Lifelong Love of Learning: Rick Dale Delivers Last Lecture

By Nick Bray, Contributing Writer

In front of an overflowing room, Associate Professor of Special Education, Dr. Rick Dale concluded the 19th annual Michael D. Wilson Symposium by giving his last lecture. In its fifth year, the last lecture is a yearly event at symposium, sponsored by Alpha Lambda Delta, which gives one retiring professor an opportunity to reflect and share life lessons with the community.

Titled “My Teachers,” Dale’s evening talk reflected on the authors, people and experiences which he has learned from throughout his life. Unlike most of the presentations given during the day of student talks, there were no audiovisual aids. “No powerpoint tonight,” Dale said. “Going old school, I do powerpoint way too much.”

Dale, a quiet and soft-spoken person, first shared that he has a tattoo. There was a feeling of surprise that lingered in the audience after Dale made that statement. He has a tattoo of the word “foghlaim,” which is a Gaelic word meaning both teach and learn. Dale’s talk emphasized that one can be a lifelong learner, and that it is important to reflect on the teachers which have shaped one’s life.

Among the authors Dale discussed was Fred Rogers, at which time he shared excerpts from a short piece Rogers wrote called, “What Comes First in Learning.”

“If you care about your students and you care about what you are teaching, everything else is a technical matter,” Dale said.

Another author Dale mentioned during his talk was Jack Kerouac, who taught him about the importance of spontaneity and passion. Dale could be considered an expert on the writings of Kerouac and the beat generation. He has written a book, “The Beat Handbook” and maintains a blog, “The Daily Beat” on the philosophies of the beat generation. For several years Dale has also taught a first year seminar course on Jack Kerouac.

One of his former students and secretary of Alpha Lambda Delta, Sarah Jenkins, introduced Dale before his lecture. She took his First Year Seminar and became inspired to travel out west. Jenkins made the trip earlier this year when she drove across country and visited Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. “I lived out of my car and wrote poems about the sights I saw,” Jenkins said. “I felt like a modern day Jack Kerouac.” Although she doesn’t give full credit for her trip to Dale, Jenkins says she never had an interest in going west before taking his class.

Included among the eight people Dale identified as teachers in his speech, was one of his supervisors from when Dale worked as director of special education for a regional service agency in Pennsylvania. His supervisor, only referred to as Ed, taught Dale to not allow people to put their problems on him. “Don’t let them do it, make sure they leave with their monkey,” Dale said, quoting his supervisor. At this time Dale was responsible for 400 staff and thousands of students. Dale made sure that staff presented three solutions to the problem they came to him with. This cut down on the number of issues Dale had to solve. “They often solved their own problem,” Dale said.

Of the experiences Dale learned from, living in a hotel was the most interesting.  His father was the manager of a four-story hotel and his family lived in a first-floor suite. While living there, Dale learned the importance of spending time alone. He was constantly around people, employees and guests of the hotel. In one of the many light hearted moments of his talk, Dale shared a story about jumping down the laundry chute into the basement of the hotel. Don’t ask me about the hygiene issues associated with cavorting in guests’ dirty laundry,” Dale said. “You don’t think about such things when you’re 10.”

Along with the scores of students Dale has impacted over his 11 years at UMF, he also developed strong relationships with his colleagues. Dr. Lance Neeper, professor of special education has an office next door to Dr. Dale’s. In an email Neeper explained that he and Dale share many interests, including travel and music. Neeper keeps a box of things Dale has shared with him over the years. “Rick is always there if you need him, willing to listen and offer suggestions and guidance,” Neeper said. “He has an incredible specialization in law and policy an area of focus within special education that is rare and cannot be replaced.”

Upon his retirement, Dale ends a 39 year career in Special Education as a teacher, consultant, and administrator. Dale does not have many immediate plans, but his retirement gives him time to do things he doesn’t have much time for now. He and his partner are planning a trip to Europe in the fall, where they’ll be visiting family in France, making an excursion to Venice, and potentially concluding the trip in Ireland.

After a gap, Dale will likely be involved in education in some capacity. Dale has been a political advocate in the past, and will have more time to attend legislative hearings and speak out on bills concerning the regulation of special education and education in general. Dale may even get back into teaching. “This is going to sound unexpected but I’ve thought about substituting in public schools.” Dale said.

Music Enthusiast Takes On The National Anthem at 2017 Commencement Ceremony

Music Enthusiast Takes On The National Anthem at 2017 Commencement Ceremony

By Grace Leathers-Pouliot, Contributing Writer

Senior Special Education major and music minor Anna Ammarell. (Photos courtesy of Anna Ammarell)

Senior Special Education major and music minor Anna Ammarell. (Photos courtesy of Anna Ammarell)

Senior Anna Ammarell, who is graduating with a degree in special education and a minor in music will be doing her own rendition of the National Anthem at the Commencement Ceremony this year.

Anna’s love for music began at the age of 14 when she began chorus in high school. Ever since then, “it’s been a snowball effect,” said Ammarell. As music has been a huge part of Ammarell’s college career, it will be a nice way to bid farewell to college for the young aspiring teacher.

 Ammarell was ecstatic to hear that she was chosen to sing the National Anthem at graduation. She received an email asking fellow students to send in a video of their own take on the National Anthem. She heard back from them saying that she got the spot. “Singing is a huge part of my life I really enjoy, and have always loved to do it, hearing I got the part was awesome news,” said Ammarell. Although she has been singing for a while now, she is still nervous, “it’s one thing to just sing all out in your room and another to just switch over to singing to hundreds of people in a crowd,” she said.

   In Ammarell’s spare time she loves to continue her passion for music by practicing piano, ukelele, and singing. Sharon Henderson, a lifelong friend and roommate said, “When it comes to singing or practicing the piano, Anna commits to practicing music everyday.” Henderson describes Ammarell as fun to be around and said, “she can always find the light in even the darkest of places.” She is caring, loves to laugh and stands out from the rest.

When Ammarell first came to college she began taking voice lessons to learn about the science behind singing and to grow as a singer. Ammarell is now in her fourth year of voice lessons and works with Theresa Henderson who was hired through UMF because of Ammarell.

She also sang in UMF’s Clefnotes, for three years, which helped fuel her love for music in college.

Senior Anna Ammarell. (Photos courtesy of Anna Ammarell)

Senior Anna Ammarell. (Photos courtesy of Anna Ammarell)

While Ammarell is extremely dedicated to music she is also a very hard working student. As a special education major she is able to work for Kimberly Ladd in the Division of Rehabilitations Services and Special Education. “Anna has been here longer than me so she actually showed me the ropes in my first semester working in this position,” said Ladd.

Ammarell’s contributions to the UMF community have been prevalent to faculty and fellow students in the last four years. “She is the only special education major work-study and to my knowledge the only musically driven one I have ever had in 11 years of supervising at UMF,” said Ladd.

Ammarell’s biggest motivation in the last four years of college have come from her family and friends, as well as her faith. “My pursuits and passions have really given me that drive I needed,” said Ammarell. She hopes to continue her love for music throughout her career and will enjoy spreading knowledge and education to her future students.

Zack Peercy: Writer By Day, Comedian By Night

By Shana Tilley, Contributing Writer

Graduating senior Zack Peercy will be missed by the UMF creative writing and arts communities he has been an influential part of  throughout his four years on campus. He’s currently the president of both the Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP) and the UMF Writer’s Guild. Recently, he presented an original piece for the UMF One Acts for his Advanced Directing Class, the only student participating to have a self-written play performed.

Sitting in the Student Center at his own desk, Peercy types at his typewriter to show the UMF community that writing should be considered a profession. He intently types away as students pass by, slumped over the typewriter with a bright red clown nose on and engaged in the words he’s typing. A professor stops by to take his picture, which he dutifully poses for.

Throughout the four years he’s spent at UMF, he feels as if the campus has been able to help shape him into the person he is today. “I feel like UMF has provided me with the opportunities to do a lot of cool artsy things, and I have taken advantage of those.”

Peercy has been a pirate for all four years of his college career and has enjoyed the experiences he has had. “I’ve been a pirate for as long as anyone can be a pirate,” said Peercy. I’ve seen the group change a lot, for better or for worse, and I know they’re going to do a lot of great things together, without the burden of me.”

Through LCP, Peercy has been able to partake in many great experiences. “I’ve been able to go to Second City with them to study improv and comedy stuff. That was fun. Second City is this sketch comedy theater that all of the greats from SNL have gone to.”

UMF’s Writer’s Guild has helped Peercy motivate himself to both write and submit his writing to different literary journals. “I’ve been a four year member of Writer’s Guild, I’ve been able to have 12 pieces published nationally online and in print,” he said. “I’ve been president for two years, and I was secretary sophomore year.” The club has been a big part of his experience at UMF.

Sophomore and fellow Lawn Chair Pirate Steffon Gales says he’s been influenced by his close friendship with Peercy. “He is one of my biggest supports and pushed me to participate in the UMF community,” he said. “Zack is a controversial guy and he prides himself on it. I may not agree with most of his opinions and ideas, but I encourage his willingness to debate social norms and bias.”

 Gales says that Peercy challenges the arts and creative writing circles on campus. “He presents ideas that are focused on bringing about change for students. He also uplifts the creative writing and arts communities,” said Gales, explaining that he believes the senior will be missed. “He has made a great impact on our lives and I’m excited to see what he will do in the future.”

Sophomore Kristine Sarasin commented on her experience working under Peercy’s direction in his one act play. “He was a very invested director,” she said. “He was highly supportive of Hailey and I, and encouraged us to try new things and really think about the characters we were playing.”

Sarasin says that Peercy has helped her as a writer by being a supportive and persistent voice. “He’s always encouraging me and reminding me to keep writing, submitting and always keep improving,” she said. “He’s also pointed me in the direction of some really great writers that I’ve been able to learn from. He’s been a very consistently helpful and supportive person.”

Junior Allie Umstadt, current treasurer of UMF Writer’s Guild, says she couldn’t think of anyone else to be president of Writer’s Guild when Peercy was voted in. “He’s always been a driven person. He’s kept Writer’s Guild on track these past two years as president with the help of the E-Board members,” she said. “Despite being a sarcastic twit, and maybe because of it too, he’s brought a life to Writer’s Guild that keeps people coming back.”

Peercy plans to go to Chicago to pursue comedy and playwriting after graduation.

Woody Hanstein: Man Of Many Hats

Woody Hanstein: Man Of Many Hats

By Nick Bray, Staff Reporter

Woody Hanstein. (Photo Courtesy of UMF)

Woody Hanstein. (Photo Courtesy of UMF)

There probably isn’t anyone in the state of Maine with a resume quite like Walter “Woody” Hanstein’s. In the fall semester, it isn’t unusual for Hanstein to work a full day at his law practice, then head down to the rugby pitch at Prescott Field to coach the Women’s rugby team, then to a classroom at UMF to teach his weekly law seminar.

Hanstein’s law career began in 1979 when he graduated the University of Idaho with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. Hanstein is a former navy JAG and former assistant district attorney for the state of Maine. He began his own law practice in 1987 in Farmington.

Throughout his time in school and while in the Navy, Hanstein played and coached rugby. In the late 1980’s, Hanstein coached rugby at Colby College. Hanstein approached UMF’s athletic director in the early 1990’s about starting a rugby team. His law partner at the time, Pat Joyce, had a son, Kevin, who was currently attending UMF. “Kevin had played football at Mt. Blue,” Hanstein said. “So he and a few of his friends and myself started the team in 1991.”

The UMF rugby program is known for being successful but they are even more known for their unique green and gold uniforms. “We have almost exclusively played in the colors of green and gold because it was the only set of rugby uniforms available just a few days before our first game,” Hanstein said.

Starting as the coach of the men’s team, Hanstein switched to coaching the women’s team after their coach left and the assistant coach became the men’s head coach. President and Captain of the Women’s rugby team, Emily Gray, has been involved in the team her entire time at UMF. “Woody teaches you a lot about the game,” Gray said. Not just the skills but he wants you to know how the game works and helping to increase players’ rugby knowledge. “

Hanstein has also been teaching law courses at UMF since 2000, drawing on his experiences as a lawyer to educate students about the legal system. Hanstein believes that using real life cases to make points about the legal system makes it easier for students to relate and understand. In addition to playing rugby, Emily Gray has also taken Hanstein’s law class. “Woody always has little anecdotes and they always come up when he’s teaching or coaching,” Gray said. “He coaches a lot like he teaches, by teaching by example”.

Cadi LaCourse is another student who took Hanstein’s course. LaCourse agrees that Hanstein’s teaching style helped her learn more about the legal system. ”It was much more interesting than reading a text book,” LaCourse said. LaCourse believes she learned more because he is a practicing attorney. “A lot of the course was Woody teaching us to think for ourselves, to use the facts and evidence to support our theories and opinions.”

His law and the legal system course provides an overview of the justice system, but also puts an emphasis on civil rights.“It’s a fine line between informing people about their rights, and explaining to them how to get away with breaking the law,” Hanstein said. “I think a course like Law and the Legal System should be mandatory before students finish high school. They should be able to understand their basic legal rights.”

Hanstein says several students who have taken his course have gone on to law school and are now practicing lawyers in Maine. “I recently saw an assistant district attorney in Kennebec county who I had to beg for a plea bargain, and he took my class,” Hanstein said. “I was trying to remember if I had been nice to him.”

In his spare time Hanstein pursues other interests including fiction writing. He is the author of six legal thrillers featuring small town lawyer Pete Morris. In addition, Hanstein serves as a member of the Titcomb Mountain Ski Patrol. He also directs the Smiling Goat Precision Juggling Corps. “I like to say I am the international founder of parade marching juggling,” Hanstein said. “Nobody else would have bothered to try.”

They march in local parades including the Wilton Blueberry Festival and the Chester Greenwood Day parade. To entertain lawyers at the bar association, Hanstein created a youtube video titled “Juggling for Lawyers.” Hanstein’s brief, four minute tutorial was filmed in the historic Franklin County Superior Courthouse.

Hanstein knows he made the right decision in moving to Farmington. “After getting out of the Navy I could have been an ADA in Portland, Machias, or Farmington,” Hanstein said. “My wife and I came to Farmington and we knew right then this was the place for us. We were right.”

Between his involvement in Rugby and his teaching, Hanstein spends more time with people who are significantly younger than he is than people his own age. Hanstein believes this keeps him young. He even takes life lessons from his students. “You take less for granted. When you see someone see something for the first time that you’ve seen forever, you just appreciate it that much more.”

Through his capacity as coach and teacher, Hanstein has had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to many students. “Woody is an adult in my life I look up to,” Gray said. “He is always ready to help anyone on the team, with anything. If I have an issue I’m not afraid to call Woody and talk about it.”

A Walk Through The Gallery:  Senior Art Thesis Exhibition

A Walk Through The Gallery: Senior Art Thesis Exhibition

By Jessica McKenna, Contributing Writer

Artist Shane Cynewski stands next one of the sculptures from his body of work “Investigating Undesirability Through the Unmonumental.” (Photos by Jessica McKenna)

Artist Shane Cynewski stands next one of the sculptures from his body of work “Investigating Undesirability Through the Unmonumental.” (Photos by Jessica McKenna)

A semester’s worth of hard work came to an end on April 13th with the opening of the Senior Art students’ Thesis Exhibition, “Five to Nine.” The sun slowly disappeared from the sky over the UMF campus casting a faint blue shadow as four of UMF’s Senior artists made their way down the tarred pathway to the small art gallery near the green. The artist entered the compact gallery where their names were printed on the wall brightly lit by a spotlight for all to see. Each floor was a mixture of different artists creations using various media to convey their work.

 For Senior artist Gabrielle Ganiere the exhibition signals an end to her journey at UMF. “This is my last big thing,” said Ganiere. “I do have a symposium talk about my artistic process but this is the pivotal moment.”

Ganiere’s work stood out amongst her peers as her media consisted of pantyhose, trash bags, yarn and other fabrics that brought a softer tone to the exhibition. Each piece embodied a creature of sorts with some invoking memories of childhood stuffed animals or beloved pets, while others made spectators think twice before they took a step closer. “I want them to be confused on how they feel,” said Ganiere, “Do they want to get close or stay away, I like to see people’s expectations of each piece.”

A pink mattress laid against a wall with plastic milk jugs, a wooden chair, and a blond wig attached to the once familiar object. Artist Shane Cynewski’s body of work made spectators feel as though they had entered a home but the everyday items they encountered had changed.

“I used sculpture as my media and domestic objects, so items you could find in a home,” said Cynewski. “The reason I use those objects is I try to inverse the desirability of them.”

Each sculpture turned household items into unknown objects to the viewer with a changed purpose. Cynewski and his classmates had been preparing for the show since the fall of 2016 starting with senior seminar.  “We wrote our thesis in the fall and then started working on our body of work,” said Cynewski. Each Senior spent their spring semester finishing their body of work, participating in faculty critiques every few weeks and writing press releases and artist statements.

As the crowd grew larger the artists were surrounded by friends, family, and professors sharing words of congratulations and acknowledgments of a job well done. Spectators moved from piece to piece at a glacial pace taking in as much as they could trying not to miss any part of the artist’s message. UMF President Kathryn Foster spoke with an artist in the middle of the Emery Community Arts Center flex space, and followed her to a piece of work to delve into the meaning and the artist’s process. “It’s thrilling to see the culmination of so much thought, hard work, and creativity!” said Foster.

The exhibition continues through May 13 in both the UMF Art Gallery and the Emery Community Arts Center showcasing the works of the six senior UMF artists.

McKayla Marois: First-Year Student Making an Impact on UMF

McKayla Marois: First-Year Student Making an Impact on UMF

By Caleb Grover, Contributing Writer

First-year Secondary Education Major at UMF McKayla Marois. (Photo Courtesy of McKayla Marois)

First-year Secondary Education Major at UMF McKayla Marois. (Photo Courtesy of McKayla Marois)

There are not enough hours in a day, or that’s how it seems for first-year McKayla Marois. Marois is a secondary education major with a concentration in English, and a minor in music. Teaching has been Marois’ dream since she was in elementary school, and influencing others to better themselves, has always been a part of who she is. “I like seeing people’s faces suddenly light up when they understand something,” said Marois.  

Currently she is the secretary of the UMF College Republicans, and is expanding her leadership in the club, as she will be the vice president next semester. In addition to that, Marois will also be the Vice Chair of the Maine Federation of College Republicans next semester. “McKayla is a good leader because she takes initiative in all of the tasks at hand,” said Isaac Michaud, President of the UMF College Republicans. “McKayla is very outgoing and social. She is a wonderful person to be around and she never ceases to make me smile or laugh!”

Marois works as an Admissions Ambassador, the job she wanted before her freshman year started. Marois said that like teaching, she enjoys seeing people’s expressions on tours when they realize UMF is where they want to be. Marois hopes to one day be in a leadership position in Admissions. She strives to be her best as a tour guide, and always represent UMF with a smile and a warm welcome.              

“She is someone who is dependable, absorbs a great deal of information quickly and will ask questions if she needs clarification, that’s one of the most important things,” said Lisa Ellrich, Associate Director of Admissions, “I love her quiet leadership style. She takes it all in and is very thoughtful about her responses and reactions.”

Marois will be a C.A. in Dakin Hall next semester. “I really like the community here, and hope to use all the tools I am gaining through my experiences, in my classroom someday.”

Marois finds that competing and playing sports allows her time to relax from her busy schedule. She frequently participates in intramural sports at the FRC, and is a member of the UMF Women’s Lacrosse team.

A tenured member of UMF’s premiere a capella group, Clefnotes, Marois attends three rehearsals a week. She goes to every club meeting, attends lacrosse games and practices, works three days a week in Admissions, and still finds time to balance a social life and a GPA well over 3.0.

As a freshman, Marois’ college journey has just begun, and it seems that her impact on UMF and the surrounding community will only continue to grow. “I see more leadership roles in her future at UMF, and making a positive impact on the UMF community and the greater Farmington community,” said Michaud.

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