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Old Town eighth graders build new trails for city

The students are also launching a City of Old Town Flag design contest.
Old Town 8th graders built new trails for their city.
Old Town 8th graders built new trails for their city.(WABI)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:47 PM EST
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OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - We talk about silver linings a lot because we need those reminders right now.

Reminders of what we can accomplish when we work together.

Some old town eighth-graders are sharing their accomplishments and a project that might never have happened without the pandemic.

Hogan Marquis admits going back to work here at Leonard Middle School was hard even though this is his home town.

Hogan Marquis, “I went to this school as a kid. I didn’t even want to come back to school. I was nervous about being back in the building.”

His students were, too.

Sadie May, an eighth-grade student, said, “I think no one really wanted to come back to school because summer was great and corona was overwhelming.”

Going back to school was something they all had to do. Mr. Maquis knew it wouldn’t be the same - so, he decided to make it better.

“I started meeting with some other teachers saying how do we just get them outside more,” Mr. Marquis said.

Mr. Marquis and these eighth graders are leaving their mark with a quarter of a mile of trails behind their school for everyone to enjoy all year long.

Sadie May, said, “I think it’s great. We’ve never been able to do things like this in past years and in our last year to come and be able to enjoy it, it’s really awesome.”

Kaiden Plourde, said, “I think we made it into something pretty tremendous.”

In a year of uncertainty, they have literally carved their own path and after hard work, their trails will be here in their hometown forever.

“Selfishly I feel like I wanted to leave my mark because I didn’t as a kid and so I’m trying to enable them to do something that lasts beyond their time here.”

Sadie, said, “I think we’re like leaving our legacy for the town.”

Mr. Maguis says this school year has changed but that’s ok - he says it’s even better.

“It’s not just reading the book and answering the questions it’s trying to solve problems in your community and make it a little bit better. Every day that we’re actually here it’s fun, it’s good to see the kids, it’s awesome. It’s just a gift,” Mr. Maguis said.

Sadie May, said, “I think it’s great. We’ve never been able to do things like this in past years and in our last year to come and be able to enjoy it, it’s really awesome.”

The trails are just the beginning - they have other projects in the works for their community, too.

“As soon as we got here and we started doing this community work and getting outside, I just want to so desperately stay in school and not have things go remote again. It’s so nice to be here.”

Carter O’Clair, student, “We didn’t really get to finish the end of the year and this year we came prepared as we have new ways and we have stuff that will be here forever and we got to make the best out of 2020. And 2021 is going to be a good year.”

Eight graders in Old Town are leaving their mark on their city.

They literally carved their own path through 2020.

It all started when their teacher, Hogan Marquis, talked to other teachers about how to make school fun during a pandemic.

They decided to take the learning outside.

Since the beginning of the school year, they have worked together to build a quarter of a mile of new trails and outdoor classrooms behind their school.

Hogan Marquis, Leonard Middle School teacher, said, ”It’s not just reading the book and answering the questions it’s trying to solve problems in your community and make it a little bit better.”

Sadie May, student, “I think it’s great. We’ve never been able to do things like this in past years and in our last year to come and be able to enjoy it, it’s really awesome.”

Kaiden Plourde, student, “I think we made it into something pretty tremendous.”

The students are also launching a City of Old Town Flag design contest.

Anyone is welcome to check out the trails on Oak Street.

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