Meridian Stories’ Down the Road initiative completes it journey into the future
FREEPORT — Over the winter, students from over forty middle and high schools in Maine were considering questions like this: If you were to start your own non-profit, what would the purpose be? Or, if you had a million dollars to give to the Governor, how you would want him to spend that money? Or, if you were campaigning to lead the Department for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in ten year’s time, what would your platform focus upon?
This was all a part of Down the Road: The Search for Maine’s Top Ten Youth Visionaries, a competition open to all schools in Maine that asked students to consider their lives in this state, ‘ten years down the road.’ The entries were all in the form of a short video (under two minutes), some of which were video postcards, campaign commercials, PSAs, sales pitches and short animations.
Out of the 85 entries, twenty Finalists were announced on April 27th. Today we are announcing the Top Ten Youth Visionaries and their video entries:
Brunswick High School – Dear Governor: Wraparound Works
Cape Elizabeth Middle School – Free to Be: Nonprofit
Caribou High School – Life of Maine: Nonprofit
China Middle School – Dear Governor: One Million Dollars
Durham Community School – 10 Years Down the Road: Head of Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department
Durham Community School – See You in 2025
Freeport High School – Tabletop Farms: Nonprofit
Lyman Moore Middle School – Camp Sunshine
Messalonskee Middle School – Charity Profit Recreational Center – Infrastructure
Searsport District High School – The Real Way Life Should Be
“The depth and range of vision that we received was astonishing and deeply affirming,” said Brett Pierce, Executive Director of Meridian Stories, the non-profit organization behind Down the Road. “From this cross-section of kids, stretching from Caribou to Cape Elizabeth, the chief concerns on kids’ minds are Maine’s growing homeless population and our stewardship of the environment.”
The judges for this contest also came from a diverse cross- section of Maine life including, University of Maine, Augusta President Glenn Cummings, Author and Journalist Mike Paterniti, Representative Sara Gideon, Barbara Bush Foundation Honorary Chair and Author Doro Bush Koch, and Author and Journalist Sara Corbett. “It was completely fun to see the talent and energy coming from students all over the state. The students produced sophisticated, well researched, and lively digital content. Meridian’s storytelling challenge clearly had them engaged,” said Sara Corbett, judge and regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine.
The entries are all posted on a graphically designed digital map of Maine, where users can click all around the state to see and hear what Maine youth are saying about their perceptions of their own futures.
“This project is designed as a form of activism,” said Bob Moore, Sr. Partner for Meridian Stories. “The goal is to give voice to Maine students’ collective vision and truly impact what tomorrow looks like for our state.” To that end, every Legislator will receive a link to the entries and the First Lady of Maine, Ann LePage will host a reception for the top ten Visionaries at the beginning of June. Each Visionary – and it could be a team of students – will receive $100 to help them further their vision.
Tamiko Paquette, a Gifted and Talented Instructor that worked with two of the Visionary winning teams from Messalonskee High School and China Middle School, sums up the experience, saying, “Students learned, practiced, and learned some more the art of listening to each other, negotiation, time management/scheduling, and praise and edification. These are skills that will carry our students far and enable them to set goals, reach their dreams and make positive, life changing impacts on our world. This project embodies the affirmation, ‘It’s all about the journey, not the destination.’”