FORT KENT — Bernard A. Paradis, a local educator, coach and volunteer member of various boards, will be honored with the University of Maine Distinguished Service Award at the University’s 129th commencement Saturday, May 7.
Paradis was president of his class when he graduated in 1967 from Fort Kent State College, now the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
He began his teaching career at SAD 27 in the fall of 1967, teaching fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade science at Eagle Lake Elementary School. It was there he also held his first coaching position in soccer, basketball and baseball. The next fall he transferred to Fort Kent Community High School to teach physical science, where he has remained to this day.
The next year, he was accepted at Cornell University, where he graduated with a master’s degree in physics. Upon returning to teaching at FKCHS, Paradis began teaching the physics class as well as other science courses. Although not a big fan of lecturing, he chose to interact with his students to make learning physics fun. In 1972, Ben started teaching science courses at UMFK, where he still teaches part time today.
In addition to his teaching career, Paradis has devoted more than 30 years to coaching the sport of skiing at Fort Kent Community High School. Through his efforts, the FKCHS ski team has enjoyed much success. His dedication has resulted in five Class A and Class C state championships and more than 20 Aroostook County Ski League titles.
Paradis has served on numerous boards and organizations, including as a member of the Maine Education Association Board; Tenth Mountain Ski Center Board; and UMFK Foundation Board. He also served as a director and president of Lonesome Pine Trails and as president of the Northern Aroostook Education Association.
Last fall, Paradis was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame.