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CBHS Summer Newsletter 2024

Summer 2024

Dear Casco Families and Friends, 

Our motto for the 23-24 school year was “Work Towards Your Awesome,” and our school year ended with the Season of the Awesome. The Class of 2024 kicked off Awesome Season when they shared their original poems, fiction and memoir at Café Night and continued as 9th grader’s abstract portraits and tributes to abolitionists started showing up around the city. The juniors kept it going with their dramatic enactment of key moments in the lives of inspirational Portlanders (in the performance that culminated the People of Portland Project). The sophomores followed by racing their very fast (and very slow) cars in the Work is Play Derby as well as with their reflections on the halfway point of high school: the Sophomore Passage Presentations. The final weeks also included favorite celebratory traditions from Arts & Music Fest and Prom to Family Crew Night and the Cardboard Boat Race. 

But the lead story was unquestionably the graduation of the great Class of 2024. What follows are excerpts from the senior class’s glorious Final Words that were shared over two weeks in May in the Great Space  - and again on the Merrill Auditorium Stage June 6th. 

“Your best is getting better…. When you think of yourself as a capable person, you become one.”  ~Asa Winter

“...[T]o leave this community now feels bittersweet, as I am finally able to see my place in it.”   ~Sabine O’Malley

“Despite it all, I left an outstanding impression.”   ~ Noemia Nzolameso

“I have grown into someone I never believed I could have become.”   ~ Morgan Deveau

“I learned I’d rather be in MY school with MY people than anywhere else in the world.”   ~ Ben Medd

“I have worked hard and seen the good results of working hard through my academics and my entire life.”    ~ Flower Kayisengerwa

“How often is something so warped from itself? Contorted beyond recognition and made anew? All of the time, I would argue. I melt the discarded parts of myself that do not reflect the person I want to be…. I cast it with my new intention and philosophy into a more refined and beautiful form. I rework myself…. When fate deals you with adversity and struggle, take hold of your fate and warp it to your benefit. Make a silver ring.”   ~ Lucien Brahms

“I love the teachers who have taught me the meaning of mutual respect and of quality.”   ~ Quinn Bolster

“[M]y life's mission is to believe in myself.”   ~ Olmert Hirwa

“Whatever I do, I want to be helpful.”    ~ Samantha Flynn

“I’ve transformed from a shy, reserved girl into a confident young adult ready to embrace the future.”   ~ Annella  Nkutwa

“I found a love for learning here, and I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone both by this school, making me get up on stages, presenting my work, sharing my poetry,  but also by myself,  because I know now how good it feels to grow and not be limited by what I think I can do.”   ~ Charlie Ferris

“Do you think Sisyphus ever learned to love his boulder? To love and appreciate the burdens he carries? I believe, yes, he did. He did love the struggles, the weight, the hopelessness, the despair. And hopefully, I’ll learn to as well.”   ~ Jules Lallo

“My imagination is my preview of life’s coming attractions.... So I throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in my sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Pray. On the current wave of becoming - the next president of Congo.”  ~ Joseph Lew

“It wasn’t until junior year that I made the best decision I could have ever made, and that was transferring to Casco Bay High School…. At Casco Bay High School, we aren’t just students and teachers; we’re family.”   ~ Michael Majano

“I'm scared I’m still not ready. But I also think maybe I am. I am ready because I've already committed to a college and signed up for all my classes. I've also been planning a bakery since I was 10. I'm ready to achieve all my hopes and dreams and so much more.”     ~ Izzy Elder

“No matter how old I grow, I will never back down. Still grind and stick to what I know…. Lord, I know we came a long way,  but you made me to be great.”

~ Ganzi Kumondan

“I like where I am right now, this is a new state of mind for me.”  ~ Deborah Rugema

“What I’m most proud of is that I'm gonna be the first to graduate from my mother’s family in the US…. I hope I'm one of the first ones to take a step forward and move on to be a better person.”    ~ Douglas Majano Galvez

“Casco has shown me that I'm enough and can achieve any goal I set for myself.”    ~ Maddie Johnston


May we all learn and enact the wisdom of the Class of 2024!…   Since this is also my last year at CBHS, I too had the opportunity for a Final Word, at graduation. Thanks to all of the students, staff and parents who made the 23-24 school year - like the 18 years before it - teeming with awesome.

Proof positive follows!


Derek Pierce

Outgoing CBHS Principal


Greetings from Incoming CBHS Principal , Priya Natarajan

Dear CBHS community,

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with our amazing students for the last 11 years and to continue to serve as your next principal.  As we enter our 20th year as a school, we hope that we will continue to celebrate what is awesome about every community member and to provide a joyful and safe place to grow and learn. I am thrilled that so many students are taking advantage of our summer learning opportunities.  Please look out for volunteer opportunities to build our community, whether on School Beautification Days on August 23rd and 30th or for our older students to serve as teacher aides for our incoming 9th graders.  If there is a smaller group of adults or students who would like to volunteer for an afternoon in the summer, please let me know; we have plenty of walls to be painted, gardens to be weeded, and other summertime tasks that always could use a few willing folks.  Thank you to everyone offering support to me personally and please reach out if there is anything we can do for you in the next two months. Happy summer, everyone!  

~Ms. Natarajan

Help us raise $20,000 to launch Casco Bay’s 20th year

To contribute, click here. Please also share this GoFundMe link with other family members, grandparents and friends who might be interested.  

The need is critical.  We currently need $20,000 to make Quest 2024 happen this September for our seniors and 9th graders. The shortfall is caused by a lean school budget, the end of federal monies and a challenging grant landscape.  We have already raised $35,000 of the funds necessary - from families, local monies, PAG and grants. But we need your help to make up the difference, so that every 9th grader and senior can participate, regardless of their family’s economic circumstances. 

We want our traditions to reflect our noblest aims. And the Quests, with their outcomes of lasting relationships and lasting learning, are among our most important  traditions. As most of you know, Casco Bay Quest is an overnight experience based on Cow Island for 9th graders and a four-night  kayaking expedition for all seniors. The Quests inspire our students to edge closer to their best selves through writing, reflection, team-building and adventure-based learning. We partner with Rippleffect and, this year, Hurricane Island Science Center to make this happen. 

Finn Snow’s reflection on his Senior Quest during his May 2024 Final Word is representative of a generation of Crewbies’ Quest experiences:  

Later that night on Jewel Island… [c]ircled up in a small field, we lay back, appreciating the company of both our Crewbies and the stars…[W[e each shared something about the Crew that mattered to us. We were honest and vulnerable—two things that the [old] me never knew how to express. In other words, things got real….[W]hen all was said and done, I truly understood what being part of a Crew is all about. At Casco, ‘Crew’ isn't just about people in a boat; it's a synonym for family.”

Thanks for any contribution you can make here to help the Quest tradition - and learning - continue in 2024. All donations to CBHS Parent Advisory Group for this campaign will go toward making the Quests happen.

You can also mail a check to:

CBHS Parent Advisory Group

196 Allen Avenue

Portland, ME 04103

Each gift matters!  

Thanks to all of those who have already contributed!


Class of 2024, By The Numbers

50% in the Class of ‘24 intend to start at a four-year college next fall. Another 35% will be attending community college or plan to work and go to college part-time. Another 5% will go directly into the workforce, 

17% of June 2024 graduates earned the Seal of Biliteracy, and 17% earned the STEM Endorsement.

30% are first generation college students. 

2 is the number of Class of 2024 graduates attending Bowdoin, Oberlin, Suffolk, UMaine and UNE. 2 that’s the number of terrific goalies in the Class of 2024 (Samantha and Calvin) and the number of seniors on the state championship Frisbee team as well as the number of state or national recognitions our literary magazine has received.  

75 - that’s the record number of peers that the Class of 2024 voted for as a possible class speaker, a testament to their diverse and deep leadership. 

86 - that is the number of Class of 2024 members who received their diploma on June 6th. We hope to have more graduates before summer’s end. 

60% is the percentage of students in the Class of 2024 who earned college credit before they graduated.  

3.96 - that’s the GPA of Archer Isgro, the highest in the class of 2024.  

25 - that’s the number of seniors who will be taking advantage of free college at SMMC next fall, a new record. 

100% - that is the percentage of Class of 2024 folks on the June 6th stage who were accepted to at least one college!   

$2,212,681 is  the amount of money the Class of 2024 earned in grants and scholarships for their college educations, so far. And that does not even include the value of free community college or that some folks are still waiting for their FAFSA and more potential aid. 

2024 - that’s the name of this sweet, smart, goofy, spirited and talented class of changemakers who have so deftly led our school, unified our community,  gotten smart and done good  

Key Links for the Class of 2024 and Their Fans

Year End Awards

Check out all of the 9-12 students who were honored in year-end ceremonies, including those who won scholarships at the Senior Awards Assembly. 

Summer School for the Cool

CBHS is offering 15 intensives this summer, from now through early August. All are free and all offer UPs, in disciplines from PE to math. Kudos to the hundreds of students engaged in meaningful learning this summer! Most of the courses are now full, but please reach out to Ms Hampton (hampte@) FMI. CBHS Summer School Course Descriptions 2024    


Summer Reading at CBHS!

The main focus of our summer reading programs is for each student TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF READING, by choosing books they want to read. More details are below. 

Here is the summer reading assignment and resource list for incoming 9th-graders

Here is the summer reading assignment for upcoming 10th graders. 

Here is the summer reading assignment for rising juniors and seniors. 

Here is the summer reading for CBHS/USM Environmental Science with Ms. Loughlin.

AP English Literature and Composition: We will be reading Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes. There is also an essay assignment that will be due September 3rd, the first day of school. The assignment is also on our Google classroom: gk64c7i

24-25 Staffing Update


We are grateful to the following staff who are concluding their tenures at CBHS this school year: 

• Stephanie Doane (Social Studies) 

• Valeria Lacasia Gormaz (French)

• Harley Nimblett (Long-Term Substitute Teacher)

• Kelly Patton (.4 Ed Tech and Musical Director)

• Derek Pierce (Principal)

• My Hanh Thai (Chinese)
Some of these folks have clear next plans. (Ms. Doane has moved to Italy, and Ms. Lacasia will be teaching at Bonney Eagle) And some are still mulling. All will be deeply missed and are forever a part of the CBHS family. 




23-24 Role

24-25 Role

Priya Natarajan

Assistant Principal


Alberto Morales

Dean of Students

Assistant Principal

Leslie Appelbaum

.5 Literacy Specialist/Librarian

.7 Literary Specialist/Librarian and AP English Teacher

Becky Bell

.5 PATHs/.5 CBHS Nurse

.2 PATHS/.2 CBHS Nurse (2 days a week)

Stewart Croft

10th Grade Humanities (Social Studies)

11th Grade Humanities (Social Studies)

Becca Lynch Nichols

1.0 Spanish and Grade 11 Crew

.8 Spanish (and no crew)

Kevin Murray

11th Grade IEP Case Manager

11th & 12th Grades IEP Case Manager

Gwyneth Nicholson. 

.9 English Electives, AP English and 11th Crew

1.0 11th Grade Humanities (English) and 11th crew

Annemarie Orth

.5 Spanish 

1.0 Spanish (Span. 1, Span. 2, AP Spanish and 10th Crew)

CC Robinson

. 81 Senior English

.2 English Electives

Ian Zickler

12th Grade IEP Case Manager

CBHS Special Ed. Team Leader

In addition, as was planned, Ms. McCray and Mr. Ford will loop up with the Class of 2025 to teach Senior Humanities. Ms Nicholson will be the new musical director. Ms Howland will now be employed as a Restorative Specialist by Maine Youth-Led Justice; she will be assigned to support CBHS in our restorative work about ⅓ of her time. Mr. Braun will be the long-term substitute for Ms. Haar this fall until she returns from her maternity leave after Indigenous People’s Day. (And then Mr. Braun will again be one of our dedicated subs.) 

New Staff

We are excited to welcome three exceptional new staff to the 24-25 CBHS team: 

Jennifer Conway - 10th Grade Humanities Social Studies: Ms. Conway comes to us from Westbrook High School, where she was recently named the 2024 WHS Teacher of the Year. She has also had a long career in education and social work since 2000, including time with CIEE supporting international exchange students, North Andover Youth Services, and Jobs for Maine Graduates at South Portland High School. Ms. Conway began her teaching career as an intern at CBHS for Ms Doane. Ms. Conway completed her BA at Salem State University and earned her master’s at USM. 

Linda Raymond - .6 CBHS/PATHS Nurse:  Nurse Raymond will be sharing the CBHS/PATHS nursing duties with Nurse Bell, working three days a week.  Nurse Raymond (RN) earned her bachelor's from UMaine and has worked as a nurse in diverse settings including Maine Medical Center, several summer camps, Gould Academy and, most recently, Rowe Elementary. Linda has also subbed at CBHS and joined the team of adults on Junior Journey 2024. She knows CBHS well as a former CBHS parent (of Ella and Ben). We are thrilled to welcome Nurse Raymond back as a colleague!

Judith Rowley - 9-12 French:  Ms. Rowley has been the high school French teacher and World Language chair at Saint Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana since 2015. She's led a yearly exchange with a French school and served as the senior class advisor. Prior to that Judith was the director of both a Waldorf School and a French immersion school in New Orleans. Her reputation as an excellent, progressive educator with both students and staff is sterling. Ms. Rowley has an MA in French from Middlebury as well as a Masters In Education and BS from LSU. 


We currently have several openings that we hope to fill this summer. One is Mr. Morales’ former position, the Dean of Students, and the other is a Special Education Ed Tech III position. We always like to have parents and students on any interview panels. Watch your email for opportunities to get involved. 

New Courses at CBHS This Fall​​

For the first time, we will be offering AP Spanish (with Ms. Orth) and AP Computer Science (with Mr. McNally) this fall.  We will no longer be offering Advanced Coding or the semester English elective, I Am From Many Worlds. To replace this English elective, Ms. Robinson will be teaching a new semester English elective, described below. 

Reading the World - Fall Semester

This English course is semester-long and worth one UP in English.  Our global syllabus includes poetry, novels, short stories, and memoir from almost every continent. Class will be run as a reading lab with time to read great books, journal about them, and participate in small-group text-based discussions and reading conferences. Assessment will consist of daily grades on reading, writing, speaking and listening standards rather than long-term projects / essays. The course is designed both for students who love reading and for students who struggle with it.  Strong attendance and commitment to spending time reading are essential ingredients to success in this course.We will also think beyond books about what “reading the world” signifies.  Half of student homework will be designing or participating in adventures outside of class time to better get to know our local world – both the Portland community and the woods, rivers, beaches and fields where we live.  Each month every student will document one cultural adventure, one outdoor adventure, and one important conversation that they have planned or participated in.  The other half of our homework assignments will be reading.


We will also be offering two SMCC courses at CBHS this fall, after-school on Wednesdays: English Composition and Introduction to Psychology. Please contact Ms. Doyle (doyles@) or Mr. Hale (halem@) if you are interested in any of these options. 


News Shorts

Check out the new 10th grade website about influential Black Americans. The website includes biographies written by the sophomores about influential Black activists, artists, authors, athletes, performers, and filmmakers. You can navigate by the name of the people profiled (from the homepage for each block), or by the name of the student writer (from the dropdown menu, also by block).  Sample Will Morrison's, or Aimen's, or Diego's, or Georgina's, or Lachlan's…

Check out the 23-24 Yearbook. Thanks to Ms. Taraschi and staff for putting this together!

In case you missed it, here’s the last day slide show:  CBHS 23-24 school year  

Congrats to Ms Herlihy for winning a $750 grant from the Book Love Foundation to expand her classroom library. 

Deering Athletes: Here’s all you need to know about Summer Sports at Deering.

Portland High Athletes: Here’s all you need to know about Summer Sports at Portland.


The summer public hours for the CBHS school and main office will be 9am to noon, Monday through Thursday.  The office may be staffed at other times but the focus will be on office-specific, long-term projects. The phone will also be answered anytime summer school is open for safety purposes.  If you are coming into the building at any other time, please make sure you have an appointment first.

Information for Rising Grade 9 Class of 2028

Summer Welcome Letter, CBHS Class of 2028 

Summer Courses and Bridge Program (8/14-8/15) for the CBHS Class of 2028
We strongly encourage all rising 9th graders to attend the 2 day Summer Bridge program.  

Class of 2028 Course Sign Up Letter

Casco Bay 9th Grade Course Offerings 2024-2025  

9th Grade Supply List 2024-2025

Grade 9 CBHS Summer Reading 2024

CBHS Parent Field Guide


Upcoming Events at CBHS

Summer - Class of 2028 Receives Metro Pass

August 14 - 9:00-1pm:  9th Grade Summer Bridge 

August 15 - 9 am-12 pm: 9th Grade Summer Bridge 

12 pm-1 pm: Crew Family Potluck Lunch with Parents & Students (meet teachers/class and crew introductions) 

August 19th - Fall Sport Preseason/Tryouts Begin

August 23 & Aug 30 - CBHS Beautification Days  (9am-3pm)

September 3rd - 1st Day of School!

September 10th - First Parent Advisory Group Meeting at 5:30 pm in the LIbrary

September 12th - Quest Info Meeting for 9th Grade and new senior families (6:00-6:30 pm)

September 12th - CBHS Open House (6:30 pm)

September 17th-20th - Senior Quest

September 23rd-27th - 9th Grade Quest

Want to learn more about how schools are funded in Maine?  

From Grace Valenzuela: “Here is the link to the video recording of our Reimagining Family Engagement session with Rep. Michael Brennan who thoroughly explained and discussed Maine's Educational Funding System - its history, pros and cons, political landscape, and impact on Portland and other communities. I highly recommend watching it as the session was very informative.”

Summer Meals in Portland

Summer meals are here! Check out the graphic below to find your nearest location, and help spread the word by sharing it to your networks.