Peterson (third in from left) with family and friends at her graduation. submitted photo

Editor’s Note: March is Women’s History month. We have been fortunate to have many women throughout history who are remembered for their contributions to their community, state, country and the world. This month we would like to recognize our women who contribute on a daily basis, quietly, in their own way. They may not make the history books, but they certainly deserve to make our pages.  This week we feature two young women.

BETHEL — Hayley Peterson wants to make a difference. That’s one of the many reasons why her first step on the road to being a police officer is working at Kennebec County Correctional Facility, as a corrections officer.

Her journey started way back in Teaneck, N.J.,  but she moved to Maine when she was three-years-old and has called the place home ever since.

The 21-year-old was an all-season athlete at Telstar. After graduating, she went on to play basketball and softball at Central Maine Community College (CMCC).

She also belonged to the National Honor Society at Telstar.

While Peterson was at CMCC, the basketball team made it to Nationals twice, winning it all once. She was part of a team that became the first Maine women’s team to win a national title in basketball for the USCAA, Division II.

She studied criminal justice and graduated with an associates degree. Her desire to be an officer stemmed from her family.

“I have a cousin in New Jersey who is a police officer, and I always kind of looked up to him,” Peterson said. “There’s just kind of a self interest, I just kind of thought maybe I might be interested, so I tried it out and I ended up loving it, so I just stuck with it.”

“It’s nice to try and make a difference and hope that people actually can get the help they need,”

Peterson did the Advanced Certificate Program at the school, which allowed her to take advanced level courses in her field. All of her instructors had previously been officers.  Advanced police operation is similar to the police academy, but instead she got college credits and was sponsored to go through phase one and two of the pre-service training. She took multiple classes of tactical defense, crime scene photography, de-escalation, and many other crucial trainings. The advanced certificate teaches basic skills in communication and self defense.

In the advanced certificate she also endured intense training, such as environmental, (snow, rain, wind, etc), in which people would tackle each other. She also trained with professionals and had final fights which would determine a pass or fail, similar to the police academy.

Through the program, she earned her Green Pin, a pre-service training program through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Trainees with a green pin can apply to departments as part time officers.

Peterson graduated from CMCC last year.

She is currently a corrections officer at Kennebec County Correctional Facility (KCCF), where she has worked for the last eight months.

Peterson patrols the facility and also helps book people in. She is part of the facilities Criminogenic Addiction and Recovery Academy (CARA). She volunteered for the program.

Any sentenced inmate in the facility can apply for the CARA program as an alternative to a full sentence. The inmates go through substance abuse counseling and also have guidance from parents counselors.

“It kind of gets them on their way,” Peterson said.

She said once CARA participants finish the program they are sent out to either families (if possible) or a rehabilitation home where they can attend meetings on addiction. The participants have to report back to Maine pre-trial and stay in touch with the CARA team as a whole.

Getting to this point in her career already has been rewarding for her.

“It was difficult, I definitely had to work my butt off,” she said with a laugh.

Her work ethic is something she’s witnessed throughout her family.

“My parents, they always worked really hard and never gave up, they gave my brother and I everything we really wanted,” she said. “My brother has always worked hard, I look up to my family, my grandparents, they are my biggest inspiration.”

Peterson currently lives in Starks and commutes about 45 minutes to work each day. She misses the Bethel area, she said.

Looking ahead, Peterson has her eyes set on being a police officer. Her plan would be to either work as a county deputy or for a local town department, with the goal being to stay in Maine.

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BETHEL — “I was taught at a very young age by my parents that getting involved was very important,” fourth-year Telstar student Emily Hanscom said.

“It keeps you busy and you can learn a lot staying connected to your peers and the community.”

She has taken her parents’ advice to heart.

In mid-March she was walking in the hallway when she was told to come to Telstar Principal Mark Kenney’s office. She immediately wanted to know why.

One of Hanscom’s senior pictures.

“I was surprised, I had never been to the principal’s office,” she said with a laugh.

When she got there, Kenney gave her the good news. She had won the Maine Principals Association (MPA) Principal’s Award for Telstar, which is given to a student who has excelled academically, represented the student body well and made a difference with their contributions. Hanscom checked off all the boxes.

“Emily exemplifies what Telstar High School wants for all of our students and that is someone who is a leader in the classroom, on her athletic teams, in her extracurricular groups, as well as out in the community,” Kenney said.

The fourth-year is an three sport athlete in cross country, nordic skiing and track.

Hanscom has been a part of the National Honor Society for two years. Last year she was treasurer and now she serves as its president.

She has been involved with Student Council since her freshman year. In her second year in council she was the treasurer and has also served as its co-president.

Beyond Telstar, the West Bethel native lends a hand at church suppers, the Bethel Rescue station and helps with the Toe Tappin’ Jazz Dance Studio in town, where she also dances.

She has also played in the community band for four years.

With her high school career coming to a close, Hanscom has plans for the future, which includes going to school in state. Her choices have come down to the University of New England, University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Orono.

Last year Hanscom went to the Maine State Science Fair and placed second in the behavioral and social sciences category. The effort earned her a scholarship from UMaine, which covers full tuition.

Hanscom, Kenney and other award winners and their principals will go to an Honors Luncheon April 6. Hanscom will receive a plaque and will have her name entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of five $1,000 scholarships available for students who attend the luncheon.

For Hanscom, the award is a good ending to what’s been a remarkable four years.

“Emily has worked hard  over her school career here at MSAD 44 and this is a fitting tribute to her efforts,” Kenney said.

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