Archive for the ‘Profiles’ Category

High School Teacher Keeps A Positive Attitude

Posted: 04/14/2011 by gemme2011 in News, Profiles

Tamara Douglas says she has “always loved helping other people.” Maybe that’s why she’s so good at what she does. Mrs. Douglass works at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School with Special Education students.
She didn’t always intend on being a teacher, but after starting a career with her Business Administration major from the University of Maine-Orono, she realized she enjoyed teaching and began volunteering in classrooms when her children entered school. Soon after she earned her teaching certificate and began substituting.
Growing up in the same small town as Mrs. Douglas, I have had the pleasure of getting to know what a friendly and helpful woman she truly is. She is never found without a smile on her face and never passes by without a “hello”.
What makes Mrs. Douglas different than every other friendly woman is she doesn’t let her disease, Alopecia Areata, affect her attitude. Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune disease when the body rejects hair follicles, meaning she has no hair.
There are three types of Alopecia which are; Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Areata Totails and Alopecia Areata Universalis. This disease affects 4.7 million people in the United States alone.
Mrs. Douglas was diagnosed at a young age, having the disease come and go as she has aged. Although there is yet to be a cure for Alopecia Areata, she maintains her upbeat outlook and tries not to let it get in the way of her day.
Having struggles with Alopecia for so long, Mrs. Douglas has learned a lot. The most important thing she says is “Be accepting of other people and they will be accepting of you.”
For more information about Alopecia Areata you can contact the National Alopecia Areata Foundation or visit


Overworked, But Still Smiling: Q&A

Posted: 11/08/2010 by aeronroberts in Profiles
Netbook popularity in 2008 by

Image via Wikipedia

by Aeron Roberts

Mr. Cummings, an important member of the OHCHS staff, is an ed-tech for the entire school. This involves working in the library, maintaining  all the AV equipment, and running the Key Club, a student-run community service organization which does fundraisers and other activities beneficial to the community and school. Along with this Cummings also keeps all the netbooks (an estimated 1000) in running order. I decided to ask him a few questions because I began to wonder how he keeps up with his job.

Q: How long  have you been working at OHCHS?

A:  Seven years. I wasn’t expecting to stay in ed-tech for this long.

Q: Why OHCHS ?

A: Well Aeron I grew up here and even went to school here – thought it was a lot smaller when I was here compared to now. I graduated 1987 and have lived here all my life.

Q: Due to the netbooks being in the hands of most students (only 100 or so do not have a netbook), how has this effected your workload and your relationship with the students?

A: Well Aeron, I have a 40 hour week and 99 percent of my time is spent fixing the netbooks. It has effected my relationship with the students negatively because I only get to see them when they break their netbooks.

Q: Why does every student now have a user fee? (For those who don’t go to school here every kid has to pay a fee before they can have their netbook. It goes by what you pay for lunch: $20 if you pay full price, $15 if you are on reduced lunch, and $10 for people who get free lunch.)

A: The warranty on the netbooks expired Aeron , so we need to pay for the repairs out of are our own pockets. That means we all need to pitch in to buy new hard drives, [new] screens and [do] other repairs.”

Q: Where do you see the netbook program going in five years?

A: Aeron , I can see this going very well as long as we get the money to pay for it. What I mean is if the economy goes back up then everything else will be okay.

Even with an almost tripled workload compared to two years ago, Mr.Cummings is still a very upbeat individual. He always has time for students. He seems to really care about this school and the people who graduate from it. So when you see him in the halls say hi and if you are dropping your netbook off, say thank-you.

A Change in Yearbook Leadership

Posted: 10/10/2010 by gemme2011 in News, Profiles

This year looks challenging for the Oxford Hills yearbook staff. In addition to the loss of veteran yearbook staff members, there has been a change in leadership.

After showing dedication to creating successful yearbooks, high school librarian, Mrs. St. John, has decided to resign her role and hand it to a math teacher at OHCHS, Mrs. Fox.


Image via Wikipedia

Having had Mrs. St. John as leader for the last four years, many students have been left wondering one thing: Why stop now?

“Yearbook is a year round responsibility,” says Mrs. St. John. Because of budget cuts and the library being asked to assume even more responsibilities this year, having the head librarian lead yearbook is just too much.

Don’t think Mrs. St. John’s experience with the yearbook doesn’t cross her mind. “I miss my students,” she says. “I think about them all the time. We were able to get to know one another on many levels, and we spent a lot of time working together.”

Many wonder what will happen now, but not Mrs. St. John. “I think Mrs. Fox is doing a great job, especially since she is assuming responsibility for such a great task and since she is starting from scratch.” The tone Mrs. St. John uses to answer this question is reassuring.  Although the yearbook staff will have a challenging road ahead of them, this year will be another successful one.

Kiddie Cop Does What He Loves

Posted: 10/08/2010 by aeronroberts in Profiles

Most kids rarely notice their school resource officers, but if you ask a kid at OHCHS the name of our resource officer, they all say Skip. For this reason my journalism class got to ask Skip a couple of questions. When Skip sat down with us he was a little on edge, as well as on alert.

To start things off we asked how he got the name “Skip.” He answered, “There were so many siblings, my mom gave me that nickname. You knew you were in trouble if your parents called you by your full name.”

Skip’s real name is Hartley Mowatt Jr. He started his career in the Army in 1972 as an MP (Military Police). Nineteen years later, he decided to join the regular police force for the town of Paris. He didn’t start as a full-time officer until 1993.

I decided to ask Skip how he became the resource officer for OHCHS. He responded in a characteristically jolly way, “I was asked to by my chief.” The real reason Officer Mowatt became the resource officer for OHCHS is that Skip loves kids, and this is why he still patrols the school today.

Skip’s presence in the school everyday prevents problems like fighting and drug possession, plus other shenanigans kids our age are sometimes up to. But being a cop, Skip has to abide by certain rules. For instance, he can’t use the school as an agent in an investigation. So if you have drugs or something else in your locker that you are not supposed to have, Skip can’t just go and open your locker. He needs probable cause. Nor can he tell the principal that he thinks you’re hiding something and have the principal check it out. If you are doing something and Skip catches you, not only do you get in trouble with the school, but also with, according to Officer Mowatt, the police force. “They’re two separate working as one,” Skip said. In other words, Skip will not get involved unless he has to.

Most people wondered how Skip could know you were doing something wrong. This answer: Skip has “eyes in the back of his head.” He proved this by telling us that one person yawned three times during the interview.  Years in the police force taught him to use his peripherals. Skip’s interaction with kids on a daily basis helps a great deal as well.

We asked Skip how he knew students were under the influence. He said, “I see almost every student day-in and day-out, so I see how they are normally. With my years of experience I can tell if they’re on some sort of drug.” Skip cares about kids at OHCHS and remembers how they behave. So look out if you’re doing something bad. You never know when Skip is around.