Mission Tribute – Tanner Thibault – 4/20/03 – 2/6/21

Mission Tribute – Tanner Thibault – 4/20/03 – 2/6/21


When we interviewed Tanner for our College Exploration and Engagement Program in the spring of his freshman year, he told us about his buoys. How he chose the bright green and white because the colors were clear and bold in the water. How the horizontal designs with these colors had already been claimed, so he shifted to a distinctive vertical stripe. How this design took him a long time and demanded precision as he taped and painted each of several stripes again and again on dozens of buoys. And how ultimately, it was all worth it, because he had worked hard, and was proud that to each buoy he had brought his best.

Tanner died in a car accident with two friends in early February. He was a junior at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan. In the days following, connecting with students in our program, and teachers and staff who knew Tanner well, I didn’t hear much about the Honor Roll scholar he was, or the skilled dedication he brought to baseball and fishing, though all of this was true.

I didn’t say much about how Tanner hoped to study structural engineering or landscape architecture while continuing to fish, or that he would have been an outstanding applicant for the full college scholarship we are launching this spring, though this was true also.

What I heard most — and felt — amid intertwined grief and gratitude was that Tanner was so kind. That he would have done anything for anyone — and did. That he looked out for his friends when they struggled, and he loved his parents and extended family with unshakable loyalty. That he was the first to ask if you needed a hand, and the last to ever complain or cut a corner or make excuses. Even when worried, he persisted.

On a recent rainy day, after a scholarship workshop the previous night that Tanner and his parents would have joined, I visited their home. I wanted Tanner’s parents, Mike and Tracy, to have several photographs from our program including one I framed of Tanner and a friend looking out across Frenchman Bay. I wanted them to have an art piece from that same summer retreat — a silhouetted portrait Tanner had filled with words that mattered to him.

We also shared some quiet and some stories. I told Mike and Tracy how much I had learned about Tanner from what he said two years back about his buoys. They listened. Then Mike disappeared for a minute. He returned with one of the buoys — the green and white just as Tanner had described. We talked a bit more and as I got ready to leave, Tanner’s parents gave the buoy to me.

What an extraordinary kindness. What an extraordinary gift. And what a reminder. We load our boats and head out with hope toward dawn. How can we know if our prep the days before will be enough? Tanner’s prep was focus and tape and patience. As was unquestionably true across his seventeen years, may we too step back at the end of each day to see clearly and boldly that we have given our best.

– Christina S. Griffith, Director, Davis Maine Scholarship

Mission’s ‘Event for Scholars’ Mixes Business and Fun

Mission’s ‘Event for Scholars’ Mixes Business and Fun

The Event for Scholars in Trenton, ME

BAR HARBOR, ME — On Sunday, December 29, 2019, Mission Director of Student Pathways Christina S. Griffith, and Mission Scholarships Program Director Terri Rodick hosted a three-hour Event for Scholars at Trenton, ME‘s Town Hill Community Hall.

Eleven Mission Scholarship recipients and one parent attended the Event. A few days prior, Director Griffith said of the Event, “It will include a bit of checking in/discussion as well as just fun hanging out.”

Learn more about the Mission’s Scholarships.

Mission College Readiness Students Help Out with Elves’ Workshop

Mission College Readiness Students Help Out with Elves’ Workshop

CHERRYFIELD, ME — We had five Class of 2022 college readiness students from Sumner and Narraguagus high schools assist with the Elves’ Workshop at Weald Bethel on Saturday, December 14th. Heavy rains did not deter their giving hearts! They unloaded and then sorted a van-load of donated toys, assisted families with selecting presents for their children, and selected and wrapped presents to be delivered to other families.

We were so grateful to Christmas Program Manager Marilyn Nickson and her team for welcoming us. Before we left, one of the students asked if we could assist again next year. So I think this may well become an annual tradition in our program.

One note on the student holding the MSM sign. Before assisting, we gathered in the EdGE Center for a bit of holiday cheer and a simple gift exchange. This student drew this MSM sign to give to a fellow student. Wonderful!

Christina S. Griffith
Director of Student Pathways
Director of Davis Maine Scholarship
Maine Seacoast Mission

College Exploration-Engagement Student Inducted into National Honor Society

College Exploration-Engagement Student Inducted into National Honor Society

BAR HARBOR, ME — Thank you, Mission Director of Student Pathways Christina S. Griffith for this photo and update about Haley, who “participated in our first College Exploration and Engagement Summer Retreat and is in our first readiness program cohort,” said Director Christina Griffith.

The readiness program provides mentoring and support as the students involved transition to and through college.

Haley was also inducted into “the National Honor Society at Narraguagus High School on Tuesday, October 29th,” said Director Griffith, adding, “Congratulations to Class of 2022 college exploration and engagement student Haley and to fellow Narraguagus students inducted into the National Honor Society.”