ROCKLAND, Maine — The winner of Eric Hopkins’ original watercolor “Aine’s Beach” was drawn Jan. 24 at the Rockland District High School boys varsity basketball game. Jo Ann Connolly of South Portland won the painting of Crockett’s Beach in Owls Head. The painting has been described as “electrifyingly beautiful.”
Hopkins created the painting to donate to the Aine Taylor Knight Educational Fund, started in 2007 after the accidental death of Aine Taylor Knight, a 1994 graduate of Rockland District High School. The goal of the fund is to help midcoast students stay in school by providing academic, social and emotional assistance to meet their basic and immediate needs. Knight was known for her generous and caring concern for others.
Crockett’s Beach was Aine Knight’s favorite beach. From childhood she spent hours there collecting sea glass and shells, swimming, sailing and enjoying the tranquil beauty of Penobscot Bay.
The Maine Community Foundation invests all monies received, and each year sends an amount to RSU 13. As the fund continues to grow, more students will benefit. The perpetual fund has been used for field trip fees, college application fees, clothing for graduation such as shoes, caps and gowns, a prom dress, running shoes and a scholarship to attend a youth leadership program in Washington, D.C. In addition, the fund has contributed to the Back Pack Program, which provides backpacks filled with food for students in need. Recently $350 was spent on hats, mittens and other warm clothing for children. In November Thanksgiving baskets were provided. The fund is available for emergencies as well.
Most members on the advisory board of the fund were present at the drawing, including Knight’s parents, Kelly and Jack Taylor, her husband, Sy Knight, and Hopkins, a family friend.
Hopkins’ father was a teacher, as was Sy Knight’s mother. Kelly Taylor is a teacher at Rockland District High School.
Hopkins said that all three always looked out for the at-risk kids. “This fund takes care of the stuff that often falls through the cracks,” he said.
Jack Taylor agreed. “This is another tool to help teachers help kids,” he said.
“Aine would appreciate this project,” Hopkins said. “It was created with her giving spirit in mind. It’s not about handouts; it’s living proof that many people have the power to help a lot when each one pitches in a little. It’s not how long you live, but how you live. Aine reached out to a lot of people, and she is still helping people today.”
There are still a few signed and numbered prints of the painting available for $500 each.
Also available are packages of four note cards costing $10, which feature the painting.
For more information or to purchase an item, call Northport Marine Services at 338-0077, Knight Marine Service at 596-5670, or visit RHEAL Day Spa or Camden National Bank, Main Street in Rockland. Hopkins can be reached at email@example.com or erichopkins.com.
Donations may also be sent to Maine Community Foundation, 245 Main St., Ellsworth 04605.
To request help for a student in need, contact Rockland District High School Principal Tom Forti at 596-2010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.