News 2012 Service to Maine Youth

2012 Service to Maine Youth

Maine Principals’ Association Names
2012 Service to Maine Youth Awardees

Augusta, ME – The Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) has named Al Feather of Belgrade and Ryan Holmes of Topsham as the recipients of the MPA’s Service to Maine Youth Award. This award, which is given annually, recognizes individual adults who have made an outstanding contribution to the youth of Maine through education and/or the general welfare of Maine youth. As the 2012 Service to Maine Youth awardees, Feather and Holmes will be honored at the MPA’s Spring Conference awards banquet on April 26.

For the past eight years, Al Feather has volunteered in multiple areas at the W.G. Mallett School and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. Though he does not live in the community, his service to the young people of Farmington is extensive. Initially Feather began as a lunch buddy/mentor but quickly expanded his commitment to become an advisor who founded the Mt. Blue High School Interact Club in partnership with the Farmington Rotary Club. A master at integrating and coordinating projects to benefit the schools, Feather spearheaded the effort to fund and build picnic tables and a year later a gazebo as part of his Sun Safety program for Mallett School.

As a "lunch buddy" to kindergarteners Feather reaches out to all students, especially the most challenging, bringing a natural warmth and calm to each situation. He speaks to students in a gentle upbeat way that relaxes those around him. His perpetual cheerfulness lights up a room.

Recently Feather brought The Peace Book to Mallett School to inspire the gift of giving. With this catalyst, staff and students collected nearly 40 bags of items to donate to the Children’s Task Force, illustrating that small acts of kindness make a difference. Over time Feather has become "Al", friend, learning buddy, role model, teacher, classmate, Dad, big brother, Grampy, and hero to the youngsters of Mallett School.

For the past several years Ryan Holmes, professional educator and school community volunteer at Mt. Ararat High School, has made a difference by dedicating countless hours in service to the youth of Topsham and surrounding communities.

Concerned about the wellness of students suffering from obesity and related health issues, he developed a wellness program aimed at this population. Students join him at 6:00 every morning to participate in individually designed exercise programs and share communally in a healthy breakfast. As a result, the students lose weight, are more physically fit, and improve their grades. He continued the program through the summer by enlisting the support our area businesses. He gives a great deal of his own time to work with these students to continue their physical fitness regime, learn healthy cooking techniques, and develop a lifestyle conducive to healthy living.

Recently Holmes volunteered more hours assisting with an Eagle Scout project to build a track and cross country storage and meeting facility. Working with local businesses to procure materials, he organized local teens and taught them how to mix and pour cement for the foundation, construct the building, paint the exterior, shingle the roof, and finalize the project. Through the generosity of his time and effort, many students learned the value of goal setting, planning, teamwork, and community service.

The Maine Principals’ Association is a professional association representing Maine’s K-12 principals, assistant principals, and career and technology center directors. The Association dates back to 1921 and focuses its work on promoting the principalship, supporting principals as educational leaders, and promoting and administering interscholastic activities in grades 9-12.

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