LEWISTON — The next La Rencontre at the Gendron Franco Center will reunite 1980 Jay High School graduates, Wheaton College Professor Mark D. LeBlanc and Central Maine Community College Adjunct Professor Mitchell Clyde Thomas, for a unique show called “From Maine to France and Somehow Back Again: New England in World War I.” La Rencontre (“the gathering”) is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9, starting at 11:25 a.m.

The cost of the meal and the programs is $12 per person. The doors and the bar will open at 10 a.m. Guests may contact the center office for reservations at 207-783-1585. E-mail reservations may be sent to [email protected]

La Rencontre is a multi-language event and not restricted to French-speakers or even those of Franco descent. All are welcome to attend this monthly meal and event. The home cooked meal is lobster rolls or chicken salad.

After the meal, Mark D. LeBlanc, Ph.D., a professor of computer science at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts will, for the first time in 38 years, team up with Mitch Thomas, the Center’s executive director, for the 45-minute program in Heritage Hall. With his brother and co-author John, LeBlanc recently published the experiences of their maternal grandfather and his fellow New Englanders in the 26th “Yankee” Division as they travelled to France and fought there in The Great War (World War I).

Thomas, a popular pianist and vocalist, will provide a small selection of songs from the period throughout the show. The author will sell and autograph copies of the book and LeBlanc’s son, Zac, will set up an installation of World War I artifacts that will be on display throughout the event. LeBlanc and Thomas grew up together in Jay and graduated from Jay High School in 1980.

After the program, several raffle prizes will be drawn.

The Gendron Franco Center is handicap-accessible and is located on the corner of Cedar and Oxford Streets in the “Little Canada” section of Lewiston, just across the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge from New Auburn.

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