GUILFORD, Maine — The Guilford Primary School, which was named as Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year, was recognized Friday during a community gathering that included a potluck dinner and a slide presentation of the school’s activities.
Jim Annis, Valley Grange master, noted that while the award usually is given to an individual, it seemed especially fitting this year to name the school as this year’s recipient.
A certificate presented to school officials noted the school’s outstanding service to the community and mankind. It also placed emphasis on the personal involvement and dedication on the part of students, teachers and parents.
The Grange’s involvement with the school started with the “Words for Thirds Program,” which provides every third-grader with a dictionary. Over the years, the program has expanded to include “Bookworming” with Grangers visiting the school to listen to children read and the Newspapers in Education program that involves second- and third-graders using their creative and artistic skills to develop advertisements for the Grange. Several ads are selected and used by the Grange throughout the year.
Program director Walter Boomsma also made a special presentation to Principal Julie Orton, who he said was dedicated, focused, efficient and easy to work with. Orton was presented with a Grange tote bag.
Guilford selectmen had earlier proclaimed the day Celebrate Guilford Primary School Day.
Additional congratulations were received from Gov. John Baldacci and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. State Rep. Pete Johnson from Greenville was on hand to present a legislative sentiment, noting the “important role local schools play in our communities and our future.”
Teachers in attendance expressed their appreciation not only for the recognition but also for the volunteer role Valley Grange plays at the school.
SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns pointed out that while the building that now houses the school will close at the end of this school year, schools are a lot like churches — if a church building gets destroyed the church community doesn’t miss a meeting and the same is expected to be true of Guilford Primary School.
Principal Orton reflected those sentiments noting that while there is some natural apprehension over the move, “most things will not change, including the programs we do in general and the ones associated with the Grange.”