OXFORD — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior Cassidy MacIsaac is no stranger to making adjustments and making them work for her.

Cassidy MacIssac of Oxford is happy to embrace new challenges however she finds them. Supplied photo

MacIsaac enrolled at Oxford Hills Tech School’s engineering and architectural design class her sophomore year. But when asked if her plans are to become an architect, she laughed and said, “actually, no.”

She is going to major in chemistry instead.

“I thought I was going to be an architect for years,” she said. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always like drawing house plans. Things like that. When I saw that they offered it in school I thought I’d do it. I do really enjoy it. But I don’t think I’d want to do it for the rest of my life. Then in my junior year I took a chemistry class and I really enjoyed it.

“One thing that I found about chemistry is that there is always a correct answer. If you do something wrong, you’ll know it. I don’t do as well with things that don’t have a structure or one specific answer. So I really like that.”

She also loves the hands-on approach of working in a lab and being able to learn from doing instead of just reading in a text book. From the time she first walked into her chemistry class she knew it was for her.

“The teacher blew something up on the first day in front of the class, and I knew right then that I would definitely enjoy that class,” she recalled. “He added some chemical inside a water bottle, capped it, and then something went on in the bottle. It blew the cap off of it and made a really loud bang.

“Then he caught some other stuff on fire the same day. He had this ramp and he put a flammable chemical on it and it caught fire. It was cool.”

Her mind made up to trade buildings for experiments, MacIsaac is taking more chemistry classes this year while she makes her college career plans. She is looking at three, two in the Boston area and also the University of Southern Maine.

MacIsaac uses a flexible approach to athletics as well. A soccer player since kindergarten, and after four years on OHCHS’ varsity team, she traded her natural position of defensive right wing to play goalie during her junior year.

Cassidy MacIsaac wrapped up her high school soccer career playing goalie. Supplied image

“Coach asked if I would be willing to swap over and mentor the starting goalie, who was a freshman,” she said. “I had the field knowledge but it was still a steep learning curve. And it’s worked out really well for both of us. I love her, she is so great. We constantly learned from each other.

“Being 5’ 10’’, having height really helps at goal. And having the experience of how the field shifts and the ball can turn. She gave me pointers at goal and I gave her pointers on field play. We mentored each other.”

The two players formed a partnership that continued during the fall 2020 season – one would start at goal and the other on defense, and then they would swap positions for the second half.

“It was different for me. I would have a few butterflies before the game would start. But then the whistle would blow and it would be on.

That MacIsaac was able to play her last season took some adjustments too. During the last game of the 2019 season, while in goal, she tore her Achilles heel. Complications as she healed led to the need for surgery, which had to be postponed because of the pandemic.

“I healed, but then developed a cyst,” she explained. “I was supposed to have it removed in the spring, but then had to wait three or four months. I could still walk and do stairs, but as I got closer to my surgery date I was feeling it.

“I was only on crutches after that for about a week. It took much less time than I had expected.”

MacIsaac rehabbed well enough to play her senior year. Even without the chance for playoffs, she said it was still a great final season.

“It was different this year, playing only teams closer to home. Without the pressure of playoffs, I was able to play more for the love of the sport and not a trophy. I really enjoyed the season, even with with all the restrictions.”

Outside of school, MacIsaac is involved with Norway Parks & Recreation, having sat on the Board for four years. She worked on the Downtown Festival and Easter Festival and with little league booster teams as a soccer and basketball coach.

And in the time she spent sheltering at home during the early days of the pandemic she has become more concerned with environmental issues. Reading about ways to fight climate change, she decided to incorporate what she learned about green burials into her architectural design thesis – the design of an eco-friendly burial service.

“I don’t want to say it’s weird, but it was different,” she said. “I designed an eco-friendly funeral home. That uses a better way for when you’ve passed. The embalming chemicals that are used, they seep into the ecosystem. And cemeteries take up up a lot of land.

“I learned that you can be turned into a tree, or into a coral reef. You can use a natural, biodegradable coffin, like an untreated pine box. To be turned into a tree, your body gets put into a pod and a tree gets rooted to the pod. It feeds off of you and is planted, so you become part of the tree and help it grow.

“With the coral reef, you get cremated with no chemicals, and then your ashes are mixed with concrete and poured in a coral reef mold. The molds get dropped off in the ocean so that new reefs can grow from them.”

She came up with her unique thesis as she became more passionate about climate change last year. The eco-friendly funeral service is a hypothetical design but there are other, simpler ways MacIsaac has pledged to to fight climate change – especially how plastics are used.

“Disposable razors, plastic … scrubbers for washing dishes, I’m sort of pushing my family to look at what we use at home and replace plastics with other tools. Dryer sheets that you use once and throw away? We should use wool dryer balls that work for months.

“It’s a slow push, but we’re getting there. I’m only just starting to learn about all this and there is a lot to do.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.