UMF Softball Swings Into Victory Against Alumni

By Alicia Davis – Contributing Writer

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the UMF softball team had a game against alumni at the softball field. UMF softball beat the alumni team 3-­2.

   Coach Kat McKay, who will be entering her second year as the softball coach at UMF, felt that the game went well. “For the first year in many years without an alumni game, this

year was fantastic. I believe [the alumni] had an absolute blast,” said McKay. “They showed they still have all the skills to get the job done.”

   Kailyn Hill, a junior at UMF and member of the softball team for the past two years, felt that the alumni game was very competitive. “We had a lot of fun. We had a back and forth game, so it was very competitive,” said Hill. “I pitched the first three innings, and then I played first base after.” This upcoming spring will be her third year playing softball for Farmington.

   Alison Hamilton, a UMF alum, returned to play for the alumni team. She reclaimed her spot

in right field, where she played all four years during her time on the team at UMF. Hamilton’s favorite part about the game was getting to see her friends she met from softball.

   “It was nice to see some former beavs, and reminisce about our time at UMF,” said Hamilton.

   Eight alumni showed up to play in the game. “Because the alumni were down a player, the

UMF softball team leant us a player until Coach Pratt came in during the 5th inning to play for us,” said Hamilton.

   The game was close to being tied in the end. The alumni and the UMF softball team felt both teams played well. “Our skills were equally matched,” said Hamilton. “We kept scoring back to back until we finally pulled through near the end of the game.”

   McKay is looking forward to the spring season. “ I’m truly excited about this spring. We lost a handful of good athletes from our roster last year, but were able to replace and refocus with a large freshman class.”

   Alyssa Dillan, a sophomore at UMF who will be playing her second year for the softball team this spring, is looking forward to what the season will bring for the team.

   “I have high hopes for the spring season,” said Dillan. “I think that we have a lot of potential right now and I trust coach McKay will help us reach that potential.”

   “We are selling pies to support our team to go to Florida in the spring,” said Hill. The softball team has an annual trip during the March spring break to Florida, where they will practice against other teams in preparation for the upcoming season.

   People can support the UMF softball team by purchasing pies for their fundraiser. If anyone wants to purchase a pie, they can contact Coach Kat McKay for more details.

With the End of Fall Ball, UMF Softball Takes a Break.

With the End of Fall Ball, UMF Softball Takes a Break.

By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Writer

   UMF’s softball team recently completed their fall ball season with a tight-knit scrimmage that pitted Beaver against Beaver.

The 2017-2018 Softball Team (L to R)
Top row: Coach Kat McKay, Justice Merrill, Alyssa Dillan, Tasha DeRoche, Kailyn Hill, Brianna McGrath, Kayleigh Oberg, Brittany Dugal, and Kalyn Grover.
Bottom row: Melissa Veitch, Amber Grady, Callie Hammer, Margaret Fogarty, Erika Whitman, Taylor Burke, Amber Raymond, and Abby Shields.
Not shown: Kylee Atwood and Hope Faulkingham
(Photo courtesy of Kiana Thompson)

   After the scrimmage, UMF sophomore Alyssa Dillian said, “it was a great way to end the [fall ball] season because it was competitive, but also really fun.”

   This scrimmage was just one of several ways to help the team bond. According to second-year Head Coach Kat McKay, “the purpose of fall ball is to bring together a group of people, some who have never met or played together, put them on the same page, and start to build unity in what everyone already has knowledge of.”

   This especially benefits freshmen who have never had a chance to play with the softball team before. “I felt like a part of the team…I got to understand my new team’s personality,” said Callie Hammer, a UMF freshman.  

   UMF sophomore Amber Grady echoed her team’s sentiments. “It was definitely a learning experience for all of us.” Along with building skill and communication with the team, the players also learned about one another on a personal level.

   Beginning last year, the softball team went on its second annual team bonding trip. This year, the Beavers went camping in Avon, Maine for one night.

   “Last year we went canoeing,” said McKay. “It’s about getting the girls out of their comfort zones because they finally start to laugh together and let their guard down.”  

   Reiterating Coach McKay’s comment, Grady said, “[the camping trip] went really well, we all got to know everyone and see each other come out of our shells.”

   Reminiscing about the trip, Erika Whitman, a UMF sophomore, looked at her teammates and laughed, saying she “loved when we sat around the campfire and bonded over pizza and embarrassing stories.”

   Smiling and chuckling at Whitman’s comment, UMF sophomore Kalyn Grover added, “my favorite part was definitely watching the sunrise with my teammates,” said Grover.  

   After a two month break, the team will resume their hard work and practice at the start of the new year, followed by a trip to Clermont, Florida to compete in the 2018 Spring Games in March. Here, the Beavers will play a variety of teams from all over the U.S..

   At the Spring Games, the team will not only be together on the field, but also staying together for an entire week. “I’m looking forward to [the Spring Games], being with my team again and hanging out,” said Dillian. “[We] really bond in Florida when [we] get to live together and get our first chance to play against others with our new team.”

   Last year in regular season, the team’s only goal was to beat the previous year’s number of wins. However, the team “found so much success, it opened some of the other team’s eyes to UMF being a contender,” said McKay.

   Looking forward to the upcoming season, Dillian said, “it will take some work to get to where we left off last season, but I think we are capable of repeating what we did last year, even with our young team.”

   Although there is uncertainty about how this year’s team will perform in the spring season, one thing is clear: the team is looking forward to picking up their gloves and bats to prove themselves on the field once again.

Panel of Teachers Speak at ‘Tales from the Classroom’

Panel of Teachers Speak at ‘Tales from the Classroom’

By Andrew Devine – Editor-in-Chief

   The UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine (AEM) hosted a panel of teachers to discuss horror stories, life lessons, and experiences that came from working in the classroom.

   The panel consisted of teachers of all levels: Dan Ryder and Andrea Palmer, who have been teaching for about twenty years, high school and first grade respectively, Chelsey Oliver, a first-year teacher and recent graduate from UMF, and Elaine Grant, a retired teacher that taught for nearly 40 years.

   The program started with a potluck style dinner to which all attendees were invited. Following the meal, the panel began with a light-hearted question that led to some serious answers: “What is your favorite story to tell about teaching?”

   Most responses from the panelists resulted in profound lessons that the group had gathered over what amounted to over 80 collective years of teaching. Dan Ryder, an English teacher at Mt. Blue High School for nearly 20 years, included some of these important responses.

   “You can be friendly without being a friend,” and “You have to be authentic, and figure out what that means exactly,” were some of the lessons Ryder shared with the club.

   Students in attendance seem to have taken in important lessons pertaining to their future careers from the event.

   Bradley Howes, a sophomore Secondary Education student who worked with Ryder during his practicum, said, “What I took away from it is, you’re going to screw up many times in your first, second, and third years; the point is you have to go with it and own it.”

   On the horror theme of the event, Bryan Eldridge, a member of AEM, said: “Kids aren’t scary; kids are only scary if you make them scary.”

Stephen Riitano, President of UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine.
(Photo courtesy of Andrew Devine)

   Stephen Riitano, President of UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine, helped organize the event and led the panel on stage in the Landing. Riitano said, despite the title of the event, which is a spin on the 1980s television program: ‘Tales From the Crypt’, it was not meant to be a scare.

   “I think the big thing was a balance between horror stories and what is rewarding and informative about teaching.” Riitano said, “If we had just done an hour full of the worst that can happen, it might come as turning some people off.”

   AEM has held similar events in the past, under former name Student Maine Educators Association, and hopes to continue work in aiding students in their advancement towards work in the education field.

   “It’s usually an annual event that Aspiring Educators does,” said Riitano. “Last year it really wasn’t that big, there were only five or six people in the Ed Center lobby, so it was great to have 65 people show up.”

   This event, and the high attendance, shows the progress the club has shown since the start of the school year.

  The club will be hosting an event focusing on Special Education in November.

Aspiring Educators Presents Crafty Teacher Lady Kelly-Anne Rush

By Gwen Baker – Contributing Writer

   Over 70 bodies were squeezed into The Landing like moviegoers on opening night as people waited for Kelly-Anne Rush to speak about her experiences as a teacher. Dressed in a black and white striped dress with a cardigan on and an honest but positive attitude, Rush gave hope to the aspiring educators in the room.

   Currently, a social studies teacher at Windham High School, Rush started by telling a story of what inspired her to become a teacher, dating all the way back to elementary school. Her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Rich, saw something in her that she didn’t yet know at eight years old. When Rush wanted to be in the ensemble for the class play Little Bunny Sue, Rich said to her, “you know what? I think you should be Little Bunny Sue.” Although Rush did not believe she could do it, Mrs. Rich assured her that she had confidence in her.

   Rush then discussed overcoming challenges students may face after graduating from college. She explained how she paid off her student loans by becoming a professional live-in nanny through the agency Beacon Hill Nannies outside of Boston for a year.

   Rush wasn’t always at Windham High School; she first started teaching at Lake Region High School as a long-term sub, which turned into eight years of teaching there. While she had strong relationships with students and colleagues, she emphasized going out of your comfort zone in order to grow.

   Her transition to Windham High School wasn’t the easiest. Halfway into her first day at WHS, she cried in the teacher’s room. She told the audience, “I did not anticipate the feeling I would have of not having any connections to any students.” While this was a low point in Rush’s life, she told this story to show that there are going to be days, months and years where work isn’t going to be easy.

   She also discussed how to juggle finances on a teacher’s salary. Going into her sixth year at WHS, she has picked up different stipend positions at the school over the years such as homecoming coordinator and class advisor. Outside of school, she sells clothes on consignment and refinishes furniture found at Goodwill, Poshmark and Salvation Army. She also flips several houses to earn extra money. In the past, she owned a photography business during the summer.

   She showed the audience her teaching blog that she created. It has teaching resources for ways to help stay organized in the classroom. She discussed the power of social media and how her website has become popular amongst the teaching community. One of her posts has been viewed 250,000 times.

   Rush’s ability to connect with the audience and add humor allowed others to feel at ease going into the teaching profession. “I really appreciate that was she was honest about the fact that the profession isn’t always easy,” said Jacqueline Gleason Biore, a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education English and French. “She was preparing us well for what we might experience. It will be hard sometimes but that doesn’t mean you should quit because it can be hard for everyone.”

   Rush offered advice to anyone struggling with the responsibilities of being an educator. “Stay true to who you are as a teacher and really try to build relationships, eventually you’re going to feel great there and comfortable.”

 

UMF Students and Professor Practice Performing Arts and Playwriting

By Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer

   A dead man rises from the stage and shuffles quietly to the silver curtain behind him as the audience chuckles during a ten-minute play put on by volunteers at the Thread Theater last Wednesday evening.

   The event is held monthly in a renovated hall within a former French-Catholic church in Lewiston, ME. The Thread Theater aims to engage with anyone interested in writing, performing or watching the performances.

   Several UMF students and professor Bill Mesce attended the event, their scripts ready to be performed by volunteers from the audience. The students and Mesce also acted for other plays, gaining a clearer understanding about what it’s like to perform an original work live, as well as what a live audience responds to.

   Carrie Close, a junior Creative Writing major, said, “I learn something every time I go: what works, what doesn’t, how to write better dialogue.”

   The theme of the event was “In the Heat of the Moment.” Some playwrights made sure to have a character drop that title, while others focused on what that theme meant to them. Close’s play “Not One” had two couples go camping while trying to hide their past indiscretions.

   Close said, “I learn about my characters by the way people portray them, that lets me know whether I did a good job of writing my characters or not.”

    Mesce’s play “Billy and John” was about two men who bicker with each other while giving directions to a lost couple. The audience voted the play the best of the night. “I got lucky with the actors I got,” Mesce said. “They worked so well together.”

   The audience became a character in the way it reacted, sometimes roaring with laughter, other times a chuckle, emboldening the actors in the process. Members shouted excitedly for their friends when they were called to perform, and recited the funniest line while high-fiving them on their return to their seat.

    Cameron Gelder’s play about his interpretation of the afterlife ran over ten minutes, which has never happened to him in his two-and-a-half years of attending the Thread Theater. “I told the actors to speak clearly, but they took that as speaking slowly,” Gelder lamented.

   Opposite of the entrance is the stage, brightly lit with a simple table and five chairs. The arrangement of these props changed with each play and cast of characters, from use as an impromptu car to a bed holding quarreling lovers.

    The admission fee was $5 and the bar was stocked with beer and mixed drinks that the audience made use of throughout the evening.

   The next event, with the theme “Stuffed,” will be held November 15th. For more information, search “Thread Theater” on Facebook.

 

Skip to toolbar