JMG Closing Ceremony Highlights Student Achievements

Photo: Chloe Schafer-Phelan and BJ Moholland present a $500 check to Gilda McPhee, a volunteer at the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry. The food pantry was one of two programs that Calais JMG students chose to support. (Submitted photo).

By Lura Jackson

 At the end of each school year, the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates [JMG] program at Calais High School holds a closing ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of its participating students throughout the year. This year’s ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 16th in the CMHS cafeteria. The JMG students took the stage and faced an appreciative audience of family, friends, staff, and administration.

JMG Specialist Toby Cole introduced the efforts of the students over the past year, including the individual students that had won awards during the annual Career Development Conference. Kylie Donovan, Colt Delaney, Halen Harris, Branden Gillespie and Devin Pellerin were among the award-winning students recognized at the conference.

Prior to the closing ceremony, JMG students held a check-giving presentation with two local non-profit organizations. As part of the statewide Jumpstart Our Youth [JOY] program, a collaboration between the Unity Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation, and the UniTel, Inc., JMG students are tasked during the year with meticulously reviewing grant proposals from local non-profits. Funds are provided by the JOY program to each chapter of JMG to be distributed as the students see fit. Per the JMG website, “The goal of the JOY program is to increase student awareness about the critical role charities play in meeting overwhelming community needs, and to develop an understanding of community service as hands-on volunteerism paired with thoughtful grant making and stewardship.”

 This year’s JMG JOY funds were given to the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry to assist with their backpack program and to the Blue Devil Fund to assist in starting two new programs to help with school supplies and birthday party supplies. The backpack program provides young children with a backpack of food to bring home during the weekend to ensure that their food needs may be met, while the Blue Devil Fund fulfills the needs of students and community members as appropriate. Both programs received $500.

Presenting a check for $500 to Blue Devil Fund board member Joe Footer is Halen Harris and Kevin Bailey. The Blue Devil Fund was one of two local charities chosen by JMG students to support. (Submitted photo).