Senators praise Aroostook Aspirations Initiative

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — On June 7, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI) held a celebration at the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle. The purpose of the celebration was two-fold. In addition to a proclamation announcing Aroostook Aspirations Day, the AAI program officially announced the initial group of Gauvin Scholars for 2014 and presented them with a round-trip airfare ticket donated by PenAir.
Parents, community members, Gauvin Scholars, and AAI board of directors and staff were all in attendance as Sharon Campbell, representative for U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), and Phil Bosse, representative for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), presented the official copy of the National Congressional Record proclaiming June 7 as Aroostook Aspirations Day annually.
“Aroostook Aspirations Day was created to acknowledge the aspirations of Aroostook County, its goal to become more economically viable for future generations, and the hope that life in The County will continue with the spirit of hard work, generosity, and love of the area that has permeated the area for so many years in the past,” said Sandy Gauvin, AAI president. “It was also created to support new generations of our youth, helping them to get a post-secondary education, live and raise families right here in Aroostook, and become an integral part of the economic, as well as social fiber of The County.”
Campbell and Bosse, both members of the AAI board, each read a section of the proclamation, a document that recognized the work of Ray and Sandy Gauvin and their organization. Collins reflected most on how special The County is.
“Aroostook County, where I was born and raised, is defined by an extraordinary work ethic and the enduring spirit of its people,” she said. “It is Maine’s northernmost and largest county, and its economy depends on an able and educated workforce.”
King echoed the thoughts of the senior senator and spoke about the partnerships AAI has throughout Aroostook.
“AAI’s partnerships with all 16 of the county’s high schools and its four colleges are a shining example of what the forward thinking of private citizens, schools, colleges, universities, and businesses can accomplish when they set out to better their communities,” he said.
The document went on to recognize the Gauvins for the extraordinary work they’ve done, and cited Aroostook Aspirations as a program of innovation and forward thinking, one of cooperation and collaboration.
Aroostook Aspirations works with Aroostook County high school graduates selected by its committee to provide guidance and mentoring throughout the students’ college years. In addition to the programming, AAI also awards Gauvin Scholars with a $1,000 scholarship to any Aroostook County college. The post secondary institutions announced early in 2014 that they would support the program by renewing the scholarship for an additional year. This year Aroostook Aspirations will work with one student from each Aroostook County school district, but in the future, the goal is to award scholarships to multiple students from each district annually.
To help AAI support the dreams and goals of the youth in Aroostook County, and support the economy of northern Maine, or to learn more about this innovative program, please visit the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative website at or contact Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, 26 North St., Box 138, Presque Isle, Maine 04769.