Portland schools notebook: Homeless help student collect box tops, ‘Wastewater 101’ to premiere

It’s been a long time since I’ve written up a Portland Public Schools notebook wrapping up some of the latest goings-on in the district. What with both the students and myself ready to embark upon a long week of holiday vacation, what better time than now?

Homeless pitch in on box tops drive

Many school supporters and parents out there know about the Box Tops for Education program founded a decade and a half ago by breakfast cereal maker General Mills, in which participating companies donate money for every box top clipped and collected by schools.

Well, Presumpscot Elementary School third grader Max Ngabo decided he wanted to collect more box tops than anyone ever had before to help his school raise money.

Ngabo always looks for the box tops when he accompanies his mother, Wanda Brann, to Portland’s recycling center on Marginal Way, according to a district news release. Some homeless people who frequent the center in search of recyclables asked what the young man was up to and, when they found out, they pledged to look for box tops for him as well.

Now, Ngabo and his friends have collected a total of 2,000 box tops and labels from the product containers of participating manufacturers. On one occasion, a man watching Ngabo and his mother pawing through the recyclables was so impressed by their efforts he donated $100 to the school directly.

‘Wastewater 101’

On Jan. 4 at 8:30 a.m., students from King Middle School’s seventh grade classes will host the premiere of their new eight-minute video “Wastewater 101.”

Here’s more about that project as described in a Portland Water District announcement:

Students spent several weeks studying water concepts and wastewater treatment as part of the Portland Water District’s environmental education outreach program. As their capstone project, students created a video describing wastewater treatment and its importance to society.  A former King Middle student who is currently enrolled at the New England School of Communications assisted with video production. In connection with the video, PWD will launch a wastewater teaching guide, free to area educators.  The guide includes lessons, background information, articles, and activities.

The premiere will be shown at the school library on Deering Avenue.

International Studies Schools Network informational night

Here’s an announcement from the district on an upcoming event:

Deering High School will hold an informational meeting about the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) on January 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

Speakers will include Brandon Wiley, ISSN director, Don Proffit, Deeringʼs ISSN coach, and Deering Principal Ira Waltz.

The meeting is open to Deering families, the families of Portland eighth graders and anyone else interested in learning more about ISSN. Next year, Deering will become the first ISSN school in New England and one of about 30 across the country. For more information, please call 874-8260.

If you’re wondering what the International Studies Schools Network is, click here.

Painting for a Purpose awards $500 each for four Portland student projects

Earlier this week, Portland Public Schools announced that four student projects were awarded $500 grants by the nonprofit organization Painting for a Purpose.

According to a district announcement:

  • Dalycia Greeley and Rose Stait, fourth graders at Reiche Community School, will use their grant to purchase used sewing machines and supplies for the school’s Sewing Club. The club collects, recycles and cleans juice pouches, then sews them into useful items such as tote bags. The students’ work is sold at a local store and the money raised funds school field trips.
  • Jenny Cheim, a Deering High School student, received a grant for a school composting and gardening project. The project aims to reduce waste at the school by composting.  Students will learn how to garden using compost and how to cook healthy meals using produce from the garden.
  • Megan Anderson, a Portland High School student, saw the need to create more space for art students to display their work at the school. She will use the grant to purchase panels that will be installed on the upper walls of the building. The first art to be exhibited in the new space will be scenes of Portland High created by students.
  • Students in Lincoln Middle School’s Photography Club recognized that fifth graders often are nervous about coming to middle school. The club members will survey the fifth graders, find out what they are nervous about and take pictures to get them enthusiastic about coming to middle school. The pictures of happy students, classroom activities and fun events will be put into a book and sent to each elementary school.


Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.