Two Pirates Die as Six Pirates are Born

Taylor Burke Contributing Writer

    An eerily quiet Friday night on campus had seniors Brock Bubar and Hailey Craig dunking their heads in water during what would be their last show as the Lawn Chair Pirates. Despite the recent closure of the school due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a crowd of over 75 people who came to get a final laugh at Bubar and Craig’s antics during the show. 

    Following the game, which finally ended when Bubar guessed that Craig was acting like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, the two held each other in a heartfelt embrace.

    This act of friendship is telling of just how intimately close the group is, making the sudden conclusion of Bubar and Craig’s time with the pirates so difficult. “We’re all a big family,” Craig said. “The part I’m going to miss the most is just having a space three times a week where I can go in and make jokes and hang out with my friends.” 

    Bubar also felt a sense of comradery during his time in the group. “There isn’t a pirate in the group that isn’t like a broski,” Bubar said sincerely. “Just being in this improvisational headspace and being with a group of people who have your back can really push you up from whatever dark depths you happen to be in that day.” 

    Two days before the show Bubar and Craig realized that it would be their last. “Usually we get a senior video, but we don’t get that this year,” Craig said. 

    Instead, the two gave a speech in which they addressed the crowd, expressing their heartache, and saying goodbye. “We’ve cried about it a lot,” Craig said during the speech. Around the auditorium, the faces in the audience were somber, but after the speech finished, the whole crowd cheered for the two pirates. 

     Craig was thankful that they were able to hold a final show, even though UMF would be closing. “We’re really happy that we still get to hold the show tonight because it’s the last day on campus for a lot of people,” she said. She hoped to provide that last laugh to the audience before they had to leave. 

    The name of the show, “Friday the 13th,” was eerily relevant in such a scary and confusing time for those on campus, especially seniors. The quick turn of events left Bubar and Craig uncertain about what lay ahead, and sad about everything they weren’t prepared to leave behind so suddenly. “I was not ready to just lose everybody so quickly,” Bubar said. “And also I’m not ready to just jump into the professional workforce.”

    Craig nodded in agreement with Bubar as she contemplated her own future, which was quickly becoming a reality. “I don’t really have time to be scared anymore,” she said frankly.  

    As the two senior pirates “died,” six new pirates were “born” to make the show not only about goodbyes, but about hellos as well. In an opening video shown prior to the final performance, the new members were featured telling scary stories around a fire which included existing members of the LCP. 

    Junior Sophie Hendrix is one of the six new members of the group. Hendrix had already been part of theater at UMF, but wanted to expand and try something new. She felt LCP was that opportunity. She’s had to get used to being flexible, because improv is very different from line memorization. This show was her first and last of the semester. “Being my first show I’m like super excited,” she said with a smile. But Hendrix was also upset that it was her last show, especially because the seniors were leaving. “It’s going to be sad without Hailey and Brock,” she said. “I’ll miss their energy.” 

    Sophomore and theater major Paul Riddell is another new member of the group. He has been involved with improv since fourth grade, and was really eager to be a part of the LCP. “It’s really exciting to see all of the potential that the group has,” Riddell said. “But it’s really sad to see two great pirates go and two close friends of mine as well.” 

    Riddell hasn’t been with the pirates for very long, but his bond with the two seniors makes it hard for him to see them leave. “I’m definitely going to miss what they bring to the table and just them as people,” he said. “I’m really close with both of them.” 

    Junior Katie Shupp was in the audience during the show, and was excited about the abundance of new members entering the group. “It’s going to be a full house,” she said. Shupp has been to many shows and watched Bubar and Craig grow and develop as entertainers during her time at UMF. “We’ve been with them for three years now so it was a nice ending,” Shupp said. 

    Bubar was in his seventh semester with LCP and Craig was in her eighth, which made them a big part of the established foundation of personalities that audiences came to enjoy. 

    As the show came to a close, audience members filed out of the auditorium. The few that stayed congratulated the new members and said their goodbyes and thanks to the seniors. Amongst the loud chatter Craig, covered in a blanket due to her soaking wet clothes, received a bouquet of flowers with a look of surprise and happiness written on her face. Bubar, also drenched in water, hugged fellow pirate Jeremy Tingdahl after announcing that he would lead LCP in the following semester. The pirates mingled with their fans as the night wore on, continuing to fight the looming uncertainty with comedy and humor. 

Letter to the Editor: A Student Dancer’s Grief

Dear Editor, 

   I write to you as a member and Co-Captain of the UMF Dance Team. The spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly affected many on our team. Every year, the team works hard to perform at TD Garden on the court of the Boston Celtics. This year our team would have danced to the song “Confident” by Demi Lovato. Our dance was fast, sassy, fun and well-rehearsed. We finished learning the dance a month in advance of the performance, but unfortunately we were never able to show our dance in the proper venue. Our season was over. At our last practice we filmed the dance and posted it to our Instagram page. 

   As a member of the UMF Dance Team, and one who, like the rest of the members, was looking forward to the chance to perform on the 360 degree stage, I am truly sad to see my team’s hard work lead to nothing more than a video. However, in light of these hard times I can’t help but think what an amazing season our team had. We may not have been able to perform at TD Garden, but we were able to perform on our home court, which is nothing to sneeze at. We can all smile when “Confident” by Demi Lovato comes on the radio, showing our bond to our team. While it may seem that our season and academic year has ended with a bang, in the form of a pandemic no less, you know what they say: “the show must go on.”

   As a team, we plan on hosting group dance sessions, so that even at home we all remain connected. We may even do group zoom yoga, which might help many to relax and destress in these very wonky times. Our team group chat is very much alive and healthy, filled with words of love and appreciation, not to mention all the lovely heart emojis. Even though the team is heartbroken over the cancellation of one of our most prized performances, we are all trying to remain positive, which is the most anyone can do right now. 

   Being able to remain positive and reminding yourself of all the love that your friends have and the love you hold for them is one way to help survive the new world that UMF has implemented. Trying to find ways to remain connected and in contact with others is a great idea when facing social isolation. Stay active, even if that means doing Zoom yoga. Hopefully we’ll laugh about this one day. 

   The UMF Dance Team, like many other teams and clubs on campus, have experienced cancellations due to COVID-19. Our team is trying to remain connected to each other. Staying positive will help us all to navigate these new and strange waters. 


Portia Hardy 

Co-Captain of the UMF Dance Team

K-12 Schools in Maine Making Tough Decisions During Global Pandemic

Samantha Creech Contributing Writer

    The novel Coronavirus pandemic has created chaos throughout Maine as K-12 schools prepare for a semester of uncertainty and major transitions. 

    Andrew Dolloff, Superintendent of Schools for the Yarmouth School Department, has had to make many tough decisions since the pandemic reached the United States. 

    In an email interview, Dolloff said that many of those decisions were time sensitive, and had to be made with the student’s and staff’s best interest in mind. Should he close the schools completely, and if so, for how long? Dolloff also had to determine if the schools should continue providing instructions while in the midst of deciding a course of action. 

    “Of course, that was followed by making determinations about what online instruction would look like, how to provide internet and devices for ALL students, how to meet special education needs, how to help all students,” he said. “How to feed students who are food-insecure, whether or not to make hourly employees work, and a myriad of other details. It was a big push!”

    Currently, the school district is running smoothly with the new transition. “We’re just doing our best each day to take care of kids, keep them engaged, and provide for continuity of instruction,” Dolloff said. “Our instructional staff is doing a fantastic job. We are running at nearly 100% attendance and participation, K-12, so that is amazing – a tribute to our staff and the community – and our students!” 

    Principal Eric Klein of Yarmouth High School has been working with Superintendent Dolloff and the schools’ staff to ensure student and staff success as well. In an online interview, Principal Klein said some of the major challenges at the high school have been ensuring that every student has online access, and that both teachers and students have the correct materials to continue learning. Klein also mentioned the difficulty of providing the best support for students with IEP’s and 504’s. 

    “These are students who require modifications/accommodations to learning in traditional settings, with a great deal of guided support. How do we do this when they are home?” All of these situations are having to be dealt with on a day-by-day basis, while the students are at home learning. There was incredibly little preparation time for administrators and supporting staff to get together and discuss plans, especially keeping in mind how easily transmittable the virus is.

    Teachers’ daily classroom routines and teaching techniques are being impacted as well. Nici Roubo, a second grade teacher at Kennebunk Elementary School, has set up a plan with her students moving forward. Usual daily activities in a physical classroom would include different allied arts (art, music, physical education, etc.) each day and activities incorporating various subjects, such as STEM or foreign languages. 

    In an online interview, Roubo said this has been difficult for the elementary students, but the second grade teacher has sent daily emails to keep her students engaged. “It includes a greeting, date and what day of school we are on, a fact of the day, and a joke of the day,” she said. “I then let them know what allied art special we would have attended on that day, if we had been in the classroom. Often I give a suggestion of something that they can do that supports the allied art. Sometimes I include a picture such as our class fish tank that is now on my kitchen table or my dog and I on a ‘recess’ walk outside.” 

    Students were also given a “menu” by Mrs. Roubo, where they choose from a variety of choices on what to work on that day. The menu gives suggestions so parents of the students can create activities and lessons incorporating those menu options. “There is a page for literacy, math, allied arts, and social studies/science, and social emotional learning,” she said. “Play and outside activities are encouraged. The menu suggests approx. 45 minutes for reading, writing, and math, 30 minutes each for the other focus areas for a total of approximately 3 hours of active learning time per day.

   Roubo said there are many factors about this transition that worry her and her colleagues, especially since their students are young and not used to the changes that have been made. She struggles knowing that her students are not getting the same levels of support at home as they would at school and worries about the social-emotional impacts. She is also struggling with the idea of balancing offering enough for her students but not overwhelming them or their caregivers. Most of all, Roubo misses seeing her students everyday. 

    Lisa Coburn, a math coach from Washburn Elementary School in Auburn, has had her set of challenges as well. Coburn has been working closely with her students’ teachers on their outside course work and trying to overcome the challenges. “We have many families that do not have technology and/or internet, so there is not an expectation that all students will make contact online,” she said. “At this time the idea is that anything that students do during this time is a ‘bonus’; work will not be expected or graded. It just would not be equitable for all students.”

    Another challenge that some students at Washburn Elementary School now face is limited meals and food. Coburn said that the district is still providing lunches through a curbside pickup station. They hope to expand on their offerings to students and their families because meal insecurity is a major issue in Maine. 

    Mrs. Coburn has been working on creating a website to share math resources for the Washburn Elementary School families and staff so all students can get the support they need during this time. 

    Teachers and administrators are not the only ones having to transition their daily routine during this time. In an online interview, Ryan Connors, a senior at Kennebunk High School, has described his day as full of homework with small breaks in between, “I wake up at 8 a.m. and eat breakfast, then I start working. I usually have about 3 classes of work each day so I’ll do work for about 2 classes before I eat lunch, and then I’ll do the last class after until maybe 2:00 p.m,” he said. 

    “I generally have one Google Hangout class/lecture around 1:00 p.m., take a break from work until maybe 4:30-5:00 p.m., and then I do homework for the next day or get ahead on work I can do early. That varies in time, usually a little over 2 hours.” 

    Kennebunk High School has implemented online learning until at least April 26, with plans being made to extend that date to later if needed. 

    Connors is a three sport athlete, and will not be having a baseball season during his senior year. “I’m probably most disappointed about likely not having one more baseball season or at the best a very shortened one,” he said. “I’ve played baseball since I was five so it’s sad that something is just gone when I was expecting one more season.” 

    Connors will be attending United States Military Academy at West Point starting on June 29 for cadet basic training which will last until the start of the 2020-2021 school year in August. Connors said there is talk about possibly having a high school graduation ceremony during the summer months, yet Connors wouldn’t be able to attend his own graduation due to training. “I’m looking at starting college without receiving a high school diploma or simply getting my diploma in the mail. That is very disappointing.” 

    Each school district has different strategies and procedures being done since it was decided by the State that each superintendent will make their own decisions on how they will run their districts. Some schools will be online indefinitely, others are waiting for the call to come back to school. Only time will tell. 

An Airport Screening

Ciera Miller, Contributing Writer

   On March 15, I flew into the capital of the United States from Paris, France. It was the second day of Coronavirus screenings in the U.S. The plane I was on taxied took an additional 45 minutes in its hanger to allow the airport time to accept us without accidentally infecting its other passengers. An elderly woman in her 70s with a chronic back condition begged the flight attendants to let her off because she couldn’t stand nor sit down without being in incredible pain; they told her there was nothing they could do to help her, she would have to sit and wait.

   When my fellow passengers and I were finally allowed off the plane, we were separated from the inside of the airport. We followed a passageway whose windows looked into gates and terminals where passengers were waiting for their own flights to board. A little girl with a pacifier in her mouth waved at us as we walked by. Airport representatives wearing light blue gloves, some with masks over their mouths, gave us our customs papers and boarded us onto a shuttle that took us to the opposite side of the airport. There, we waited an additional ten minutes before we were allowed inside for the Coronavirus screening process.

   Inside was an unsterilized room with two lines: one for those who were staying in Washington, D.C., and those who had connecting flights to other parts of the country. I joined the huddle of passengers with connecting flights, who were all squeezed together with their hands in their pockets to avoid touching others. The screening took an additional half an hour, 20 minutes of which consisted of waiting in the large huddle. The door was about 100 feet from the front of the group and moving slowly. When I finally caught a glance of the screening process, I saw ten representatives (probably healthcare workers and/or doctors) from the Center for Disease Control dressed head to toe in blue scrubs, mouths and noses masked, sitting at two tables intersected to make an ‘L’. When they were ready for a new passenger, they waved a small American flag.

   When I was flagged over, I saw the representatives wore blue gloves as well. I handed mine the document which said I’d been in Schengen Province (also known as mainland Europe) for at least the last two weeks, I hadn’t had any symptoms (as observed by myself), and that my last stop was in Maine. He asked where I’d been while in Europe, if I’d recently been to Italy or Iran as both countries are highly infected, and if I’d had any symptoms. I told him I’d been studying about an hour outside of Paris, no I hadn’t been to Italy or Iran, and no I didn’t have any symptoms.

   He didn’t take my temperature. He didn’t wait to see if I dry coughed. He didn’t check my lungs for signs of trouble breathing. He took my word for it that I didn’t have any symptoms, put a sticker on my customs card, and told me to tell the security guards by the shuttle back into the airport that I wasn’t infected. He gave me a packet telling me about self-quarantine and what steps I should take since I’ve been in an infected country and waved the stars and stripes for someone else to move forward.

   All of it took less than five minutes. The screening was a joke. I could’ve lied. I could’ve been ignorant of having symptoms. I could’ve spread the Coronavirus to the capital of the United States. The doctor wouldn’t have known because he just took my word for it without testing me for a positive or negative result. This is what was happening in American airports across the country for the first week of the country’s national emergency, and it might still be happening now. Though I hope that the screening has gotten far better, for the sake of other American citizens.

   I have been self-quarantining for the last two weeks for the sake of others because COVID-19 can develop between 2-14 days from exposure, and if I do have the Coronavirus, I don’t want to accidentally spread it. After my quarantine is up, I plan to practice social distancing like the rest of the country to keep myself, my family and friends, and the rest of the country safe. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests the same.

A Senior Year Cut Too Short

Jade Petrie Contributing Writer

    UMF seniors have been hit hard by the decision to move all courses to online distance modalities for the remainder of the semester, in response to the spread of the Coronavirus. With campus closed and major spring semester activities and events cancelled, seniors are grieving over the loss of their final semester on campus and the sudden, unexpected departure from friends.    

    Three seniors, Keilly Lynch, Noah Nicholas and Suther Bickford, agreed to share their thoughts on the current situation and found many of their feelings to be similar. While they all seemed to be understanding of the situation, and knew that it was much larger than the University, “It is unfortunate and heart breaking, but at the end of the day I understand that health and safety always comes first,” Lynch said via email.

    “I have been pretty upset about the situation overall. Having the senior year experience be cut short is very difficult,” Nicholas said through an interview over email. “[I’ve had to] say goodbye to close friends and relationships I’ve built at UMF, as well as staff members.”

    Bickford shared similar sentiments via email, but noted the disappointment with learning news of the closure from alternative sources, before hearing from UMF administrators. “This situation has been rough. I was upset that I heard the news first from a news article on Facebook.”

    “Originally, I thought it would mostly remain a major issue in places such as Italy and China,” said Nicholas. “I definitely did not think we would be in a National State of Emergency. I thought it would be similar to when the Swine flu was spreading several years ago.”

    With sports seasons cancelled and Lynch being the one and only senior captain on the women’s lacrosse team, she looked at this situation with two different perspectives. “My first reaction was frustration. I was happy to hear the news that my season was cancelled from my coach, as opposed to another news source. However, it was definitely abrupt and unexpected”

    All sports teams were fortunate enough to hear the news directly from their coach, directly following a meeting all coaches attended to get the new information regarding their season and how it will not be finished. “I began reflecting on how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to play lacrosse at the collegiate level. Many athletes finish their sports careers at the end of high school, so I was extremely lucky to have an extra three full seasons of lacrosse at UMF,” Lynch said. Even though Lynch’s season was cut short she was thankful for the time she had and the friendships she made. This sentiment was shared amongst the others as well.

An Out of State Student’s Perspective: Coronavirus in New Jersey

Brooke Valentin Contributing Writer

    Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has put the entire state on lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). On Saturday, March 21, Murphy ordered all residents to stay home, banned all gatherings, and told nonessential businesses to close in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus. The people excluded from this are: health care workers, emergency responders, some federal offices, food bank workers and grocery store workers as well as other employees deemed essential staff. People are advised only to leave their home for essential needs, such as groceries and essential medicines and to visit family or others you have a “close personal relationship with” such as a significant other. The state also has an 8 p.m. curfew and people will be given a ticket if violating this curfew.

    Many people in the state have begun social distancing and have not left their home unless absolutely necessary. Miranda Redish, a student at Middlesex County College in New Jersey, will have to start changing her normal routine from attending classes and spending time with friends. “Since my school has switched to online learning, I would say it’s more difficult because I’m more of a hands-on learner,” said Redish. “It’s been really tough adjusting to this new routine.” 

    Many colleges across the country have switched to remote learning, which has been a challenge for many students. Redish is grateful she can access the internet at home but that is not the case for many students. “My daily life has changed. Instead of going out with friends and visiting family I’ve been spending more time at home unless I have to work. I’m doing everything I can to help stop the spread of this virus so life can go back to normal. More people should be taking this seriously.” Redish said.

    In New Jersey there are 13,386 people infected with COVID-19 and there have been 161 deaths according to a New York Times Coronavirus tracker as of this afternoon. Governor Murphy is encouraging people to stay home and avoid social contact with anyone outside of their social circle, but many are still not taking the virus seriously and are continuing to go about their daily lives. 

    Douglas Brook, a dairy clerk at Shoprite, has witnessed people out like nothing is happening. “I’ve seen people come into the store with their entire families, ignoring the governor’s request that only one person go out of their house if they need to,” Brook said. 

    This virus is serious and can affect you if you’re young or old. “People are still going to their friends houses and not taking social distancing seriously,” said Brook. “Just this weekend, a group of my friends got together and hung out. They think because they are young this virus can’t affect them.”

    New Jersey is opening a number of testing centers throughout the state. Passaic County is opening its first testing center for residents at William Paterson University. Other universities, such as Kean University, are following suit. There will also be a bigger testing center at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Practicing social distancing and staying home, no matter where you are, is crucial.