Welcome to the website of the Eagle Times, the student-run newspaper of Bonny Eagle High School. Our mission is to produce accurate and relevant journalism pertaining to the school, and we hope that you will enjoy our redesigned website.
If you are interested in joining the newspaper staff, please attend one of our meetings (Tuesdays after-school in Room 206). We are a very friendly crowd.
Click on the photos to read some of our most memorable stories of 2023
Four lunches proving to be better than three
BY NIKO TUOHEY and HANNAH HIGGINS
December 22, 2021
The 2021-2022 school year has brought many challenges. As students returned to school in person for five days a week, one of the biggest challenges Bonny Eagle faced was keeping everybody safe. Perhaps one of the most profound changes was the change to the lunch schedule.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Bonny Eagle High School introduced outside eating, which successfully kept students socially distanced. If students preferred to eat outdoors, they could eat under the tent or in the courtyard.
“People felt more comfortable outside, and they were able to take their masks off. Having that extra space also held a lot of people, which was really nice,” said Selena Leavitt, our Dean of Students. Still, a few problems did arise.
One challenge that came along with eating outdoors was the bees, which was a problem experienced state-wide. However, as the weather got colder and the tent came down, eating outside was no longer an option. Because of this, the administration team introduced the four-lunch schedule, which gave students four lunch blocks instead of three.
“We knew we had to do something because we were losing the outside tent, and it would be impossible to keep everyone distanced in the rooms we have inside,” Ms. Leavitt explained.
Another reason for the four-lunch schedule was to avoid using the gym for lunches.
“If we put desks in the gym this year, it would affect a lot more than just block four. Kids wouldn’t be able to have a normal schedule as we wouldn’t have enough time to move 150 desks in-and-out,” said Ms. Leavitt.
Susan Porter, Bonny Eagle kitchen manager, believes that the four-lunch schedule has been going well so far.
“It gives us more time in between to restock and get things ready for the next group that comes through. I see more kids coming to lunch every day, which makes me very happy. Sometimes the schedules are different or off, or kids come earlier than they should, but that’s okay. They’ve been patient, and I appreciate that,” she says.
Zackary Metayer, a Bonny Eagle freshman, also believes that the new schedule and the function of the school days is going well. He really likes the change, and it does not affect how he feels about lunch or the schedule as it is. A good thing about it is that everyone is spread out and able to social distance, as it is a COVID protocol to avoid crowded areas where the risk is severe.
Zackary said that he is glad that the portion of students assigned to the tents are now able to be in a warmer setting as the weeks get colder and we approach winter time. Another good thing about it is the fact that a lot of students, including Zackary, are still able to keep friendships and bond in their assigned places during lunch and the study hall portion of the day. Yet Zackary says that even if he didn’t have his friends to talk to, it wouldn’t affect how he felt about the lunch change.
Something positive about this is that everyone is comfortable with the arrangements that were made to keep everybody safe and happy at school. The first day of the new lunch schedule did have many confused people asking for help on where to go, but during the second day it was a bit easier for students to navigate their way and get to their place without taking up too much time.
The study hall portion is also very helpful, as it gives all students an extra 20-30 minutes to catch up on their assignments and summatives.
It’s going to be a long four months of winter this year, but as springtime rolls in, students will hopefully be back to eating outside again.
Superintendent wrapping up his career in June
BY JAMES ARBOUR
December 22, 2021
Every weekday morning, MSAD6 superintendent Mr. Paul Penna wakes up early and gets ready for another busy day. However, after his sixth year as superintendent and 39th year in education, Mr. Penna will be stepping down from the role of superintendent and a new head of the district will take over next fall.
“We needed his energy five years ago,” said Ms. Erin Maguire, the MSAD6 curriculum director for grades 6-12. “I don't think I ever thought Paul Penna would stop working in schools.”
Helping others is what Mr. Penna loves to do. In college he majored in law enforcement and wanted to be a police chief. After college he became a police officer in South Portland. During this time he formed relationships with the local students, and this is when Mr. Penna had a revelation: he realized that he wanted to get into education. He made connections with professors and went back to school for his new career.
“I went into education because I really like being around students and youth,” Mr. Penna said, adding that working with younger people is like “working with a fir tree” because they are much more flexible than adults and easier to talk to. He compared adults to oak trees, as they are less flexible and harder to work with. He believes that younger people are more open minded, and he truly enjoys helping them be the best that they can be.
After finishing his education, Mr. Penna was hired as the assistant principal at Portland High School. He then moved on to become principal at Gray-New Gloucester High School. There, he found many students whose parents had grown up in Portland, which made being there a whole lot easier since he already knew members of the community. However, Mr. Penna wanted to move to a bigger school, so he applied to become an administrator at Bonny Eagle High School. He was accepted and soon made himself at home.
Eventually, Mr. Penna wanted to climb another rung up the ladder by becoming the next superintendent. Ms. Maguire, who has worked with Mr. Penna in various roles over the years was “surprised when he was interested in becoming superintendent because he was frustrated by many things superintendents in the past have done.”
Mr. Penna has tried to identify flaws by observing the work of previous superintendents in order to avoid making those mistakes himself. He says he has tried to create a system where everyone can get the help that they need to find success. Everyone learns differently and people shouldn't be left behind just because they have different needs.
“I've been focused … on how we can make the system best serve the students,” Mr. Penna explained. The question he asked himself was “how do we develop support services to improve teaching and learning?”
Mr. Penna also found that it’s not just students that need support. In fact, he has put the same degree of effort into supporting teachers as he has students.
“Teachers need support as well,” he said. “You can just say: ‘Oh I want you to do all these things,’ but you have to support teachers to do all these things.” He believes that it is vital that students and teachers are on the same level of support and that both can get help if they need it.
“What's made him a good superintendent is that he's visible,” said Ms. Maguire. “It’s important that people know he's out there and an approachable figure that's reliable.”
For Mr. Penna, the toughest thing about being superintendent is not getting to know the students as well as he could as a principal. Being the superintendent of such a large district can be a big challenge since superintendents have to divide their attention between several schools at once. He tries to take some time each day to make an appearance at the high school. But because he doesn't have connections with most of the students, it is difficult to converse with them.
The MSAD6 school board has formed a committee that will be posting the position nationally in early January. The board will begin conducting interviews in March.
Everyone is different and different superintendents will have different priorities, but Mr. Penna hopes that his successor continues his efforts and ensures that students feel that they are treated as individuals.
Principal addresses vandalism issues
BY MACEY CABRAL
October 24 2021
When Bonny Eagle High School’s doors opened to all of its students in August, it was supposed to be a return to (almost) normal. But from closed bathrooms to brawls in the halls, most students by now have noticed that things has been amiss so far this school year.
A startling number of vandalism incidents have occurred in the bathrooms. Some students have attempted to remove soap dispensers from the walls. Some have drawn or written inappropriate things on the stall walls and doors. A sink in one of the bathrooms was actually smashed to pieces. In addition, there has also been a noticeable increase in fighting incidents between students.
Although Principal Mr. Greg Applestein couldn’t give many specifics due to privacy and confidentiality laws, he says the school is doing everything in its power to stop the vandalism and violence that has occurred these past few weeks.
For example, a strong teacher and faculty presence has been vigilant in monitoring the halls both during and between classes to prevent further incidents, and in each case that has occurred, consequences have been issued to those involved with “firmness, fairness, and consistency to the fullest extent possible,” says Mr. Applestein.
He also mentioned that a variety of activities are and will be used during SYNC classes to make students more aware of behavior expectations in the hallways and common areas of the building.
Each case of vandalism in the bathrooms was processed and investigated, and as the vandals are identified, “we have issued consequences to the fullest extent possible and we will continue to do so going forward,” Mr. Applestein said. “If students who have done these kinds of things continue to do them despite receiving consequences, additional and more severe consequences can be issued.”
So far, the consequences for these disruptions have ranged from verbal and written warnings, to parental conversations, to detention, suspension, behavior support plans, safety care plans, and community service plans. Of course, the consequences for each incident vary depending on the severity.
Students who have caused damage to the bathrooms are being identified by “all means necessary” using a variety of different techniques, including viewing footage from the cameras in the halls. As of yet, most have been identified and received consequences accordingly.
Though these have all been separate events, Mr. Applestein agreed that as far as the vandalism goes, “there is at least some connection to the ‘Devious Licks’ dares on TikTok” that received wide media coverage in September both in Maine and nationally.
As for the violence that has been increasing, Mr. Applestein says that it is unlikely these fights pose a threat to other students, but information is processed as it comes. He said that he would just like to “thank all students, faculty, and staff for sharing information with us to help prevent these kinds of things from happening at BEHS,” as it helps to maintain the safety of everyone in the building.
Just as social media has served to deepen divisions among people across the country, things like Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Snapchat have been catalysts for much of the tension and the disagreements that have led to fighting. Mr. Applestein agrees that a majority of these incidents likely stem from “social media messages and postings as well as other forms of miscommunications.”
Mr. Applestein hopes that these incidents will diminish and hopefully cease altogether “by working with all students in helping them realize this is our school.” He says that they will “continue to monitor the situation, process things which arise, investigate events which need to be looked at more deeply, and issue consequences accordingly” in order to uphold the number one priority of maintaining everyone’s safety and security in the school.
Mr. Applestein also asked that this message be included in our report:
“In reflecting on all of these questions and what we have done to address these issues, I very much want to thank the faculty, staff, students, district administrators, families, and the community for their help in working to identify and address these concerns.
With everyone's involvement in bettering ourselves and our school, I have no doubt we will continue to serve all students well and help them achieve their full potential! I truly believe we are one school and one team working together to help make a difference every day!”
Homecoming week lifted school's spirit
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Oct. 9, 2021
Homecoming spirit week got off to a great start with an outdoor pep rally, organized by the Student Council. Teachers and students took part in the usual assortment of games and activities. Cheerleaders practiced their big-game routines and fall sports teams, glad to be back in action this year, were introduced to the students who filled both sets of bleachers.
The football team capped off the week by crushing Lewiston Friday night, 48-8.
Pep rally photos were taken by Eagle Times staff photographer, Emily Bell. Football game photos were taken by Carol Davis Harriman.
This exchange student likes to stay active
BY MACEY CABRAL
Oct. 1, 2021
Going to a new school in a different country can be tough, but one exchange student is taking the next step by also playing a sport she’s never played before. Lina Mueller, a sophomore from the western part of Germany, near Bonn, enjoys being active. Back home, she usually takes swimming lessons and does Zumba (a type of dance fitness) with friends outside of school.
“I love the water and I like to work out occasionally so the dancing is a good mix,” she says. Unlike here, high schools in Germany don’t usually have sports teams, so if you want to participate in any sport, you have to join a community team.
Since swimming doesn’t start until winter, though, Lina wanted to find something else to do in the meantime; her options included soccer, cheering, and field hockey. Unsure which to choose, she went to her host mom, Lorianne Whitney, for advice.
“Honestly, I looked at the options which were field hockey, soccer, and cheerleading, and my host mom played field hockey when she was younger, so she said that’d be fun,” Lina explained. She adds that she enjoys playing the sport, and playing with the junior varsity team.
Although she has been having fun, Lina says that if given the chance to continue playing once she returns to Germany, she doesn’t think she would have enough time because of previous obligations (such as taking clarinet lessons and working with children in her community).
Overall, the main differences Lina has found between American and German sports are the lack of school sports teams in Germany and the emphasis on football here, as opposed to soccer in Germany. As to how she feels about those differences, Lina says that while she misses being able to see Germany participate in the soccer World Cup, she does enjoy the spirit of the school sports teams we have here.
Exchange student's dream coming true
BY AMELIA MCAVOY
Sept. 20, 2021
After a turbulent year where foreign exchange students had to be sent home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bonny Eagle is happy this new school year to welcome new exchange students to the school!
Maja Modzelewska is one of the seven exchange students joining us for the 2021-2022 school year. They come from Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Poland. Maja is one of two Polish students. She has come to us all the way from Warsaw.
Maja (pronounced My-uh, like Maya) is excited for the opportunities that being a foreign exchange student brings, like being able to make friends from across the world and being able to improve her English skills. She also says she has always wanted to “check if it is the same as in the movies.”
In December 2020, Maja applied to be a foreign exchange student and she arrived in America on August 22, 2021. To prepare for her exchange year in America, she was expected to fill out an application, write a letter to her host family, and take many doctor trips to ensure that she was in good health. However, Maja has really been preparing for a trip to America since she began learning English at only six years old!
So far, the biggest difference Maja has noticed between Poland and the U.S. is the landscape. Warsaw is a large city with lots of tall buildings and a population of 1.7 million. Maine, on the other hand, has fewer people in the entire state. With few cities around, Maja has been able to enjoy the rural landscape with its beautiful beaches and mountain views. In Poland, public transportation is the way most people get around, but in Maine, a car is necessary. Another big difference Maja noticed between the two countries is the food. She says Polish people typically eat healthier. For example, in America, fast food is a common meal.
In Maja’s opinion, Bonny Eagle is very different from her school in Poland, but she enjoys it because there are “so many opportunities here. Bonny Eagle has a huge variety of classes that you can choose. You can do whatever you are interested in. You can develop your hobbies.”
In Poland, students are expected to take more classes at a time, 14 as opposed to 5, and they do not have artistic classes such as theater and photography. At Bonny Eagle there are also more opportunities to do activities outside of school. Already, Maja has signed up for art lessons and she is also on the volleyball team.
There are lots of things to appreciate about Maine and America in general, but Maja says that her favorite part so far would have to be “that people are so open-minded and nice to each other.” While it is not customary in Poland, in America it is not out of the ordinary to walk up to someone and compliment them or ask them about their day. Maja has enjoyed this aspect of American life in particular and has appreciated the kindness she has encountered from the Bonny Eagle community.