Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Winter 2007 - Page 7

www.thorntonacademy.org Taking Time for Conversation Melanie Hansen Pelletier’s French 4 class began visiting residents at Wardwell Retirement Homes of Saco this November. Visiting every other Friday this winter, Pelletier’s students have begun to make friends with the French-speaking residents of the Wardwell. “It’s a good opportunity for [them] to practice their French, as well as make a connection in the community,” says Pelletier ‘93. Brynn Smith ’07 and Jillian Higgins ’07, both students in Pelletier’s class, have made fast friends with Rachel Laflamme, a Wardwell and longtime Biddeford-Saco resident. Enjoying friendly conversation in what is a quite remarkable mélange of French and English, Smith, Higgins and Laflamme enjoy sharing their stories of growing up in the local community. Smith and Higgins are particularly intrigued by Laflamme’s knowledge of the French-Canadian Catholic experience during earlier times. As their friendship grows, Laflamme has given the students Christmas cards and the students have prepared her cookies to celebrate the holidays. A-Team: Raising AIDS Awareness One Ribbon at a Time This fall, members of the Thornton Academy’s A-Team joined together to raise awareness about AIDS as part of World AIDS Day. Team members sold T-shirts, cookies, and red ribbons, donating all of the proceeds from the sales to the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland. The A-Team also set up a resource table in the Hyde Library with information about testing, HIV 101 and other helpful and useful information. Carrie Nadeau ’07, a member of A-Team for two years, said that A-Team has been a “good way to branch out and help other people.” “AIDS is an issue we don’t really see in our area,” she adds. “I am amazed at how many students bought red ribbons to wear.” The A-Team is a group of roughly 15 Thornton high school students who have banded to help raise awareness about AIDS. The club was revived last year by students under the guidance of Thornton Academy wellness teacher Carol Smith Taranko ‘92. Since then, the A-Team has participated in World AIDS Day activities and volunteered at the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland, which services both York and Cumberland counties. French 4 students Jillian Higgins (left) and Brynn Smith, both seniors, have made fast friends with French-speaking Wardwell resident Rachel Leflamme during their regular visits to the retirement facility. Photo by Mitch Boutin ‘01. Laflamme says she is impressed by how thoughtful her young friends are, and loves to have them visit. Even when they struggle in conversation Laflamme assures them (in French, of course) that, “if you continue to try, eventually you will [become fluent in French]”. French students Elizabeth Giacomantonio ’07 and Erika Meiler ’07 have had the chance to spend time with Wardwell resident Edna Carr. Carr, who lived out of state for over forty-five years, laments that she has forgotten much of her French, but enjoys the chance Giacomantonio and Meiler have given her to begin relearning the language of her childhood. Laura Achotegui ’07, an exchange student from France, says she really enjoys the experience of visiting the Wardwell’s French-Canadian residents. While the local French accent is very different, they can still understand each other quite well. Visiting Wardwell and listening to “le mélange des langues” that exists, it is clear that Thornton’s students and Wardwell’s residents have formed friendships which not only allow a chance to practice their language skills, but to become involved with other members of the community and appreciate local history. Warm Hands, Heads With the help of Thornton Academy’s National Honor Society chapter, Liz Wrigley’s 6th grade class embraced the spirit of the holidays this year by remembering those less fortunate in the community. The students, along with class mentors John Mondor ‘07 and Melissa Small ‘07, collected dozens of mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and jackets for individuals and families in need. To do so, they created posters and displays around campus to accompany their collection boxes, and aired a commercial on Thornton’s student-run television station TATV to encourage donations. Thanks to the students’ generosity many children this winter will stay warm, both inside and out. Emily Richard ‘13 (left) and Melissa Small ‘07, are just two of the students who helped collect ha