Archive for March, 2016

Our first two days in NYC!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016


everyone night sky

The New Gloucester crew arrived in New York City Monday night.  Check out what Ayan and Arao have to say about it, below!

March 28, 2016- by Ayan

We had a really long drive. It took about ten hours. We had to stop in Connecticut because the muffler fell off of the white van. We fixed it with wire. We had fun in the van. We van danced, ate food, played cards and stopped at a thrift store. I bought a giant stuffed bunny!! We named the bunny New York. When we got to NYC, we went for a walk on the New Jersey boardwalk. We played soccer and took individual shots in front of the skyline of NYC. I saw the building King Kong climbed and the place where the Twin Towers used to be.  I am so happy and psyched to be in NYC/New Jersey. Everything has been my favorite part, although the van ride was exhausting. I want to thank Joseph for being here and for Bob and Cynthia, at home. They are taking care of the chickens and holding down the fort.


Ayan, first night in the city!

March 30, 2016- by Arao

Today we had a blast. Crystal Vaccaro, our Creative Arts Coordinator, was greeted with excitement when she met us at the 9/11 Memorial. She brought Margo Ugalde with her. Margo was the Opportunity Farm Campus Director before Oren Stevens. The 9/11 Memorial was really meaningful to me because a bad thing happened, and they built a memorial. I have a lot of respect for this. After the 9/11 Memorial, we went for a long stroll on Brooklyn’s, very long “Highline”.  We fulfilled all of our cardio goals for the day during this long hike. It felt like 50 miles. When our long walk was complete we decided to take in some art at the MOMA museum. My favorite part of the museum was seeing Kara Walker’s art and being able to talk about it with Alex Koch, Annie Robertson and Alaina Linteri. For dinner we were able to order street food and enjoy it at our leisure. I ate Arroz Con Pollo. It was good. Other highlights of the day included, being hussled by street performers in Time Square, seeing Central Station and its amazing constellation ceiling and finally getting on the PATH and coming home to Jersey City. What a trip, what a day!!

B&W Araoa 2 Arao, in the city!

everyone ellis   margot alaina   MoMA 2   ladies  jared times sq  toboe MoMA  city  tobie ayan elis

Wayfinder of the Week-Meet Alex!

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Wayfinder of the Week!
Meet Alex

A Wayfinder Schools interview with Alex Koch
Residential Staff, New Gloucester Campus
March 2016

WS: Tell me about your role here:

AK: I’m Lead Overnight Staff at the New Gloucester campus, working the Sunday and Monday night shift. In addition to that, I’m the Ecology Teacher. I spend a lot of time working with the kids in the natural world. I try to instill in them a feeling of respect for nature and science.

WS: How did you get interested in ecology?

AK: It’s always been a part of me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve spent time in the woods. It’s been one of my favorite things to do, explore in nature. As a child I didn’t really watch a lot of TV. I can remember my mom trying to get me to watch Sesame Street, but I just wanted to be in the woods, tracking squirrels and looking at leaves and all that stuff.

WS: Tell me about a recent ecology project:

AK: We’re conducting a forest inventory growth plot, so we’ve been measuring the diameter base height of trees in the plot. We’ll be using that data to learn a little bit more about our forest.

WS: What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

AK: It has changed a lot over the years but one of the things I remember most was ducking through all the tide pools out at Prouts Neck in Scarborough and climbing around on the Cliff Walk. A friend and I had big dreams of becoming marine biologists. I wrote a poem about that. I write a lot of nature-based poetry.

WS: Where did you grow up and what was unique about it?
AK: I was born in central Maine, moved to the midcoast, and then at 7 moved to southern Maine. I grew up by the ocean, and the mud and salt. I could go down across the street, through my grandparents’ yard, and down to the mud flats and catch horseshoe crabs. Like I said, my grandparents were across the street, I had an uncle next door, and my grandfather’s brother up the street. There was a lot of family around, and I think that was both unique and important for my development. There was also this wonderful, old white ash tree out back of our house, it was probably a sapling during the Civil War. That was pretty important to my development, also. Lots of memories.

WS: Where did you go to school and what did you like best about it?

AK: I went a lot of places but spent the most time at Unity College. I liked the small size and the focus on the environment and the outdoors.

WS: What’s your favorite part of your job?

AK: My favorite part is seeing the growth in the students throughout the year, seeing them open up more and more. To see them when they graduate, how far they’ve come since September, it’s a really special experience.

WS: What would you say is the biggest challenge?

AK: One of the biggest challenges this year has been a sense of being the new teacher. It’s all new for me and learning the ins and outs of that process, and keeping the students engaged.

WS: What would you say one of their favorite ecology projects has been?

AK: They’ve enjoyed when we’ve done research presentations. They researched land mammals that live in Maine and had to write a one-page paper and present it to the rest of the class. They liked doing that.

WS: Tell me about your first job:

AK: My very first job was working for my uncle and my grandfather at the horse stable, mucking out stalls, painting, mowing, and assisting in training the race horses.

WS: What’s been one of your favorite travel adventures with the Wayfinder kids?

AK: I think my favorite every year is the solos at Cobscook Community Learning Center. We go up to Washington County, spend a few days in the woods, it’s a good bonding experience as we’re preparing for graduation, a really amazing experience for students and staff.

WS: What’s one of your own favorite travel adventures?

AK: Every year I do a bird watching survey for high elevation songbirds about 20 miles north of Rangley up on the Canadian border. This past year I was camping out on the side of this logging road and I woke up to something rustling my tent, a lot of noise. It was a huge cow moose. I got up, and unzipped my tent, and there’s no light pollution up there, just stars lighting up the sky and the ground, and there she was licking the windshield of my car. A giant cow moose, licking my car.

WS: Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?

AK: One of my favorite teachers was a teacher in high school, a fellow named Ben. He wasn’t much older than I was at that point, he was just out of college. He was a History & Philosophy teacher. I took History of Islam with him, amongst many other classes. He was a really interesting guy, still is, I run into him from time to time in Portland. He was fascinating. He would go to Turkey to the bazaars and buy rugs and bring them back here. He would listen to this weird electronic music. Cool guy.

WS: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your students?

AK: I think that they’ve reinforced my patience, and believing that things will work out, and letting the process happen.

WS: What does your perfect day off look like?

AK: I would say my perfect day off is most days off. Not that my days at work are bad, I love it. But I buy and sell antique tools, my other job. Today I went to a barn in York County, dug through stuff and loaded up a bunch into my truck. I got an ax made in Oakland, Maine, an old coal shovel from South Portland, a couple of folding chairs from The Paris Manufacturing Co. in South Paris. I stopped at the antique mall that I sell at in central Maine and put a few things in the booth. A lot of my time is spent on antique tools and restoring them.

WS: What’s your favorite Maine museum?

AK: I’m actually working to open a museum.  I’m working with a group in Waldo County. We recently acquired an historic grist mill in Thorndike and we’ll be restoring the building and possibly housing a store, studio space, community space, but also, my hope is to open a museum of Maine made edge tools. I hope it happens there, but even if it doesn’t I still intend to open that museum somewhere here in Central Maine.

WS: How did you come to Wayfinder Schools?

AK: I had the benefit of my mother who was already involved with the school as a board member. I was living out in Seattle and I decided to come back and visit for a few months. At that time Wayfinder needed an overnight support staff, so I thought I’d fill in for a few months. I took a red eye flight, had an interview, and started that weekend on our trip to Acadia. I worked until December that year, but then I was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I really came to love the school and I started thinking about not going back to Seattle. I was healthy enough by spring to go on the Lubec trip, so I asked Joseph if I could stay on and I’ve been here since.

WS: What is your all-time favorite Wayfinder Schools moment?

AK: It was that first year, and when the students come out of the woods from solos they have a big circle and we talk to each of the students. One specific student and I bonded a lot and I got up to talk to him and we both started bawling and we gave each other a big hug. That exemplifies the care and bond that we form with each other, our students with us and we with them.

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

AK: I would like people to know that Wayfinder Schools is a really formative place, and a really special opportunity for both the staff and the students to be involved in.

Fifteen facts about you

Favorite bird: Raven

Favorite Maine hike: Number 4 Mountain in Frenchtown Township

Favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: All things tool related

Something new you’d like to try: Kayaking

Favorite breakfast spot in Maine: Crosstrax in Unity

Favorite home cooked meal: Mashed potatoes

Someplace new you’d like to travel to: I’ve always really wanted to go to Suriname

Favorite TV show: I’ve never owned a TV

Camping or luxury hotel? Camping

Bike or car? Car, because I travel such long distances. My 1.5 hour drive to work would be much longer on a bicycle!

Favorite book you’ve read recently: The Maritime History of Maine by William Hutchinson Rowe

Favorite children’s book: Blueberries for Sal

What would you tell your teenage self? Trust your gut

One of your favorite possessions: All the fishing gear I inherited from my father when he passed away

The one thing you’re most passionate about: Life

WS: Anything else you’d like to add?

AK: I think just that I would tell–not only my students–but everyone, to follow your passions and do what feels right for you in life. Don’t get stuck doing things that you think you’re supposed to do because others expect you to.

2 Blog Posts by Alaina!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Two Blog Posts by Alaina! In her first post, the students head to Peak’s Island for the day, and in the second, it’s off to Get Air!

Alaina’s Winter Blog 1

Alaina’s Winter Blog 2



Wayfinder of the Week – Meet Brian!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

A Wayfinder Schools interview with Brian Johnson
Residential Student, Camden Campus
February 2016

WS: What brought you to Wayfinder Schools?

BJ: I was looking for a residential school and I liked that it was a small community. I don’t like being in a big classroom.

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

BJ: The challenges. I may say that I don’t want to do them, but when I do, I enjoy them. Jumping off a cliff while rock climbing may sound easy, but it isn’t.

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

BJ: I’ve learned a lot of academic stuff through Ian (Lead Teacher Ian Collins), but what I’ll remember most is the people, the stuff I’ve done and the skills I learned while doing the challenges. The high swing at Camp Kieve, going out on a boat, interacting with other people, living with them on a daily basis, going out of my comfort zone. That may seem like a small thing, but it’s not.

WS: What’s your favorite class and why?

BJ: The Experiential Learning Expedition class on the weekends, with Emily. That’s the most challenging, but the most rewarding. Academically, my favorite class is computer coding class on Tuesdays with Ian. I love video games and I never really knew how they were created until Ian showed me.

WS: How did you get into gaming and what’s your favorite video game?

BJ: What first got me into video games was when my cousin Amanda brought over her Atari when I was like three. It’s impossible to answer about a favorite, there are over a million games. It depends on your personality.

WS: Tell me about your Career Explorations site:

BJ: I love working at the Riley School with Todd as my supervisor. I help the kids to write, to convince them to keep writing, or clean up the blocks. I’m the teacher’s assistant.

WS: Have you worked with kids before?

BJ: Yes, on Mondays at The Game Loft. I’ve been going there since I was ten. Since about fifteen I’ve been helping the younger kids, listening to them, supporting them if they need help.

WS: What’s been your favorite Experiential Learning Expedition so far?

BJ: The Camp Kieve high swing. It was like 160 feet in the air and tied to the really tall trees. And then you had to let go and swing between the trees. And the Appledore boat trip around the harbor. It was a quick ride but it was challenging for me because I don’t really like water. As we kept speeding up I got more and more comfortable. In the end it was fun. Wet and cold, but fun.

WS: What’s been your favorite volunteer project and why?

BJ: We cooked a super giant meal for Merry Springs and we worked on the house for Habitat for Humanity. We did the drywall. I had gotten experience for that before, in my sixth grade year. We had half a year of carpentry and the other half was culinary arts. I learned how to nail, measure, math skills…I created a box, a stool, a dog bowl and another stool. My dog still uses the bowl and I use the stool for gaming and my brother uses the box to store his cards.

At Merry Spring we all cooked meals and served the elderly and sat down and talked with them and listened to their stories from when they were younger, which was super cool. One lady used to do crazy stuff. We cooked, we served, we listened and it was super fun. I made the garlic bread. There was also spaghetti and some other stuff. It was an Italian pasta meal. The leftovers were good.

And there was the 5K run. I’d say my top three were the 5K run, Habitat for Humanity and the super giant meal.

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

BJ: Bacon meatloaf. Because bacon. And meat. And loaf. And cheese, too. I had cooked it with my mom before but it was a little greasy. The way I cooked it here was challenging and a little more healthy.

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

BJ: Skills to be independent and live a fun life.

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

BJ: My summer plan is to get a job, working with kids or in a kitchen washing dishes, and save some money. Or go to Job Corps and get some more skills. Then in the fall I’ll take computer coding classes on the laptop I’ll have bought with my savings.

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

BJ: It’s challenging, fun, rewarding. It requires effort. You’ve got to be here, not just willing to be part of it, but also willing to try new things. It shouldn’t be a last resort. It should be an option, not a last resort.

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

BJ: I’m a gamer of all sorts. I like fantasy, but not just games. If you want to have anything to do with fantasy role playing, creating cards…any kind of imagination, I’ll help you 100%. Creating a story, writing a book, doing a play, any sort of fantasy thing. If someone has a story idea, I’d be super into it. I love doing fun things, if someone keeps pushing me and gets me out of my comfort zone. I’m super nice. There’s a saying, “I’m a fantasy gamer not because I have no life but because I have many.” I like that saying, because I do have many lives.

Fourteen facts about you

Where you were born:

Belfast, Maine

Your favorite food:

Bacon meatloaf

Your favorite sound or smell:

I can’t smell. I was born that way. But my favorite sound would have to be the sound of waves on a shoreline.

Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time:

Fantasy writing, gaming, any fantasy item

Your favorite possession:

My love for my dog and my family

Favorite book you’ve read recently:

I read Manga on the computer, it’s a different kind of reading. The recent book I’ve read is “Fairy Tail,” by Hiro Mashima.

One place you’d like to travel to:

The inside of a computer

Something you’re proud of:

Working with the kids at Riley. Or the kids at The Game Loft. And my accomplishments here.

Something new you’d like to try:


Who would play you in a movie:

The main character in the Divergent series

What is your favorite movie?

My top three would be the Matrix series, the Fast & Furious series and the Transformers series

Your favorite spot in Maine:

Down by the waterfront in Belfast, near the bridge, in that little forest-y spot

Favorite holiday?

My birthday

The one thing you’re most passionate about:

Mentoring at the Belfast Game Loft

WS: Anything else you’d like to add?

BJ: Have fun and donate to Wayfinder Schools!

Wayfinder of the Week – Meet Oren!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

A Wayfinder Schools interview with Oren Stevens
Residential Campus Director, Opportunity Farm
January 2016

WS: What do you like best about your role here?

OS: I like supporting the students. I really like helping them trust and find language around what they’re feeling, and figuring out what’s going on for themselves.

WS: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your students?

OS: Patience. Absolutely. Patience. And that it’s usually not what it seems. There’s usually something underneath an outburst-something’s going on, things at home, things that blow my mind that they have to deal with. It’s amazing that they’re alive let alone doing all the things we’re asking them to do.

WS: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

OS: Watching kids develop. For them to see a future, that they can dare to want to have a successful life, whatever that looks like to them. They can run off to Austin and play guitar in the streets or go to college…the fact that Rakeem (2015 Wayfinder grad Rakeem Sullivan) is at Dean (College) to study dance, that’s incredible.

WS: Where did you grow up and what was unique about it?

OS: Pella, Iowa. Home of Pella Windows. It’s a town of about 8,000 people. It’s a Dutch Calvinist enclave, but we were Norwegian methodists-imposters. There was a lot of work there because of the window factory, and my dad got a job there as an accountant, right out of college. When I was 11 my dad was transferred to a suburb of Chicago, so we moved there. Then we moved back to Pella again my sophomore year in high school. Pella looks beautiful and like everything is hunky dory, but their is a lot of repressed darkness going on behind the facade.

WS: Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

OS: Oh, Bev Brass. She was the English teacher who took in wayward boys. By the time I got back to Pella, well…she pushed us all to ask questions, and read, and debate. She was a great listener. She assigned us Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I still use that book. She and my mom are the reasons I started writing.

WS: What did you want to be when you grew up, and why?

OS: I really didn’t know. Not an accountant. I wanted to be manly. I got into carpentry. We didn’t have a hammer or a screwdriver in the house growing up, so I was drawn to that I suppose. I did construction for a number of years. I wanted to do stuff with my hands and be outside. Later, it became clear I wanted to work with high school kids having a tough time, again, because of Bev Brass.

WS: Tell me about your first job:

OS: I had a paper route for four years, 6th grade on, so I had to get up at 6:00 every morning, seven days a week. My dad would come in and pull my covers off my bed. I had to fold the papers and throw them at people’s doorsteps every morning no matter what. It was 80 degrees below zero with wind chill some days in Chicago. But I always had money, even at an early age.

WS: Where did you go to college and what did you study?

OS: I went to Drake University for two years. I quit school and moved to Portland to do window service for my dad for a year. That was ’92, Portland was a different place then. I saved money and went to Guatemala for 3 months. That is another story, but I made it back and found my way to Goddard college in Vermont. That was great and I learned a lot about myself, but I wanted more structure, so I rode my bike from Vermont back to Iowa. I worked in a lot of bar kitchens in my teens and twenties and was living in Des Moines for awhile when I decided I needed to finish school, so I applied to University of Iowa for writing. I always wanted to go to the University of Iowa, but didn’t have good enough grades out of high school. I was really into school by the time I go to the U. Loved it.

WS: How did you find your way to Wayfinder Schools?

OS: I worked for The Telling Room part-time for a number of years. I co-ran the Young Writers and Leaders Program for a year with Molly McGrath-the one that was just recognized by the Obamas. We had ten immigrant students for a whole year, twice a week. You work with them on writing, build trips to Boston… I really fell in love with that idea of a year long relationship with students. Over the years with the TR I found myself working with the students that were hard to reach. It became a thing, let Oren work so and so..I was also teaching writing at the prison though Guitar Doors, at Long Creek, and at Maine Stay-a teen home in Portland. I was also running the Friends School summer camps and timber framing for Maine Post & Beam. Ugh, fond memories but a lot of juggling and piecing together a lot of part-time work. I saw the Wayfinder Creative Arts Coordinator ad online, so I applied and had a Skype interview from Iowa, where I was visiting at the time. I had found a long lost brother in Joseph. I feel so at home here and I have so much respect for Joseph, I’ll go into any situation with him.

WS: Tell me about your arts background:

OS: That came later in life. I didn’t do anything formal until I was in my early thirties. My best friend and his son died in a car accident when my daughter and I were on our way to visit them. It made me take life more seriously-you don’t always get tomorrow so do what you need to do. His sister asked me what I really wanted to do, and the answer was that I wanted to write. I got my MFA at Stonecoast and it had a major impact on my sense of being creative in all sorts of ways. Later she and I were at a dance performance in Portland by a company called Vivid Motion, and for the same reason, I decided to go for it and start taking dance classes with them and began dancing on stage. Later I joined a chorus, The Blue Lobster Troupe and started singing a bunch. I was beginning to say yes to things I had said no to for decades. A few years later I signed up for an improv class with David LaGraffe and fell in love with it. He’s one of my favorite mentors, so when he asked if I wanted to join his company, I dove in. It’s a wonderful group of people. We take it as seriously as we can. It’s called Portland Playback Theater. It’s all about storytelling. People from the audience get up and tell a three-minute story, and then five actors will play the story back with singing, dancing, speaking. It’s a way of honoring people’s stories. That’s what I love about it. There are about 150 of these Playback troupes around the world.

WS: Tell me how you feel on Wayfinder graduation day.

OS: Weepy. It was so great last year. With Faith…I was really close with Faith, so to see her… she really nailed it, she did the work, she matured a lot. To see Fiston…he was here today, he got his Green Card. Elijah…it’s great to see them ready to go off and do their next thing. It’s a sad goodbye. This whole experience is so intimate. It’s never going to be the same. We stay in touch but we’re not going to do all the crazy things we do day in and day out.

WS: What’s one of your favorite trips you’ve taken with the kids?

OS: We have so many great trips. New York City’s a blast. It’s so much fun to watch kids who have never been out of the state…to take them to New York City is so eye opening. It’s amazing to watch kids who are anxious before we go and by the end of the trip they’re telling us which subways to get on. They start to get a sense of ownership, which is really empowering.

WS: What’s one of your own favorite travel adventures?

OS: A few years back I made a plan with my college room mate to spend three nights at Chimney Pond on Kathadin. Just before the trip my friend bailed, and I decided to go anyway. I had a great time hiking all over the mountain and I met a photographer there. I was right at the peak eating lunch when a woman said she liked my jacket because it was red and it would show up nicely in the fog. We ended up climbing the Knife’s Edge together and taking a bunch of pictures. One of the photos ended up in a book about Thoreau and the Wabanaki Trail, Wildness Within, Wildness Without. I love the unexpected that happens when traveling.

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

OS: I think about emotional intelligence. I think that’s what we do for these kids. We’re really focused on emotional intelligence, which will help them in ways in life that are not necessarily measured by a lot of society. It’s beyond academics.

Fourteen facts about you

What’s one unique talent you have that most people don’t know about? Headstands. I can do a headstand anywhere.

What do you cook really well? I can make a perfect steak.

Something new you’d like to try: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I grew up wrestling in Iowa. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial arts, but it’s a lot like wrestling. I went to one workout over Christmas break. I’m still recovering, but I love the idea of it.

What’s your favorite breakfast food? French toast, I make a mean French toast. And bacon, eggs, and potatoes.

What’s your favorite thing to do on your day off? Cross country skiing and making breakfast and dancing or Playback rehearsal.

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I love the long look at how wild a family narrative plays out-up, down, and sideways.

What book is on your bedside table right now? The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr.

Camping or luxury hotel? Depends on the day. Camping for three days and a really nice luxury hotel on the fourth day.

Favorite hike in Maine? Gulf Hagas near Katahdin Iron Works. They call it the Grand Canyon of the East Coast.

Favorite swimming spot in Maine? That’s top secret information I can’t tell you. I swim a lot in the summer. I have a number of favorites: Rattlesnake Hole in Stow, Maine, Jasper Beach in East Machias, I love swimming in the Saco River, up in the White Mountains.

Favorite children’s book: Guess How Much I Love You. My daughter and I used to read that all the time.

Something you wish all your students knew: Empathy

What would you tell your teenage self? Dare to be seen

The one thing you’re most passionate about: Love

Wayfinder of the Week – Meet Jarred!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

A Wayfinder Schools interview with student Jarred Stankiewicz
January 2016
WS: What brought you to Wayfinder Schools?

JS: I wasn’t having success in school, but I kept hearing about Wayfinder. Mary Seaman (Lewiston’s homeless youth liaison) kept bringing it up to me. I was in a circumstance where I didn’t have a lot of options for a living situation, but let me tell you, Wayfinder is not just a place to stay. It really motivates you, it gives you structure, a challenge. It’s pretty incredible what you can accomplish here.

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

JS: Staying on top of things even when it’s hard. Always getting up in the morning, always going to class, always doing homework, just being there. Tenacity, that’s the word. A lot of tenacity.

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

JS: Thai Food. Noodles and vegetables, like a stir fry. It was a challenge to make but it was pretty awesome.

WS: What’s been your favorite volunteer project and why?

JS: Tree Street. I really like going to Tree Street. I play guitar so I usually jam with the kids there. There’s one kid who’s always on the piano-he’s so good. We jam. It makes him happy, it makes me happy.

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

JS: I like the fact that I don’t see myself as a victim, I see myself as reflecting. I reflect a lot and I’m held accountable for my actions, and it makes me think about other people and how I can be there to support them. It makes me feel good and it makes other people happy.

WS: What’s your favorite class and why?

JS: Writing. It’s such a challenge, and Elisabeth gives us these crazy topics. I usually get really into it. After I stop procrastinating, it challenges me and I see improvement. I like to write music, so I write lyrics in my journal every day. We also write creative non-fiction, flash fiction. Flash fiction, that was the one that really stuck with me. The only class I really cared about before was music. I never really cared about school until I came here.

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

JS: Pretty much just knowing that no matter how tough it is, I’ll still be okay at the end of the day. I know that everything will be just fine if I stick with it. I want to have a good mindset on the way into my adulthood, and strong motivation.

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

JS: I write music and I’ve been playing guitar since 4th grade, drums from 5th -8th and bass since 8th grade. I had to learn to read music then, and we got second in the states that year. I really want to be a touring musician, make records, be an active songwriter and musician. It brings me joy and I like seeing the looks on people’s faces. I want to inspire people to do what they want to do and not hold back.

WS: What kind of music do you like?

JS: Folk, blues, rock ‘n roll, Elvis, Little Richard, Bo Diddley. Garage rock. The Sonics, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges. They inspire me to just do it, give it your all. It makes me feel good.

WS: How did you get into music?

JS: I grew up with my dad playing a bunch of cassettes: Doors, Pink Floyd. One day my dad was talking to me about how he wanted to play guitar, and he said, “One day, Jarred, you’re going to play some big stadium.” As I started playing punk rock, I looked into biographies of who they were into, who influenced them, and it was a lot of searching, a lot of discovery.

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

JS: That it’s really tough, it’s very tough. It’s like staring into a mirror. It really shows you who you are, but if you stick with it, you’ll see success; accomplishing your homework, your chores, successful interaction with your peers, it leads to long-term success as you enter the adult world.
WS: What would you like the world to know about you?

JS: That I like to listen, absorb, and I like to think outside the box with whatever I do. I’m pretty chill. I like relaxing, hanging out with people and playing my guitar, listening to records, learning from what other people do and how I can apply that to my life.

Fourteen facts about you

Where you were born: Biddeford, Maine

Your favorite food: Pizza

Your favorite sound or smell: Bakery. I love baked goods.

Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: Guitar and writing

Your favorite possession: My record player

Favorite book you’ve read recently: Break on Through to The Other Side, the biography of Jim Morrison.

One place you’d like to travel to: California. I’ll be going there in June. I’ll get to look for music venues and be in the hot weather.

Something you’re proud of: Doing homework every night

Something new you’d like to try: I’d like to build stuff, work with wood, be more hands on, make a cabinet or bureau.

Your favorite bands: The Beatles. They introduced me to songwriting. I know practically everything about them. I also like Mac Demarco and Twin Peaks and The Stooges and last but not least, The Velvet Underground. And The Doors. Because The Doors are awesome.

Who would play you in a movie: Leonardo DiCaprio. One hundred percent.

Your favorite spot in Maine: Old Orchard Beach. I grew up there. That’s a great town. I love it so much.

Favorite holiday? Halloween

The one thing you’re most passionate about: Music

WS: Anything else you’d like to add?

JS: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Wayfinder Schools featured in Diploma Institute video

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Wayfinder Schools was pleased to be selected as the host site for The Diploma Institute, a new project of The Maine Department of Education and The National Dropout Prevention Network. We’ve hosted two sessions now, one in summer 2015, and one in January 2016. Check out the video below! You can also read a summary of the project by RSU4 School Superintendent John Hodgkin, here: MSSA News.

From the Diploma Institute…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Check out the article below from the February 2016 issue of the Maine School Superintendents Association newsletter. We’ve now hosted two sessions of The Diploma Institute at Wayfinder Schools, and you can read more about it in “RSU 4 Supt. Jim Hodgkin Spreads Word About Dropout Prevention to Regional Superintendent Groups.”


And …watch this wonderful video filmed at our Opportunity Farm campus!


Wayfinder Schools Admissions Coordinator Britta Sturks at The Diploma Inst

Wayfinder Admissions Coordinator Britta Sturks at the summer institute.