PARIS — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School has awarded senior Brendan Palmer with The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen Award.

According to OHCHS Principal Paul Bickford, the award is based on the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.

“Brendan was a clear choice, with his community service and the leadership he provides both at the school and district levels,” Bickford told the Advertiser Democrat in an email statement. “He is very active in student government, clubs, and athletics. He serves as a student member on the SAD 17 School Board, is Salutatorian of the Class of 2023 and attended Boys State, and has logged 200 hours of community service.”

Senior Brendan Palmer has earned Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s DAR Good Citizen Award. Palmer is pictured during a school board meeting earlier this year, where he has served as a student representative for the last two years. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

Palmer, who lives in Norway, will attend Villanova University in Pennsylvania following his graduation from OHCHS, where he will study economics. In addition to his interest in global markets, he has already gained experience in civics, having participated in Dirigo State (formerly known as Girls’ State and Boys’ State) in 2022, and serving his second term as student representative to Maine School Administrative District 17’s school board.

“Mr. Moccia [the high school’s former principal] asked me last year if I would like to be a member of the school board,” Palmer said. “I immediately said ‘yes,’ I had no idea what I would have to do but it’s pretty rare for anyone to get that opportunity. I really enjoy it.

“It’s really complicated. I’ve taken government class at school so it’s really interesting to see how it goes down. Especially when you get to a disagreement and you see how people work that out. Everyone seems cordial to each other, even though you hit on some hot topics.”


Palmer sits at school board meetings alongside junior Michaela Holbrook. The two provide the board with updates on school curricular and extracurricular activities, with former Principal Moccia and currently Principal Bickford for guidance on topics and how to present them.

Dirigo State is an annual week-long youth leadership program held at Thomas College in Waterville where participating high school students and  create and run mock governments based on the principles of Maine’s state government.

“Janet Mills was there, and Jared Golden. It was a really cool experience to learn from people who run our government, and represent Maine,” he said of the experience.

Palmer’s 200 hours of logged customer service is way beyond the graduation requirement. He has focused his time on youth organizations, coaching summer basketball and refereeing soccer games. He has also volunteered for the Pink Feather Foundation in Norway.

Palmer’s senior project is a partnership with his friend Cole Pulkkinen. The two are organizing a snack shack fundraiser to take place during high school baseball games this spring, with the proceeds being donated to the Alzheimer’s Association of Maine.

“My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. It’s hard to be close to someone with [the disease] because they  don’t know what’s happening to them,” Palmer said. “It affects the people around them …. too. We laugh at things when we can. We keep things light and find strength through laughter.”


Palmer’s grandmother lives in her own home and is a mainstay at Viking basketball games where he plays and his uncle, Shane Slicer, coaches.

“Last year I remember one game, my uncle drawing up a play, and I look behind me and she’s in our huddle,” he said. “To say that she loved us so much.”

In addition to basketball, Palmer also played on OHCHS’ soccer team and served as captain during last season.

“Going into it, with the other captains Colby Bennett and Emmett Hand, we knew it would be a rebuilding year,” Palmer said. “We took it as a character building year. For us, it was about showing the younger guys what it means to be part of a team and be part of something that is bigger than themselves. I think we did a good job guiding them along. It was a rough year but everyone did pretty well and improved over the course of the year, and that’s what we were looking for.”

Palmer credits his dad Chris Palmer for being his role model throughout his life.

OHCHS’ Good Citizen Award honoree Brendan Palmer (center) with his parent Bobbi-Jean and Chris Palmer. Courtesy Brewster Burns

“My dad was a business executive and traveled a lot. The younger me just always wanted to spend more time with him,” Palmer said. “And when I turned about 14, he retired and now works from home. And just being able to spend time with him has been amazing. Having him see me grow into the person I am today, I am so thankful for that.”


He also gave a shout-out to John Pinto, OHCHS history teacher and chair of the school’s social studies department, for mentoring him through his high school career.

“During my sophomore year I took AP World History with Mr. Pinto,” he said. “And I realized I love history, and government. It’s something I kind of discovered a passion for at school. So I really appreciate him. He’s been the go-to guy for me. If I’ve had a problem or need advice, I go to him. Having someone like that in my corner has been really helpful. I’ve learned a lot in his class, but also just from talking to him.”

Palmer’s role models growing up and his leadership supporting youth, peers and teammates have all contributed to earning his most recent honor.

“Brendan is a wonderful young adult who has made a significant positive impact on OHCHS,” Bickford summarized. “His involvement in the school and his dedication to community service highlight why Brendan has been selected as the DAR Good Citizen for OHCHS.”


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