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Matters George Stevens Academy

News for Our Families and Friends

Class of 2022 Hikes Blue Hill

GSA’s Mission

George Stevens Academy is a town academy on the coast of Maine. Founded in 1852, we are the high school for nearly all students from the seven towns in our rural community. We also enroll private-pay day and boarding students from around the world. Our students’ interests, talents, and aspirations reflect the diversity of the communities from which they come. GSA provides a comprehensive and challenging education for all students, for those who will build futures in surrounding communities and for those who will make lives elsewhere in the world. Our many academic and experiential programs foster a love of knowledge, inspire creativity, instill self-confidence, encourage good character, and prepare each graduate for a purposeful life in a changing world.

Our Vision

We will be a vibrant learning community that proudly reflects the diversity of students from our surrounding towns, as well as those from elsewhere in the world, enabling them to thrive now and in the future. We will provide all GSA students with an education that helps them pursue whatever jobs and career paths they choose, so that when they succeed, they and their communities will be the better for it. We recognize that a GSA education is not just a matter of cultivating intellectual and creative strengths but also requires caring for students’ physical and emotional needs. Everything we do will be stamped with this conviction. We will be seen as a community resource, in the belief that schools and their communities make each other stronger. We will expand school-community partnerships and real-world learning opportunities that engage students and community members in shared activities and projects for the benefit of both. We will have a safe, attractive, functional, and cost-efficient facility that supports our current programing well and has the flexibility to adapt to changing needs in the future. We will be financially sustainable, with the resources we need to maintain GSA’s facilities and provide for every GSA student’s needs. We will grow our endowment, meet more ambitious annual GSA Fund goals, and benefit from the support of sending towns that recognize the indispensable value of a strong high school in their community. Our mission says broadly who we are and what we do. Our vision sets bold goals for the future. We are well on our way to accomplishing some of these. Others will take longer. All are attainable with community support. Our mission and vision were approved by the Board of Trustees on April 25, 2019.

Our Trustees 2021-2022

Sally Mills ‘85, Chair, Blue Hill James Crawford, Treasurer, Blue Hill

Deborah Ludlow ‘79, Vice-Chair, Brooksville Bill Case, Clerk, Blue Hill

Sara Becton Ardrey, Blue Hill Michael P. Astbury ‘03, Blue Hill Alden Blodgett ‘78, Penobscot Sally Chadbourne, Castine Prudy Heilner, Blue Hill Mark Hurvitt, Blue Hill

Kenelm “K.” Guinness, Blue Hill Tyler Knowles, Blue Hill Michael McMillen, Brooksville Robyn Sealander, Brooklin Zoë Tenney ‘93, Sedgwick

Moving Forward

Last spring and early summer, we all hoped that by this fall, the pandemic would be mostly behind us. Though that is sadly not the case, here at GSA many things are back relatively close to normal: we have all our students on campus every day, classes are functioning as usual, our sports teams have normal schedules, and spectators are again cheering our athletes on. And having school be mostly normal provides a measure of constancy, consistency, and security as we fall back into familiar rhythms and patterns. This issue of Matters is full of reminders that we are moving forward, from fun events over the summer, to a story on the opening of school, and to introductions of our wonderful new staff members. Young people are remarkably resilient. They just need a bit of familiar structure and consistency in a supportive environment to get them back on track. We are working hard to provide those elements for them this year so our students can have a productive, challenging, stable, and fun experience. That is how they learn and grow best, and so that is how we serve them and their families best. Timothy J. Seeley Head of School

On the Cover

From left, Frances Spangler, Ashly Emerson, Noah Czuj, Clementine Bannon, and Chloë Sheahan take a break to pose for a photo during the annual senior hike up Blue Hill Mountain in late September. Seniors and their advisors were joined at the summit by Chrissy Beardsley Allen ‘98 of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, who spoke about the importance of community and protecting our natural resources. For more photos from the senior hike, CLICK HERE to read the story on the GSA News page on our website.



to the first digital-only issue of Matters! We hope it is fun to read on our new platform. Going digital-only lets us bring the magazine to life with videos. Creating this issue was hard work, but we love sharing stories about GSA students, staff, and alumni. What do YOU like? CLICK HERE to let us know after you finish reading ... and watching!

In These Pages

5 Welcome, Students

7 So, How’s the School Year Going So Far? 8 Welcome, New Faculty and Staff

9 Jazz Band Wows at the Blue Hill Fair

10 Alumni Reunions a Success

14 Student on Maine Student Cabinet

16 GSA at the Maritime Heritage Festival

18 Duane B. Gray ’64 Tourney Sets a Record 21 Student’s Native Bee Workshops Debut

Matters is a publication of the GSA Advancement Office. Mark Messer, Editing and Design Director of Communications Trudy Bell Advancement Associate


Karen Brace GSA Fund and Alumni Relations Director Rada Starkey Director of Advancement Liffey Thorpe Advancement Special Projects

Ninth-graders use ropes and bungee cords to transfer “radioactive” balls from one bucket to another without crossing a boundary, one of eight orientation activities.

Welcome, and Welcome Back!

After a summer of preparations, students returned to campus for two days of orientation before classes began, ninth and tenth-graders on one day, eleventh- and twelfth-graders the next. Students met in their advisory groups, ran through their class schedules, and connected with their peers, faculty, and staff in activities both fun and informative.

Clementine Bannon speaks at assembly as the other senior student councilors look on, from left, Will MacArthur, Jack Gray, and Chloë Sheahan.

Students applaud during our first all-school assembly in more than a year.


Program Coordinator Megan Flenniken speaks with a group of juniors about the Independent Study and Internship Program.

Counselor Hector Sapien speaks with seniors about returning to a “more normal” school life.

Chef Lu and Matt Billings ‘19 serve lunch during orientation.


Click above for a video glimpse of inservice and orientation.

So, How’s the School Year Going So Far?

Click above to find out what some of our students had to say. Click below to hear from several of our faculty and staff.


Welcome, New Faculty & Staff This summer and fall, we welcomed ten new faculty and staff members to campus. Read below what four said about their experiences at GSA so far. Others* shared their thoughts about the school year in the video on the previous page. “It’s a pleasure to be back at GSA after eight years away and I appreciate the warm welcome. We are off to a busy start in the Advancement Office and the days seem to be flying by!” — Trudy Bell, Advancement Associate “My transition to GSA has been busy! It has been most enjoyable learning the history of GSA, working with the community, and finding the best ways we can positively impact the experience students and families have attending GSA.” — Seth Brown, Director of Finance & Operations “Everyone here has been so welcoming and encouraging, but Debbie Davis and Gail Strehan have really helped me succeed in my new position. I am extremely thankful for their guidance, and support.” — Lydia Gray ‘10, Receptionist & Attendance Clerk “I am delighted to be back at GSA after a 9-year absence. I am deeply inspired by the students I meet and the colleagues I work with. I drive to work every day feeling lucky to be a part of this community again.” — Jane O’Connor, Day Admissions Director, Coordinator of Community, Equity, & Inclusion *Phelan Gallagher ’02, Music Teacher

Reed Hayden, Art Teacher

Erin Wenal, English Teacher


*Rebecca Gratz, Assistant Head of School

*Megan Scarborough, Ed Tech

Bella Cox ’21, Kitchen Staff

Click above for a video of the GSA Jazz Band performing “Cissy Strut.”

Jazz Band WOWS at Fair

In September, the GSA Jazz Band performed at the Blue Hill Fair for the 27th time in 28 years. Phelan Gallagher ‘02 took up the baton for a 10-song set that included classics like “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “Summertime,” and “Cissy Strut,” which he dedicated to New Orleans just days after the city was hit by Hurricane Ida.

Morgan Davis ‘22 solos on the vibes.

Will MacArthur ‘22 and Nora Spratt ‘23

Mattea Black ‘24 solos on keyboards.

Jenna Blodgett ‘23 sings “Don’t Know Why.”


Big Smiles on Campus

Members of the GSA Class of 1970 gather on the Hinckley House lawn for a group photo.

In July, members of GSA’s classes of 1970, 1971, 1991, and 2020 gathered beside the Hinckley House dorm for reunions, most organized by classmates with help from our Advancement Office. The Classes of 1970, 1971 Joined Forces. As the Class of 1970 could not hold a 50th reunion in 2020, they joined forces with the Class of 1971 to hold a single celebration with plenty of good eats provided potluck-style by the Eagles themselves and a cash bar by Rioux Catering. After a welcome by GSA’s new Assistant Head of School Rebecca Gratz, Della Martin ’70 and David Rackliffe ’70 spoke to their classmates, reminding them of some of the senior superlatives in their yearbook. Roxie Grindle ’71 then spoke to her classmates and took a moment to thank Alumni Relations Director Karen Brace for her help organizing the gathering. Many, many thanks to the maintenance and dorm staff for their help setting up for these on-campus reunions! It was a very busy summer at GSA, and their assistance was invaluable.


Above, members of the GSA Class of 1971 pose for a photo on the Hinckley House lawn.

An aerie of Eagles at the reunion check-in table.

It’s never too late to start planning. Whether you hold your reunion on campus or at a different venue, we can help! Email Karen Brace at and ask how.


Happy 30th, Class of 1991! As the 50th and 51st reunion celebrations were wrapping up, volunteers from the Class of 1991 began setting up for their reunion. The overlap sparked some interesting conversations as some of the 1991 graduates saw teachers and staff from their school days! Recent graduate Evan Chapman ‘21, on the right in the picture above, led attendees on a campus tour. Some were excited to see what had changed, while others were happy that some things remained the same. After enjoying hors d’œuvres brought by organizer April Chapman ‘91 and beverages from the cash bar, these Eagles then perched at another venue near the bay to continue their reunion.


Members of the Class of 1991, some joined by family, on the Hinckley House lawn.

A 2020 Reunion So Soon? Yes! We made good on our promise to the Class of 2020, some of whom hadn’t seen each other for 16 months because of the pandemic, to bring them together again. Last year’s graduates mingled with teachers, coaches, and staff while eating snacks, including cupcakes generously donated by Baked by Kara, a business owned by current parent Kara Heino. If the enthusiastic greetings and laughter were any indication, the event was a great success.

Click for a photo montage from the Class of 2020 reunion.


An impromptu Class of 2014 gathering was held off-campus.

Thank you for the photo, Prudy Heilner!


Luna Lyman ‘22 on GSA’s front lawn in spring

Senior Brings Passion for Diversity to State Student Cabinet When Luna Lyman ’22 heard last fall that applications to the Maine Department of Education Student Cabinet were being accepted, she decided to go for it. “I’m pretty impulsive with things,” Luna said. She filled out the application for the two-year appointment, which included responses to several open-ended questions, and then sent it off with “no expectation that I was actually going to be selected.”

The DOE staff members, educators, and student representatives who reviewed the application must have liked what they read, because Luna soon heard from then-Chair Casey Maddock, a student in her final year on the cabinet. “She actually called me.” The first person Luna shared her exciting news with was math teacher Martha Horne. “If it weren’t for her, I would have never even known about it,” Luna said. “I was so pleased that Luna took the initiative and applied,” Martha said. “Luna is a very caring young woman who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of others. She is a wonderful listener and observer, a deep thinker, and I think a strong voice on the DOE Student Cabinet.”


“Luna is a very caring young woman who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” — Martha Horne, Math Teacher Initially, Luna wasn’t sure what being a cabinet member entailed, but that wasn’t a disadvantage her first year. Typically, members meet quarterly with Commissioner of Education Pender Makin to talk about “educational opportunities, improvements, and policy,” according to the cabinet website. But with the ongoing pandemic, in-person meetings were not possible. So instead of business as usual, the 33 members, from all of Maine’s 16 counties, met online about once a month to discuss state proposals. One such proposal was for an online “platform where kids from different schools could socialize,” which they couldn’t do in person “because of COVID,” Luna said. “They wanted to see if it was something students would really be interested in and how it would most benefit us.” The result? The late winter debut of the state’s WAVES program, virtual communities led by educators from across Maine that focused on student interests ranging from Black history to electric guitar to marine science. In addition to considering state proposals, cabinet members also raised topics of their own. Luna brought up diversity. “That’s what I’m most passionate about. There isn’t a lot of diversity in schools here, and it’s not like anyone’s at fault,” she said, “but there is a lot of ignorance of other cultures, also misrepresentation.” And there’s a lack of awareness about what could be considered disrespectful, she said. Luna, who grew up in Mexico, recalled seeing some students here dressed in ponchos and sombreros for Halloween. These students might not have chosen to wear the clothing of another culture as a costume “if they were in an area that had a lot of different cultures,” she said. “I personally did not feel that bad about it, but I don’t speak for everyone.” Luna hopes that GSA students have the chance to learn more about different cultures. “My main thing is trying to see if there is a way we can incorporate more about different cultures with accurate information and representation.” Best of luck, Luna, in achieving your goals on the Student Cabinet and at GSA!


John Brooks Represents George Stevens at Maritime Heritage Festival George Stevens the man? George Stevens Academy? As it turns out, both.

Master Boatbuilder John Brooks, who teaches his craft at GSA, knows the boatbuilding business, as anyone who spoke with him at the Blue Hill Maritime Heritage Festival in August can attest. He also knows something about George Stevens, the man whose vision of “education forever” began a tradition of giving to the academy named after him. [Read about George Stevens’ bequest.]

While chatting with visitors to the GSA exhibit at the festival, John spoke of George Stevens’ extensive shipbuilding ventures. “I’m sure George Stevens had a sizable share of the many ships he built, but he likely wasn’t the only owner,” John said. “My understanding is his dam and saw mill were just above the high-tide line, and his shipyard was next to it. I know the restaurant building [beside the bridge on Main Street] was a blacksmith shop, which would have been vital for shipbuilding, but I don’t know if George Stevens owned it.”

And John represented the academy well, speaking with a steady stream of visitors of all ages about the Boatbuilding course* he teaches. Last year, he said, rather than work on a big project together, students worked on smaller projects, like building half-models of ships, so they could learn important skills even when they had to study remotely. John also gave an oar-making demonstration at the festival, showing off the different sweeps* (long oars) he and his students have been making for use with the academy’s Eagle 1 skiff, which was on display at the Town Wharf. [Read more about Eagle 1 in the Fall 2019 issue of Matters.] John also showed off a Sundog Skiff designed by Brooks Boats Designs, his family’s business. The lapstrake skiff was built by GSA Boatbuilding students and is being customized for use by students in Megan Flenniken’s Ocean Studies and Marine Environment classes. The skiff has a flat bottom, which makes it easier for students to collect samples close to shore, and to pull up on a beach if necessary. Thank you, John, for all you do for our school and community! * GSA’s Boatbuilding class is generously supported by the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation. ** A sweep is a long oar used by one rower in coordination with another rower with another single sweep. A scull is one of a pair of oars used by a single rower. Sweeps of different lengths are needed depending on how wide the boat is where the rowers sit. Some of the sweeps are hollow, thus easier to maneuver.


John Brooks speaks to a young visitor about sweeps.

John talks with festival-goers about the Sundog Skiff his Boatbuilding students are customizing for another class.

Oliver Lardner ‘23, left, and Austin Chandler ‘23 construct blanks to use in making sweeps in last year’s Boatbuilding class.

The sweeps take shape thanks to the plane work of Kylie Chase ‘21.

The sweeps with the light tips are longer than those with dark tips.


Duane B. Gray ’64 Memorial Golf Tournament Sets Record

More than $16,600 raised for the GSA Fund

Click above to watch a video about the tournament.

Thank you to all the golfers who came out to support GSA! Dallas Agnew ‘23 David Agnew Brandon Allen ‘03 Jeff Allen ‘79 Parker Allen ‘20 Simeon Allen ‘01 Spencer Allen Josh Astbury ‘08 Jodelle Austin ‘83 Mikey Bannister Dustyn Bates ‘02 Nick Bellico Justin Bennett Robbie Bennett ‘23 Seth Brown Belinda Carter ‘67 Mark Clapp ‘03 Rob Clapp ‘73 Kitty Clements Rick Clifton

Peter Collier ‘00 Patrick Dagan ‘24 Leif Deetjen Allen Dodge Max Eckenfelder Todd Eckenfelder Erik Fitch ‘99 Larry Flood Josh Gott ‘03 Adam Gray ‘94 Bill Gray ‘83 David Gray ‘80 Larry Gray ‘79 Margie Gray ‘81 Mark Gray ‘81 Laela Heino ‘24 Martha Horne Frank Hull Eric Hutchins Dan Kane

Don Lehman Homer Lowell ‘73 Ray Maki Will MacArthur ‘22 Scott McNally Zachary McNally Lance Meadows Sarge Means Brad Miltner ‘77 Bebe Moulton Terry Moulton Drew Myers Adam Palmer Bonnie Paulas ‘69 Brady Pert ‘24 Chris Pickering ‘97 Mark Politte Randy Redman ‘87 John Richardson Kevin Richardson

Billy Rioux ‘79 Mike Rioux ‘78 Libby Rosemeier ‘77 Mark Rosenthal Jasper Rossney Michael Rossney George Semler Phyllis Taylor Lisa Thors Ed Volkwein Ben Walker ‘89 Bob Walker Dan Walker ‘87 Harry Walker Ebb Walton ‘08 Ryan Welch Jason White James Wootten ‘02


Golf Tourney Morning Results

Champions: Ryan Welch, Erik Fitch ‘99, Eric Hutchins, Chris Pickering ’97. First low net: Josh Astbury ’08, Danny Kane, Ebb Walton ’08, Kevin Richardson. Second low net: Mark Clapp ’03, Homer Lowell ’73, Rob Clapp ’73, Josh Gott ’03. Third low net: Brandon Allen ’03, Simeon Allen ’01, Spencer Allen, Dustyn Bates ’02. Individual A.M. winners (women, men): Closest to the No. 3 pin were Jodelle Austin ’83, Kevin Richardson. Closest to the pin on No. 5 were Margie Gray ’81, Mark Clapp ’03. Longest drives on No. 2 were by Margie Gray ’81, Ebb Walton ’08. Longest senior drive (65+) on No. 7 was by Ray Maki.

Golf Tourney Afternoon Results

Champions: George Semler, James Wootten ‘02, John Richardson, Lisa Thors (not pict.). First low net: Todd Eckenfelder, Max Eckenfelder, Randy Redman ’87, David Agnew. Second low net: Justin Bennett, Zach McNally, Scott McNally, Peter Collier ’00. Third low net: Larry Gray ’79, Bill Gray ’83, Mark Politte, Drew Myers. Individual P.M. winners: Closest to the pin on No. 3 were Belinda Carter ’67, Mark Politte. Closest to the pin on No. 5 was Larry Gray ’79. Longest drives on No. 2 were by Lisa Thors, Seth Brown. Longest senior drive (65+) on No. 7 were by Belinda Carter ’67, George Semler.


Thank you!


Nora Spratt ‘23, second from right, with students in her bee education workshop.

Bee Aware

Student Creates Native Bee Educational Program

Anyone who has passed a blueberry barren in spring has probably noticed boxes in the fields. These honey bee hives are a big help in pollinating wild blueberry plants and increasing fruit yields during harvest season.

Agricultural production around the world depends on commercial hives like these, but their value has made them the target of thieves. Articles about these thefts, colony collapse disorder, and other threats to the hives keep honey bees in the news. “Honey bees have an entire industry looking out for them, [but] they’re not the only ones who need saving,” Nora Spratt, now a junior, wrote in the executive summary for a Girl Scout Gold Award project she undertook earlier this year. “I became interested in bees and pollinators because I deeply care for the environment and its inhabitants,” she said. “The cool thing about these native bee super pollinators is that they are wild and naturally live everywhere.”


Click above for a video of photos from Nora’s workshops. According to the U.S. Geological Survey website, there are approximately 4,000 species of native bees in the United States, and in almost all crops, “native bees are the primary pollinator or they significantly supplement the activity of honey bees.” But native bee populations are in decline. Though “native bees are far better pollinators,” Nora said, “some up to 15 times more effective” than honey bees, “the declining population of native bees goes unnoticed in the media.” The top reasons for this worldwide decline are “pesticides, lack of food sources and habitat, and spread of diseases.” To raise awareness of their plight, Nora developed a native bee educational program she calls “Bee Aware” with help from volunteers from Blue Hill Heritage Trust and many others. [Visit Nora’s Bee Aware webpage.]

She tested the program by leading a series of workshops in April and May for young people in BHHT’s Peninsula Explorers 4-H Club. Members learned about native bees, first from Nora, and then from Sara Bushmann, a science teacher at GSA who researches Maine native bees. The participants assembled 10 wooden bee houses that Nora will later install on five different Blue Hill Heritage Trust preserves and properties in Blue Hill, Castine, and Sedgwick. “The bee houses will provide much-needed nesting habitat for the existing bee population and foster homes for generations to come,” Nora wrote. Volunteers also will “adopt” a bee house, helping to maintain it and clean it seasonally as part of her Bee House Stewardship program.


In addition to the bee houses, the students made milk-carton bee houses to take home, as well as bee baths to provide native bees with safe drinking water. They also planted pollinator-friendly flowering plants in a BHHT garden where food is grown to donate to the Tree of Life. One workshop involved a visit to Leslie Clapp ’82 and Blaise deSibour’s “enchanting” pollinator garden in Blue Hill, where the students learned about native pollinator-friendly plants and observed a homemade bumblebee hive and “native bee hotel.” “I loved seeing the kids learning by their own exploration and discovery,” Nora said, “and we all had a fantastic time!” Congratulations, Nora, on inspiring so many young people to take positive action to help save the bees! Nora would like to thank project advisor Chrissy Beardsley Allen ’98, “Dr. Bee” Sara Bushmann, Megan Flenniken, Leslie Clapp ’82 and Blaise deSibour, the “amazing” BHHT volunteers, the “awesome” youth participants, and her family. She also greatly appreciates the financial support from the Ira Berry Masonic Lodge #128, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, the Castine Education Foundation, and Castine Girl Scout Troop 1617.

Nora helps a workshop participant build a bee house.

Blaise deSibour pulls a frame from a hive to show to workshop participants.


Boarding Students Visit Acadia

From left, Noël Da ‘23, Sofia Lantratova ‘22, Daniel Lekan-Salami ‘22, Dorm Parent Chek Wingo, and Oliver Lardner ‘23 celebrate the view. Community building was the theme of the day. Below, Oliver enjoys a quieter moment. Thanks for the photos, Bob Slayton.

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