they actually help design the program, contacting those who help make it possible and even help with the setup and planning.”

Keane pointed out that the Pirate Volunteer and Positive Action Clubs played an important role and “social students teacher Emily Wilson volunteered a lot of her time to help as a coordinator.”

Community service projects in the morning were selected after surveying local communities regarding what would be helpful. Some students helped an elderly couple with their farm while others did roadside cleanup. One team assisted with the landscaping at the Guilford Memorial Library. Younger students performed school-based projects of the sort that give them a sense of ownership of the campus.

Health fair presentations found the students engaged with the presenters on a wide variety of topics. The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office offered experiential learning including distracted driver simulation, the power of wearing seatbelts and trying to walk wearing goggles that simulated being under the influence.

Nearly 30 local resource organizations such as Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance, Charlotte White Center, Mayo Regional Hospital, the JD Foundation and Community Fitness offered students information and conversation on topics ranging from reducing anxiety to suicide prevention and eating and drinking healthy.

Students from Greenville High School were also invited to attend the health fair. “We wanted this to become an expanded community event,” Keane commented. “We wanted to try a number of different ideas and approaches to see what worked best.”

Students and staff are now evaluating the day to aid in future planning.

Keane further noted that students and staff are grateful to the community for supporting the program and look forward to making it an annual tradition at Piscataquis Community Secondary School. “As our motto says, ‘SAD 4 is a great place to learn.’”

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
SPRING FLING HEALTH FAIR — Maged Shahin and Meredith Young from Mayo EMS check Rose Labbe’s heart rate during the Spring Fling Health Fair at Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford on June 2. The day featured the health fair in the afternoon and service projects across the six SAD 4 communities in the morning.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
BRUSH THE TEETH YOU WANT TO KEEP — PCSS students, from left, Eve Patterson, Ruth Griffith, Hope Adkins and Sara Almirante learn “you only have to brush the teeth you want to keep” from Janice Boomsma, C.D.A during the Spring Fling Health Fair on June 2 in Guilford.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
NUTRITION TIPS — From left, Isiah Connery, Chris Easler, James Keenan, Hunter Martel and Buddy Hutchins learn about nutrition from Whitney Gould of Mayo Regional Hospital.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
ROLLING THE DICE — Morgan Smith, left, Kaitlyn Carrier, and Emily Heinrichs learn a new way of “rolling the dice” as part of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s game teaching to how to survive when lost in the wilderness.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
FOCUS AT THE WHEEL — Madison Frye tries her hand at distracted driving.

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