January 23, 2019
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St. Michael School in Augusta Honors First Responders and Raises Money for Zimbabwe School

Community Author: Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
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AUGUSTA— “A central aspect of Catholic education is learning the importance of service to others,” said Denise Levesque, marketing director at St. Michael School in Augusta. “When students take part in service activities, they learn how to make the world a better place, locally and beyond.”

In the last week, students at St. Michael had the opportunity to do both with the completion of a pair of special projects.

During Maine Catholic Schools Week, students created handmade cards with a message of thanks for Augusta police officers, Augusta firefighters and local EMS personnel. In addition to the homemade cards, donations were collected throughout the week and small gifts of thanks and gift cards were presented to local heroes at a schoolwide assembly on Friday, Feb. 2.  The representatives from the agencies brought gift baskets back to their departments as well.

“It was a wonderful way for the students to thank first responders for their service, commitment and dedication to our community,” said Levesque.

“Dress Down Days” at St. Michael also provided a chance for the students to offer a helping hand to children they will never meet.

“Each student was asked to donate $5 for the Ngamo Primary School in Zimbabwe to help them rebuild their infrastructure by providing them plumbing and running water,” said Kevin Cullen, principal of St. Michael.

The Ngamo Primary and Secondary Schools have been a popular recipient of generosity from Catholic schools throughout Maine. In 2015, Christine L’Abbé, principal of Holy Cross School in South Portland learned about the plight of that community during a visit. Since that time, countless fundraisers have been held at multiple schools, raising thousands and thousands of dollars for new piping to provide fresh water for students, tuition assistance for students unable to afford the $10 trimester fee, renovations for the teachers’ cottage, clothing and sporting equipment for village families, and the completion of other projects.

In total, St. Michael students donated close to $1,000.

“It’s heartwarming to see our students demonstrating the values and faith that they gain through their Catholic education,” said Cullen.