The New School News

December 5, 2021

Big picture
Big picture

The New School First Place Winner in the Maine Kids COVID-19 Vaccination Video Contest

This week was punctuated by students of The New School winning First Place in a statewide video contest, and a $50,000 prize!

The contest invited Maine youth ages 5 to 17 to submit 30-second videos that they believed would encourage other children, along with their parents, to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit Maine’s vaccine website to find a clinic near you.

Great team effort making this all come together. Reny bravely took sunscreen to the face (and mouth). Olie took one for the team by "accidentally" falling into Marylyn's November pond. Ian came out unscathed, but was a huge help with the whole shoot. Props to Hunter for laying down a great ukulele soundtrack in like 5 minutes, improvising like a pro.

We got some good press coverage as well.

Seacoast Online



Maine CDC

Here are some quote highlights:

“Congratulations to the winners of our Maine Kids COVID-19 Vaccination Video Contest, who displayed creativity, conviction, and courage in their submissions,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. “We’re grateful to every Maine child and teenager who submitted an entry – they are all public health champions. Thanks to people like them, Maine is quickly getting enough students vaccinated to begin returning to more normal ways of learning and having fun.”

"Getting back to normal and doing our part to end the pandemic inspired us to submit to the contest," said the first-place team from The New School. "By spreading awareness and empowering fellow young people with facts about vaccination, helping younger Mainers to not be afraid, and using skills we learned in video production, we hoped to contribute to positive public health messaging."

"My plunge into the frigid water was worth the sacrifice for the greater good," added Olie Saywel. “The New School teaches us how to use our voices to make a positive impact on society.”

“I wanted to make the video because I really want the pandemic to be over,” said Reny Morin. “I feel like we are so close to beating this thing, so if people could just get vaccinated it would help the whole world.”

Senior Ian Kruger explains, “Making the video involved a lot of creative and practical problem solving, which are guiding principles that we focus on at The New School.”

“I was ecstatic when I heard we won first prize," said Hunter Roberts. "Not a lot of people get to say that they’ve composed an original score for a commercial.”

Congratulations New Schoolians!

More info about the contest here

Check out the video below...

The New Schools submission to the Maine Kids COVID-19 Vaccination Video Contest

Video Production Crew

Building on the talent we discovered in our participation on the video contest, all students are invited to participate in the production of The New School's next TV commercial. The crew from the Covid-19 video are collaborating with Scott to produce a spot that will run in early 2022. Talk with Scott if you’re interested in joining the production crew, and we can discuss timing, roles, and scope as a group while taking into consideration the increasingly busy schedule through the end of the year.

The contest win brought positive exposure for The New School and a $50,000 prize, but just as importantly it identified and showcased student talent. (This is where this author refrains from quoting The New School’s slogan at risk of sounding too corny)

Let’s build on our momentum and see what we can create next.

Capitol Trip Wednesday, December 8

Weather permitting, The New School will be traveling to Augusta Wednesday, December 8 to tour the State House and meet some of the members of our state government -- the President of the Maine Senate, the Assistant Majority Leader in the House, and others. Community Teacher Justin Chenette is expected to join us at the State House.

We will not have an early release on the day of the trip. We will depart for the capitol at 8:30 and return by 3:30.

Students should bring a lunch that does not require heating up. We will be eating in one of the Committee rooms.

The State House is a formal environment where business attire is the norm. We are asking students and staff to dress in a manner that positively represents the school. No need to overdress, but please avoid ripped clothing, t-shirts, and pajamas. Colors, funky clothes, all good--we should be ourselves, but slightly less casual. As much as we wish it wasn't so, appearances DO matter.

A note on weather: We will be monitoring the weather and road conditions Wednesday. The weather inland is often quite different from the weather here on the coast. If things change, we will notify you, and obviously, if school is delayed or cancelled due to weather we will reschedule this trip for another day.

Here are some materials about the day, with the addition of meeting with Assistant Majority Leader Representative Rachel Talbot Ross from 1p-2p.

LEAP Teams - We Need 28 more of you!

LEAP FEEDBACK TEAMS: LEAP Night is our end of semester celebration of learning. Join us on Tuesday, December 21 for an evening of Learning Exhibits and Performances. Students will share what they have been learning with the community on LEAP Night. We are currently recruiting people to interview students and serve on LEAP Feedback Teams.

Interviewers team up with another community member and talk to students about their semester. Being on a LEAP Feedback Team is a terrific way to support students and to find out more about the exciting things we are engaged with here at The New School. If you would like to be on an Interview Team, please fill out the LEAP SignUp Form

Big picture

Winter Mindfulness Workshops

Join us Tuesday nights from 6:30-7:30 for an 8-week mindfulness class beginning January 4.

Contact Susan in the office to register. The workshop is open to the public. Workshop cost is $75--less than $8 a session!

The New School Mindfulness Workshop

Need to manage stress, bring some peace to your life, or are curious about mindfulness?

The workshop will run for 8 weeks for one hour each week, including weekly emails with practice reminders, journal prompts, and any additional information to complement that week’s lesson.

The course includes:

- definition of mindfulness

- getting started with a practice

- science of mindfulness

- multiple practice opportunities including movement, breath work, eating, journaling, visualization, compassion, and deep relaxation.

- how to fit mindfulness in to a person’s busy day

- Q&A

At the end of the course, you will:

- gain a deeper understanding of your own patterns of stress and options for wellbeing

- develop a mindfulness practice that you can confidently maintain on your own

- know multiple mindfulness practices that resonate with you

- understand how to integrate these skills into your life

Jodi Castallo

Mindfulness and Health Coach, You² Body and Mind/Maine Medical Partners

Jodi is passionately committed to helping others learn, grow, and change through the simple power of paying attention in the present moment. Jodi has been exploring this easy but not-so-simple concept for over 19 years through the practice of yoga and mindfulness.

She is a graduate of the Yoga Life Institute’s 200-hour Classical Yoga Teacher Training; is certified through the Yoga Alliance; has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, has completed Massachusetts General Hospital’s “Stress and the Relaxation Response: The Fundamentals of Mind Body Medicine” course; has completed Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield’s 8-week Mindfulness Training Program; and has attended many other workshops and retreats. These opportunities have afforded her the unique ability to customize practices that work for her and have given her a more intuitive sense of how to share them with others.

For six years she taught mindfulness to kids in grades 1 -12 in Rhode Island public and charter schools, taught mindfulness to adults through workplace programs at Amica, Blue Cross Blue Shield RI, IGT, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and an emergency veterinary clinic. She has also taught mindfulness retreats and weekly one-hour classes.

Outta the Box Kids Shopping Extravaganza!

What a fun event!

Carol had a great idea for Outta the Box: What if we open up the store for kids to come in and shop for their loved ones? This would teach them the spirit of giving around the holidays.

The Events Team took on the initiative and ran with it. Thanks to the parents, students, and board members who organized and/or came to help out. Special shout out to Tayva who did a ton of organizing. Thanks Olie and Jayden for running the register for us!

Cookies were baked. There was cider for guests. Kids had a chance to make some holiday crafts, and the pin making machine let junior shoppers create their own pin. We also sold some raffle tickets (drawing on Dec 18th).

Most importantly, we showed that The New School cares about giving back to the community, and making sure everyone has a joyful holiday.

GIFT IDEA: Outta the Box Gift Cards

As you know, money raised through Outta the Box goes directly toward The New School’s operations, and helps keep the cost of tuition down. Please consider giving an OTB gift card this holiday season as a way to help The New School's fundraising while also sharing this hidden treasure with someone you think might love thrifting. Outta the Box has eGift Cards for sale online HERE, and you can purchase a physical card at the store.

Calling All Artists!

The New School and the School Around Us have been selected to participate in an Art Show at the Kennebunk Library in February. Students are invited to submit artwork for display in the Speers Gallery. We are looking to collect 25 pieces from student artists. Two-dimensional work will be matted and framed for display. All media forms considered: drawing, painting, digital art, photography, mixed media, pottery, sculpture etc. Submission deadline is December 21. Talk to Christine if you have questions.

Thank You from Community Outreach Services!

Our drive on behalf of Community Outreach Services was a huge success. We donated nearly 150 pounds of goods. We have received many compliments from the greater community remarking on what a great concept it is to fill the pantry with non-food items. Folks who visit the pantry are also in need of personal care and household items. This alleviates a financial burden for many households. Thank you TNS Community!

Volunteer Teams Updates

Events Team | On Saturday December 18th, The New School will host a craft fair in our parking lot. TNS will be open for tours (and heat), and folks will be selling small food items and offering cider for shoppers. This is a great opportunity to tap into an existing event and promote The New School to the broader community.

Admissions Team | The Admissions Team is coordinating to have parents and students at the school on December 18th to give tours and answer questions. Please let the Admissions Team know if you can volunteer!

Career Week Survey

Our first short Intensive during our Winter Intersession will be focused on career exploration. During Career Week we will investigate job skills and potential career tracks. We would love to tap into our community network and take advantage of the diversity of work experiences that folks have. Please fill out this survey, if you are willing to share your connections. Thank you!

December All School Meeting Agenda

DINNER AT ASM | Baked ziti and garlic bread will be available at 5:30 for folks to eat prior to the ASM.

Our December All School Meeting is Monday night, December 6 at 6:00 in person at TNS. The meeting will be facilitated by Christine Knowles and Scott Hamann.

Icebreaker (10): We will begin with a brief community building activity.

Announcements (5): Open space for anyone in the community to share information with the group.

Team Reports (10): This section of the meeting allows our various teams and ad hoc committees to share updates and information with the community.

Video Contest Money (5): Brief brainstorm to hear ideas from community for ways to use the $50,000 prize money from the COVID-19 Vaccine Video Contest that Reny, Olie, Ian, and Hunter won.

Education Report (30): Teachers will share some learning highlights from the past month of school and offer some insights on things to come including information about LEAP Night, and the short Intensives in January. We will also go over the calendar for the next few months. Teachers have a presentation about the 3-Week long Intensive in February as well. We will break into groups to meet with teachers facilitating each learning experience.

Student Presentations (10): Mandi and Hunter have a presentation about a SMART team they are starting at TNS.

Health and Wellness Discussion (15): Seeking input from families about ways to support students general health and wellness at TNS. This will be a brainstorm and discussion to explore what is possible in the short term and also thinking ahead.

Q&A (5): Time will always be allotted for the community to ask and answer questions.

We will end the large group meeting with Compliments. Following the end of the large group meeting, optional advisory will be available for parents and students to check in with Advisors. (5)

A reminder that anyone in the community can submit items for our agenda prior to the All School Meeting meetings. When submitting an agenda item, please include a brief description of the topic and an estimate of the amount of time you would like to devote to it. Agenda items should be submitted on Fridays before an ASM.

Revised Schedule of ASM for year:

  • In-person December, March, May
  • Zoom: January, February, April, June

Dates to Remember

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar
  • Monday, December 6: 6:00 All School Meeting
  • Wednesday, December 8: Trip to Augusta. No early release
  • Friday, December 17 Last Day of Semester 1 classes
  • Saturday, December 18 Last Minute Shoppers Craft Fair in The New School parking lot
  • Tuesday, December 21: LEAP Night
  • December 23-January 4: No School, Vacation
  • January 5-14 Career Exploration Intensive
  • January 17 No School MLK Jr. Day
  • January 18-28 Health and Wellness Intensive
  • January 31-February 18 3-Week Intensives


The New School is an independent, democratically run private high school in Kennebunk, Maine. We learn by doing, and encourage not just academic achievement, but development of the mind, body, and spirit. Our goal is to give TNS students the tools they need to be active, informed citizens of a democracy.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”

― John Dewey

The New School | Kennebunk, Maine

The New School offers rolling admission, so students can apply any time throughout the year. Parents & Students, please spread the word, let people know all the cool stuff going on here, and invite friends to come visit an Open House!