Student MEA, Now UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine, Gains Traction.

By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Write

After the recent name change approved by Student Senate, UMF Aspiring Educators, previously known as Student M.E.A. (Maine Education Association), seem to be growing in popularity.

Last year, the UMF Aspiring Educators were down to seven to ten members. The level of involvement was higher in the past, according to Beth Evans, a professor at UMF and faculty advisor for Aspiring Educators.

“When I first started teaching here at UMF around 20 years ago, just about every undergrad Ed Major was a member of at least one of the two education clubs,” Evans said.

This year at the first meeting, numbers had tripled when compared to the amount of members last year. This success is partially due to the club’s recent name change.

According to Stephen Riitano, the president of the Aspiring Educators, “the change was to align with the N.E.A. (National Education Association),” and to “let the students of UMF know that a membership to the student M.E.A. is not necessary, although UMF Aspiring Educators is still affiliated [with them].”

Aspiring Educators also held an Informational Meeting in the Ed Center along with Advocates for Disability Awareness Club (ADAC) and UMF Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC). Through this meeting, the members of it are very much clubs hoped to inform new students, as well as current students, of what they each do.

Members of Aspiring Educators will often find themselves brainstorming and discussing upcoming events, fundraising, looking at poverty’s impacts on schools, connecting with other educators and learning skills they may not typically receive in their regular classrooms to aid in their professional development.

Professor Evans elaborated, “It is imperative to know what everyone else is doing in this profession. Early childhood to middle to special ed, etc. and this club does a great job of preparing ed students to do just this.”

Evans went on to say “The club is great because the movers and shakers of the professional life we call teaching.”

The treasurer of Aspiring Educators, Carson Hope, says, “The club is great because you get to network with other educators and clubs, and learn about the community part of teaching.” This networking can also impact more people by allowing them to pool their resources, said Evans.

According to Riitano, an example of the clubs pooling of their resources will be seen on September 26th when Kelly-Anne Rush, more commonly known as Crafty Teacher Lady, will be speaking at 5:30 pm in the Landing about how “teachers can be financially smart while providing meaningful and engaging lessons for their students.”

Later in October, they will be hosting Scare Fest, where “a panel of current teachers and administrators come to UMF and discuss the real side of teaching,” Riitano said.

For more information or any questions on the Aspiring Educators, like them on Facebook at “UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine,” or drop into any of their meetings on Wednesdays, room 106 of the Kalikow Education Center at 7:30 pm

A Preview of Julian Saporiti’s Event “No No Boy, A Multi-Media Presentation on Japanese Internment”

By Andrew Devine – Editor-in-Chief

UMF to welcome Julian Saporiti to the Emery Community Arts Center on Tuesday, October 3rd to perform a collection of songs based on his extensive research.

Inspired by his doctoral research at Brown University, and his own experiences as a Vietnamese American growing up in Tennessee, Saporiti will perform a collection of his own songs accompanied by archival photographs and films, as well as collected stories from World War II era Japanese Internment Camps.

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry as ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

In an email interview, Saporiti wrote “Coming from a family of immigrants, I wanted to focus on a dissertation project which illuminated complicated American histories while also speaking to the present moment filled with racial fear, immigration bans, intolerance, and political divide.”

The project is titled “No No Boy” as a tribute to The “No-No Boys” which are reported as being Japanese-Americans who during WWII refused to swear allegiance to the US government or be drafted while their families and friends were locked away in concentration camps on Saporiti’s web-page.

The web-page/blog serves as a companion to the No-No Boy project by posting pictures, music, and other media, as well as interviews and articles which have inspired the album and informed Saporiti’s scholarship.

Saporiti formerly performed in a successful indie rock band, the Young Republic, consisting of himself and various musicians, including Nate Underkuffler. Luanne Yetter -mother to Nate and advisor to the Farmington Flyer – pushed the band to perform in the Farmington area and Saporiti to bring his project here as well.

In an interview, Yetter discussed working on books, projects, and UMF courses that look at history from the perspective of art of the time period being examined; similarly to what Saporiti has done for this project.

“It’s something that Julian and I have always had in common, an interest in both history and music,” Yetter said. Saporiti has also been a guest speaker in some of her previous courses offered at UMF.

In the preview for the album found on the web page for this project, Saporiti concludes his understanding of his work in saying “Whether it’s in concert halls, museums, bars, churches, or coffee shops, performing these songs, showing these pictures, and telling these stories is important, especially right now.”

Saporiti expanded on this in saying, “I’m not talking at anyone or lecturing or writing a dense academic paper (I also do that), but with these songs, I’m just telling you stories of people I know or have read about and am trying to get people to think, and maybe think about what’s going on right now with Muslims, black folks, and undocumented Latinos and Asians.”

Saporiti will bring the presentation to numerous other colleges and venues around the northeast United States the remainder of the year. More information can be found at .

Saporiti will be bringing “No No Boy” to the University of Maine at Farmington in the Emery Community Arts Center on Tuesday, October 3rd at 7 pm.

Woody Woodcock Keeps The Spirit Alive at UMF

Woody Woodcock Keeps The Spirit Alive at UMF

UMF Custodian Woody Woodcock in Emery Arts Community Center. Photo by Dawn Nye

By Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter

If you’re roaming the halls of Merrill Hall late in the evening, perhaps while taking the opportunity to practice piano with no one else around to listen, you’ll always have at least one audience member: this is Woody Woodcock, the custodian who works the night-shift in Merrill Auditorium and Emery Community Arts Center.

A graduate of Livermore Falls High School, Woodcock is no stranger to Franklin County, as he would proudly tell you. After working at the IGA Foodliner in Farmington (now known as Save-A-Lot) for 15 years, Woodcock worked at Otis Paper in Jay for 23 years until they went out of business. He was unemployed for three months before getting a custodial position at UMF, where he worked for a year and half, before leaving to take a more familiar position at Verso Paper in Jay. “I liked working for UMF, but when you do the same job for 25 years, you believe that is the only thing you’re supposed to do.”

Though he knew he made a mistake leaving UMF the first day he started work at Verso, Woodcock continued to work there for eight months. “I regretted leaving this place every time I went to work,” he said. After a short time doing custodial work at the Maine General Hospital in Augusta, Woodcock’s past position at UMF became open for grabs. “I applied for it, and I got it,” he said. He’s now been at UMF for five years.

Given the amount of time Woodcock spends in Nordica Auditorium in Merrill, he says he’s naturally become familiar with Lilian Nordica, the famous opera singer from Farmington who inspired the naming of the auditorium. He claims that Bill Green, of Bill Green’s Maine, who did a feature on Lilian Nordica, interviewed the wrong man, and that he has the best story to tell about her.

Woodcock says, “I used to go by her portrait in Nordica and salute her and say, ‘Hi there!’, just being silly like I am. I did it because I was coming into her auditorium. I did that every day.” Describing a time when he was alone in the old Mount Blue TV room on a late summer night, he said he realized that he’d forgotten to empty the recycling. “I didn’t bother to put the lights back on, I know where I’m going. I’m like a mouse in the dark,” he said.

That was when Woodcock says he heard a woman’s voice repeat the same words he greets the portrait in Nordica with daily. “It made the hair on the back of my neck go up, boy I tell ya. It doesn’t anymore, but for a while it was freaky,” he says. “And that’s a true story, I’m not making this up for giggles, it really happened.” Woodcock says that he believes it must have been the ghost of Lillian Nordica herself. “I asked her not to do it again,” he laughs, “I told her, ‘I know you live here, but I work here, and we need to get along, so you can’t be doing this to me!’”

Chilling ghost stories aren’t the only way Woodcock helps to keep the spirit alive at UMF, his connection to the students are what make him a truly memorable part of the Farmington experience. Senior Business major Jonny Islieb says that he appreciates how Woodcock always makes a point to say hello when he see’s him. “It’s a small town, and so you do see a lot of familiar faces around campus, but it’s always nice when someone greets you with a smile,” says Islieb, “Woody is just a nice guy. Also, he has some great history to share about UMF.”

For Woodcock, it’s the students who make the job mean so much to him. “They’re fun. They all have different personalities. They are one hundred percent my favorite part of coming to work,” he says, adding, “make the record clear that I don’t sit around and chat so that the bosses know that I’m working. It’s just that if I see someone I don’t know, I go ahead and make a point to say, ‘Hi, how’s it going?’, and more times than not they say it back. It’s makes my days more enjoyable.”

Woodcock plans to stay at UMF until he retires, and prefers living right in the area that he grew up in. “One time I went to a Syracuse football game,” he says, “I enjoyed the game but there were too many people for me. I’m a homebody. I know these parts and I like being right where I am.”

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.

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