Lincoln Academy Resident students, along with student ambassadors and members of the resident faculty, stop for a photo during their service day on Monhegan. Lincoln Academy volunteers spent two days helping remove invasive plants from the island. Photo courtesy of Missy Abbott.

Lincoln Academy Resident students, along with student ambassadors and members of the resident faculty, stop for a photo during their service day on Monhegan. Lincoln Academy volunteers spent two days helping remove invasive plants from the island. Photo courtesy of Missy Abbott.

For the second year in a row, Lincoln Academy’s new residential students started their Lincoln Academy experience with a weekend of volunteer work on Monhegan Island and the Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson.

“When students arrive at Lincoln Academy from countries all over the world, I cannot think of a better way to give them a sense of their new home state than putting them on a boat to Monhegan,” said Ken Stevenson, Lincoln Academy’s Resident Life Director. “For many students, it’s their first time seeing the Atlantic ocean, and they get a taste of it–literally–on the Hardy Boat, complete with seals and sometimes puffins. We are lucky to have access to such a unique place, and to be able to contribute to the island community through a service project only enriches the experience for students.”

Jirka Lyselák, 17′ a new student from the Czech Republic, said, “The boat trip was perfect and Monhegan was beautiful, and the service was fine, because it was accompanied by such fine people! Especially beautiful was lunch at the top of the Monhegan with nice view.”

The total residential population at Lincoln Academy is now 81 students. They hail from 16 countries: Bangladesh, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Nigeria/UK, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, UAE/India, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Nearly all students live in the two dormitories on campus, with just a handful in homestays with local families.

Upon arriving at Lincoln, each new resident student is paired with a student ambassador. Ambassadors are charged with helping new students learn the ropes at Lincoln, and are made up of a combination of local students and returning residential students. Ambassadors accompany their new student partners on their Labor Day weekend service projects.

“Working side by side with other students is a great way to build community, which is one of the core values of the LA Residential program,” continued Stevenson. “We expect every student to participate in the life of the community, both on and off of campus. This includes service, as well as attending school and community events, and joining clubs, teams, and school activities. The service weekend is just the beginning of this commitment.”

To accommodate such a large group, on Saturday, September 5 half of the new resident students and their ambassadors went to Monhegan to prune an invasive species, and half of the returning resident students went to the Hidden Valley Nature Center to do trail maintenance. On Sunday, the groups reversed locations.

Two new Lincoln Academy resident students, Toru Fiberesima of the UK and Emma Chierico of Italy, ride the Hardy Boat to their service day on Monhegan Island. Photo courtesy of Missy Abbott.

Two new Lincoln Academy resident students, Toru Fiberesima of the UK and Emma Chierico of Italy, ride the Hardy Boat to their service day on Monhegan Island. Photo courtesy of Missy Abbott.

The cost of the weekend is mitigated by the Hardy Boat in New Harbor, who donates the Monhegan boat fare to Lincoln Academy. Hardy Boat owner Stacie Crocetti said in an email, “We are thrilled that we have this opportunity to contribute in some small way to the important work of invasive control and trail maintenance on the Island, and offer an opportunity for international students to meet each other and experience a slice of Maine life. Monhegan is an extraordinary place!”

“We accomplished a lot in two days of work,” said Stevenson, “the students got to know each other, learned something about Maine, and helped out some local organizations. It was a perfect way to start a new school year.”

Toru Fiberesima ‘17, a new student from London, said of the service project, “it was a really nice, calming boat ride there, we got to experience the beautiful landscape of Maine. It was particularly exciting on the way back as we spotted some seals. It was nice being thrust straight into to community with service as it made you feel like a real member of the community. Although it was a grueling task, it was made fun by friends and laughter, and time flew by.”