October 2, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We have experienced many emotions this week--from sadness as we mourn the tragic loss of a legendary friend, teacher, coach, and athletic director, Don Wilson, to happiness as we received one of the most generous gifts of $180,000 to the Center of Technology from Lou Chantigny, his family, and all those who supported the TJ’s Pizza Golf Tournament. Both of these men have had a tremendous impact on the Biddeford community, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge their significant contributions first and foremost in my weekly update. My deepest admiration and gratitude are bestowed on them both, and I have included more lengthy articles below.
The Maine DOE announced that York County remains designated as yellow according to its Health Advisory System rating (red, yellow, green). With the additional cases, I want to thank all our parents, staff, and students for continuing to be vigilant in attending to precautionary practices (handwashing, wearing a mask, staying home when sick, etc.) to prevent community transmission. These efforts are vital in halting York County as being designated as red and our schools being subject to remote instruction only.
As we go through the school year, I will begin publishing my newsletter bi-weekly to coincide with the Maine Health designation. I know parents are receiving weekly communications from their Principals so unless there is something urgent to communicate, I will provide updates bi-weekly. If you missed a past issue or need to refer back to any of my past communications, they can be found on my Smore Newsletter page here.
As always, all important COVID-related updates are located on our website at biddefordschools.me/health and questions or concerns can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 207-391-6868.
Superintendent of Schools
Honoring Don Wilson: A legendary friend, teacher, coach, and athletic director
A graduate of St. Louis High School and the University of Southern Maine, Don Wilson was an Industrial Arts teacher, coach, assistant principal, and athletic director for 37 years at Biddeford High School.
“The Biddeford school community is extremely saddened to lose such a beloved legacy,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray. “Don is the epitome of Tiger Pride and left a significant impact on all individuals he encountered. He knew everyone and prided himself in knowing their athletic stats without prompting. His memory was ironclad and he gave the Biddeford youth in this community the opportunity to excel inside and outside of the classroom.”
As the school's former athletic director for 23 years, Don was recognized in the Biddeford Hall of Honor in 2015 for his greatest contributions consisting of expanding athletic offerings in which he added six varsity programs and several sub-varsity offerings. He was instrumental to the development of Waterhouse Field including Co-Chairing the Waterhouse Field Lighting Committee, which allowed the return of night football in 1985, played a major role in the installation of bleachers in 1985 and 1989, and assisted in the fundraising efforts for the renovation in 2018. Don was also instrumental in bringing the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl game to Waterhouse Field, awarded the Maine Interscholastic Administrator of the Year award, and received a Citation Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to Interscholastic Athletics from the National Federation of High Schools.
Director of Athletics Dennis Walton said of Coach Wilson, “Don was not only a tremendous school leader, he was a friend and a mentor. Don was the reason I aspired to become an athletic director at Biddeford High School. He was loved and admired by all that knew him. Don never forgot a face and was the go-to person with anything at Biddeford High School. He loved the community, the school, and the kids that he served.”
Drive-Thru Services for Don Wilson
The Wilson Family has worked closely with the Waterhouse Field Association to develop a safe plan for the Biddeford community to pay their respects while adhering to the Maine CDC precautions. The plan was presented to the Maine CDC and they returned with approval of DRIVE THRU ONLY services. Guests will enter Waterhouse Field through the West Street gate, pay their respects to the family as they remain in their cars, and exit through the Prospect Street gate (View the traffic flow map attached here). Please carpool when possible.
Sunday, October 4, 2020 between 1-3 PM
Waterhouse Field, 1 Godbout Way, Biddeford
In lieu of flowers, the family has established a memorial fund in which donations can be made payable to the Don Wilson Memorial Athlete Fund and mailed to Biddeford School Department, ℅ Karen Chasse, 18 Maplewood Avenue, Biddeford, ME 04005 or via online giving here.
Biddeford Regional Center of Technology Receives $180K for Student Scholarships
Thank you to the Chantigny Family and all those who supported the TJ’s Pizza Golf Tournament which afforded the extremely generous gift of $180,000 to the Center of Technology! Lou Chantigny presented the COT with the sizable donation to continue benefiting student scholarships for years to come.
Each year TJ’s Pizza Golf Tournament donates $7,500 in scholarships to the COT students from Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunk, and the surrounding towns. In 1996, former TJ’s Pizza owner Lou Chantigny and former COT Director Ron Gagnon established the tournament which donated $2,000 a year ($500 each) to assist students in pursuing post-secondary training in their field of study. As it gained popularity, the event filled Dutch Elm Golf Course with the maximum number of players, increased sponsorships among tradespeople, and a silent auction with coveted prizes enhancing the profits for additional scholarships.
The tournament ended in 2012--after 16 years-- but the Committee continued to present scholarships donating close to $80,000 to local students. The remaining funds of $180,000 will be turned over to the BRCOT to monitor investment and administer its distribution to deserving students. For the full WMTW news coverage, click here.