Spruce Mountain High School recently held an induction and initiation ceremony for the Jobs for Maine Graduates Career Association. Pictured at the podium is Dylan Gould. Seated from left are Kirstyn Wetherell, Oliva Paine, JMG Specialist Nathan Dana, Kaden Maberry, Kaden Williams, Corey Crosby, Korbyn Clapsaddle, Ryder Welch, Thomas Violette, and Ky Pepe; kneeling Gabriel Whitman and Scott Jackson; standing from left Marissa McMannus, Levi St. Pierre, Kassidy Thompson, Nathaniel Moody, Maddie Labonte, Remi Mitchell, Gary Wright, Hanni Johnson, Kaylin Knowlton, Katrina Cook, Grace Goodwin, Alexis Haskell, Julia Grant, Olivia Grant, Kaitlyn Paul, Abagail Sweetser, Destiny Sampson, Demika Lacoste, Laura Pease, Representative Tina Riley, and William Derosiers. Grace Harmatys/Spruce Mountain High School

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Jobs for Maine Graduates student Remi Mitchell.

JAY — Spruce Mountain High School recently held a student initiation for the Jobs For Maine Graduates Career Association.

JMG Specialist Nathan Dana kicked off the ceremony by explaining, “Our annual opening ceremony serves multiple purposes. We formally induct students into our JMG Career Association, recognize our JMG officers, and begin our students’ journey on their future career path.”

JMG’s Career Association works toward goals in Leadership Development, Career Development, Social Awareness, Civic Awareness, and Community Service.

“We will also work on developing the motivation, attitude, and transferable skills needed to pursue a career,” explained Dylan Gould, a member of the Leadership Council.

Levi St. Pierre added, “JMG partners with public education and private businesses to offer results-driven solutions to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers.


“The high school graduation rate of JMG students is 6% higher than the state average. The Maine Department of Labor also states that six years after graduation, JMG students earn 14% more than other students their age.”

Kaylin Knowlton continued, “JMG serves over 10,000 students this year in 143 different programs. These programs work with students in 27 middle schools, 91 high schools, 12
colleges, and 13 different initiatives on the local, regional, or statewide level. JMG has served 60,000 students since it was founded in 1993.”

JMG students give back to their community as they learn leadership and career skills.

Maddie Labonte explained, “We’ve completed over 100 hours of community service this year split between three different projects — the apple project, running and hosting the Red Cross Blood Drive, and creating updated maps for the Jay Rec Trails behind the school. Through service activities such as these, we develop work values, teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills.”

The theme for the year, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted” is borrowed from David Bly.

Scott Jackson introduced guest speaker State Representative Tina Riley.


Jackson categorized Riley as “an active member of our community and a personal friend and mentor to me.”

Riley stated she loved the theme they had selected, as it was a great analogy for success.

“There are many factors involved in your garden (or success)… some of which are in your control, and some which are not… one of (the) seeds to success is knowing where, when and how to work hard,” she said.

Riley spoke of the time years ago when she tried to build a garden.

“I dug up several hundred spring flower bulbs and planted them… when the spring flowers were shooting up everywhere, absolutely nothing was growing in those boxes,” she said. “Why? Because planters got too cold for bulbs to survive the winter.”

She went on to say the message is to “recognize what kind of effort is required… weed furiously and water carefully.”

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