Category Archives: School Programs

MSAD 4 Veterans Day Celebration Planned

Guilford—The students and staff of MSAD 4 are inviting area Veterans and the general public to attend their Annual Veterans’ Day Celebration on Tuesday, November 10th at 1:00 p.m. “We’ve certainly created a tradition,” noted John Keane, PCSS Principal. “We’ve been hosting these celebrations for at least a decade. But it’s a tradition that seems to have more meaning every year and it’s anything but a habit—every year we create some differences.”

File photo by Mr. Boomsma, 2014 Celebration

File photo by Mr. Boomsma, 2014 Celebration

Organizers note that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the United States’ military involvement in Vietnam and have included Vietnam Veteran and former state representative Peter Johnson as a guest speaker to commemorate the occasion.

The Marine Corps League, Bangor Detachment 1151 will open and close the program by formally posting and retiring the colors. The celebration includes the traditional patriotic music, student presentations, and selected readings that will feature students and staff from grades three through twelve. The Armed Forces Medley Salute performed by the PCSS Band typically brings the entire audience to its feet as the school and community honors veterans and those who serve in each branch of the service.

Thanks to technology, Katie Haley, a graduate of PCSS who is now on active duty with the Maine National Guard will appear “on screen” to converse with the audience about her service.

The tribute will be held in the Piscataquis Community Secondary School Gymnasium on Campus Drive in Guilford in order to accommodate the anticipated crowd. A local resident who has attended for several years commented, “This is one school program you don’t want to miss. There is some obvious sadness over the sacrifices that have been and are being made by our military. But that sadness is balanced with a deep sense of pride and appreciation. Experiencing that with children of all ages, Veterans, friends and neighbors means moist eyes and going home with a deep sense of community unity.”

Veterans and friends, parents and the entire community is invited to celebrate are encouraged to attend. Refreshments for Veterans, visitors and guests their friends will be served in the cafeteria following the program. For those unable to attend, the program will be live streamed from the school’s website (http://www.sad4.org). Long distance guests are encouraged to visit the site fifteen minutes prior to the event to establish a connection.

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More P.C.E.S. Fun Events

As the school year winds down (or should that be “as the school year winds up?”) there are more fun events coming up! Yearbooks will be distributed early next week!

2015 Arts Alive Logo-1On Friday, June 5, students, staff, and community volunteers will drive into Arts Alive! This annual tradition celebrates art, learning, community and life! Students have an opportunity to participate in workshops that include book-making, cartooning, crime fighting, decorative initials, ditty bags, dizzy dancing discs, name signs, mini-foosball, message boards, masks, martial arts, resistant painting, sand art, sculpture, slate etching, thumbprint art, tie-dye, tumbling, drumming, finger painting, flubber, origami, origami people, painted pots, paper lanterns, slate welcome signs, stop motion animation, stretch bags, and string art—nearly 30 assorted activities!

On Tuesday, June 9, Sixth Graders will host a Culture Fair–the culmination of a project in which students chose and study a country in depth, then share that information.  During the day, sixth graders share their projects with other students, then with friends and family in the evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The fair features create a displays elements of the students’ studies such as history, foods, music, maps, games, puzzles, and sports.  Many students chose a recipe to make in order to give people a “taste” of a dish from their country.

Remember, the District Budget Validation Referendum will be held at the local polls on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, during regular polling hours. 

On Wednesday, June 10 Sixth Graders offer a fast paced Showcase of Skills that includes plyometrics–a form of exercise that involves rapid jumping skills, designed to increase strength—and cartwheels, round-offs, dive rolls, back walkovers, and walking on two hands. Students will also demonstrate a 3-Person weave into a  basketball layup, advanced jump roping skills, hula hoop tricks, and stretch bags—a creative movement piece with a surprise ending. The beat goes on with a very creative mix of percussion performances including recycled percussion, body percussion, and traditional African songs with authentic instruments. This is the fourth year for the drumming program at PCES and sixth graders have working very hard this year to put a fun program to demonstrate their skills. The program begins at 1:15 p.m. in the gymnasium.

On Thursday, June 11, Fifth Graders will be featured in a graduation ceremony celebrating the completion of the D.A.R.E. Program at PCES. The program will include reading of essays written by a representative of each participating class followed by the musical, “Just for Fun!” which is a collection of fun songs and lots of jokes and movement. It is a wonderful way to conclude their fifth grade year — the title says it all “Just for Fun, a lighthearted revue for young voices” The play is written by Teresa and Paul Jennings and directed by homeroom teachers with the assistance of Michelle Briggs, Music teacher, and Sheryl Allen, Physical Education Teacher. The program starts at 6 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria.

On Wednesday, June 17 students leave the school for the last time… until fall!

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P.C.E.S. Fun Events!

A quick stop at school today reminded me there are some great events coming up this month… you don’t have to have kids or grandkids in school to enjoy them! The reminder today was a sign on the door and some great artwork being posted in the halls.

Thursday, May 14 is the annual PCES Art Show from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is a great opportunity to stroll the halls and check out the work of aspiring artists. Sometimes it’s funny (wanted posters), sometimes it’s thought provoking, and sometimes it’s just beauty. It’s always amazing and a stark reminder that we all have artistic ability but some of us lose it as we grow and age. As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” The art show is under the direction of Mrs. Daniels, art teacher.

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Photo from 2014–looks like seven hoops spinning!

Thursday, May 21 is the annual PCES Third Grade Exhibition in the gymnasium starting at 6:00 p.m.  Third graders will demonstrate their energy and coordination with a fast-paced program featuring a tumbling exhibition that focuses on jumping and landing, cartwheels, jumping rope, and diagonal running and skipping patterns. A hula hoop demonstration will include a competition for who can spin the greatest number of hoops at once. There will even be an audience participation portion as the audience is invited to join the kids in performing the “Electric Slide” set to a popular country tune sung by Billy Currington. A large colorful parachute will fill the gym and group cooperative skills will be demonstrated by manipulating the parachute choreographed to music. The exhibition is under the direction of Mrs. Allen, physical education/health teacher.

Both are free but worth a lot more! Plus if the weather’s nice you can stop for ice cream on the way home!

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A World At School

A few disclaimers… I have not “vetted” this organization, but on the surface (and given they aren’t asking for money) it looks legitimate. I would also note that I’m not attempting to make a political statement by posting this. I don’t label myself as such but a reality is I’m a big advocate for kids and for schools. That’s probably why my cousin in Australia sent me the information. She knew I’d be unable to resist.

A World at School is an initiative from Theirworld, a UK charity founded in 2002 by Sarah Brown to make a difference to the lives of some of the UK’s most vulnerable babies, children and young people. The initiative includes young people around the world uniting with thousands of community networks in a mass signature drive to make sure political leaders keep an earlier promise to give every child the chance to go to school.

World leaders are meeting at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. This will be a key moment to change the lives of children all across the world. The world’s biggest petition in history would most certainly make its mark at this meeting. (The goal of the petition is 25 million signups.)

At first this all seems totally crazy. I have always doubted the value of online petitions, but I do understand the potential power of social media and, in this case, world-wide pressure. There are a number of resources available on the World at School website. That’s also the place where you can sign the petition.

This is a pretty easy way to give yourself the feeling that you’ve done something good today. You may help to change our world to a better place. Best of all, you may help a child learn and succeed. Please also feel free to share this post on Facebook. Sorry I don’t have any cute cat pictures, but when you visit the site to sign, you’ll see some cute kid pictures!

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2014 — A Year in Review

Wh2015_crush_2014ile writing Christmas cards, I found myself sitting with pen poised and brow furrowed, pondering whether or not it was truly possible to condense a full year into a few short sentences. Several friends and I exchange annual greetings that qualify as very short updates of how the year has passed. Unfortunately, contemplating how to do that didn’t mean getting the job done, so I ultimately selected a few key words and activities and scribbled my note.

The activity left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied, so I decided to look back through an entire year of posts on this site. Here are some that represented important events this year. (Click the title to read the entire post.)

Mr. Boomsma, I Really Love You! tells a short story of a five year old who helped me learn an important lesson as she learned about balancing love and respect.

In the post titled Yesterday  I confessed to “fooling” some kindergarteners regarding my abilities. The experience reminded of why I feel so lucky that I get to work with them. No, it’s not because they are easily fooled.

“Gotcha!” marked one of the more meaningful days of the year… “Johnny” has enjoyed pulling one over on me since second grade. He got me again (he was in sixth grade last spring) and reminded me that the line between teacher and student is supposed to be fuzzy.

This Is Important suggested we can find comfort in the truth that “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

On Going Amish was written in the middle of a battle with technology. I’m still not sure if I’ve won.

When Teachers Go Fishing was about process (fishing) and results (catching); teaching and learning. “You can’t say you haven’t caught any until you’ve quit fishing.” In non-fishing terms I tell the kids I work with, “You haven’t failed until you’ve given up.”

Before the Birds Start Singing suggests that writing rituals and thinking rituals are closely aligned and worthy of consideration. I confessed to considering some writing rituals that might be considered “odd” so I develop a writer’s reputation as a “character.”

Gee! Haw! One very little girl named Julia reminds us that it’s way too easy to underestimate kids.

Mr. Boomsma Makes Mag celebrates an honor this year—being featured in Maine Seniors Magazine. The photo section created a fun opportunity to work with my (then) third grade future pop star friend. I also ended up being called a “hunk” by some seniors after the article was released. I briefly considered adopting a tag line “working with people from eight to eighty…”

What’s in the Gift You Give? Simple gifts really can be the best, but it still depends on what’s in the package.

Happy Holiday Wishes was my attempt to resolve the debate about how we greet each other in December. While many responses were complimentary, I managed to give at least one person the fodder necessary to become very angry with me, proving once again that in spite of the writer’s best efforts, readers read words and then read meaning into those words that is sometimes way off the intended mark!

Of course there are other posts—some regarding classes, some shared articles and videos by others. A quick analysis of site activity showed that the most popular posts were those with information about activities at school: the PCES Winter Concert and the SAD 4 Veteran’s Celebration. Since I think that’s pretty awesome, I’m planning to give some thought this year to some site redesign that will make that sort of information even more accessible.

And therein lies a final lesson of the year. While it’s true that nothing is ever really lost as long as we remember it, we shouldn’t forget that our future memories aren’t simply a matter of fate and chance. Our choices will greatly influence what we experience.

I don’t tend to make resolutions, but I do try to keep my priorities in order and stay focused. I expect if I spend a lot of time fishing I will catch some fish. Since I do actually go fishing, that’s not just an analogy. But it might be a metaphor. I may not know the specifics, but I do know what I’ll be writing about and remembering this year. Do you?

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Raising Voices and Lifting Spirits

PCES (35)SM

Lifting their voices in celebration. (Photo from 2013 Concert)

Note that due to hazardous travelling conditions, there is no school today (December 10) for S.A.D. 4 and the Winter Concert is postponed until Monday, December 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the PCESS Gym!

In what has become an annual community tradition, Piscataquis Community Elementary students from kindergarten through grade six will raise their voices and instruments for parents and friends at their annual winter concert on Wednesday, December 10  Monday, December 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Piscataquis Community Secondary School Gymnasium. Under the direction of music teacher Michelle Briggs and physical education teacher Sheryl Allen, the program involves over 300 students and serves up a wide diversity of talent and entertainment. Everyone works hard to produce a program that includes something for everyone, young and old.

Classes offer creative presentations that often go beyond the expected and the Sixth Grade Band makes their debut. “We pack a lot of talent into a one hour show,” notes Briggs. “The kids work hard, but we also have fun. The kids really enjoy performing for the community.” Briggs also hinted that there will be a special closing to this year’s show in the form of a specially choreographed piece featuring fourth graders. Students and attendees are encouraged to wear “fun festive accessories such as ties, hats and hair pieces” to contribute to the spirit of celebration.

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Lifting their drawings as well as their voices. (Photo from 2013 Concert.)

One local resident who rarely misses a concert points out, “These are the kinds of events that put the ‘community’ in Piscataquis Community Elementary School. They are today’s version of a ‘Norman Rockwell Moment’ – a picture perfect evening of friends and neighbors gathering together for simple and traditional pleasure.”

The snow date for the concert is Monday, December 15. Updates and additional information will be available on the M.S.A.D. 4 website and Facebook Page. There will be an audio live stream available on the district website for those who cannot attend.

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A Community Celebrating Veterans

thank-you-veteransWhat better way is there to celebrate and thank our Veterans than to join in a community event featuring them? Once again this year, the students and staff of M.S.A.D. 4 are planning a gala celebration in honor of and appreciation for our Veterans on Monday, November 10 2014 at Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford starting at 1:00 p.m. sharp. This long-standing tradition just gets better every year!

2013 File Photo

2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma

Veteran’s will be greeted by a receiving line of third graders and the program will be facilitated by members of the PCSS National Honor Society. There will be lots of music, including several stirring numbers by the combined PCSS Band and Chorus under the direction of Band Leader Mr. Carey. The Marine Corps League will again this year serve as honor guard. This year’s event is truly “multi-media” and will include a live “Skype” session with Elaine Riitano, a 2013 PCSS graduate who is currently serving our country.

The regular feature of the Armed Forces Theme Song Salute gives us a visual reminder of our community’s contribution to our country as people stand to acknowledge their connection to each branch of service, hearts swelling with pride and lumps in the throat.

The multi-media aspect is being taken to the maximum and the event will be “live-streamed” thanks to technology. Those who are truly unable to attend can watch events unfold on the SAD 4 website.  In fact, Legion Halls and assisted living centers to might consider making the program available this way.

But if possible, join your friends and neighbors for an hour of celebrating our freedom and those who make it possible while supporting our very talented kids. See you in the gym!

2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma

2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma

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