Monday, March 30, 2015

Congratulations to HMS Destination Imagination Teams!

Friday, March 27, 2015

6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Students Attend Large Group Festival

Congratulations to our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who participated in the Large Group Festival in Scarborough this week. We're impressed and inspired by your musicianship!

Grade 7/8 band earned a Gold rating
Grade 6 Band earned a Silver raiting

Nancy Jones, HMS Speech-Language Pathologist, shared the information below about our 6th grade musicians. Enjoy!

Mr. C. conducting 6th grade students
As part of the Scarborough Band Boosters, I volunteered to work at the Maine Band Directors Concert Band Festival held last evening at Scarborough High School.  I was fortunate to be there during the HMS Grade 6 Band performance. Under Mr. C.'s direction, the band members performed with poise and professionalism. Their interpretation of "Pulse Pounding", "Rites of Tamburo" and "Afterburn" left me knowing that HMS has very talented musicians who are able to entertain their audience!  Job well done! Nancy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Books are Blooming at HMS

The 5th grade students and teachers welcomed spring by exploring new book titles for their someday lists in their Reader's Notebooks. They also enjoyed visiting room to room to talk about books and new book suggestions. A wonderful time was had by all, and many book ideas were exchanged!

Allie McClafferty, Poppy Edwards, Juliet Meas

Student Art Showcased in Yarmouth

Elaine Fletcher shared the following piece with us:

For the past several weeks, three eighth grade students in Mrs. Fletcher's Digital Photography class have had a show of some of their work at Coffee Roasters in Yarmouth.

Ben Cox-Faxon, Sam Marjerison, and Michael Guertler have photographs displayed; the work is for sale to benefit the Yarmouth Food Pantry.

Congratulations to these young photographers! Please enjoy their inspiring work below:
By Ben Cox-Faxon
By Michael Guertler

By Sam Marjerison

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kim Grover named Yarmouth Educator of the Year!

Congratulations and all best wishes to Kim Grover who was named as Yarmouth's Educator of the year! We will celebrate Kim at our district banquet in May.                                                                     
Kim Grover
Rick Biskup, president of the Yarmouth Education Association, joined the HMS staff on Monday, 3.23, to honor Kim. We've shared Rick's speech below:

Dear Colleagues,
     As president of the Yarmouth Education Association it is my distinct honor to announce that the 2014-15 Educator of the Year Award will go to a member of the Frank Harrison Middle School faculty. 
     Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to make these announcements and, not only is it an honor, it is a distinct joy for me to do so.  I am fortunate to work with a wealth of gifted colleagues in this district, any number of whom would be an apt standard bearer for the excellence that this award represents.  This year’s recipient certainly qualifies as such a person.
     There was once a poster hanging in the guidance office that depicted birds singing in a tree with a caption that said, “Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.”  This metaphor always struck me because, as I’ve oft noted to my students, there must have been a time just before our birth, when an announcement was made.  The proclamation was something to the effect that, “Whomever would like some talent (singing, dancing, sculpture etc.) come forth and receive thy gift.”  I’m quite certain that I must have remained seated and quipped, “No, thanks, I’m good!”  So, now when I go to a school play or concert, or attend an art exhibition, or witness the myriad of talent manifested in our students, I really regret the decision not to get me some of that too.
     One day during a class when I was lamenting my total lack of artistic acumen and how I didn’t even know the difference between a g clef and a middle-C, a student asked, “Biskup, did you ever try to understand the difference?  The height of irony was evidenced when another student chided, “Maybe you just need a good teacher. 
     This actually caused me to think about my colleagues whose work with students is made visible via a public performance.  From the point of view of someone who’s never had his students take an AP Physics exam in front of hundreds of onlookers, the notion of an audience seems a very scary proposition indeed.
     Today’s recipient produces work that is on constant public display.  This educator has the opportunity to impact and inspire virtually every student at HMS and does so with the aplomb and skill of a consummate professional.  Students who walk into this teacher’s classroom may do so with a certain degree of trepidation, but leave with a joy and confidence that is borne from achieving something previously thought to be impossible.  How one transforms a cacophony of sound into a melodic symphony is a question that certainly escapes my ability to ascertain.  Just as we have a myriad of visual art on display throughout this district, we have the performing arts in the air.  Each and every student who interacts with this educator is imbued with the passion for the arts, her enthusiasm is infectious and her love of teaching and her students is palpable. 
     Allow me to close with a quote from Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”.  Who better to bring that song to fruition than this year’s awardee?
     It is with great delight that I announce the 2014-15 Educator of the Year.  This year’s recipient is Kimberly Grover.                                                         



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HMS Blood Drive

The 7th grade science classes held their annual HMS blood drive on Thursday, March 12th. The students collected 80 usable pints of blood. Each pint of blood can help three people, enabling our students to impact 240 lives given their work at this community event. The students also managed to bring in 30 new donors! 
In addition to running the drive the students created amazing visuals, which demonstrated their knowledge about blood, blood typing and the genetics of blood. The American Red Cross asked us to bring these visuals to their Portland headquarters so they can display them for the public. 

Congratulations to the 7th Grade Team!

Connor Tull and Lucy Shamel

HMS honors Natalie Bourassa, National Gold Medal winner

Students across America submitted 255,000 original works during the 2014 program year. We had fourteen state prize winners. Natalie was one of ten students from Maine to achieve national distinction, and one only five gold medalists from our state. Natalie was the only middle schooler from Maine to garner national recognition. Her personal narrative, Deeper, was born in Mr. Simonton's class and crafted with great clarity and beauty. Please enjoy Natalie's piece below.
Natalie Bourassa


A rock, a slimy, filthy stone covered in algae, retrieved from the shallows of the lake rests in my hands. It’s heavy, but I don’t have any trouble holding it as I stare off the edge of my grandparents large motor-boat into the murky depths below. I turn to look at Sam, his blond hair is shimmering as the summer-sun dances upon it. In his hand is a rock much like mine, with mustard algae of its own. He looks at me and smiles, “You ready?” and all I can do is nod.
Sam and I have been going on crazy adventures for as long as I can remember. We’ve done things that most people would think are insane or even idiotic, like walking around a foreign country in the middle of the night without anyone knowing where we were or what we were doing, hiking barefoot through a forest that was infested with poison ivy simply because shoes were too restricting, or tying one another up in long ropes and throwing the other into a lake to see if they could act like Houdini and untie himself. We have never been just cousins, we are the best of friends and with the experiences we have had together, I am ashamed to admit that I am afraid of what we are about to attempt.
We’ve tried to touch the bottom of the lake before, but have never made it all the way to the muddy floor, thirty feet below. There has always been something intimidating about what is unseen, the feeling that something is watching you in the shadows, and lurking from right beyond where your sight ends. So when Sam came up with a way to reach the bottom of the lake I was excited, but I was also secretly very nervous.
Sam takes deep breaths and I follow his lead, starting to hyperventilate. While holding the rock with my right hand, I hold up three fingers on my left to signal our countdown. 
    Three fingers.
    Two fingers.
    Deep breath.
 I am submerged in the caramel colored water; I can feel it seeping through my suit, grabbing my toes, and wrapping itself around every hair on my head. I shift myself to look at Sam. Without goggles there is a haze around his body that makes him look almost two-dimensional, his red boy shorts ballooning around, his hair flowing like a jelly fish around his head. It’s like the water has transformed him into some strange creature from far beyond; in some ways this transformation is more beautiful than ever imagined, as if he has become one with the water. 
Air bubbles that surrounded us after we jumped have now drifted to the surface only to disappear altogether. The weight of the large stones that rests in our hands makes us start to sink more and more quickly. Suddenly the silence  hits me, like a hammer to a nail. It’s as if we are the only things that exist down here, as if we’re the only things that have ever existed. I find almost a comfort in this, like nothing could ever harm me or my good friend that is drifting next to me.    
 Millions of thoughts are going through my head all at once, and as I sift through them, a sense of calm floats over me. My senses become more clear, my thoughts become lighter, and I feel as though I am at more peace than I’ve been in a long time. My eyes start to adjust to the darkness, descending over us and they sting a little from the water surrounding me. I notice that Sam’s blurry head is now turned towards me and I can tell by the white in the general area of his mouth that he is smiling; this makes my heart beat faster, and I smile back while keeping the air that I’m saving inside. This action makes me feel jittery, maybe it’s just from the little oxygen entering my brain, as a result of holding my breath for nearly forty seconds, but I feel like I could do flips if we weren't trying to sink deeper. Then I stick out my tongue and I hear a strange, drowned-out laugh and see his body spasm and shake. I laugh too, letting some precious air escape my lungs.
 I’m smiling hysterically and suddenly, my feet are cold and freezing, the chill is creeping up my body as I sink. I’ve stopped smiling and I can tell Sam has too, by the absence of white on his face. The layer of arctic water is consuming me inch by inch and soon my whole body is consumed. Then, I am standing up to my ankles in a slimy, gooey substance that feels almost indistinguishable from the liquid that covers the rest of my body. Sam is standing in the same liquefied mud and I’m astonished to see him crouch down and sit in it. 
I make a gargled, “waa?” to show my confusion. The muddy bottom is so strange and disgusting, but when he pats the mud next to him I can’t help myself from bending my knees and letting the rock in my grip pull me down those last few inches. Because even though my lungs are burning, even though my ears are bursting, and even though I know that if I let go of this rock right now and swim to the surface I will be greeted by the warmth of the sun, I still sit in this liquid-mud with my best friend and the honest truth is that there is no place I'd rather be.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Colonial Craft Day

Cassie Walsh

Congratulations to the 5th grade students and team for their wonderfully successful Colonial Craft Day. The colonial era outfits set the scene for this special event. Students enjoyed learning how to knit, dipping candles and playing games from the colonial days, along with learning about other colonial crafts. They also appreciated a delicious,"home style" lunch inspired by this time in history.  

A special thank you goes out to Mrs. Emmons and all the parents and friends who came in to help out!

Hand crafted candles
Bobby Cole

Unified Basketball comes to Yarmouth

We're excited to share this recent Forecaster article with you, highlighting Yarmouth's Unified Basketball team, and HMS Assistant Coach, Jen Laberge. 
The Forecaster


Unified basketball debuts to rave reviews

If you think the high school basketball season ended with the recent tournament, guess again.
That's because unified basketball has come to Forecaster Country and has earned instant popularity.
A visit to Yarmouth High School last week illustrated why.

There was ample excitement in the gym and it had little to do with the six lead changes between the Clippers and visiting Edward Little, Yarmouth's 10-0 tide-turning run in the third period or the game coming down to the final horn before the home team prevailed, 43-41.

What ultimately made this game (and this sport) stand out was the true purity of competition and the presence of something often missing from cut-throat varsity sports: Unadulterated joy.

Joy to be playing the game, joy to be on floor with teammates of all abilities and most of all, joy over making a basket, the type of joy that brings the house down when a player who rarely scores tickles the twine.

In unified basketball, like varsity basketball, games are 32 minutes, but it's running time. Other differences are that teams may have no more than 15 players and there must be at least three "athletes," or student-athletes with developmental disabilities, on the floor at all times. The athletes must score at least 75 percent of the points. They're joined by "partners," who are student-athletes without developmental disabilities. Partners can't be varsity athletes in that particular sports season.
While unified basketball is a new Maine Principals' Association-sanctioned sport this winter, it has been around for awhile.

"(Unified basketball has) been embraced across the entire country," said MPA assistant executive director Mike Burnham. "Connecticut has had it for several years. New Hampshire and Rhode Island have added it. It's been in (Maine) for six years, sponsored by Special Olympics. Teams would come together for one-day tournaments at U. Maine and USM. We started a conversation last year with Ian Frank (the Project Unity Director at Special Olympics) and last fall, Ian, (MPA assistant executive director) Gerry Durgin and I met with folks from New Hampshire. That was very helpful. We formed a committee and talked to schools interested in starting programs."

A treat for all

In Forecaster Country, Greely and Yarmouth both launched programs this winter and both have been thrilled with the results.

"I had no idea how it would play out, but it's been overwhelmingly positive in every aspect," said Greely athletic administrator David Shapiro, who is also on the MPA's unified basketball committee. "It's great for the community. From the athletes' and the partners' perspective, it's everything you want from sports. They work together, they pull for each other. It's inclusive on every front, just like varsity sports. You'll see players part like the Red Sea so someone can take a shot and if it goes in, the crowd erupts, but it's still competitive."

"It's been probably the highlight of my year so far in the sense unified basketball is sports at its purest form," said Yarmouth athletic administrator Susan Robbins. "The kids take nothing for granted. They have nothing but fun all the time. It's competitive and people want to win, but throughout the game, opportunities are created for kids to score. It makes me scratch my head and ask, 'Why haven't we doing this longer?'" In total, 17 teams took part this winter, playing between four and eight games.
The stories that have resulted have produced smiles and tears of happiness.

"It's refreshing to see the true meaning of athletics," Burnham said. "It's been a tremendous success. I've heard 17 of the neatest stories. (Class A boys' basketball state champion) Hampden Academy's had a huge student section, led by varsity athletes. Oceanside has special ed cheerleaders on the cheering team."

At Yarmouth, coach Christina Strong and members of the girls' varsity basketball team were part of the crowd for the Clippers' finale, the thrilling win over Edward Little. While the athletes and partners work together, so too do the teams at times to allow select players multiple shots at getting in the scoring column.

With that said, however, the athletes want to win and in the finale, Yarmouth managed to do so, wrapping up its regular season with a 4-2 record.

"It's been great to bring in kids with special needs to do a team sport and feel like they're king of the world," said Clippers head coach Ashley Marden. "They love it. They're competitive. They play defense and they want to shoot. Seeing the partners be selfless is awesome. I've been very surprised with the quality of play, how much better they've gotten."

Yarmouth assistant coach Jen Laberge, who has spent many years in special education and coaching, echoed the sentiment.

"Special ed is near and dear to our hearts," Laberge said. " I've coached basketball for 10 years and this is one of the most fun seasons I've ever had. There aren't a lot of opportunities for kids with moderate to severe disabilities to play team sports in their school. To create an organization and a season for them is huge. They get to be a part of their school community in a way they never have. They've watched their siblings and friends for years and now they get to be the ones on the court hearing the cheers. Some of the kids really know basketball. They know the game. It's pretty cool."

Robbins said that starting a program was surprisingly easy. "When I heard about it in August, I knew I had to make it happen somehow," she said. "Special Olympics gives schools a $3,000 grant, which helps jump-start the program. It was a no-brainer to find a way to incorporate students into the student body. It's a feel-good thing. It's another way to be proud of our community and show school pride."
Over at Greely (which went 1-5 in the regular season), Shapiro said that some of the school's best known varsity athletes have been a part of unified basketball and that it's been a win-win situation for all involved.

"I'm especially happy that we had overwhelming response when we were seeking partners," he said. "Kids gravitate to someone like (junior) Izzy (Hutnak). She's a fierce competitor on the soccer field, but I've seen a different side of her with unified basketball. The entire (Class B champion) girls' basketball team was at our last game. We had girls volunteering to coach and running the clock."
Shapiro said that the feedback he's received has been overwhelmingly positive. "I've had a parent tell me their child had more physical activity and social interaction in the past two months than they've had in two years," he said. "We've had a couple hundred people in the stands for games."

Playoff time

Like varsity basketball, Heal Points are tabulated and a championship tournament is underway, one that will be capped by the presentation of a Gold Ball and the naming of Sportsmanship Award winners March 19 in Lewiston.

Yarmouth is the No. 3 seed in the West and will host No. 6 Poland in the quarterfinals.
Greely, ranked seventh, visits No. 2 Lisbon in the quarterfinals.

"I've had a lot of kids ask about a fan bus for our playoff game," Shapiro said.

Future's bright

Rest assured that other schools will want to get in on the fun going forward. There will be some tweaks heading into year two, but it won't be long until unified basketball has a foothold in most communities.

"We hope it continues to grow and the opportunity becomes state-wide," Burnham said. "We'll invite coaches and ADs and talk about what needs to be changed and modified."

"Now that we have it and the more people know about it, I expect our numbers to rise," Robbins said. "We've tried to get all the kids in our special ed program involved. I think there will be more schools who take it on."

"I see it getting bigger and bigger across the state," Marden added. "I bet at some point, there will be JV and varsity teams."

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yarmouth's Got Talent

We want to recognize and appreciate all of our talented HMS students who shared their gifts during the YGT show on Friday. We understand the enormous amount of time and energy they put into their passion, whether it's music, dance, or performance art.
HMS students performing at YGT include (in the order they appeared):

Horizon Line with Miles Hagedorn, Lee Federle, Jack Martin, Davis Young, Audrey Sladek-Band
Hannah Zimmerman-Singer
Will Giese-Piano
Zoe Hardel and Abby Van Lonkhuyzen-Cello Duet
Gabby Colby-George-Singer accompanied by Duncan Birkbeck on Piano
Parker Harnet-Singer/Performance Art
Izabel Cox-Faxon-Singer accompanied by and Anna Wallace on Piano
Congratulations to Izabel Cox-Faxon and Anna Wallace named as the HMS YGT winners!

Special thanks to Mrs. Grover, Mr. C., the K-12 Music Department, and our music boosters for bringing us this special event!
Ann Wallace and Izabel Cox-Faxon

Monday, March 9, 2015

Congratulations to the 5th and 6th Grade Math Teams

Barbara Ellis, 5th/6th grade Math Team Coach, shared this exciting news with us:

Our 5th and 6th grade math team students were recognized for the December and February math meets at the February 11th meet in Portland.

The 5th grade team placed 3rd in both the December and February Math Meets.

Team members included Georgia Herr, Krisztian Kovacs, Oliver Prinn, Patrick Lucien, Kevin Kamm, and Sutter Auger.

Individual winners included: 

Georgia Herr, 1st place individual

Krisztian Kovacs, 5th place individual

Evan Lucca, 4th place individual in the December meet and 3rd place individual at the February meet.

Congratulations on a job well done!

5th grade team -placed 3rd in December and February meets
Georgia Herr, Krisztian Kovacs, Oliver Prinn, Patrick Lucien, Kevin Kamm, Sutter Auger

Georgia Herr, 1st place individual
Krisztian Kovacs 5th Place individual

Evan Lucca 3rd and 4th place individual

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Magical Land of Oz

Congratulations to the 7th/8th grade cast and crew of The Magical Land of OZ! These talented students transformed the HMS stage into a whimsical fairytale land, which was the perfect setting for this story. The actors' singing and dancing delighted the audience. The special effects created by Avery and Ashley Sevee enhanced the viewers' experience. The students devoted long hours of work and rehearsals to develop this special show. They are to be commended for their dedication and perseverance.

Our gratitude goes out to Kathy Gardner who handles a myriad of backstage and organizational pieces of these productions, along with creating the wonderful programs for our shows!

Thank you to our incredible parents-we're so fortunate to have your inspiring support!

To Deb, Pete, Avery and Ashley Sevee, we're grateful for all you do to create these productions-thank you for sharing your many talents with us! 


DOROTHY                                         ABI HINKS
GLINDA                                             EMILY CORSON
WICKED WITCH                               LAURA RUSSO
SCARECROW                                    RILEY ANDERSON
TIN MAN                                           PHIL BOCK
COWARDLY LION                            BRIE HATHCOCK
OZ                                                       WYATT BATES
BOQ                                                   GABBY COLBY-GEORGE
TOQ                                                    TIERRA PEARSON
LOQ/POPPY ONE                             EMMA KENNEDY
POPPY TWO                                     LUCY SHAMEL
TREE ONE                                         COLIN COOK
GUARDIAN ONE                             LAZARE MERCHI-ROSSINI
GUARDIAN TWO                           
AUNT EM                                          ELLA BUCHANAN

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

State Geo Bee

Elias Rich, 8th grade, has qualified to compete in the state level competition of the National Geographic Bee, sponsored by Plum Creek. The state Bee will be held on Friday, March 27, 2015 at the University of Maine at Farmington, 111 South Street in Farmington.

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 27th year. School Bees were held throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the state Bees.

Each state champion will receive $100, the “National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition,” a medal, and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 11-13, 2015. The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the Society.  The national champion will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Gal├ípagos Islands, where he/she will experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the islands’ unique wildlife and landscapes. 
Congratulations Elias; good luck at the State Bee.