I am so proud of where I come from. That starts with the United States of America and trickles all the way down to my family.
Somewhere in the middle is the place that made me who I am today: the SAD 48 district (now known as RSU 19).
I have always always been so proud to tell people that I’m from ‘C’rinna.’ Corinna and the other seven towns that make up the district have always been so close knit and supportive of each other. We had to be.
When our 2000-2001 basketball team won the gold ball it was a great feeling for a lot of reasons. Our team, unlike many others in the tournament, was made up of all district kids. We all grew up in the area and learned to work together, play together, and win together. My favorite thing was to see all the fans at the Bangor Auditorium in March. The Nokomis Warrior fans put other fan groups to shame. We truly had to shut the lights out when everyone headed north on I95 for tourney time.
Ever since graduating from Nokomis Regional High School in 2003 I have followed the sports programs as much as I could. I cheered on my alma mater from thousands of miles away. I watched the Warriors develop a football program and saw Steve Shea earn a chance to play Division 1 football at UMaine. I saw Marissa Shaw do the same thing with her Field Hockey skills.
But it isn’t only the sports programs that have been thriving over the years. Did I mention that just thinking about our award-winning band belt out the Warrior call from the stands can still give me chills? Trumpets blaring and the drum beat going, “BOOM boom boom boom BOOM boom boom boom.” It was the Warrior heartbeat.
If pride in sports and band isn’t enough I can keep going. Our area boasts award-winning show choruses, awe-inspiring drama productions, and compassionate teachers and administration as well. When I used to walk down the halls at Nokomis just ten years ago I saw caring people. I saw the free-spirit English teacher, the hard-nosed History teacher, and the loveable lunch ladies and they all were what made Nokomis strong.
While some schools can’t find enough kids to fill their varsity, jv, and freshmen basketball rosters, sometimes our teams are overflowing. The teenagers in the district WANT to be a part of a team. And to me, that means something, and it’s our responsibility to keep that option available to them. Sports, especially, builds the sense of togetherness around our parts. It teaches teamwork and responsibility, hard work and unselfishness, strength and confidence.
Sports and being a part of something (or many somethings) helped make me who I am today.
So did RSU 19 and the people there.
All of the coaches at Nokomis serve as mentors as well. I was very lucky to have two loving and supportive parents but, as seems to be a trend, many of my peers weren’t that fortunate. Our coaches, teachers, and directors stepped in as a father or mother figure for many of them. When one of my best friends lost her life my junior year in high school the whole community came together and took care of each other. Over 1,000 people came to Mandi’s funeral. In a small town of 2,000, that speaks volumes.
We’ve been a small, working class area for many, many years and I know lots of teachers, secretaries, and administrative personnel at Nokomis who have been there through the good times and the bad. They stay there because they believe in the strength of the community.
As well they should.
I was sad to hear that the people of the area voted against a loan that would have kept all of the after school activities (etc.) afloat. But, I’m also strengthened by the amount of people who have already begun to put things together. I am empowered by those who have stopped pointing fingers (though they may be disappointed) and started acting. I have no doubt that through their collective efforts the students at Nokomis won’t go without.