UMF Baseball Hits It Out of The Park

UMF Baseball Hits It Out of The Park

Riley Bartell Contributing Writer

    During the recent alumni baseball game at Hippach Field, UMF’s Derek Bowen capped off an afternoon of competitive camaraderie when he drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bowen, who came to the plate with the bases loaded, hit a sacrifice fly to break a 6-6 tie in a tightly contested game, giving UMF the 7-6 victory over the alumni squad.

    The alumni game’s atmosphere differs from regular season games, according to Christopher Bessey, UMF’s baseball coach, who enjoys the banter between his current squad and alumni players.  

The UMF alumni game is a great opportunity for current baseball players to interact with Farmington’s past (Photo Courtesy of UMF Athletics)

    “Both teams still play hard, but there’s a lot of laughter and a bit of joking around,” said Bessey, “It’s a great experience for both sides, and their competitiveness really comes out.” 

    “Current players get to see past players,” he added, “They want to compete when they get to be alumni. Then when they get to be alumni, they want to come back and compete.”

     Since baseball is a spring sport, the alumni game is one of the highlights of the team’s short fall season. “Obviously the fall is evaluation time for us,” said Bessey. “It gets our guys into a competitive environment. You can see how they compete. The alumni, for the most part, are still in pretty good athletic shape so they can be good competition against us.”

    Playing in his fourth alumni game, Gavin Arsenault, senior, always looks forward to that weekend. “It’s good to see all the previous players,” said Arsenault. “Even the players I didn’t play with, it’s nice to interact with them and see how their lives are going.”

    The game generally draws a sizable crowd. “A lot of people show up, and it’s good for the first year players. It gets them some experience in game situations,” said Arsenault. 

     The alumni game is held on Family and Friends’ Weekend at UMF, so it always draws a good crowd. The alums were asked for donations for Captain Bell and the firefighters who were involved in the LEAP explosion as well as others who are homeless because of the explosion. 

    “The athletic department, including baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, and rugby teams, decided as a staff that we were going to accept donations,” said Bessey. “Four different organizations are raising money, not only for the firefighters, but also for those who are homeless because of the explosion.” In all, the athletic department raised over $900 that day.

     After a close contest, the UMF baseball team ended up beating the alums in the bottom of the 9th, due to a walkoff hit.


UMF Alumni Anchors Economic Development in Historic Mill Town

Derek Taber, Contributing Writer

    The Hotel Rumford in Rumford, ME is celebrating its 130-year anniversary and UMF alumni Melissa Carrier is at the helm of a growing economy for this small mountain town.

    Carrier, who graduated from UMF in 2009, has owned and operated the historic hotel and bar with her husband, Brian, for the last year and a half. Carrier is changing the vision and atmosphere of the staple establishment, and leading the charge of a growing economy. Once considered a dying mill town, Rumford has seen lowered unemployment, and a rejuvenated workforce, allowing room for growth and opportunity in the emboldened community.

    George O’Keefe, the director of economic development for the town of Rumford, was hired to stimulate business growth and inject new ideas for downtown businesses to reinvigorate that Rumford has ample room to thrive and succeed. “It’s very positive to see young people staying in town, and running a business,” O’Keefe says.

    The Hotel Rumford has been one of the few businesses to survive the economic downturn of the last quarter century. A shrinking logging and paper industry has been the main culprit for the lost jobs in the area. At one point there were six paper machines operating, with over 1000 blue collar jobs available. When the mill struggles, “Everyone panics,” Carrier says.

    The Hotel Rumford was a haven for loggers and paper workers, allowing a place for respite, and lift of spirit from the grueling work in the woods. “This is the heart of downtown Rumford,” says O’Keefe. The town rallies around the business and frequents the establishment often. 

    The hotel also brings in people from out of town who come to work on shutdowns and construction projects associated with the mill. 

    Carrier started her business education in her sophomore year of college. She worked in the community at the Granary Restaurant and Pub in Farmington, and summers at the Kawanhee Inn in Weld. Carrier and the future head chef of the Hotel Rumford, Scott Croteau, met when Carrier was a dishwasher at Kawanhee. “Scott is an amazing chef,” Carrier said.

    Croteau prides himself on delivering a fresh menu with local ingredients. “He makes almost everything in house,” Carrier laments.

    The Hotel Rumford has 12 employees that work at the restaurant. The economic outreach that comes from the employment is deep. “Everyone seems to know your name when you walk in to the bar,” O’Keefe says. 

    The Carriers recently did some remodeling to the hotel and restaurant to bring back the staple theme of logging to the town. They decorated the restaurant with antique saws and pictures from the town when horses and carriages roamed the streets. 

    The difference from now and 130 years ago is substantial. Recreation and vacation destinations rival the paper industry as the main catalyst for economic growth. The potential is prevalent. If people have a place to call home when they are in town, the sentiments will only grow stronger, and the future is vibrant.

From Tanzania to the United States: Fellow Beaver Returns Home

From Tanzania to the United States: Fellow Beaver Returns Home

By Emilee Eustis Staff Reporter

2016 Graduate Elizabeth Ferry made a strong connection with her students in Iringa (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ferry)

   The Peace Corps is something everyone knows and hears about, but how many people get to say they did it? Elizabeth Ferry, a UMF graduate, embarked on a journey that not many will experience in their lifetime and is excited to be bringing the adventure home with her.

   Ferry graduated from UMF in the year 2016 with a degree in Secondary Education and a concentration in English. “I expected to immediately jump into teaching at a local Maine high school, coach sports, and live a happy, contented life,” said Ferry. “The incredible UMF faculty and my student teaching mentor encouraged me to take a risk and apply for Peace Corps.”

   That risk landed her in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania where she taught English to 9th through 12th graders. Ferry also implemented health education projects, cultural exchange activities and leadership development.

   “Teaching in Tanzania was supremely different than teaching in the U.S.,” said Ferry. “However, the goal of being a confident, caring, competent educator while putting my students’ needs above all, is an international best practice.”

   Beyond teaching, Ferry was entrenched in a world that not many American citizens understand. Living without indoor plumbing, electricity and varieties of foods could be horrendous to some, but enlightening and enriching to those experiencing it firsthand, and since returning home, Ferry has been sorting between the life she lived in the rolling hills to the life she is living now.

   “I’ve been balancing guilt and gratitude,” said Ferry. “I am trying to acknowledge and appreciate the things I lived without, while also adjusting my priority list to things I need versus things I want.”

   Since returning to the US, Ferry hopes to spread the word about the incredible opportunity that the Peace Corps gave her and encourage students to take the leap that she once took. “My favorite part about being back in the States is sharing my experience with American students,” said Ferry. “Their curiosity and eagerness to learn about a new place has given me goosebumps.”

   Ferry’s teaching degree is being put to good use as she was lucky enough to land a part-time teaching job at Mt. Blue High School upon her arrival in Maine, and besides teaching three English classes a day, Ferry does Peace Corps school visits as much as she possibly can.

   “It’s said that Peace Corps is ‘the hardest job you’ll ever love,’ and I think that is quite accurate,” said Ferry, thoughtfully. “Having the opportunity to organically live in another culture, work alongside its people, and learn what qualities make us all human, is invaluable.”

   Ferry will be presenting on her time in the Peace Corps in the Fusion Space on December 4th at 6 p.m. and encourages all who can to come hear the retelling of her once in a lifetime experience. During the presentation students can expect to learn some Swahili – the language Ferry is now fluent in, try on some traditional Tanzanian clothing and look at breathtaking photos of the colorful landscape and wildlife that occupies the country.

   As for those considering such an experience as hers, Ferry encourages students to just go for it. “Do it. Peace Corps has the best method and philosophy for foreign aid and I could not recommend it more,” she said. “I’ll never forget what I learned in Tanzania and I hope to continue to tell the stories for the rest of my life.”

From Former Beaver to Published Poet: Zackary Lavoie

From Former Beaver to Published Poet: Zackary Lavoie

By Emilee Eustis Contributing Writer

Zackary Lavoie is a pickleball master, a heavenly singer, the owner of a guinea pig named Gerald, and now a pu-

2017 Graduate Zack Lavoie published his first chapbook in early 2018.(Photo courtesy of Zack Lavoie

blished writer. The UMF graduate is making waves in the business of poetry writing with his recently released chapbook Upheavals.

   Though Lavoie majored in English, his interest has always been in poetry. “I find a lot of beauty in the brevity of [poetry],” said Lavoie. “It forces one to read intensely, and I think that is a great thing.”

   Today, Lavoie works as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Specialist Editor for a global platform and edits documents for those whose language is not primarily English. But when Lavoie is not editing, he is feverishly working on his poetry.

    During Lavoie’s time at UMF, he was awarded with the Alice James Books Director’s Chair Fellowship, which gave the benefits of working one-on-one with publishers to strengthen his skills. Like many successful writers, Lavoie’s publication did not come without struggles.

   “Grammar plays a different sort of role in the book. Capitalization, spacing, and even spelling all shift and wobble, and letting that happen is difficult,” Lavoie said, “Sort of like holding the leash of an angry, out of control, ten-thousand-pound dog.”  

   Through his journey, Lavoie has made many connections to remind him that the struggles are worth the outcome. “I’ve been lucky enough to meet some really wonderful poets, editors, and other incredibly influential folks while writing Upheavals,” said Lavoie. After two years of meeting and greeting, long editing processes, and publication work, Lavoie’s chapbook Upheavals has made it to print – but his work does not end there.

   Lavoie has much to celebrate, but he understands that work cannot always be perfect. Lavoie quickly learned that it is easy to become “to

Zack Lavoie’s chapbook, “Upheavals.” (Photo courtesy of Zack Lavoie)

o poetic” and let a poem become bigger than it should.

   “It’s important to remember to be observant, and sometimes that means narrowing your focus to little moments,” Lavoie said. But Lavoie also realizes the boundaries that poetry can challenge, and said, “It’s our jobs as poets to translate it.”

   Lavoie has poems online and in print in Empty Mirror Magazine, OCCULUM Journal and Dirty Paws Poetry Review, with his next piece waiting to be published in the Longleaf Review. As for more books, Lavoie said he has a manuscript for a full length that is being worked on, but it is “still in infancy.”

   On April 12th, Lavoie will be attending a reading at the Farmington Public Library with Jeffrey Thomson, a UMF poet and professor, and another UMF grad, Audrey Gidman.

   Copies of Lavoie’s chapbook can be purchased online at Amazon, online and in-stores at Barnes & Noble, at the Farmington Public Library, and on his website

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.