March went out with a bang for Maine Community Heritage Project students at Piscataquis Community Middle School in Guilford. On Wednesday, March 31, teacher Rex Webb’s three 8th grade Social Studies classes were at the Bangor Daily News to work with BDN staff on a “Newspapers in Education” page to be published in May. (Watch for future posts about this project, which includes three other teams in the paper’s readership–Bangor, Blue Hill, and Lincoln.)
As luck would have it, also in the building that day was Maine’s longtime U.S. Senator, Olympia Snowe. And as further luck would have it, she spilled her coffee. Okay, so that wasn’t so lucky for her, but the few moments of clean-up meant a delay on her way into a meeting. Just as she and two staffers bent down to mop up the mess, the Guilford students came through the lobby on their way to board a bus to the paper’s printing facility in Hampden.
A good teacher will always try to take advantage of unique opportunities as they arise. So when the group returned, Rex immediately inquired if the Senator was still in the building and if so, could she drop by to see the kids. Despite a tight schedule, the Senator agreed and spent about 10 minutes with the 50 students during a pizza lunch in the paper’s cafeteria.
A number of students shook her hand and one, Elaine Riitano, immediately engaged the Senator in conversation describing the Maine Community Heritage Project, the Maine Memory Network, and how much fun they were having learning about their local history.
The Senator then made some brief remarks, wishing the students luck with the project and stressing the importance of education. “Keep up the good work,” she ended, “and there will be more pizzas in life.”