PARIS — School Administrative District 17 administrators, teachers and staff kicked off the new school year Monday, Aug. 26, with recognitions and awards at the annual opening day ceremonies. Yesterday was the first day of school for most students. Students in grades 8 and 10-12 started today.

Josie and Madilyn Mains led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School chorus sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Board of Directors Chairwoman Diana Olsen welcomed staff and said, “I don’t know if you remember what I told you last year, but that is okay because I am going to tell you again. You are the silent warriors that help make this world a better place one child at a time.”

Richard McIntosh was honored with the Mary Lou Burns Educational Award. The annual distinction is given to a teacher, staff member or community member for extraordinary service to the Oxford Hills school community. It was established in 2000 to honor Burns, of Paris, who retired in 1999 after 41 years with SAD 17 as a teacher, principal and personnel director.

McIntosh retired at the end of last school year after 29 years of service to the district. He worked as a custodian, head custodian and in technology services, Colpitts said.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts presented Oxford Hill Scholarship Foundation awards to five projects led by six teachers. The foundation not only awards scholarships to students, but it also gives awards each year to teachers who lead projects which increase the aspirations of students, he said.

The foundation awarded $4,000 to each of five projects, lead by six teachers. Erin Flynn, Dennis Boyd, Jennifer Stevens and Bailey Graffam, Beth Clarke and Rebecca Schaff for projects they are leading in their schools. The projects include a reading development program and a gear lending library.

The Ron Kugell Community Partner Award was presented to OHills Reads and the MSAD 17 and Healthy Community Coalition Collaboration.

Special guest Frank DeAngelis, former principal of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, closed the event by sharing experience in rebuilding the school community after tragedy. Two students opened fire at the school on April 20, 1999, and killed 12 classmates and one teacher, and injured several others. The gunmen took their own lives after the nearly hour-long rampage.


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