Our visit to Maine Medical Center’s Research Institute

Posted on Sunday May 21, 2017

Earlier this month, a group of Passages students visited Maine Med’s Research Institute in Scarborough, where they met with Dr. Lucy Liaw and Dr. Michaela Reagan. Students toured labs and learned about the cancer and cardiovascular research being conducted by Dr. Liaw and Dr. Reagan. Students learned about the day-to-day life of a scientist, as well as the education and experience necessary to pursue a career in the sciences. Thank you to Doctors Liaw and Reagan for the tour and the inspiration!



another kiss

Our NYC Blog! By student Magen Bongomin.

Posted on Monday April 24, 2017

Five Days in NYC. By Magen Bongomin.

Day 1


We woke up and had our stuff in the vans and we departed at nine. We ate our lunch on the road where we sang along to show tunes. When we got to the place we were staying we got our room assignments. We ate dinner and then went to the skyline where we kicked a soccer ball around and took pictures.

magen first night  reny first night  jos first night alissa first night


Day 2

We woke up at seven and ate breakfast and were out the door by eight. We went to Legal Grounds where we got coffee and hot chocolate. Then we took a ferry to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. The first time we landed in Manhattan we landed in Battery Park. We went to the Tenement Museum where we learned about immigration. Then we went on our food tour which lasted about a few days. We ate some good doughnuts and also great pickles and dumplings. We bought two ducks which would be our dinner that night. Later we went on our first PATH train which was crowded and we had to squish together. Cathy made a good duck soup with Elisabeth’s help. We ended our day with a circle.

alissa jos magen ferry  devin reny    jos and al  statue

Day 3

We woke up at seven and were out by eight as usual. We went on the PATH train and we met up with Elisabeth’s family. Elisabeth’s dad told us a lot about the Brooklyn Bridge as we walked across it. Then we walked around Brooklyn and ate lunch at Roberta’s. After devouring 18 pizzas we got a tour of a roof garden. Then we hopped on a train and went to the MOMA. We were at the MOMA for two hours and then went to the Highline. We were at the Highline ‘til we reached Chelsea Market for dinner. By this time everyone had had enough of walking and wanted to go home. Then we had a circle to talk about the MOMA. After that we went to bed and everyone passed out.

brdige 3  happy brooklyn bridge  more bridge  hussan bridge  

Day 4

We helped out the old folks who couldn’t leave their houses. We split up into four groups and went to get food to the old folks. Some of the old folks were talkative some were not. After that we split into two groups and went to Central Park. There was a slow group and an active group some took naps and some didn’t. The other group visited some of Central Park’s museums. After that we ended up at Astor Place where we spun the cube while we waited for some group members. Magen got her nail job complimented on. After that we went to dinner at Milon’s and ate many different foods and celebrated Sean’s birthday with ice cream. After that we explored St. Mark’s Place; a street with unique stores. Not much was bought in St. Mark’s place but we had fun nonetheless. Then we went home for circle and bed.

devin bench

Day 5

We awoke and hopped on the train to the World Trade Center where we visited Ground Zero to honor the fallen. And after that we explored the area near Broadway before we saw School of Rock. We split into two groups again the slow group and the active group. Some visited the cathedral and some visited the Empire State Building. When we were done we went to Broadway where we saw the School of Rock. Afterwards we got a back stage tour where Magen got so excited to find out that the star of the show went to her old school! After that we went to Times Square and took pictures and then we hopped on a train and went home.

  everyone sor aliss and jos school of rock  cath dev sor  more sor 2

Thank you to all who made this trip possible for us!

cath times sq copy  magen times sq  jos oren times sq  everyone times sq

Two Book Reviews by students Deidra and Leanna

Posted on Thursday April 13, 2017

Soldier Mom

Reviewed by Deidra Pushard – Richmond

I read Soldier Mom by Alice Mead and I loved it.  It was about an eleven-year-old girl named Jasmyn and her brother Andrew.  Their mother is in the U.S. army; at the beginning of August 1990 she was called to serve in the Persian Gulf War.  Who was going to take care of Jas and her baby half-brother?  Mom’s boyfriend, Jake, who was also Andrew’s father, would look after them for mother.  Jasmyn was really upset that her mother could just up and leave them.  The day her mother left was really hard on Jas.  Mom tried to stay home, but the army wouldn’t let that happen. When her mother left I cried.  Jas was worried that something bad would happen to Mom while she was at war.  Jake wasn’t very good at planning the schedule for dinner, let alone packing Andrew’s diaper bag for daycare.

I chose this book because I have a lot of friends in the army. The story takes place in Maine and it is a really great book. Some parts get sad and they made me cry. I would definitely recommend this book to others because it is a real eye opener for people that are wanting to join the U.S. Army.  It shows you that you can’t take things for granted. Everything is possible.  I felt connected with the character named Jas, because when my brother went into the army I never knew when I was going to hear from him so I always waited by the phone like Jas did, waiting for her mother to call.


Number the Stars

Reviewed by Leanna Cole – Lyman


I found this book by Lois Lowry to take a long time to get through. It was slow moving for me. The book has me caught in a mutual zone of optimism and pessimism. It makes me feel optimistic by that fact that people were able to find ways to get around the Holocaust and they will do so again if a situation arises. Another reason for my optimistic view is because what I know about the Holocaust and this book made sense together. People got in trouble for being a part of the Holocaust. How would a whole country make that mistake again?

My pessimistic views on the other hand tends to be more of my type of thinking. If we take things that are currently happening with our government and connected them to things that happened in this book, things aren’t much different. Could it be possible that we elected a president who could do this? In the book its says how the police go into homes and take the Jewish people away to concentration camps. Our homeland security officers are currently taking

away undocumented immigrants. History has a way of repeating itself. Is it human nature to think we can perform the same actions and get different outcomes? I think that our human nature makes us weak. We are puppets on a string to the next event that comes along. If we notice it before it starts we will we stop it.

This book has made me worried about our future as a country. Is it really possible that we are capable of doing this kind of damage? I think we are, but only if we let ourselves. This book has made me want to keep up on current events within my country. I will most definitely be watching for more of our president’s laws.

Science Corner: Talking Science with Passages students Rochelle, Deidra and Nikiah

Posted on Wednesday April 12, 2017

Bug Science

by Rochelle Millay – Machiasport

I remember science class in my middle school at Fort O’Brien. In seventh grade we caught insects and put them into jars and then stuck them with a pin and put them on a piece of styrofoam. I remember my friend, Aleaha, caught some weird looking spiders.  One of them was about the size of a nickel, with a white abdomen. I HATE spiders! I think that they are the most repulsive things. I remember catching a grasshopper, a cricket, and a bee. After we were done collecting bugs, we labeled them with their scientific names, and then did a lot of research.

Blobs and Bubbles

by Deidra Pushard – Richmond

What you need:

A clean, 1-liter soda bottle

3/4 cup of water

Vegetable oil

Fizzing tablets (Alka-Seltzer)

Food coloring



– Put water into soda bottle

– Fill the rest of the bottle with oil 
- Add about 10 drops food coloring of your choice

– Add half of an Alka-Seltzer tablet to start



– The water and oil didn’t combine.  When I put food coloring in, it sat on the line between the water and oil.
- When I added 1/2 an Alka-Seltzer tablet, it started to bubble. The bubbles stayed green and the liquid turned light green.
- When I added more Alka-Seltzer,  it kept fizzing and the bubbles got bigger.
- When I added some blue food coloring, it started to fizz and bubble. It looked blue and green.
- After about ten minutes, there was a dark layer of food coloring at the bottom, and the oil was still bubbly. They were little bubbles and a light greenish color. Every once in awhile, a big bubble popped up to the top.
- After 3 or 4 days, I dumped out the bottle because oil started to come through the bottom like it was eating it.  Before I dumped it, there was a big blob of black color at the bottom.  It wasn’t a bubble—it was a big blob filling the bottom of the bottle.  The water and the oil was clear, and the oil was on top of the water.


What I expected to happen:

I thought that the bubbles would just float. I didn’t expect that they would sink to the bottom first.  This must be because a big bubble would float up to the top, after almost all of the littler ones had already done this and popped, I figured out that this must have happened because it had enough gas to get to the top. Also, I kind of thought that the oil and water would combine, because that does happen sometimes when you are cooking.



We talked about how all things (matter) never really go away, but instead they can be part of a never ending cycle of change. We talked about the water cycle, and how water evaporates and goes up into the sky, and then it comes back down again as rain.  We also talked about density, which is how compact matter is. An example is a bubble and a pebble.  They could be the same size, but the pebble is denser and heavier, and will always sink in water, but bubbles will float up to the surface.  So in this experiment the oil floated above the water because it is less dense than the water.


Diaper Science

by Nikiah Berry – Belmont


As a science experiment, I tested different types of diapers to see which one is most absorbent. I tested these three brands: Huggies, Luvs, and Parent’s Choice.



I think that after testing these diapers, Huggies with be the most absorbent because they are advertised all over the TV. I think that Parent’s Choice will be the least absorbent.



Diapers, water, and a bin



1 – Collect materials
2- Take diaper #1 and pick apart all the cotton.
Put all the cotton in a bin.

3- Shake about 4 times to get the powder away from the cotton. When done shaking then put all the cotton in trash. There should be only powder in the bin.

4- Pour one pitcher of water into the bin with the diaper powder.

5- Observe what happens.

Feel diaper power & water mixture with hands.

6-Record observations.

7-Repeat steps 2-6 for other two diaper brands.



I noticed that the Luv diaper brand were the most absorbent.

The Huggies brand were pretty absorbent, but less absorbent the Luvs.

I noticed that Parent’s Choice brand were the least absorbent of the three.



After doing all this test I came to conclusion that Luvs is the most absorbent diaper. I use Luvs already and will continue to using them.


Thinking about Government, by Passages student Amber Burns

Posted on Wednesday April 12, 2017

statue     When I started learning about U.S. history and citizenship, I thought it was going to be really hard. Now I’m glad I know more about what the state spends and how all the money is used, and more about the history of civil and voting rights.

I didn’t realize that even after women got the right to vote in 1920, they still couldn’t do much else. I didn’t know women needed permission to have a bank account and they couldn’t have birth control without their husband’s permission. That explains why families used to be so much bigger.  My grandfather wouldn’t allow my grandmother to use birth control and she had seven kids. I kind of knew about how minorities didn’t have many legal rights until the 1950s and 60s, but I didn’t know that you could literally be killed for trying to vote, or for eating at a lunch counter, going to an all-white school, or basically just leaving your part of town. I didn’t know that it was significantly after everyone else, in 1948, that all Native Americans got the right to vote. I never really thought about this. I just thought everyone had the right to vote.

I didn’t know that President Trump would get to pick everybody in his cabinet and that his appointments need to get the approval of Congress.  I learned that it was set up this way in the Constitution so we wouldn’t end up with a dictatorship.

I learned that the Constitution contains all the rights and responsibilities for citizens and that it can protect us more than hurt us by giving people a fair trial, the right to free speech and assembly, which means protest, the right to vote, the right to own guns, and the right to choose your religion.  When the Constitution was written in 1787, it said that only white, Protestant, land-owning men could vote. This was less than 10% of the population.  Over time, amendments to the Constitution were voted in to make changes.

Another thing about the Constitution is that it outlines the three branches of government, the executive, judicial, and congressional branches, and what they can and cannot control.  It was designed this way so that no one branch can have all the power.

After 230 years of the Constitution, it’s still around and it works. I think it’s good because it guarantees fair trials, people aren’t allowed to be improperly treated by police officers, and I can, as a citizen use the amendments to my benefit. They allow me choice and protection. As a citizen, you really should vote if you can. One of my old teachers always said, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about what happens.”

Breanna’s Open House Speech. Read it here!

Posted on Saturday March 18, 2017

reny and breanna

Pictured above, L-R: Residential student Serenity Brezler, Passages Teacher Erica Gates and Passages Graduate Breanna Moody at our March 2017 Open House in Camden

Breanna Moody’s Open House Speech, March 16, 2017

Breanna gave this speech to a crowd of close to forty people gathered at Wayfinder Schools’ Camden Campus

“Thank you all for joining us tonight. I’m Breanna Moody, a 2016 graduate of the Passages Program. I want to share with you this evening my experiences and opportunities while in a program that means so much to me and helped me become the person I am today. I was 17 when I started the Passages Program in October of 2015.  I was 20 weeks pregnant.

As a young mother and student, a few of the biggest challenges for me were balancing school, learning to be a mother, and a becoming a productive member of the community. Passages helped me with all of this. Not only was I able to learn to manage time but I learned to manage my money. My teacher, Erica Gates, taught me how to budget and helped me find the most effective way for me.

During my time in the Passages Program, I participated in the Lullaby Project, became certified in first aid and CPR and just months before graduating I enrolled in a CNA certification program and was employed two months prior to graduating. It wasn’t easy balancing all of this but looking back on my experience I know my motivation and determination to succeed as well as the help I got from my teacher and other staff members allowed me achieve more than I had ever thought I could.

As I mentioned before, I was a part of Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project (with Bay Chamber Concerts & Music School). I was able to work with musicians Matt and Stephanie Fogg to write a lullaby that we eventually called “Hadley’s Song.” My lullaby ended up being picked to be played by musicians at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Lullaby Project was the most memorable thing I did and I enjoyed the musicians and the fact I now have a special song I can forever share with my daughter.

While a part of the Passages Program I also volunteered at the soup kitchen in Rockland. It felt great to give back to people and I learned that it actually feels better to give rather than to take. Erica was also there and volunteered with me.

While working on my Passage (the final project for graduation), I also had the chance to go to a Toast master’s meeting and present my final project, which was a speech about being a teen parent. I was awarded as the first place speaker that night.

It took me one year and eight months to graduate with my high school diploma and since that day in June 2016, I have done many things. I am working full time as a CNA at Windward Gardens here in Camden, a job that I have had for one year this month. I am a single mother who is confident in managing my time with work, parenting and making time for myself. My daughter will be two this week and is becoming a wild and crazy two-year-old, just as she should be. I love feeling like I can be the role model that Hadley deserves. For this I thank the Passages Program and flexibility I was able to have as a student and a mother.”



Meet Julia!

Posted on Sunday March 5, 2017

Meet our newest Passages Teacher, Julia Johnston!


Julia recently joined our Passages team, and is based at our New Gloucester campus, along with fellow Passages Teachers Megan Shea and Dana Fadel. Together, they cover York, Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties.

Julia came to Maine in 2016, but says she feels more at home here than any of the many places she has lived. Some of her passions include cooking, hiking, gardening, reading and kayaking, and “admiring the beauty of Maine.”

Her past teaching experience includes a bilingual French American school, an alternative high school, a refugee English class, and one-on-one tutoring for all different ages. Julia holds a Bachelor in History from Oberlin College, a Master of Architecture from Va Tech, and a Masters of Teaching from Rhode Island College. Prior to teaching she was an architect in Colorado and Rhode Island.

Julia says, “Teaching at Wayfinder is a welcome opportunity to combine many of my passions into one meaningful job. I am very excited to be able to work so closely with students, and watch them and their children grow and succeed.”

Passages Program Director Martha Kempe says, “We are so thrilled to have Julia join our southern Maine team!  She brings many teaching skills and experiences that are a wonderful complement to our dedicated Passages team. Welcome, Julia!”



Happy Valentine’s Day from Wayfinder Schools!

Posted on Tuesday February 14, 2017

erica  finger paint!  cooking  more puzzles

Scenes from our recent Passages workshop in Camden, including making Valentine’s art and Valentine’s cookies!

snuggle    happy


2016 Graduate Breanna Moody to speak at March 16 Open House

Posted on Wednesday February 1, 2017

Wayfinder graduate Breanna Moody will speak at the Feb. 9 Open House. She is pictured here with Passages Teacher Erica Gates.  Breanna and her teacher, Erica Gates

2016 Graduate Breanna Moody will speak at our MARCH 16 (new date!) Open House in Camden. Here’s a speech Breanna made last year, about her experience as a teen mom.

What if one moment in your life dictated the rest of your life? What if the decision you made could haunt you or bring joy to you for the rest of your life? What if regardless of that decision, your life suddenly became harder? I am a teen mother. I am 19 years old and the mother of a happy and healthy one year old. I am not getting into a debate on abortion, because I made a personal decision. This story is what happened when I made that decision.

Yes, I just said I am a happy mother. Let’s go behind the scenes on what it takes to be happy. It just doesn’t appear one day, it has to be earned. It takes blood, sweat, and tears, and an enormous amount of work, energy and sleepless nights to get this way. I made the right decision, but everyone needs to know that being a teen parent is harder than you think.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was a junior in high school. All my priorities consisted of getting through the next year and worrying about who I was going to be after high school. But suddenly, all of those worries seemed so small. When I told my mother I was pregnant, she wouldn’t talk to me for days. She didn’t look at me, she wouldn’t acknowledge that I was in the room anymore or answer me when I was talking. Eventually, I came to realize that my mom’s biggest fear was me failing to succeed. Would I be able to do that with a baby?

I had some work to do. I 
had to prove my mom wrong.
 I had to prove myself right.
 More importantly, I had to
ensure this precious little
human had all of her needs met. I wasn’t going to fail my baby. I’m not going to fail my baby. Being a teen parent takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The toll it takes on relationships, family and friends is harder than you can ever believe.

When my daughter was two months old, I found out her father was cheating on me. I remember being so scared and hurt because I thought he wanted to try to be a family as much as I did. I remember him telling me that he didn’t choose this and being a dad wasn’t what he wanted. He wasn’t ready to be a dad so young. I remember crying many nights because I wasn’t ready to be a mother at 17 either, but no matter what I had to take responsibility. He made the choice not to stay, and I couldn’t make him. I wouldn’t have left, but I’m not sure I had a choice.

Something they never admit to you in high school is that nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes change is for the better, and sometimes it will tear you apart, but you can’t change it. Being a teen parent is a series of changes, and learning to deal with them is part of growing as a person and a parent.

One of those changes includes responsibility. If you’re anything like me as a teen, your mom took you to your doctor’s appointments until you were 16 and bought you feminine products because you were too embarrassed. But when my daughter was just two weeks old, she became really sick. Of course, being a new parent I didn’t know what to do. I had never had this kind of responsibility before, and all of the sudden it was up me to take care of a little baby that I created. I was beyond scared.

Where were my answers? Where was my support? Where is the easy part of all of this? 1 night in the hospital can change your whole outlook. I needed help. I worked hard to gain the trust and respect back from my family and friends. But being a teen parent is harder than you think, and you don’t always have the support you will desire.

I had some work to do. I worked hard at educating myself on how to take care of a child. I had to become responsible to balance work, life and school. I joined Wayfinder Schools in Passages Program, which became a new support system and a path to success. I constantly balance my schedule around being there for my child, providing for my child, and making myself a productive member of society.

Today’s discussion isn’t a debate on teen pregnancy. It’s not even a talk about decision making. I’m past that. Today is about thinking. Today is about the emotional toll teen pregnancy has on not just the mother, but the father, family and friends. My child and I will grow to be successful, but it is not going to be easy. If I could give any advice to teens who are sexually active, I would say to think. Think about how your actions not only affect you, but everyone around you. Think about what you are giving up and what you are gaining when you are having unprotected sex. Think about your education and goals, and what they mean to you. Having a baby is not a burden, nor is it a mistake, but it can be prevented when you are not ready. Because being a teen parent is harder than you think.

Being in the Passages program has been a wonderful experience for me and Hadley. The support is amazing and all of the staff help you to succeed in any way they can. Before I started this program, I wasn’t sure that I could get the education I needed to be successful, but having people behind you to push you and that believe in you really is an amazing thing. This program has helped me become a productive member of society, become a better mother and a better person overall. I have been involved in the Lullaby Project, have attended many workshops and volunteered thought this program, and I am so thankful to be apart of such an amazing experience.

I want to say thank you to my teacher, Erica Gates, and all of the other wonderful staff who have helped me not only reach my goals, but to go above and beyond what I could ever have dreamed. I also want to thank Erica for the help with transportation and being there when I needed someone most.

Congratulations class of 2016, WE DID IT!

Passage Project: Public Speaking

Breanna worked with a professional public speaker, Tom Dowd, to learn more about what makes effective and memorable speech. She learned about eye contact, gestures, and pacing. Breanna wrote a speech about her experience as a teen parent, emphasizing for teens to think about the consequences before they have unprotected sex. She gave a final presentation, with time for questions and answers, to the class at Zenith Alternative School, in Camden Hills.

Our trip to Chewonki

Posted on Wednesday February 1, 2017

alyssa  joclany  reny 3  reny cow  devon  ljoclany 2
Alyssa, Joclany, Reny and Devon feeding the chickens and milking the cows at Chewonki