March 28, 2023

 Greetings staff, students, families, and RSU 67 communities, 

 While snow still blankets much of the region, there are signs that the recent warming trend is slowly clearing winter’s grip on us.  It is hard to believe that the school year has gone by so quickly.  At the time of this writing, there are just 13 school days until the start of April vacation, 50 student days left in the school year, and Mattanawcook Academy graduation is only 10 weeks from this coming weekend.  If the district does not use any additional snow/emergency days this year, our last student day will be Wednesday, June 14th (early release).  While there are always things to write about during this busy time of year, the focus of this week’s edition of the Superintendent’s Corner is a recent Unified Basketball game between Mattanawcook Junior High School and Brewer Community School.

Since its Maine debut in 2015, Unified Basketball has become wildly popular all across the state, and if the excitement in our community is any indicator, I am confident that Unified Basketball is here to stay in RSU 67!  Supported by a partnership between the Maine Principals Association and Maine Special Olympics, Unified Sports promotes physical activity, teamwork, sportsmanship, and social inclusion.  Unified Basketball partners students with disabilities with students without developmental disabilities to train, compete, and represent their schools through the game of basketball.

Last week, I attended the Unified Basketball game between Mattanawcook Junior High School and Brewer Community School.  The atmosphere was nothing short of electric.  When I arrived at Mattanawcook Junior High School about 30 minutes before the game, the admission line looked to be more than 100 people long and extended through the main entrance.  Community members, parents, family members, students, and staff patiently waited for admission while the gymnasium quickly filled to capacity. Because of the large crowd, the administration opened the stage area for staff.  I sat on the stage with what appeared to be the entire staff of Mattanawcook Junior High. 

The game itself rivaled the excitement of any event I had ever attended.  Although the student-athletes were there to compete, it was clear that winning wasn’t their main objective.  When either team scored, the crowd roared in excitement and the smiles on the faces of the student-athletes were something I will never forget.  As the student-athletes sat just in front of the stage, staff members cheered loudly and continuously shouted words of encouragement.  As I witnessed the entire RSU 67 school community coming together in support of our students, I have never been prouder to be an educator or to be part of any organization.          

As the game came to an end, I don’t recall anyone looking at the scoreboard.  Instead, there were just smiles, laughter, and high-fives for everyone.  As those in attendance congratulated the student-athletes, I could sense the pride and support that each one of our student-athletes must have felt, a feeling that I hope they carry with them forever.    

Thank you, coaches, staff, administrators, families, and community members for supporting our students, and the important lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship, kindness, and inclusion for all in RSU 67.  Thank you, students, and student-athletes for being amazing ambassadors for our schools and for our communities.   Good luck with the remainder of the season and above all, know that we are all very proud of you!

Until next time……