One of my passions in life is public education. I have served on the Maine State Board of Education, St. Joseph’s College of Maine, Educate Maine, Junior Achievement, and a dozen other related organizations. My proudest moment is the connection I have enjoyed with Montello Elementary School, a K — 6 school in Lewiston, Maine. In 1988, I started an Adopt-a-School program with the school, and 24 years later we are still going strong. Our mission is to raise the aspirations of every student – more than 750 of them – and to provide resources to educators, parents and students.
The crowning event is connected to the Farmers’ Almanac. Our publication has always been about teaching people how to do things. In 1890 it was “How to Kiss,” in 1950 it was how children should behave and more recently, it is about providing great ideas to save money, be good to the earth, and so much more. In the same factory where we print the promotional version of our Almanac, we also prepare an annual Montello Anthology honoring the best writings by students from the school. It is an annual Oscar” style event, complete with a limo, red carpet, and “paparazzi.” For an inner city school, it is an incredible moment in time.
On May 2nd, US Senator Susan Collins and Maine Commissioner of Education, Stephen Bowen joined me on stage to hand out the awards. Our theme, “IMAGINE BIG,” was a reminder that every child has tremendous potential. Whether it is reading, writing, math, science, or the arts, we can all excel at something. While parents are the first and most important teacher, it does takes the proverbial village to raise a child. I want to salute the Montello educators and students for their accomplishments. If you are a teacher and would like a copy of the 2012 Montello Anthology, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently received a package of letters from a second grade class in Winslow, Maine. Students had spent some time with the 2012 Farmers’ Almanac and wrote about what they likes. If you are a teacher, think about engaging your students next year with this historic but relevant publication.