By Dottie Perham-Whittier
Youth encouraging youth was the theme at the MOTIVATE ME standing-room-only event hosted by the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council and the Lewiston Firefighters Association.
LYAC received 480 responses from seventh and eighth graders in Lewiston Middle School and St. Dom’s Academy to the question: “What motivates you to do well in school?” The 29 stand-outs were recognized on May 11 in the Lewiston Council Chambers.
Lewiston Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert Sr. kicked off the evening. “The question LYAC asked provided a wonderful opportunity for the students to really think about what matters to them and what they want their future to be like,” he said. “I also commend LYAC for taking the time to focus on younger students’ aspirations and to serve as role models to them.”
Lewiston Firefighters Association President Rick Cailler submitted a letter: “LYAC members and the youth being recognized this evening—you are our future, and your community will rely on you. Remember that satisfaction lies in the effort; as long as you know that you’ve given a task your best, winning or losing becomes much less important. Life is not a scorecard but instead a journey. Whatever motivates you is to be cherished, as it will make the passage of time a wonderful trip.”
The 29 youth received “Your Aspirations Are Your Possibilities” gift bags filled with items donated from Bates College, Central Maine Community College, College of the Atlantic, Husson University, Kaplan University, Maine College of Art, Maine Maritime Academy, New England School of Communications, St. Joseph’s College, University of Maine–Augusta, University of Maine–Farmington, University of Maine–Presque Isle, University of New England and University of Southern Maine–LA College. Each gift bag also contained a pair of Flagship Cinema movie tickets.
The LYAC had slotted the winning responses into four categories: Most Heartfelt, Most Driven, Family Encouragement and Unsung Hero. A sample of each is below:
Most Heartfelt: “In school, many things motivate. One, my future significantly motivates me. Knowing that I can succeed and have a good life helps me. Another important thing that motivates me is that there are people in the world that aren’t able to have an education—people that yearn for it but never will get it. If doing well in school could help me save those victims, I would do whatever it takes.”
Most Driven: “The future. The future holds my career and my life. I don’t want to be held back or limited to anything, so by doing my best in school, I can prepare myself for that. I try to think long-term and how I can be successful in life. That motivates me to do well in school.
Family Encouragement: “What motivates me to do well in school is my mom. Right now my family is very poor. We have always struggled with money and miss out on opportunities because of our lack of money. My mother works hard to get my siblings and I what we need; however, a lot of time, we come up short. I admire my mother because she is an example of a super mom. She can always brighten up my day when I’m feeling sad. She always tells me to go for my dreams and to never give up on them. A year ago, she graduated from college. I was so happy for her. I want to be just like my mother. I’ve decided to do the best I can and more in school.”
Unsung Hero: “What motivates me to do well in school is that my neighbor has little kids, and he wants them to be good in school so they need a role model to teach them how.”
In addition to the gift bags, the names of the 29 youth were put in a basket with three names pulled for grand-prize drawings. Kyla Sturtevant won five Aquaboggan tickets; Nasra Aden won $20 gift cards to five local eateries; and Alyssa Pobe Bourgette won a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart.
Other students being recognized were: Taya Marie Simpson, Eric Hall, Nicole Robitaille, Muna Mohamed, Damon Bureau, Kamari Solomon, Zachary Abisalih, Jessica Boulet, Darby Tuttle, Molly Grenier, Katie Plourde, Elizabeth Small, Ryan Spooner, Abdirizak Ali, Michael Bryant, Sarai Labbe, Rudy Castellano, Chelsea Harvey-Brame, Emily Payne, Matt Keaney, Sophia Fagone, Alec Silva, Austin Hobbs, Taylor Ogden, Ahmed Mohamed and Brent Jones.
During the recognition ceremony, a special thank you was extended to Lewiston Rec’s Administrative Assistant Claudette Jordan for assisting with securing college item donations. Tim Horton’s donated Tim-Bits and coffee. Peace-focused artwork from an earlier youth council event was also on display.
For more information on the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, see www.lewistonmaine.gov/lyac. Current members are: Jama Ahmed, Jake Bergeron, Courtney Costello, Kevin Costello, Stephanie Costello, Brendan Landry, Holly Lavorgna, Allie Lewandowski, Kon Maiwan, Kenzi Masselli, Fatuma Mohamed, Nadifa Adan Mohamed, Shuaib Naji and Marissa Zanoni.
The LYAC members, ready to begin the MOTIVATE ME event.
Fatuma Mohamed with Co-Advisor Maggie Chisholm.
Jake Bergeron talks about college donations.
Kevin Costello with LYAC Co-Advisor Dottie Perham-Whittier.
Marissa Zanoni, Kensi Masselli and Jake Bergeron Share a Laugh.
Mayor Gilbert, LYAC Co-Advisors Dottie Perham-Whittier and Maggie Chisholm and City Council Liaison John Butler.
Nicole Robitaille, a St. Dom’s eighth grader with her Aspirations gift bag.
Nadifa Adan Mohamed recognizes Most Heartfelt Group of winners.