FARMINGTON — 2012 Mt. Blue high school graduate Addie Cullenberg has launched an online fundraiser with the goal of raising $1,000 to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for Mt. Blue High School’s 51 teachers. The campaign is on the crowdfunding site and was posted two days prior to this week’s RSU 9 school board’s approval of hybrid return to school models. 

“There’s 51 teachers at the school so I was doing the math and found out how much I would be able to purchase if I got $1,000. So far, I’ve only raised $140, but honestly at this point, anything is better than nothing,” Cullenberg said in a phone interview. “So I’ve purchased 25 reusable masks, 10 face shields, 12 large bottles of hand sanitizer and 50 pairs of disposable gloves. And the next hopeful purchase with any donation that comes in now is a Plexiglass to make into safety screens to go around teachers’ desks.”

2012 Mt. Blue graduate Addie Cullenberg now resides in Boston and operates her own watercolor wedding invitation design business. She was able to work remotely and return to Farmington for a couple of months. Observing the differences between Franklin County and Boston residents following COVID-19 precautions contributed to her motivation to launch her fundraiser for personal protective equipment for Mt. Blue teachers. Photo courtesy of Addie Cullenberg

Cullenberg, who currently resides in Boston, said that after listening to her teacher friends and her father, who is a Mt. Blue High School teacher, discuss the uncertainty of the upcoming school year, she was inspired to launch the fundraiser.

“My biggest motivator in starting it was wondering if there truly is a safe way to reopen schools, and obviously this is what school boards and superintendents and college presidents have tried to strategize and plan for these past couple of months,” Cullenberg said. “But there have just been so many questions that teachers have been asking about the school year and have gone unanswered and they’re starting school, supposedly, in a couple of weeks.”

RSU 9 will receive $2.8 million from the CARES Act to prepare for reopening schools under the state’s CDC guidelines and purchase PPE for its staff. Cullenberg was aware of this additional funding, but said that she still wanted to raise money for teachers to provide extra support.

“A lot of teachers fall into the high-risk category simply because of their age, but I think for me, to start this was also because of how many things don’t have set in stone answers yet,” Cullenberg said. “I kind of thought, it was a time to act just to have a cushion and reassurance that something would happen.”


Cullenberg also said that spending a few months with her family in Farmington over the summer and then returning to Boston really impacted her perception of the coronavirus. She noticed fewer people in Franklin County taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing than people were in Boston.

“I feel like being in that remote area of Maine kind of feels like a bubble where it doesn’t seem like it’s even happening because of how few people are treating it like something serious,” Cullenberg said. “Honestly, that could have been a bit of a motivator as well, coming back here and being re-reminded that COVID is still very much still a thing.”

The unknown variables going into the school year and the fear of people not following safety precautions all contributed to Cullenberg’s motives for the fundraiser. But Cullenberg also said that she simply wanted to give back to Mt. Blue High School teachers, many of whom as she noted, fall into the high risk category simply because of their age.

“I think the biggest thing is that I’ve been picturing the faces of all of the teachers at Mt. Blue who taught when I was at Mt. Blue, at this point over a decade ago, who are still teaching there,” Cullenberg said. “And they’re honestly, they’re all such selfless human beings. I just want them to feel safe and supported when things start back up again because that’s the main thing, that they feel backed and supported by their community.” 

Cullenberg’s fundraiser can be accessed at There is no end date for the campaign and all of the proceeds go directly towards the purchase of PPE for the high school teachers. The equipment is purchased online by Cullenberg and shipped to her father’s house in Farmington who will distribute the PPE to his coworkers.


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