RUMFORD — They wrote letters to soldiers. They learned about wind power. They danced and laughed and made new friends. National Honor Society students from across the state learned what it takes to go from ordinary to extraordinary at their statewide convention.

Mountain Valley High School Senior Adelle Oswald was instrumental in planning the event for more than 20 of her MVHS peers and the rest of the schools.

As western regional representative to the Maine National Honor Society, she and the other officers organized a banquet and a day of service and inspiration.

Oswald said, “My favorite part about convention was being able to see our plans work out.”

Monica Quimby was the speaker at the banquet. After a tragic skiing accident left her paralyzed, she stayed focused on her goals, including publishing a her undergraduate work in mitochondrial DNA research and becoming the youngest adjunct professor at Southern Maine Community College at age 23.

In 2011, she became Ms. Wheelchair Maine. She is a member of the Women’s USA National Sledge Hockey team.

“Listening to Monica Quimby’s speech” was junior Karen Flaherty’s highlight of the convention.

Based on what she heard from Quimby, Oswald said, “I learned to dream big, pursue dreams and change my life.”

Senior Dalton Milledge learned “change takes dedication and perseverance.”

After Quimby’s presentation, the dance began. This was the obvious favorite among many teens.

Junior Ronald Russell said simply, “I enjoyed the dance.” Junior Sydney Petrie liked “the dance and meeting new people at supper.”

“The dance is way crazier than our school dances,” junior Maddie Kaubrys added.

The next day, the NHS members attended a series of workshops. In one, they wrote letters to soldiers as part of Savannah’s Soldiers, a national letter writing campaign started by a ten-year-old from Florida.

In another session, they learned about the Dempsey Center and the Dempsey Challenge from Tookie Bright, youth and family services coordinator.

Senior Abby Parent mentioned that she thought Bright had an ideal job. Quimby had talked the night before about seeking out mentors. With a little encouragement from her friends, Parent talked to Bright and will set up a job shadow.

In this situation, Parent learned “to always ask questions and seek mentors.”

Motivational speaker, Tony Solis, health specialist for State of Maine Wellness Program, talked about how social media is a waste of time because it doesn’t move a person towards his or her goals. That idea resonated with a few students.

Senior Brandon Gill’s favorite workshop was “listening to Tony talk about social media.”

“Social media is dumb,” added senior Tucker Phelps.

Senior Brad Marshall said, “Tony was very inspirational.”

The real evidence of the success of an event is what would the students say to another NHS member to urge them to go to convention.

Junior Natasha Munzner said emphatically, “Definitely go! It’s a great experience.”

Looking ahead, junior Alex Durland said, “Convention is a great experience that will be useful in future endeavors.”

“It’s an enlightening experience you will always remember,” senior Michelle Hale concluded.

MVHS seniors who participated included Corbin Arsenault, Kristin Arsenault, Caleb Gauvin, Brandon Gill, Michelle Hale, Bradley Marshall, Thomas Marshall, Dalton Milledge, Adelle Oswald, Abby Parent, and Tucker Phelps. The juniors are Eric Deanis, Alex Durland, Karen Flaherty, Ryley Flynn, J.T. Greene, Maddy Kaubrys, Josh Maillet, LeAnn McNally, Natasha Munzner, Sydney Petrie, Ronald Russell, and Kayla Sinclair.

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