Connecting With Our Community

Here is a little story about some great joy. It represents some of the best of USM’s partnerships with and commitment to the wider community.

As the Teacher Education Faculty Coordinator in South Portland, Sara Needleman was visiting interns in South Portland Middle School (SPMS) a few weeks ago. Tom Charltray, a teacher in the building, approached her with a question. He began by explaining that one of his students, Addie, “attended a USM softball game, had a blast, and received an autograph on her sneakers (which she LOVES).” He went on to say he had offered his Connections group (an advisory group that starts each day together in his classroom) the opportunity to decorate the classroom according to their interests. Addie shared that she wanted a USM softball poster and Tom asked if there might be a way to make that happen.

Sara explained that Rona Scott, a captain for the softball team, is currently one of her students and toffered to connect the two of them. After several emails and some careful planning, Rona and 12 of her teammates hand delivered the poster to Addie’s classroom at SPMS on Friday October 13th. Later that day, Tom shared, “What a morning! 13 softball players showed up at our school to surprise Addie. … The moment was surreal…The smile on her face was amazing!” In a subsequent email, Tom offered, “Rona is the real star here. Seriously, she is one of the best humans in the world!”

Nikki Dube, Addie’s mom, was also delighted. Via email she said, “This is beyond amazing! Thank you all for putting this together, I cannot wait to hear about it when Addie gets home from school. There are truly still some AMAZING people in this world and everyone who took time out of their day to make this happen are simply proving that.”

Addie’s mom is right. We’re lucky to have some of those people at USM and in the community that surrounds us.