Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer includes Walter Boomsma, program director, Bill and Julie Orton, and Jim Annis, master.
Julie Orton, principal of PCES (Piscataquis Community Elementary School) was named Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year during recent Community Night activities.
Program Director Walter Boomsma noted that Mrs. Orton gets credit for a number of collaborative programs between the school and Valley Grange. “It started with Words for Thirds and just took off from there,” he announced. “We quickly added bookworming and Newspapers in Education. Our GrowME collaboration truly started with a program at PCES that’s become huge–this year volunteers visited nearly 5o classrooms and interacted with at least 850 students in the area.”
The event was attended by many of Mrs. Orton’s fellow teachers, staff, friends, and parents of children attending PCES who spoke of Mrs. Orton’s compassion, leadership, and strong work ethic. Many considered the event somewhat “bittersweet” as this will be Mrs. Orton’s last year leading PCES–she’s retiring and looking forward to a slightly more leisurely pace. She does plan, however, to continue educating and nurturing children and may be back at school to substitute teach.
A “Just Five Minutes” slide program challenged those attending to consider the value of a daily five-minute commitment to communities. Boomsma pointed out that if “each person in our county between the ages of 20 and 80 spent five minutes per day, “the dollar value is over six million per year and equates to 188 full-time workers.”
Valley Grange was the recent recipient of some community service and honors were bestowed on the “Helping Hands” team from Mountain View Youth Development. Audience members quickly rose to a standing ovation after learning of the amazing makeover the kids and their supervisors completed to the Grange’ dining hall.
Maine State Grange Master Vicki Huff made a surprise appearance for the occasion and presented secretary Mary Annis with a certificate recognizing twenty-five years of membership. Annis is also the Grange’s Community Service Director and responsible for many of the programs Valley Grange runs to support our communities.
Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer. Mary Annis, Linda Erwin and Vicki Huff celebrating Mary’s quarter century of membership.