At the Lake Region graduation: “You can take the raccoon out of the wild, but….”

Featured

 

As part of Lake Region Union High School’s graduation ceremony, graduates must give a white rose to someone who has stood by them in their journey.  Pictured here, MaKayla Baraw (right) gives a rose to her brother Hazen Baraw (left).  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

As part of Lake Region Union High School’s graduation ceremony, graduates must give a white rose to someone who has stood by them in their journey. Pictured here, MaKayla Baraw (right) gives a rose to her brother Hazen Baraw (left). Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle June 17, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The Lake Region Union High School Class of 2015 graduated on Sunday in a beautiful ceremony filled with parting advice, comedy, and music. There were 81 graduates.

Devin Royer gave the student address and compared the Class of 2015 to his pet raccoon. It was lovable, but sometimes you had to throw a laundry basket over it to control its wild side.

He looked towards the laughing teachers, who were seated to the right of the stage for confirmation that they sometimes wished they could have thrown a basket over this year’s graduating class.

He recalled advice teachers had given him. For example, cheating is like pregnancy.….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper.)

Share

In boys baseball: Rangers trip to Florida apparently paid off

Featured

 

The Rangers pose in their camouflage uniforms for a group portrait.  In the back row, from left to right, are Coach Eric Degre, Ethan Willey, Eli Leroux, Matt Messier, Logan Harper, Brennan Perkins, and Liam Kennedy.  In the front are Kolby George, Noah Royer, Zach Royer, Dakota Macallister, Denver Bodette, Brady Perron, and Dillon Gile.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

The Rangers pose in their camouflage uniforms for a group portrait. In the back row, from left to right, are Coach Eric Degre, Ethan Willey, Eli Leroux, Matt Messier, Logan Harper, Brennan Perkins, and Liam Kennedy. In the front are Kolby George, Noah Royer, Zach Royer, Dakota Macallister, Denver Bodette, Brady Perron, and Dillon Gile. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle May 13, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

Major Leaguers begin each season with spring training, a time to polish skills that may have gotten rusty over the winter. For almost all clubs that means heading south to warm weather.

What works for the bigs ought to work for high school, thought Lake Region Union High School Baseball Coach Eric Degre. His staff and players agreed.

Deciding to head to warmer places was easy; making it happen was harder. Each player had to raise more than $1,000 to pay for the trip, but with help from the community they managed the feat. Their destination was Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida…. To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper.)

 

Share

How to play spring sports without spring

Featured

Lake Region Union High School boys baseball coach Eric Degre steps outside to survey the baseball field Friday.  “There's two feet of snow on the ground now,” he said.  “And we're expecting more over the weekend.”  Though Mr. Degre has reason to feel blue — the pitcher's mound can be seen just above center frame — he intends to take his team to Florida for spring break.   Photos by David Dudley

Lake Region Union High School boys baseball coach Eric Degre steps outside to survey the baseball field Friday. “There’s two feet of snow on the ground now,” he said. “And we’re expecting more over the weekend.” Though Mr. Degre has reason to feel blue — the pitcher’s mound can be seen just above center frame — he intends to take his team to Florida for spring break. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle April 8, 2015 

by David Dudley

Each year around April 1, the weather plays its own April Fool’s prank on the Northeast Kingdom. For young athletes in the area, the first day that the temperature rises above 30 degrees engenders an irrepressible need to get outside and play.

That need is only magnified for high school athletes. The delays caused by weather such as this year’s, where winter shows every sign of hanging on, can mean less time for practice, and could give opponents in a less snowy clime a competitive edge.

Spring sports coaches have to be on top of their game to face this challenge. They have to figure out resourceful ways to practice outdoor sports while indoors.

Continue reading

Share

At Lake Region: Madame Rivard to leave the classroom

Featured

Sally Rivard, or Madame, as her students call her, is leaving the classroom after 30 years of teaching French at Lake Region Union High School.  She will coach other teachers and help them self-reflect on their own teaching practices.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Sally Rivard, or Madame, as her students call her, is leaving the classroom after 30 years of teaching French at Lake Region Union High School. She will coach other teachers and help them self-reflect on their own teaching practices. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle March 25, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

When you enter classroom 213 at Lake Region Union High School, you’ll find it filled with French-related paraphernalia. Canadian, French, and Haitian flags are suspended from the ceiling, and a bilingual “unload at top only” plaque hangs on the back wall above travel posters.

“I got that one from Jay Peak,” said Sally Rivard, who has been Lake Region’s French teacher for the past 30-odd years.

This is her last year of teaching French at Lake Region. Her blue eyes sparkle and her blond, jaw-length hair swishes as she talks about her students’ curriculum, which she is obviously passionate about.

Her infectious grin makes it easy to see how she made a lasting impression on the people she worked with over the years and the students she taught.

Principal Andre Messier was a senior when Ms. Rivard, or “Madame,” as her students call her, first taught at Lake Region.

“He was only sent to the office once,” she said of her former pupil. She also said he was a good student.

“She was always dynamic and full of energy,” Mr. Messier said. “Both of my kids had the benefit of it.”

That energy explains the huge variety of activities and subjects Madame included in her curriculums.

For every quarter, students study a song, a book, a movie and have both a listening project and a cooking project.

“Oh, there’s the escargot,” Mr. Messier said when describing the types of sounds and smells that might waft down from the second floor where Madame teaches.

Her own French teacher, who died last year, inspired her.

“She approached the classroom with a sense of play,” Madame said. “That’s cool. I sort of try to honor her by doing that.”

When Ms. Rivard first moved to Barton 30 years ago, the area resembled her own hometown of Deerfield, Massachusetts, she said.

“There wasn’t any diversity,” she said.

She decided to give kids an idea of other cultures. Together they explored stereotypes and backed away from them to ask “why” and “what does that say about people?”

“I think my role is to cause other people to think about stuff,” she said. “Humanity is the common denominator.”

Mr. Messier said she has children speak, hear, and read the language through culture.

There are two types of culture, Ms. Rivard said, little “c” which includes day-to-day life and habits, and big “C,” which encompasses history, art, dance, and music.

“There’s always food,” she said, referring to techniques that get students involved. “That usually does it.”

In the French culture unit this year, students tried escargot, or snails, for the first time. Half the class loved it, some hated it and the rest felt indifferent, Ms. Rivard said.

“They’re willing to try something new and different.”

Level four students worked on the Renaissance period in France, cooking raspberry and nutella-flavored macaroons, which were created in the renaissance.

Next up, chocolate, which was imported during the Enlightenment period and was all the rage at the French court.

By picking topics that are likely to interest the kids but still have historical or cultural importance, Ms. Rivard gets the students to think backwards and make connections.

One student was interested in hunting and decided to compare practices in the United States to practices in France, discovering that people don’t hunt as much there.

Ms. Rivard said that according to the student’s research, one possible reason for that was connected to history.

“Hunting was traditionally for nobles and kings,” she said.

With restrictions on hunting land, peasants simply couldn’t hunt and the practice didn’t develop the way it did here, she said.

Some of her cultural teachings hit even closer to home, going into the students’ own cultural roots by learning how to pronounce Canadian French or Québécois using a book called Québécois for Dummies and online tutorials.

The students’ own grandparents’ accent and Québec’s media outlets made the teachings more relevant.

The people at Lake Region taught her some things about French too, Quebecois French.

“We joked about creating a dictionary of Québécois words versus Parisian words,” Mr. Messier said.

Despite her French name, Madame’s background is English.

“I can’t be a French teacher with the name Filkins,” she said, joking that she married her husband for his French name.

The French curriculum is both local and global, covering cultures from around the world that speak French.

In a unit about Haiti, students read a book about a day in the life of a Haitian child. The book was written in Creole, French and English side by side, which allowed students to see the differences and similarities between the languages, Ms. Rivard said.

They discussed political turmoil, resilience, what people value and why they go to extremes. They went into a civics discussion asking how to help raise the standard of living and whether or not it’s their place to do so.

“She has kids experience the language,” said Mr. Messier. “It’s not just textbooks.”

In fact Ms. Rivard has made sure her teachings reached further than the classroom and affected more people than just her own students.

The higher French levels did a research and community project of their choice, but the project had to have a long-lasting impact for the community, she said.

One student who loved ballet and recognized the French names of ballet positions decided to make a YouTube video explaining the positions and their names as a teaching tool for an after school class.

“That’s longevity,” Ms. Rivard said.

Lake Region welcomed kids from France on Wednesday, March 25, for a two-week visit. Ms. Rivard had to find homes for 19 kids and two chaperones.

It’s the first time Lake Region has welcomed a class from abroad during the school year, she said. The 16- and 17-year-olds will spend a day and a half in school with her students.

“It’s going to be a challenge because English is not their focus,” Ms. Rivard said about the visiting teenagers.

The students are from an agricultural and equestrian school and want to see the flora and fauna of Vermont.

While the upper French classes at Lake Region speak almost entirely in French in class, Ms. Rivard expects some communication difficulty. The goal of speaking mostly French in class is to help students not feel scared to try and speak, and to feel comfortable expressing themselves.

According to Mr. Messier, Ms. Rivard’s influence is also felt in other departments, like the Spanish department.

Ms. Rivard said she’s been working closely with the Spanish teacher to ensure students are being evaluated similarly in both programs.

Next year she will work even more with other teachers in the school since she is not actually leaving, only moving out of the classroom, she said.

“My role for next year is to be a coach,” she said.

She will observe other teachers’ courses and help them self reflect about their practices in a program tentatively called Mutually Exploring Teaching And Learning (METAL).

“I’m glad that I’ll be able to work here part-time because it would be like tearing out a part of my soul if I leave here cold turkey,” she said. “It’s been great fun. I would never have swapped this job for anything.”

contact Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph at natgagjo@bartonchronicle.com

For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Featuring pages.  For all the Chronicle’s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Share

Xavier gets his wish to be a wrestler

Featured

Xavier Gilbert, 6, grins as he practices a wrestling hold called the half nelson on his partner, Lake Region Union High School wrestler John Stafford.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Xavier Gilbert, 6, grins as he practices a wrestling hold called the half nelson on his partner, Lake Region Union High School wrestler John Stafford. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015 

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Xavier Gilbert, six, was all smiles Monday evening when the NEK Python and Lake Region Union High School wrestlers invited him to join their practice in the Lake Region cafeteria.

He was diagnosed with leukemia March 13, 2014. Shortly thereafter his doctor recommended Xavier for the Make a Wish program.

He met his wish-granters, or fairy godparents, Christine Joyce and Jeannie Chase, during the summer.

Continue reading

Share

In girls basketball: Lake Region loses hard fought championship game

Featured

Molly Horton drives to the hoop in the face of the resolute Mill River defense.   Photos by Joseph Gresser

Molly Horton drives to the hoop in the face of the resolute Mill River defense. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle March 4, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BARRE — It’s a sad truth that no matter how well they play, only one team will come off the basketball court with a victory. Saturday the girls of Lake Region Union High School played magnificently in the Division II finals at the Barre Auditorium, but fell just short of their goal — the state championship.

The Rangers bowed to the Mill River Union High School Minutemen in a game that was even tighter than the 50-46 final score might suggest. With less than a minute to go, its outcome was still very much in doubt.

Continue reading

Share

At LR Rocks: Live experience cultures young performers

Featured

April Streeter shows off the electric guitar she played live for the first time.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

April Streeter shows off the electric guitar she played live for the first time. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle February 25, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

COVENTRY — April Streeter, 15, is no stranger to singing in public, but Saturday night’s LR Rocks showcase at Parker Pie Wings did include a first for her — a whirl on the electric guitar in front of a live audience.

“It’s kind of a rush,” she said. “It’s really fun to get up there. The energy is really great, especially in places like this.”

Parker Pie Wings had set up the concert venue on one side of its bar. The smaller space created a packed atmosphere for the 100 people in attendance.

Continue reading

Share

In girls basketball: Rangers shut down Yellow Jackets 45-34

Featured

Tyrah Urie, who led all scorers with 25 points, gets out on the break.  “I've been focusing on finishing at the basket,” Urie said.  “So tonight I worked really hard on finishing.”  Photos by David Dudley

Tyrah Urie, who led all scorers with 25 points, gets out on the break. “I’ve been focusing on finishing at the basket,” Urie said. “So tonight I worked really hard on finishing.” Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle February 25, 2015

by David Dudley

Editor’s note: The following is an account of a game that took place Friday. The following Monday, the LR girls beat Lyndon Institute (LI) at a play-off game at the Barre Auditorium, to advance to the final four for division II girls basketball for the state of Vermont. The last time the LR girls were in a division II final was 1974. Monday’s game saw LI dominate, sometimes by as much as ten points, until the final 35 seconds of play, when the LR girls scored a quick eight points to win, 45-43. The LR girls will play again in Barre on Saturday, at 3:45 p.m., against whoever wins the other semi-final game Wednesday night, either Fair Haven or Mill River. “Both the kids and the fans last night were phenomenal,” said Coach Joe Houston.

Continue reading

Share

Snowboarders compete at Jay Peak

Featured

snowboard walker farley

Walker Farley catches air and twists his board under him, a trick called a shifty, on his way to taking tenth place at the state slope style competitions at Jay Peak on February 12. He was the highest scoring man on the North Country Union High School team. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle February 18, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

JAY PEAK — The last high school snowboard competition before the state championships drew 70 boarders to Jay Peak Thursday afternoon, February 12. Judges rated riders as they performed tricks on a slope style course that included three jumps and a pair of boxes.

The event is judged according to both the difficulty of aerial maneuvers performed by the riders and the quality of their execution, said Natalie Guillette, who coaches the North Country Union High School team.

Continue reading

Share

Novel brings Haitian slave children to light

Featured

WEB review gold exchangecopyright the Chronicle February 11, 2015

Reviewed by Tena Starr

The Gold Exchange, Exposing Haiti’s Child Slavery System, by Susan Belding. Paperback. 273 pages. Published by Willoughby Gap Press. $8.14 on Amazon.

Susan Belding (who many of you would know as Susan Ferland) is a former Lake Region Union High School English teacher. She now lives in Florida, where until last month, she continued to teach, although to a quite different student body than the Northeast Kingdom’s. Many of her students have been Haitian, and those students inspired her to write The Gold Exchange, a young adult, coming of age novel that takes a look at Haiti’s deplorable restavek system.

Continue reading

Share