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This week’s edition!

Aspire Gorham Try It Day

It’s not every day you get to compete against your classmates to see who can change a tire the fastest or conduct a chemistry experiment in the kitchen! Students at Gorham Middle School had the chance to do that and much more during the first-ever Aspire Gorham 7th Grade Try It Day.

The day brought professionals to the middle school to share their career stories with students and lead them through a hands-on activity related to their chosen field. In some cases, like Moody’s Collision Centers’ Pit Crew Challenge, students raced to complete tasks. In other, like Carter’s Landscapes Design Challenge, they worked collaboratively and creatively to complete the task.

Improv actor Bob Leblanc hosted the opening assembly and set the stage for the day by telling students, “Try It Day is just like improv. It’s all about saying yes.” LeBlanc also led a set of sessions, introducing about fifty students to the joys of improvisation.

Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive.

“Probably the experiment in the kitchen was the best experience,” one student wrote. “It consisted of teamwork, thinking, and fun. It was fun to make and try and it honestly was the most fun in school I’ve had for a while!”

In that session, food scientist Chris Astrauckas of sauce and marinade manufacturer Schlotterbeck and Foss helped students make “fruit juice caviar”. Students performed a simple chemical reaction between calcium chloride and sodium alginate, resulting in edible small spheres of juice.

An advisory committee of 7th graders helped design the day’s activities, which they determined needed to be 100% hands-on and, of course, fun. Session leaders worked with Aspire Gorham staff to develop activities that encourage problem solving, creativity and teamwork. 

Other activities included Mystery Story Mad Libs with best-selling author and retired homicide detective Bruce Robert Coffin, Pipeline Puzzle with Gene Fadrigon of Gorham Sand and Gravel, Sideline Splints with athletic trainer Natalie Hunt, CSI Gorham Fingerprinting with Sgt. Dan Young of the Gorham Police Department, and screen printing with artist Megan Holden.

Teams are currently planning Try It Days for 8th graders at the middle school, and 5th graders at Village School.

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