Mitchell scholars help keep Bangor beautiful
BY JUDY HARRISON
OF THE NEWS STAFF
BANGOR — Mitchell scholars fanned out across the city Saturday to be part of Bangor Beautification Day. More than 50 volunteers, most of whom are scholarship recipients, worked on trail reclamation at Broadway and Hayford parks and debris cleanup along the waterfront.
“This is what Sen. Mitchell has done all his life — give back to the community,” Nathan Kinney, 20, of Phillips said.
Kinney, a graduate of Mount Abram Regional High School in Strong, is a third-year student studying finance at the University of Maine. He helped organize Saturday’s event at the request of Colleen Quint, executive director of the Mitchell Institute.
“There are about 200 Mitchell scholars in the Greater Bangor area,” Quint said Saturday. “This event is a way for those attending different schools to get to know each other and a way for the institute to network with area businesses.”
The institute also helps scholars find internships in their fields of study and connect with potential employers, she said.
Not everyone who volunteered to work was a student. Joan Cain, 26, of Hampden graduated from the University of Maine at Machias two years ago. The Mitchell scholar alum now works for Microdyne Outsourcing Inc. in Orono.
“I haven’t been as active with the institute as I’ve wanted to be,” Cain said as she spread sand on a trail in Broadway Park. “This is a way for me to reconnect and set an example as a previous Mitchell scholar. I want to show current scholars that you can move into your adult life and still be active.”
Emma Senzek, 19, of Island Falls is a sophomore studying accounting at Husson University in Bangor. The graduate of Southern Aroostook Community High School in Dyer Brook said Saturday’s beautification effort was the first Mitchell Institute event in which she has been able to participate.
“I think it’s really cool,” Senzek said. “We’re getting to know one another, hanging out and doing community service.”
A French Street resident, who lives across the street from the park, said he uses the trails the students were repairing every day.
“This hasn’t been done in quite a while and sections of it have been slippery,” James Daigle said.
Founded by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, the Mitchell Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Portland, provides scholarships annually to one student from every public high school in Maine. Most scholarships are for $5,000, disbursed in increments of $1,250 for up to four years.
Since 1994, it has supported nearly 1,800 Maine students in pursuit of higher education by awarding nearly $8 million in financial assistance.
Sponsors of Saturday’s event included the Bangor Daily News, Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, Bangor Savings Bank, the city of Bangor, WBRC Architects-Engineers, the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, the University of Maine, Husson University, People’s United Bank, N.H. Bragg, Cumulus-Bangor, Fireside Inn, Black Bear Inn, Better Homes-Town and Country Real Estate, Shaw’s Supermarket, Sam’s Club, Hannaford Supermarket, Tim Hortons and Frank’s Bakery.
On the Web: www.mitchellinstitute.org