It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission Love goes to Tristan Alley and Jasmine Church, for their inspiring leadership and heart on behalf of Downeast students!
These young leaders represent the best of Maine Seacoast Mission: having benefited from Mission programming and support, they now contribute to Mission communities through their passionate dedication to our younger Mission students.
Tristan Alley is a Mission Scholar and Mitchell Scholar. He grew up in Jonesport, graduated Jonesport Beals High School in 2015, and graduated Husson University in 2019. Today he’s in his second year of Chiropractic School at Logan University, Saint Louis, MO. From serving as a chaperon and facilitating workshops at our first College Exploration and Engagement retreat last summer to serving on this year’s interview committee for Mission Scholars, Tristan gives of himself fully, authentically and enthusiastically.
Jasmine Church, from Columbia Falls, is a 2020 Narraguagus High School graduate. During her high school years she participated in Bowdoin’s Upward Bound program. She is entering freshman year at University of Maine, Farmington, and plans to pursue Secondary Education and Mathematics. Jasmine participated in EdGE programming before becoming an EdGE student through our GearUp Program. She served as a Mentor with our Journey Program. “She will move mountains and be an amazing teacher,” said Journey Coordinator Briana West.
BAR HARBOR, ME — Student Pathways includes Mission programs that provide mentoring and support for Downeast and Island middle, high school and college students.
Through individual mentoring, group workshops, scholarships and enrichment opportunities, we work to help all students develop the confidence, insights and information they need to successfully navigate their transitions to and through high school and along their eventual college and/or career pathways.
Photo of Ana Rosa Valencia Jungo Courtesy Ellsworth American
BAR HARBOR, ME — Mission Director of Student Pathways Christina Griffith brought this Ellsworth American story to our attention. Ana Rosa Valencia Jungo, said Director Griffith, “is one of our wonderful college readiness students.” The Mission’s college readiness program provides mentoring and support as students involved transition to and through college.
March 4, 2020 – by Rebecca Alley
SULLIVAN — In Hispanic culture, a young girl’s passage to womanhood and her faith is celebrated at age 15 in the quinceañera (pronounced keen-say-en-yera), said to date back to the ancient Aztec Indians in Mexico). In the 1500s, age 15 was considered the midway point in an Aztec girl’s lifespan. Under Spanish rule, the rite of passage morphed into a ball and incorporated traditional Catholic beliefs.
Last December, Ana Rosa Valencia Jungo and her three siblings traveled to western Mexico to celebrate her own quinceañera in her parents Elio Valencia and Rosalba Jungo’s home state of Michoacan. Her sisters Yesenia, 21, Adriana, 20, and Angel, 14, went too.
A sophomore at Sumner Memorial High School…Ana Rosa’s parents spent much of last year planning their youngest daughter’s quinceañera in Santa Ana Maya.
“It’s coming out and becoming a woman,” Ana Rosa summed up, adding, “you aren’t a kid anymore, you should be making good decisions in your life.”
BAR HARBOR, ME — It is an example of how the Mission watches and listens to our communities and responds creatively. That’s how Maine Seacoast Mission President John Zavodny described the Mission’s island Middle to High School Transition Program. Led by Mission Island Outreach Director and Chaplain Douglas Cornman, the annual Transition Program retreat helps students living on unbridged Maine islands prepare for their transition to mainland high schools.
“Every summer, a group of resilient young teens scattered across eight unbridged islands off Maine’s coast are faced with the reality that..they are about to trade the island life they know for a life utterly foreign to them. Nearly all these island students will be boarding on the mainland during high school…with relatives or family friends,” said President Zavodny.
Director Douglas Cornman agrees. “Transitioning into the first year of high school can be intimidating and stressful. The Transition Program retreat offers a place where students can ask questions and have discussions about the transition. A lot of preparation and attention goes into making sure the students attending this three-day, two-night event, feel the safety and comfort needed to open up and engage in the process,” said Cornman.
Island students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade can take part in the retreat. One way Douglas keeps things fresh is by changing retreat venues each year from Camden, to Belfast, to Bar Harbor.
This year, January 17-19, St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church‘s Parish Hall, Bar Harbor, was home base for the Transition Program retreat. Eight students from six islands, along with their parents or chaperone, took part. Douglas was joined by Mission’s Director of Student Pathways Christina Griffith in co-leading the retreat. According to Douglas, Christina used her expertise mostly working with the parents on their thoughts, concerns, and excitement.
Douglas also had help working with the students from Mission EdGE Outreach Coordinator Matthew Cole, Executive Director Nicole Cardano of Theater Today based in Seal Cove, and assorted staff and students from public and private high schools.
This year’s Transition Program retreat helped students and their parents with problem solving, skill building, communication and social skills development, and alleviating anxiety during social interaction. There was also plenty of time for meet-and-greet, game playing, and swimming.
Director Cornman said Sunday’s scheduled retreat activities were “very condensed” because an impending storm sent students boating back early to their home islands. Beforehand, Douglas had each student write a letter to themselves. He will hold onto the letters for a year before mailing them back to the students. This exercise gives the students a chance to reflect on how their thoughts and feelings regarding high school change from one year to the next.
“Yes, we had snow, winds, high seas, had boat cancellations, resilient island kids, parents, and chaperones. And, yes, we had a fantastic fun-filled weekend,” said Douglas.