Ashland students set sail on ocean learning adventure

12 years ago

Ashland students

set sail on ocean learning adventure


by Susan Feeney-Hopkins

    Earlier this year, more than 100 high school students from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont competed at the “Nor’easter Bowl,” an ocean and sciences competition held at the University of Maine at Orono.

    The teams from these participating schools are now completing their 2012 Ocean Bowl experiences by taking trips given as prizes by many New England universities and marine science facilities. Each trip has been designed to provide information on “real world” marine science with a wide variety of hands-on activities. Students got to spend time with experts, while receiving tours of the facilities and/or the opportunity to actually get out on the water to learn firsthand about current research and career opportunities in marine science.

    Competitors from Ashland District High School consisted of two teams and alternates. The following students participated: Danielle Condon, Dylan Cyr Cormier, Gabrielle Cyr, Stephanie Goulet, Danielle Higgins, Brooke LaBelle, Rebecca Libby, Mark Norris, Anna Paradis, Kali Pelletier and Amos Ward.

    The students competed by answering a wide range of challenging ocean science questions. The competition format included buzzer questions, team challenge questions, team bonus questions, round robin and single elimination rounds. Many of the questions were college-level knowledge. This competition provides a forum for high school students who excel in math and science to receive recognition for their commitment to studying ocean science and broadening their understanding of ocean-related biology, geology, geography and chemistry. Judges were ocean science researchers who volunteered from colleges and universities throughout the region.

    At the end of the competition, Ashland was given a special award — a large inflatable whale, for best exemplifying the “Spirit of the Ocean Bowl” for their enthusiasm and positive attitude.

    For participating in the contest, Ashland High School students won a scientific trip and tour of the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) in Castine. In April of this year, a group of 14 students, including the Ocean Bowl teams and coaches Janet Perry and Shari Ward, stayed overnight in MMA housing. The students and coaches got to spend some time aboard the research vessel “Friendship.”

    Out on the water, MMA staff and students dragged a large metal basket on the ocean floor to gather fragments. The basket was then winched back on deck with its contents emptied onto the deck. Students identified organisms, recognized a wide variety of marine life including crabs and starfish, and they also saw many new creatures they had never heard of before!

    After returning to shore, the students visited the MMA classroom known as the “wet lab.” Here, in large shallow saltwater tanks were a wide variety of local marine organisms that students could handle and closely examine. The day continued with lunch, tours of a tugboat and the large training ship, the “State of Maine,” which was preparing to sail to Galveston, Texas and beyond. Later that afternoon, the students went back out on the water to practice their navigation skills even being allowed to steer the boat!

    Starting with the competition in February at the University of Maine at Orono and finishing up with the “prize trip” at the Maine Maritime Academy, the students had a great time learning about marine science! The students and coaches wish to thank all who ran the “Ocean Bowl” competition and the Maine Maritime Academy.

Photos courtesy of Janet Perry

    STEPHANIE GOULET, an Ashland high school student, learned to steer a boat on the ocean while visiting the Maine Maritime Academy with her classmates.
    IN THE “WET LAB” at the Maine Maritime Academy, Ashland high school students get an up-close view of marine organisms studied by the MMA students. Looking at the tanks are, from left: Anna Paradis, Stephanie Goulet, Dylan Cyr Cormier and Cassidy Goulet.



    GABRIELLE CYR, an Ashland high school student, shows a sample of starfish that thrive in the ocean waters while aboard the research vessel “Friendship” during a trip to the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.


     ASHLAND STUDENTS participated in the “Ocean Bowl” competition earlier this year held at the University of Maine at Orono. Here, one of the teams takes a break during the competition for a photo opportunity. They are, from left: Danielle Higgins, Gabrielle Cyr, Kali Pelletier and Rebecca Libby.
      ASHLAND DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOL students received an inflatable whale as a special award during the 2012 “Nor’easter Bowl,” an ocean sciences competition held at the University of Maine at Orono. The students best exemplified the “spirit of the ocean” for their enthusiasm and positive attitude. Admiring their prize are, front: Gabrielle Cyr. Back row, from left: Coaches Janet Perry and Shari Ward and students Rebecca Libby, Danielle Condon, Danielle Higgins, Kali Pelletier, Amos Ward, Brooke LaBelle, Stephanie Goulet, Anna Paradis and Dylan Cyr Cormier.


SAD 32 withdrawal vote

    On Tuesday, June 12, the residents of Portage Lake will vote on whether or not the community will withdraw from the SAD 32 school district. This vote is for residents of Portage Lake only and all residents are encouraged to vote on this very important issue.

    Two-thirds of the overall vote must be in favor of the withdrawal to be passed. If the vote to withdraw does not pass, the town will remain within the SAD 32 school district. The vote will take place at the Portage Lake Town Office from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

    In addition to voting on the withdrawal, the voters will also vote on a Portage Lake School Committee, the SAD 32 budget, and those voters affiliated with a political party will vote on the primary candidates. Absentee ballots are also available for the town residents who will not be able to vote in person on that date.

    Town and SAD 32 officials stress the withdrawal will only affect the financial situation of the town and/or the SAD 32 district, not the education or educational opportunities of the Portage Lake school children.



Photo courtesy of Susan Feeney-Hopkins


      The Ashland District School band spent a lovely afternoon practicing for the local Memorial Day parade. The band members marched in formation around town giving the community an unexpected musical treat.


Portage Lake Historical Society bean supper

    The Portage Lake Historical Society is celebrating its second annual meeting Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. with an old-fashioned “bean-hole” bean and baked ham dinner at the Portage Lake Town Hall. All are welcomed!

    You do not have to be a member of the historical society to come and enjoy good food and company. Donations will be accepted at the door and membership forms will be available for anyone wishing to become a part of this wonderful organization. You do not have to be a resident of Portage Lake to become a member; you just have to care about the town and preserving its history.

    Plan to attend the dinner and hear about what the society has been doing over the past year. (And don’t forget to tell your friends and family). For more information, contact Sarah Brooks at 551-6471 or Corrine Routhier at 435-6854 or e-mail


Graduates from college

    Nicole Cowett of Ashland received a master of education in special education at New England College in Henniker, N.H. Saturday, May 12. Congratulations, Nicole.


Ashland Summer Food Service Program

    The Ashland District School will be participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children free of charge, Monday through Friday, beginning June 25 and running to July 31. The meals will be served in the Ashland District School Cafeteria from 11-11:30 a.m. All meals are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Spread the word to neighbors and friends with school-aged children.


Summer Fest model car race

    The Masonic Association of Ashland is sponsoring a second model car race during the 2012 Ashland Summer Fest celebration. This event will take place Thursday, July 5 at the Ashland Recreation Center and is open to participants of all ages.

    The race features the Boy Scouts of America Pinewood Derby car kits racing down a 32-foot wooden track. Registration is $15 per entry, which includes the Pinewood Derby kit to be made into your car. Cub Scouts may register for $10 using their 2012 Pinewood Derby car.

    Cash prizes of $50, $25 and $15 will be awarded to the winners of this double elimination race. A gift certificate of a 2-item pizza will be awarded the Best in Show car as judged by the public. Car kits, race rules and registration forms are now available (with a payment of $15) from Chris Bessey (435-2023) and Dave Basley (435-3601).

    Sixteen cars participated in last year’s exciting race that saw the winner come from the loser’s bracket by winning four of six races to claim victory.

    Susan Feeney-Hopkins is the correspondent for Ashland, Portage Lake, Oxbow, Masardis, Garfield, Nashville Plantation and the surrounding areas. She can be reached at 435-8232 or