The Star-Herald

Musher visit thrills Mapleton students

The fifth-grade class at Mapleton Elementary School is participating in the Maine Student Book Award program this school year.  The program is designed to expand literary horizons of students in grades 4-8 by encouraging them to read, evaluate and enjoy a selection of new books and to choose a statewide favorite by written ballot each spring.  

The award is determined each year by participating Maine students in grades 4-8. The winning book is selected from a reading list from the Maine School Board Association committee.

According to Valerie Black, a grade 5 teacher at the school, the Mapleton students have been reading one of the listed books titled “Sled Dog School” by Terry Lynn Johnson.  The book focuses on 11-year-old Matt, who struggles with math and needs to improve his grade by starting a business. Using his team of dogs that he loves, he starts his Sled Dog School.  There are unpredictable challenges that lead him to admitting he needs help.

To help students understand the challenges of sled dog training, Amy Dionne, a musher from Madawaska, visited the Mapleton fifth-graders so they could see a dog sled and equipment up close.  

After reading “Sled Dog School,” the students were excited to meet Dionne and have her share the process she uses to train her dogs.  Dionne brought her dog sled and the equipment she uses during a race. The students had the chance to see the sled up close and ask questions.

Dionne has recently run in the Eagle Lake race and will be in the Can-Am in Fort Kent in March.

Dionne’s visit helped bring to life the story about Matt and his “Sled Dog School.”

Senior meeting  

The Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill Seniors are hopefully back on schedule.  After missing a couple of potluck luncheons due to snow storms, their next scheduled meeting will be a regular potluck luncheon at the Mapleton Methodist Church on Monday, Feb. 18, at 11:30 a.m.  

Following the last meeting, the group decided to relax with a rousing set of Bingo games with prizes.  After the next meeting, the group will learn a new craft project.

Caroline Ballerstein reminds everyone over age 55, you are invited to attend and join the group.  It is a traditional potluck lunch, so bring something and enjoy the lunch.

Terry Sandusky is the Star-Herald correspondent for Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill and can be reached at 764-4916 or at

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