Maine’s first public charter high school graduates biggest class yet

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Located on the campus of Good Will-Hinckley in Hinckley, Maine, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) will honor its eighth graduating class during a ceremony at Moody Chapel on Friday, August 2.

MeANS - Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will-Hinckley
“It’s amazing how far our school has come in just seven years, and we see this year’s graduation as a celebration of that growth.” – Emanuel Pariser, Director of Instruction and Education Program Designer at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS)

Seven years after a quintet of students crossed the stage to receive their high school diplomas, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS)—which later became the state’s first public charter high school—is poised to honor its most recent graduates.

Safe to say, there’ll be a few more diplomas handed out this time.

On Friday, August 2, MeANS will host a ceremony celebrating the school’s 35 recent graduates at the Moody Chapel, less than two miles from the campus of Good Will-Hinckley (GWH), the school’s parent organization and one of Maine’s first charitable endeavors.

The ceremony will begin promptly at 6 p.m. with remarks from school officials. Tonya Arnold, former head of MeANS, will be the guest speaker.

In addition, an honorary diploma will be awarded to Mike Pike, a parent of two MeANS graduates and a driving force behind some of the school’s most successful volunteering and safety initiatives.

“It’s amazing how far our school has come in just seven years, and we see this year’s graduation as a celebration of that growth,” says Emanuel Pariser, director of instruction and education program designer for MeANS. “We have about 197 students now, which is an incredible number. And I think that’s a testament to the two, very essential things we provide: a program that’s experiential in nature; and a low student-to-teacher ratio that allows us to provide a strong advisory system and individualized support for students.”

Founded in 2012, MeANS was created as an alternative to traditional public and private schools, giving students a more structured, experiential-based education that meets their needs—and helps them grow. The school’s curriculum includes everything from agriculture and beekeeping to maple-sugaring and greenhouse cultivation.

“George Walter Hinckley’s vision when he started Good Will-Hinckley back in 1889 was to provide a safe haven to young children and teens—a place where they could learn and grow in a healthy, encouraging environment,” Pariser says. “MeANS is a part of that broader vision, with an emphasis on getting kids ready for today’s economy.”

The graduation comes on the heels of another banner event for MeANS and GWH. On July 19, Threshold—an innovative high school diploma program offered under MeANS—honored its most recent graduates with a ceremony at the Prescott Building’s Bishop Auditorium, located on the Good Will-Hinckley campus.

This year’s MeANS graduation will be held at Moody Chapel on Stanley Road in Hinckley, beginning at 6 p.m.

For more information about MeANS, please visit http://www.gwh.org/means

To learn more about Good Will-Hinckley, go to http://www.gwh.org

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Erica Berry
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