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Fort Kent students enjoy after-school program

FORT KENT, Maine — Students at Fort Kent Elementary School are taking advantage of a new after-school enrichment program that Maine School Administrative District 27 implemented this year.

Third-graders Dominic Cyr (left) and Mason Pelletier work on their math skills while playing cribbage during an after school program at Fort Kent Elementary School. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Teachers, parents and community volunteers guide the students who meet after school until 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays to participate in hands-on educational opportunities which alternate throughout the year and range from filmmaking and 3-D printing to French learning through music, cribbage lessons and a virtual travel club.

Each day, prior to beginning their after school learning activities, which the students choose from a sign-up sheet, the students enjoy a short outdoor recess and a healthy snack provided by the program.

Retired FKES educator Rosemary Collings is the after-school program coordinator.

“What I really like about it is that it’s a really good alternative for kids who aren’t necessarily into sports,” Collings said. “It’s also a good opportunity for socialization and making friends that might not happen during the regular school day.”  

Collings said that among her goals for the program are to expose children to diversity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.  

Third-grade students Dominic Cyr and Mason Pelletier both said they enjoy participating in the after-school enrichment program as the self-described best friends played the tie-breaker of a three-game cribbage match on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

“I’m pretty sure I’m gonna win,” said Cyr, who added that his dad taught him how to play the game.

Fort Kent Elementary School student Camden Caron learns to play cribbage with the help of Tamar Philbrook during an after school program at the school. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

“I’m ahead of you right now buddy,” Pelletier countered, as he was up by two points.

The boys agreed that playing cribbage can certainly be considered educational.

“We learn how to count; it’s like math,” Cyr said.

“Yeah, it involves a lot of math,” Pelletier added.  

Student Connor Bouchard and his classmates Liam Hollabird and Owen Johnson are learning filmmaking through the after-school program under the guidance of FKES educator Crystal Jandreau.

“It’s about teamwork; that’s the one big thing that I think would sum it up,” Bouchard said. The boys are working together to create a storyboard and video scenes on an iPad which they will then turn into a movie they titled “Summer’s Back.” They named their after-school enrichment program production company, “Summer Film Productions.”

Bouchard also participated in a travel club which educator Samantha O’Clair taught during the after-school program.

“It was awesome because we got to use a virtual reality headset to look and know some facts in that country,” Bouchard said. “We went to Italy and we got to make pizza and we got to build the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”  

Students share the closing credits for their production of “Summer’s Back,” a film they created during an after school program at Fort Kent Elementary School. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Collings said another goal she has for the program is to add activities which will provide the students lessons in life skills such as sewing, basic woodworking and cooking. She said that teachers in the after-school program who teach math and reading have already incorporated cooking skills into those lessons.

“When the students make cookies they are able to read recipes and measure ingredients and have real life experience using these skills,” Collings said.

The after-school enrichment program is free to students, who can return home on a late-bus offered by the district at 4:30 p.m.

For more information or to suggest an activity for the after-school enrichment program contact Collings by email at or by phone at FKES after 2:45 p.m. at 207-834-3456.

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