STORIES FROM OUR STUDENTS
Volume 10, Issue 1, Fall 2015
Three High Schools Join Early College for ME
Hall-Dale, Old Orchard Beach, and Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial have recently joined Early College for ME as partner high schools. We began in 2003 with 25 pilot schools. We now serve 77 high schools all around Maine, including five technical centers and regions. All our schools are publicly funded, and most are in rural areas. To see the complete list, click here. Our aim is to serve as many students in our partner schools as possible. We start with students in their junior year of high school: students who can do college-level work and who will benefit from extra help with college applications, financial aid, and the process of becoming a college student. Those who receive our scholarship attend one of our seven Maine community colleges. See our scholarship recipients highlighted below.
High on the Wind
Caleb Gordon graduated from Caribou High School in 2014. He's a second-year student in wind power tech at Northern Maine Community College, where he's wanted to be since he was a junior in high school. At NMCC Caleb helps out at open house, graduation, and other events on campus. NMCC is close to home, too, for an easy commute.
Caleb put enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work into his studies his first year and made the Honors list both semesters. That helped him win a summer internship with Edison Sun in upstate New York, a 56-wind turbine site. The experience made him want to broaden his career options. In his second year at NMCC, he's taking wind power plus electrical construction and maintenance.
Of Early College for ME, Caleb says, "It's nice to have someone to talk to who is truly interested in you. Even if you know what you want, if you can get into ECforME, do it. They'll help you through everything."
Photo by Habitat for Humanity
of Greater Bangor
Building a Future
Pamela Colby (Hampden Academy, 2015) is a first-year student at Eastern Maine Community College in electrical and automation tech. Under instructor supervision, Colby and her classmates began the semester working on wiring. She was thrilled when they soon began to work on an actual house for Habitat for Humanity. She likes making a difference in a local family's life.
Colby chose EMCC because it was affordable and close to home. She finds the wide range of ages in her classes interesting and likes best that students are "serious and willing to learn. Everything we are learning here is what I will be doing in my career." She hopes to find a summer job working as an electrician's helper so she can start gaining the work hours she needs for her journeyman's license.
For Colby, college is a new beginning. "Keep your head held high," she advises new students. "And keep your grades up!"
Good GPA=Good Choices
Christopher Poisson (LRTC/Edward Little High School, 2014) is a first-generation college student at Central Maine Community College, majoring in building construction. He works hard at college. In his first year, he earned President's List and Highest Honors and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for community colleges. "Your grades reflect you," says Poisson. "Your college GPA affects your future education choices because your GPA gives other colleges their first impression of you." Although he says his workload is much heavier in his second year, "If you like what you do, it makes going to school and the workload a lot more enjoyable."
Next year, Poisson will either transfer for a bachelor's degree or stay at CMCC to play hockey and earn another associate degree, since CMCC is close to home and affordable. Also, he says, "In courses you learn much more than just the topic. Instructors are very well educated and care about student learning." He appreciates ECforME for helping with expenses and offering "many great resources to ensure student success."
(The bird is ok.)
No Chickening Out!
Abigial Smith (Freeport High School, 2013) is shown here at the Kennebec Valley Community College farm. After a year at another community college, she followed her passion for farm animals to KVCC and sustainable agriculture. Joining the farm staff as a livestock technician, she took care of feeding, pasture rotation, and oversight of animals. She volunteered at an organic farm on Matinicus Island shearing sheep and interned at Waldo View Farm in Winterport, vaccinating sheep, drawing blood samples, and managing the flock's overall health.
Now in her second year at KVCC, Smith leads the AG Club and has earned the Russell Libby Agricultural Scholarship, worth $1,500. "We're so proud to have Abby representing sustainable agriculture," says KVCC project manager Elizabeth Fortin.
Says Smith, "My Early College for ME advisor at Central Maine Community College helped me transfer to KVCC. After I transferred, ECforME was still there making sure I was on track. ECforME has been a great help to me since before I graduated from Freeport High School!"
Tech is the Beacon
Ramon Michaud has been fascinated by the tech world and computers since he was little. He graduated in 2014 from Hall-Dale High School, one of our newest partner schools, and is now a second-year student in computer tech at Southern Maine Community College. He spent his first college year "slowly growing up" and needed the help of SMCC tutors. That worked. He earned Honors both semesters. He likes the independence of college and living on campus. "I love having my friends right here," he says. However, "It's harder to manage my time so I get the work done but still have a social life. You need that balance." Michaud does anime as a hobby and by joining SMCC's Anime Club, he's met people with similar interests. He credits ECforME with helping him adjust to being a college student and helping him figure out what's next. He plans to graduate in May, then transfer for a bachelor's degree in IT.
William "Kody" Blackwell (York High School, 2014) is a second-year criminal justice major and first-generation college student at York County Community College. He works as a cook at the Union Bluff Hotel in York Beach and volunteers as a firefighter for York Village. Blackwell has been on his own since he was 14. Joining the fire department, he "discovered a brotherhood" he'd never had before. He loves being a firefighter, but his "dream job," ever since he realized "how important they are to society," is to be a police officer. "They show up every day, never knowing what might happen to them. They put their lives on the line for our safety."
With his associate degree in criminal justice, he hopes to attend the police academy, then go for a bachelor's degree. He chose YCCC "because I knew how hard the teachers worked to teach the students, and I wanted that for me." Blackwell made Honors both semesters his first year and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the community college honor society.
"Being on my own has been rough," he says, "but people from my community have always helped me out." He credits his ECforME Regional Director for talking him into going to college and "helping me in every way she could. Now it is time for me to give back."
Success on Wheels
Jacob Levesque is a 2014 graduate of Madawaska High School and a second-year student at Washington County Community College. His first year at WCCC he earned Honors both semesters and a certificate in automotive tech. In May 2016 he'll have an associate degree in mechanical tech with a specialty in passenger vehicle service. Then he hopes to work for a car dealership.
Levesque's interest in vehicles started when he was young and helping his grandfather fix equipment on the family farm. Once in high school he took the automotive program at St. John Valley Technology Center. That experience, as well as support from Early College for ME, led him to WCCC.
"Enroll in a program you are interested in," he advises. "I have excelled in my program because I like what I'm doing." He also likes being a resident assistant for his dorm. "Work hard," he says, "and get involved on campus. You'll be happier!"
ECforME 1st- and 2nd-Year College Students
Phi Theta Kappa - Honor Society for Community Colleges
Lyssa Agreste* (Biddeford'13) Liberal Studies YC
William Blackwell* (York'14) Liberal Studies YC
Kayla Braley* (Nokomis'14) General Science-Health Occupations KV
Hope Godin* (Oxford Hills'14) General Studies CM
Stevie Hilton (Noble'14) Digital Media YC
Samantha Parker (Noble'14) Health Studies YC
Christopher Poisson* (LRTC/Edward Little'14) Building Construction Tech CM
Katelyn Seavey* (Sanford'14) Liberal Studies YC
Tyler Knight* (Windham'14) General Studies CM
Brooke Leger* (LRTC/Lewiston'14) Accounting CM
Kiaya McBride (Lisbon'13) Human Services CM
Dakota Allen* (Waterville'14) Liberal Studies KV
Marisa Allen* (Waterville'14) Liberal Studies KV
Brooke Anderson* (Bonny Eagle'14) Liberal Studies SM
Alexander Badich* (Lewiston'13) Culinary Arts SM'15
Nicholas Barnes* (Shead'13) Heating Tech WC'15
Kersti Bayne (Freeport'14) Liberal Studies SM
Joshua Beaudoin* (Sanford'14) Automotive Tech SM
Samantha Beaulieu* (Portland'14) General Studies SM
Kaleb Bolduc (Messalonskee'13) Business Administration-Marketing/Management KV'15
Chelsey Boulay* (Spruce Mountain'14) Culinary Arts SM
Bayley Caouette* (Buckfield'14) General Studies CM
Cassie Caron (Caribou'13) Business Administration NM'15
Eliza Clark* (MCST/Camden Hills'13) Automotive Body Repair, Structural Welding NM'15
Sarah Craig (Lisbon'14) Medical Assisting SM
Cassandra Crawford* (Wiscasset'14) Liberal Studies EM
John Cushing* (Shead'14) Building Construction Tech WC'15
Molly Daniel* (CATC/Cony'13) General Science-Health Occupations KV
Michael deMontigny* (SJVTC/Wisdom'13) Diesel Hydraulics Tech NM'15
Travis Doughty* (UTC/Old Town'14) Fine Woodwork-Cabinet Making EM
Bradley Dwinal* (Mt. Blue'14) Welding Tech WC'15
Sean Dyer* (Lewiston'14) Criminal Justice SM
Aaron Erickson (Gorham'14) Criminal Justice SM
Riley Erskine* (South Portland'13) Liberal Studies SM
Jonathan Farrell (Winslow'13) Energy Services-Technology KV'15
Derek Fickett* (Edward Little'13) Refrigeration, Air Conditioning-Heating Tech EM'15
Caleb Gordon* (Caribou'14) Wind Power Tech NM
Kami Guiggey* (Katahdin'14) Liberal Studies EM
Derek Haley* (Mt. Blue'13) Culinary Arts SM'15
Shannon Hand* (UTC/Brewer'13) Culinary Arts EM'15
Kathryn Heath* (CATC/Gardiner'14) Liberal Studies SM
Sean Hennessy* (UTC/Orono'13) Liberal Studies EM'15
Andrea Hess (Brewer'14) Liberal Studies EM
Stephen Hoyt* (Mt. Ararat'14) Construction Tech-Residential/Commercial SM
Hannah Hubbard* (Skowhegan'14) Liberal Studies EM
Alisa Hurd* (Windham'14) Liberal Studies SM
Tyler Hurlburt* (Woodland'14) Mechanical Tech-Passenger Vehicle Service WC
Miranda Hussey* (Wells'13) Digital Media YC'15
Amanda Huston* (Mattanawcook Academy'14) Business Management EM
Eva Jensen (Mt. Ararat'14) Liberal Studies SM
Natasha Kinnear* (Presque Isle'14) Engineering Design Tech NM
Kelsey Kramer* (Mt. Ararat'13) General Studies CM
Abigail LaPlante* (Cony'14) Communications-New Media SM
Jamey Lessard (Presque Isle'14) Automotive Tech NM
Jacob Levesque* (SJVTC/Madawaska'14) Mechanical Tech-Passenger Vehicle Service WC
Alexandra Lynds* (Calais'13) Liberal Studies WC'15
Kayli Malenfant (Presque Isle'14) Liberal Studies NM
Laura Martin* (UTC/Old Town'14) Culinary Arts SM
Derek McCarty (Skowhegan'13) Electrical-Automation Tech EM'15
Allissa McDougal* (Presque Isle'13) Liberal Studies EM'15
Ramon Michaud* (CATC/Hall-Dale'14) Computer Tech SM
Darrin Murray* (Central Aroostook'13) Electrical Construction-Maintenance NM'15
Dylan Murray (Central Aroostook'13) Liberal Studies NM
Kelly Normand* (Sanford'14) Liberal Studies YC
Crystal Norwood* (Ellsworth'13) Liberal Studies EM
Kristen O'Connor* (Marshwood'13) Education YC'15
Collin Patterson* (Caribou'14) Automotive Body Repair NM
Jacob Pelletier (Edward Little'13) Medical Assisting CM
Katelynn Perkins* (Presque Isle'14) Early Childhood Education NM
Blake Philbrick* (Messalonskee'13) Diesel, Truck-Heavy Equipment EM'15
Ashley Poland* (Boothbay'14) Early Childhood Education EM
Madison Porter* (Bucksport'13) Early Childhood Education EM'15
Desiraie Rediker* (Fort Fairfield'14) Liberal Studies NM
Amanda Richards* (Winslow'13) General Science-Health Occupations KV
Ineliz Rijo* (Marshwood'13) Architectural Drafting-Design YC'15
Antonio Roberts* (South Portland'13) Liberal Studies SM'15
Alexander Scott (Caribou'14) Welding Tech EM
Jared Sensenig (LRTC/Leavitt'14) Automotive Tech-Ford Asset CM
Brianna Sickles (Brewer'14) Digital Graphic Design EM
Abigial Smith* (Freeport'13) Sustainable Agriculture KV
Brandon Smith* (Orono'13) Liberal Studies EM
Charlotte Southard* (Woodland'13) Business Management WC'15
Lindsay Steinberg (Greely'13) General Studies SM
Melissa Taylor* (Sacopee Valley'14) General Studies SM
Evan Thurlow (Waterville'13) Energy Services-Technology KV'15
Cameron Tibbetts (Winslow'13) Precision Machining Tech CM'15
Chris Trembly* (Messalonskee'13) Electrical Tech KV'15
Ashley Watters* (South Portland'14) Liberal Studies SM
Alexander Wharton* (Bangor'14) EMS Tech EM
Dayna White* (Hampden Academy'13) Human Services WC