Fryeburg math team garners state championship

4-7-fryeburg-academy-gold-math-teamThe Fyeburg Academy Gold team took top honors in the Maine Math State Championships on Tuesday. Team member are (front row, from left) Sindy Du, Brian Gong (holding photo of captain QiaQiaji, Su Oh, Mike Chen and Alex Liu. Back row (from left) Jason Huang, Erik Porter, Ethan Wong, Rondo Chang, Lucia Chen and Coach Erik Gustafson. (COURTESY PHOTO)FRYEBURG, Maine — Fryeburg Academy successfully defended its Maine State Math Meet title on Tuesday. Ten members of the Fryeburg Gold team attended the annual meet at the Augusta Civic Center, where 888 of the top math students in Pine Tree State were present, representing 96 teams.

The Raiders entered the fray ranked first in Division B and third overall.

The morning rounds consisted of six individual rounds of three questions each, covering a wide variety of math areas, including algebra, geometry, probability and trigonometry. After three rounds, Fryeburg opened a solid lead, leading rival John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Maine, by 33 points.

After Rounds 4-6, the Fryeburg Gold team came out on top, leading the B division with 509 points out of a possible 720, with John Bapst close on their heels at 495 points.

Awards were presented for the Maine Association of Math Leagues season top scorers.

The season consisted of five monthly math meets from September through March in which all students took identical tests at regional high schools.

Fryeburg co-captain Qia Qia Ji, who was unable to attend the meet, was awarded a silver chalice and $200 as the third place overall mathlete in the state of Maine.

Co-captain Ethan Wang accepted a plaque for Maine's third best math team for all divisions.

Division A schools Bangor High and the Maine School of Science and Math were the first- and second-place schools this year.

4-7-fryeburg-academy-math-team-at-augusta-civic-center-math-teamsTen members of the Fryeburg Gold team attended the annual meet at the Augusta Civic Center, where 888 of the top math students in Pine Tree State were present, representing 96 teams. (COURTESY PHOTO)Local math phenom Erik Porter led the Fryeburg Gold Team in the morning individual rounds with a score of 68 points, answering 17 out of 18 difficult questions correctly. He placed 10th overall and fifth in the Junior Division. Mike Chen was awarded a state medal as the seventh best junior in the individual morning rounds, with a score of 63 points.

After the awards ceremony, the teams gathered at their assigned tables on the floor of the Civic Center and began the team rounds. The first two rounds were relay rounds, in which each student solved one problem, then passed the answer back to a teammate. This answer, combined with the answer for the next students question was in turn passed back, until a final team answer and all five teammates answers were written on a scorecard.

If the final team answer was correct, the team was given an additional 10 points for the round. The next two rounds consisted of all 10 team members working together on 8 questions in a group setting. The Fryeburg team remained intensely focused and composed for both rounds.

After the dust settled, scores were tabulated and the teams anxiously awaited the results. In Division B, consisting of medium-sized high schools, the Raider cipherers held on to their morning lead and came out on top with a team total of 657 points, 15 points ahead of contender John Bapst. The Fryeburg Gold team was awarded a first place plaque for Division B and a third place plaque for all four divisions combined.

Team members and individual scores were: Erik Porter: 68 points, 10th place overall, Mike Chen: 63 points, 24th place, Ethan Wang: 60 points, 33rd place, Alex Liu: 58 points, 38th place, Jason Huang: 52 points, 58th place, Sindy Du: 52 points, 58th place, Brain Gong: 50 points, 66th place, Su Hyang Oh: 45 points, 92nd place, Lucia Chen: 37 points, 130th place, and Rondo Chang: 24 points, 274th place.

"It was an honor to work with such a talented and ambitious group of students this year," Coach Erik Gustafson stated. "Their hard work, dedication and poise under pressure were rewarded with another State Math Championship title for Fryeburg Academy."

Pine Tree students take kindness to another level

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Students at Pine Tree School know the importance of being kind to one another.

Students at the Center Conway K-6 school have always celebrated the 100th day of school, usually with an assembly, but for the past two years they've taken a whole different approach — one that has benefited seven local charities.

"A parent of a sixth grader wrote me an email (two years ago) saying, 'Wouldn't it be neat if (the school) picked a charity and gave back,'" Principal Aimee Frechette said. "I said we can do bigger than that, let's pick seven. I thought it was really important to go beyond the typical 100th-day celebration."

Frechette said students and staff spent the month of January promoting kindness. They set a goal of 1,000 random acts of kindness for the month, keeping tally marks in classrooms for each good deed.

"When caught being kind, students collected tally marks that indicated the number of kind acts they were caught engaging in within our school," Frechette explained. "At the end of the month, at our showcase (assembly), we tallied the number of kindness acts."

The students not only reached their mark, but blew right by it, ending up with 1,235 acts over four weeks.

"At that point I added an additional challenge to everyone," Frechette said. "In conjunction with celebrating the 100th day of school, let's collect 100 items to donate to local charities and non-profit organizations to continue to promote kindness into the community."

Feb. 12 marked the 100th day of school, but on Feb. 1, Frechette presented the idea to each of the grades, K-6. The students quickly embraced the challenge.

Fifth grader Ben Biche and his schoolmates warmed to the new challenge.

"All the classes had to do different things," Ben said. "My brother is in kindergarten, his class had to collect over 100 coins for Jen's Friends. When I was in kindergarten we went to Mineral Springs (Care and Rehab Center) to play mancala (an ancient board game). This year we wrote Valentine's."

Kindergarten students collected more than 100 coins for Jen's Friends.

First graders collected more than 100 food items for end 68 Hours of Hunger.

Second graders collected more than 100 items for the Conway Area Humane Society, responding to the shelter's wish list for items such as cat and dog treats, cat toys, paper towels, toilet paper, issues, trash bags and other items

Third graders gathered more than 100 articles of clothing for the MWV Children's Museum thrift store.

Fourth graders painted more than 100 pieces of artwork for patients at Memorial Hospital.

Fifth graders made and wrote 100 Valentine's Day cards for residents of Mineral Springs Care and Rehab Center.

Sixth graders collected more than 100 books to donate to Little Hands, Big Dreams Childcare Center.

On Feb. 12, as part of the whole day kindness celebration, the students traveled to each of the organizations to deliver their donated items.

"We came up with a form letter that we sent home to parents, and the response was overwhelming," Frechette said. "Collectively Pine Tree School students gathered over 1,000 items to donate in celebration of the 100th day. It was incredible to see these acts of kindness.

"I think this kind of speaks to the school climate and culture here," she continued. "Our kids are learning to be productive citizens."

"We're learning about kindness on a new level," Ben said.

Will Pine Tree continue this new tradition?

"Absolutely," Frechette said, smiling. "My hope is that each year we'll be able to expand on it. It was a fun project, one the kids really got into."


Fryeburg Academy Math Team captures regional championship

By Erik Gustafson

3-11-the-2015-16-fryeburg-academy-math-teamsTwenty-five members of the Fryeburg Academy Math Team competed at the Pi Cone North Math League championships on Wednesday. (COURTESY PHOTO)"Two parallel planes each intersect the same sphere. One passes through the center of the sphere and the other bisects the radius. Find the ratio of the area of the larger circle of the intersection to that of the smaller circle of the intersection of the planes and the sphere."

For those of us with math anxiety, such problems are the source of uncomfortable memories of struggling with the often arcane concepts of high school geometry. For the rare few, however, questions such as these are a piece of cake. This question, and many more like it, were solved by high school mathletes throughout the state of Maine this year.

Twenty-five members of the Fryeburg Academy Math Team competed at the Pi Cone North Math League championships on Wednesday. Ten regional Maine high schools, represented by over 120 students on 16 teams, vied for both team and individual honors. The Pi Cone North League is a member of the Maine Association of Math Leagues, consisting of 144 Maine high school math teams.

Students compete in five individual rounds of three questions each, and one team round of nine questions. The questions are based on a wide variety of high school math subjects such as geometry, algebra, trigonometry and statistics. The Pi Cone North League competes in five monthly meets, held at local Maine high schools. Team and individual awards were presented at the final meet hosted by Lake Region High School.

With sharpened pencils and furrowed brows, the Fryeburg Academy teams attacked the rigorous math problems and finished the season with flying colors. The Fryeburg Gold Team bagged the league championship with a season total of 1,657 points. Oxford Hills took second place with 1,202 points, and the Hebron Academy Green team placed third with 1,049 points. The Fryeburg Silver team nabbed fourth place with 985 points.

Individual medals were awarded to the top four overall mathletes and also for the top scorers at each grade level. Fryeburg Academy had three of the top four Pi Cone North competitors this year. Fryeburg senior QiaQia Ji led the league with a season-aggregate of 273 points followed by her teammate, junior Mike Chen, with a score of 245 points. Ben Andrews of Oxford Hills placed third with 241 points and Fryeburg's Ethan Wang was fourth with 238 points.

Fryeburg Gold Team members Alex Liu and Jason Huang were given medals for the top seniors. Erik Porter and Brain Gong were awarded medals as top juniors and Jake Zhu and Kate Jin took home medals for top sophomores.

Ten Fryeburg Gold Team members will compete in the Maine Association of Math Leagues State Championships in Augusta on April 5. Over 144 teams will be represented. Fryeburg is currently ranked No. 3 overall in the state and No. 1 in its division. Of the top 25 students in the state of Maine, Fryeburg is represented by QiaQia Ji, Mike Chen, Ethan Wang and Erik Porter.

Coach Erik Gustafson, in his first year helm of the Raiders, says of the Fryeburg Academy Math Team, "It has been a privilege to work with such a talented and dedicated group of students. Their success and enthusiasm is a direct result of the quality education available at Fryeburg Academy."

If you are still pondering the problem posed at the beginning of the article, the answer is 4:3.


Under the SAU 9 Umbrella: Academians, athletes, entrepreneurs, and volunteers

Welcome to the SAU 9's biweekly column. SAU 9 is comprised of five elementary schools, a middle school, high school and a career and technical center. This bi-weekly column will highlight four schools per column. This week will focus on Jackson Grammar School, Josiah Bartlett Elementary School, Kennett High School, and the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center.

Jackson Grammar School

The Jackson Grammar School Pledge opens with: "At Jackson Grammar School we respect all people. We respect the world, indoors and out." Winter presents a great opportunity to be out, and JGS students and staff embrace it. Parent and volunteer involvement make possible the after-school Nordic skiing program hosted by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation and the half-day Eastern Slope Ski Club alpine skiing program based at Black Mountain Ski Area.

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are part of the JGS physical education curriculum. Students have access to the nature trail and outdoor classroom using snow shoes, donated by Memorial Hospital, one of the Health and Wellness Committee initiatives led by school nurse Helen Crowell. Nordic ski season will culminate in the Parent Teacher Organization ski-a-thon, a fundraiser that happens on Read Across America Day in March and benefits local and international literacy projects, the PTO's student programming, and JSTF youth programs.

Turning indoors, JGS teachers and enrichment coordinator Megan Johnson have incorporated new programs to support differentiated learning in vocabulary and math in each of the multi-age classrooms. Career interviews continue at the all-school meeting, JGS's weekly gathering of students, staff, parents and community members. So far, students have interviewed the police chief, a local baker, and the town librarian to learn how school was important to them as they pursued their career goals. These visits echo the end of our school pledge: "When we come to Jackson Grammar School, we come for learning, community, and fun!" For more information on the multi-age, experiential learning programs visit the website

Josiah Bartlett Elementary School

Josiah Bartlett Elementary School accomplishes many things working together with their community. In early fall, JBES had one of its best fundraisers ever. Parents, students, friends and townsfolk purchased candles that helped raise an incredible $2,292.20. All of that went into the Children of Bartlett School (COBS) fund to help children at the school participate in all school and sports activities.

JBES Student Council members had a late fall gift card and frozen turkey drive with all proceeds going to the Glen Food Pantry. They also held a non-perishable food drive just before Christmas. Students in fifth and sixth grade media classes donated funds to the Glen Food Pantry also. These students run the school store, and just before the holidays they gave $100 from their profits to help out members in the community.

Kennett High School

Kennett students are successful scholars, athletes, volunteers, and some KHS students are all of the above. Thirty-three KHS seniors were recognized by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association as scholar athletes at a ceremony in Conway on Feb. 1. In order to qualify, a student must be a member of at least two NHIAA-recognized varsity sports, have maintained a minimum B+ grade-point average for his/her high school career, and demonstrated proven leadership skills and community service involvement.

Another community service that KHS students are providing is the Eagle's Clawset, which opened on Thursday, Feb. 4. It is a "free boutique" that is open to all students, no matter the need. The Clawset offers clothing, shoes, accessories, canned and dry goods, and school supplies. The grand opening was dedicated to Starr Hill, who was an inspiration for the original Eagle's Clawset.

Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center

The theme at the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center this year is "Opportunities for Career Success!" Students in both advanced machine tool and health science are earning college credits for classes now. The aforementioned machine tool students have also earned certifications making them NASA contractors.

The Kennett Coders won their second consecutive state championship in a row at the New Hampshire-Vermont State Championships. Now they are headed to their fourth consecutive World Championship appearance in Kentucky.

From skiing to enrichments to fundraising and food drives, academic and extracurricular successes, state champions and NASA contractors, the students of SAU 9 are having a great 2015-2016. SAU 9 students are academians, athletes, entrepreneurs, and volunteers. Let's celebrate our well-rounded students of the Mount Washington Valley!


The Waldorf Way: An exploration into the sense of touch

By Jennifer Kennerk

One of the most important contributions Rudolf Steiner made to spiritual science was that of the 12 senses. Steiner saw that the human being is utilizing a much more complex system of sense impressions in his/her interaction with the world than the traditional five senses allow for. The traditional five senses only provide for a very superficial understanding of the human experience, and if we wish to gain a deeper insight into humanity, then it is necessary to expand our knowledge of the human senses and how they work.

The first four of these 12 senses are known as the lower senses, or the foundational senses. They are the senses of touch, life, balance and self-movement. These four senses are of the utmost importance to parents and educators alike, as they provide the foundation children need in order to achieve academic, social and emotional success. We regularly see children in the grades that are struggling academically, socially or emotionally and we may be at a loss as to how to help them. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, you should first look to the lower senses. The lower senses build three capacities in children:

Spatial orientation — knowing where you are in space, and how to relate to it.

Body geography — knowing the geography of your own body and how to use it.

Dominance — established dominance on either the right or the left side of the body

These three capacities are the foundation for all academic, social and emotional growth. Any type of learning requires the acquisition of skills, and skills cannot be acquired without foundational capacity. The four lower senses provide the capacity from which all skill learning is built. Over these next four issues, I will be giving an introduction into each of the lower senses, starting with the sense of touch.

An exploration into the sense of touch

The sense of touch is one of the four lower senses, which are primarily developed during the first seven years of life. All of the lower senses are related to the physical body, to the metabolic-limb system and to the will. When properly developed, they allow us to have an objective experience of our own subjectivity.

The sense of touch is not merely about the sensations that we feel when we touch something. For instance, when I touch an ice cube I think and feel many things. I think, "This is cold!" or I feel how the ice is wet, or hard. I may even feel pain if I hold the ice for too long. However, none of these thoughts or feelings are derived from our sense of touch. The sensation of cold actually comes from the sense of warmth (or temperature). The awareness of wet or hard has more to do with our own sense of self-movement than with actual touch. The experience of pain is linked to our life sense. So, what then, do we mean by the sense of touch?

When I hold the ice in my hand, the ice and my physical body come into contact with one another, and I experience the ice and myself as two separate things. It is not the sensations that I experience when I touch the ice that represents the sense of touch, but the boundary I come up against. It is the sense of touch that informs us that we are all individuals, separated from the outer world, with our own evolving consciousness and self-awareness.

The sense of touch is the inner sense of where I end and where the outer world begins. It allows us to understand our own individual place in the world, and also to understand that others have their own individuality as well.

The sense of touch provides the human being the ability to understand it's own uniqueness, and therefore the uniqueness of others. It is the only reason that an "other" can exist at all, because it provides a barrier between ourselves and everything that surrounds us. It is the sense of touch that separates us from each other and separates us from the world.

Paradoxically, it is the same sense of touch that we use to seek connection. When we want to feel closer to others, we reach out and touch them, and it is this touching of an "other" which allows another layer of intimacy to be reached. Whatever I touch also touches me and I feel a connection. The sense of touch is what allows us to be in a constant kind of exchange with the external world, while at the same time, being completely self-contained within the boundaries of the skin.

Touch is the foundation of the other senses because what we experience through touch is also felt in the other three lower senses; life, movement and balance. When we touch something an experience is had, and life, movement and balance then interpret this experience. So we see that touch is a kind of space where we can experience and interpret the other three, either separately or in combination. Again, to use the previous example of touching a piece of ice, we can see that we are using many of our senses as our hand comes into contact with the ice, but it is our sense of touch that provides the contact and is a place where the totality of the experience can be had.

Without the sense of touch, we would all feel totally at one with the cosmos, with no awareness of where we end and where anything else begins. Touch allows for the individuality of the snowflake amidst the storm of snow. The touch sense is expressed in the zodiac as Libra, the scales, representing the balance between our inner and outer consciousness. It is the balance between inner and outer worlds; our microcosm to the macrocosm.

Jennifer Kennerk is first grade teacher at the White Mountain Waldorf School in Albany.