Archive for January, 2014

The Lullaby Project Comes to The Midcoast

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

This winter we were lucky enough to partner with Hearstudios, Bay Chamber Concerts & Carnegie Hall as part of The Lullaby Project, which pairs professional musicians with young parents experiencing early parenthood in challenging community settings.  Participants are offered a creative opportunity to communicate feelings, hopes and dreams as they look to the future with their child.

This was an amazing experience for our students. 

Check out the photos here:


IMG_0397 pianojess and malcolm


Meet Our Wayfinders

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014


A Wayfinder Schools Interview

with Cheyanne Penniman


Residential Program Class of 2014

Camden Campus


WS: What made you decide to come to Wayfinder Schools?

CP: I was bouncing around homes and I was homeless.  I didn’t have a steady environment to live in and I wanted a good family community environment. I’ve never really had that before. And because mainstream school wasn’t really doing it for me. I was failing and not really going.


WS: What have you enjoyed most about your Wayfinder Schools experience so far?


CP: It gave me ambition. It gave me my ambition back to want to succeed and start to believe I can again. And people actually care about you here.  It becomes like your second family.




WS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far this year?




CP: I’ve learned a lot of things.  I’ve learned to let go of the past and move toward the future and kind of adapt to other people’s situations.  I’ve learned to live with people and I’m learning to trust people.




WS: What’s the favorite meal you’ve cooked so far at school and why?




CP: I’ve only cooked one meal so far-quesadillas. I’d never tried it before and everyone loved it.  Now I love quesadillas.  There’s an art to it, you have to make it perfect or it will burn.




WS: How did you decide on your work/internship site?




CP: I work at the YMCA childcare. I went to a trade school last year and I worked in the preschool there, but because I had bad grades I wasn’t able to continue with it.  But I really like working with kids. I figured this was my second chance.




WS: Tell me about your experiences volunteering or on an ELE.




CP: To generalize all of it-pushing yourself to do things that you don’t want to do at the time. It gives you a feeling a self-worth when you push yourself like that.  For instance, rock climbing. I didn’t want to do it at first- I’m afraid of heights- but I actually tried it a second time!




WS: What do you hope to get out of your experience at Wayfinder Schools?




CP: More confidence to pursue things in life, life skills that I have not yet acquired and to actually feel proud of myself and have the people who doubted me feel proud of me, too.




WS: What are your hopes and plans for after graduation?




CP: My dream has always been to go to college and work with children as a teacher or a social worker or a caseworker.  I want to help children.  I don’t know if I’ll be financially stable and have a place to live by then, but I really want to go to college.




WS: What would you like people to know about Wayfinder Schools?




CP: That it’s a fantastic opportunity for people who are willing to put the effort in.  You actually have to work to be here –it’s not just like a slide through high school. It will change your life.




WS: What would you like the world to know about you?




CP: That even though I’ve had a challenging life I’m capable of great things.




Fourteen facts about you:




Your name: Cheyanne Penniman


Where you were born: Portland


Your favorite color: My birthstone, which is a Peridot


Your favorite food: Italian


Your favorite sound or smell: The smell of Abercrombie & Fitch


Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: I used to like to write a lot-poetry and songs.  I wrote a memoir and I really like it.


Your favorite possession: My mom’s porcelain doll-it’s irreplaceable.


Your favorite book, band, quote, song or movie: “Live, laugh, love.”


One place you’d like to travel to: I’d like to teleport to Hawaii.


Something you’re proud of: The best thing that has ever happened to me and my greatest accomplishment so far is getting into this school and sticking though it.


Something new you’d like to try: I’ve done a lot of things already, just being here. I just want to try whatever the school has to offer. They make us do a lot of whacky stuff!


Who would play you in a movie: Megan Fox, because I have her thumbs- and she’s attractive!


Your favorite spot in Maine: Portland


Your favorite superhero: Storm


Anything else you’d like us to know: I’m cooler than ice





Beyond Basic Math

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

One of the things you’ll often hear our Head of School, Dr. Dorothy Foote, say about our curriculum is that it includes “multiple layers of benefit.” For instance, although our students do study algebra, you won’t often find them seated at desks with textbooks in hand. Instead, our teachers weave together subjects in a very hands-on way that makes our learning immediately relevant, both to our other areas of study, and to the real world. 


This kind of benefit is found in our culinary program, in which students take turns cooking dinner for the entire school for a week at a time.  Students must come up with a weekly meal plan that fits within the allotted food budget, and multiply recipes to feed the entire school community for that week.  Involved in this assignment are math, budgeting and culinary skills that students will carry forward with them for the rest of their lives.


This same sort of cross-over study and immediate relevance are found in our Green Initiative classes, our Social Justice and Diversity classes, our Creative Writing classes, our Art classes and even in our community service projects, field trips, learning expeditions and more.


This fall, we took math beyond the classroom again, by getting outdoors and creating a great piece of art at our Opportunity Farm campus.  This project was directed by Creative Arts Coordinator Oren Stevens and combined math, design, team work, a little bit of landscaping and a whole lot of Wayfinder Schools spirit.


Here’s a summary of the project from Lead Teacher Christine Boudreau:


Our first, big project in Art was to design and execute a crop circle! Students spent a day sharing ideas about shapes and designs, then approximating the layout and getting familiar with the tools involved. They came up with the design on their own and soon after, everyone went out to the field to lay down a large grid made of twine. The activity was surprisingly tricky, as the twine refused to stay smooth and straight. It was great to see everyone practice team effort and the perseverance needed for the final steps of the project: doubling our new school logo into a 360-degree compass rose! Students all worked on the math and methods to understand how to help each other get the correct proportions, and finally, the design was mowed onto our fields.




Here are the results:






Next, Oren will be incorporating Iranian art into our Middle East study!


Belfast Artist Eric Leppanen hosts Camden students at his studio

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

This week we were lucky enough to be invited to the home studio of Belfast artist Eric Leppanen

Leppanen, an abstract recycler, was  featured in the Huffington Post last year.

On Friday, we got to to tour the studio, learn more about his work and even collaborate on a painting!

Check out the photos below: