JAY — Staff at Spruce Mountain Middle School have established Kellee’s Closet to provide students with school supplies, personal care products and food.

The program is named for Kellee Fortier of Jay, who taught math to seventh- and eighth-graders at the school until her death this past summer at the age of 46.

Teacher Julie Taylor said many students return to school each year without binders or other supplies they need. Others lack access to personal hygiene items. To meet those needs, teachers have been buying supplies, she said.

“There are a lot of children here who don’t have necessities,” Taylor said.

“Very quietly, our school has been doing things for kids who need it,” teacher Denise Acritelli said. “Sending a jar of peanut butter home prior to vacation, providing female supplies.” 

Kellee’s Closet is a way to do something in memory of Fortier while taking care of students, Taylor said. 

The first fundraiser is a spaghetti supper from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Spruce Mountain High School. Middle school staff are making desserts to be auctioned at the supper.

Proceeds will go to the closet and the Dempsey Center in memory of Fortier, and to Fortier’s daughters, Hayley and Shae-Lynn, who are college students.

Local businesses are contributing food, water, paper goods and discounts on food, and district students and current and former staff are helping at the supper. The Class of 2014 is donating $650 from its graduation funds. 

Supper committee members are Taylor, Acritelli, Nicole Edmunds, Janet Ventrella, Scott Hartford, Amanda Gage-Croll, Dixie Bonnevie and Julie Bolduc.

“A ton of other people are helping,” Acritelli said.

Adult tickets are $8; admission for children ages 10 and younger is $5.

Tickets may be purchased at the middle school. One teacher at each school in Regional School Unit 73 also will have tickets available.

People are asked to purchase tickets in advance so staff can plan the amount of food needed.

Acritelli said information about Kellee’s Closet, the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, which supports cancer patients, and Fortier’s two daughters will be displayed at the supper.

“The supper offers a chance for students to get together and talk about (Fortier), something that often doesn’t happen when something like this takes place in the summer,” Acritelli said. “This will be very therapeutic for her family.”

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What: Spaghetti supper fundraiser for Kellee’s Closet.

Where: Spruce Mountain High School, Jay.

When: 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.

Tickets: Adults, $8; children, 10 and under, $5. Available at local schools.

Will include dessert auctions, 50/50 raffle.


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