Cobscook Students Experience Bill Coperthwaite’s Legacy


By Augustus Look, 

Cobscook student


Students from the Cobscook Experiential Program just finished their annual Winter Expedition, an opportunity to travel and learn outside of the classroom. This year, students stayed in Bucks Harbor, ME where they studied human connections to nature at the Dickinson's Reach Community, which offers individuals and small groups the opportunity to explore different ideas, skills, and their own creativity. Dickinson’s Reach is a property that was owned by the late Bill Coperthwaite whose goal was to enable everyone to have control over their lives in order to create a better living community.

The students at Cobscook were able to meet with people who knew and were mentored by Bill Coperthwaite, one of whom was Erik Squire. Erik taught the group how to carve spoons out of a block of birch, something Bill also taught people. Building a thing was something that Bill and his students loved, especially the way tools empowered a person to create something functional and beautiful.

According to Cobscook student Lexie Morrill, “I learned what simplicity means, and how to live that way on your own terms.” Her classmate Jacob Locke said, “We learned that you can enjoy a simple life just as much as a city life.” Additionally, senior Ryan Fitzgerald commented, “It was nice to take advantage of the tools provided to us and to use those to carve spoons.”   

The Cobscook Experiential Program for High School Students offers up to four learning expeditions a year. Each trip is tied to academic courses. This year the winter trip was tied to their health and a class called living and learning in community. Their trip to Dickinson’s Reach helped them study living with simplicity and nutrition concepts. Their next trip to Washington, D.C will take place in April. 

The Cobscook Experiential Program for High School Students is a program of Calais High School offered at the Cobscook Community Learning Center, and is open to students in eastern Washington County. Cobscook is accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year. Those interested in more information can visit or call 207-733-2233.

Above, Michael Giudilli, Mason Fortier,  Ryan Fitzgerald and Jacob Locke hold blocks of birch, soon to become spoons.