MILO, Maine — Graduates of Penquis Valley High School who went on to serve their country will now be recognized on a Wall of Honor at the school.
Moveable wooden plaques posted on a wall near the main lobby next to a trophy case are organized by class year and etched with the names of alumni and branches of the service of the veteran graduates in the school’s four decades-plus history.
“They have put up a real nice display, it’s honoring all those alumni of Penquis Valley High School who served in the military,” Principal Matthew Hackett told the SAD 41 school board during a Dec. 5 meeting.
The wall also recognizes those who served in the Peace Corps.
Hackett said efforts to create the Wall of Honor were led by teacher and National Honor Society adviser Russ Carey, with the wooden plaques made by JSI.
“It looks nice, and hopefully everybody is on there who deserves to be on there,” teacher Jason Mills said later in the meeting.
“We are hoping to do an announcement and a ceremony later in the month” to formally dedicate the Penquis Valley High School Wall of Honor, Hackett said. While some of the specifics still need to be worked out, he said school officials are looking to hold the ceremony at the start of the school day on the morning of Friday, Dec. 21.
In other business, Superintendent Michael Wright reported on a meeting of the school board’s finance committee.
“We are right at about 60 percent remaining for our current cost centers for the rest of the year, which is where we should be,” he said about the 2012-13 academic year. Wright also said he is waiting to see what the potential impact of a projected state budget shortfall would be as SAD 41 looks to the ensuing school year.
He said the AOS 43 board met the month before, when SAD 41 Chairman Don Crossman was re-elected as chairman of the board of directors governing the AOS between the district and SAD 31 of the Howland area, and Leon Farrar Jr. of Brownville was elected as AOS 43 vice chairman.
“It’s really the AOS board that hires the superintendent and evaluates them,” Wright said as evaluation forms for his job performance were handed out to the school board and were also presented to the SAD 31 directors. Wright heads both member districts of AOS 43.
A meeting of teachers in AOS 43 schools is scheduled for mid-December “to talk about the new teacher evaluation form,” Wright said about a bill in the Maine Legislature’s Education Committee that would establish a uniform system for evaluating teachers. “Our plan is to then in January come to both boards for a presentation and overview. Ultimately the boards have to approve the forms we use.”
Wright said the forms are not currently part of the collective bargaining agreement between the district and teachers, and the two sides are working to implement the evaluation forms.
“We want to come up with a plan that’s meaningful for everybody, and will give teachers some ownership,” he said.
Commenting on how the district might handle the possible deorganization of member town Atkinson, Wright said he wrote a letter to the commissioner of the Department of Education and received a follow-up phone call.
“They had looked at the letter, discussed it and if in fact Atkinson deorganized they would support [the plan] to move those students to Dover,” he said.
“We are kind of on hold now,” Wright said about the entire process and how deorganization would impact SAD 41. District officials had thought that Atkinson students would end up with school choice if the community deorganized, rather than have them all go to one district or another.
In his principal’s report, Eric Smith of Milo Elementary said that school custodian Cindy Davis has been vital in the Box Tops for Education and Hannaford Helps Schools programs. “She’s the one that tallies those and kind of organizes and takes care of it,” Smith said. “A thank you to Cindy for those efforts.”
The two programs have brought in a combined total of approximately $1,500 for Milo Elementary, as families are encouraged to bring in items, such as box tops, which are then tallied for funding from the initiatives.
Hackett thanked the students in Penquis Valley’s Jobs for Maine Graduates program for their actions in taking part in the school’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, including posting the colors.
“These aren’t normally the kids who would step up and do that,” he said. “Talking with a few of them afterwards, they said it really meant something to them.”
Mills mentioned that Trevor Lyford, a junior goalkeeper on the boys soccer team he coached in the fall, was named to the Maine Soccer Coaches Association’s Eastern Maine Team. Lyford was one of 16 players chosen from Classes A, B, C — in which the Patriots play — and D, and Mills said Penquis Valley has only had a few players in the school’s over 40-year history receive such recognition.