The Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute in Portland graduated the third class of program participants in its history — including more than 150 young women from 36 high schools, spanning all 16  Maine counties. The graduations occurred during two year-end celebration events on June 2 and 5, that took place by webinar to respect social-distancing guidelines, according to a news release from leadership institute.

More than 750 students, advisors and school contacts participated in the institute’s 2019-20 program, which is a three-year progression through the themes: “My Values” (10th grade), “My Voice” (11th grade), and “My Vision” (12th grade). The evidence-based curriculum is designed to raise the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them develop the skills required to be leaders in their lives, families, careers, and communities.

“Olympia’s Leaders,” as participants are called, engage in unique programming blending statewide events, experiential activities in small groups, individual development and reflections, and tailored connections and networking with Maine’s business and community leaders. Throughout all three years, each Olympia’s Leader is supported by one or two trained volunteer advisors, who facilitate monthly activities and serve as a mentor and role model.

The 2020 Year-End Celebrations included remarks from Jelena McWilliams, guest speaker and chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; the Honorable Olympia J. Snowe, former United States Senator and founder of the Institute; and Christina McAnuff, executive director of the institute.

In her final words to the seniors, Snowe said, “My greatest privilege is being a part of your journeys of self-discovery and expression, and for the institute to contribute to your lives today while building networks of support for your tomorrow. No matter what is happening in the world right now, nothing can take away from the incredible milestone you have reached. After successfully navigating the challenging world of high school — and now a pandemic — you are graduating as strong, resilient, passionate young women with limitless potential.”

The program distinguished the graduating class of Olympia’s Leaders by celebrating each senior for their accomplishments with the institute and for their distinct post-secondary visions. All seniors received graduation cords, certificates of completion, and commemorative pins by mail.

This fall, 97% of graduating Olympia’s Leaders will begin higher education, training and certificate-bearing programs, or military service; 68% will go on to attend Maine institutions; and 50% are studying a STEM field.

The Institute’s new alumnae hail from the following public schools: Bangor, Belfast Area, Biddeford, Boothbay Region, Calais High, Camden Hills Regional, Cony, Edward Little, Ellsworth, Houlton, Lawrence, Leavitt Area, Lewiston, Lisbon, Medomak Valley, Mount Ararat, Mount Blue, Mount Desert Island, View, Narraguagus Jr./Sr., Nokomis Regional, Oak Hill, Oceanside, Oxford Hills Comprehensive, Penquis Valley, Piscataquis Community, Poland Regional, Portland, Presque Isle, Sacopee Valley, Sanford, Skowhegan Area, Spruce Mountain, Westbrook, and Winslow high schools.

The local graduates:
CONY
Olympia’s Leaders from Cony High School included Katherine Boston, Emma Levesque, Meredith Lewis, Caroline Mosca and Mallory Turgeon. They were advised by Suzanne Baack-Dyke, vice president and senior manager of Retail Store Communications & Strategic Training at TD Bank, N.A., and Heather Pouliot, president of Core Marketing and Design. Summit Utilities Inc.’s support of the institute helps underwrite program participation for Olympia’s Leaders at Cony High School.

LAWRENCE
Olympia’s Leaders from Lawrence High School included Abigail Fisher, Haley Hersey and Lydia Rogers. They were advised by Carrie Dionne, enrollment student navigator at Kennebec Valley Community College, and Kate MacLeod, assistant professor of Inclusive Special Education at the University of Maine at Farmington. Summit Utilities Inc.’s support of the institute helps underwrite program participation for Olympia’s Leaders at Lawrence High School.
Hersey was named class salutatorian; Fisher also ranked in the top 10.

MEDOMAK VALLEY
Olympia’s Leaders from Medomak Valley High School included Olivia Bradstreet, Grace Kurr, Taylor Post, Hannah Prock and Natalie Shields. They were advised by Anika Hansen, director at Insurer’s Loss Control Institute, and JoAnn Leon, senior vice president of Retail Operational Risk at TD Bank, N.A.

MOUNT BLUE
Olympia’s Leaders from Mount Blue High School included Kayleigh Brisard, Kahryn Cullenberg, Molly Harmon, Julia Hatch and Lexi Mittelstadt. They were advised by Michelle Hayes, principal at Smith Kjeldgaard & Hayes Human Resources Solutions, and Susan Pye, financial advisor at The Danforth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.
Cullenberg was named class valedictorian, and Brisard was one of four Olympia’s Leaders presented with a scholarship exclusive to Institute participants; she received a University of Maine System scholarship after excelling within the Institute and her UMS Early College program, as well as committing to attend a UMS campus for post-secondary education.

MOUNT VEW
Olympia’s Leaders from Mount View High School included Leah Bradstreet, Abbigail Downer, Maeve Noble-Lowe, Hannah Oliver and Brianna Tripp. They were advised by Christine Beguin, registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Waldo County General Hospital, and Laurie Osgood, president and CEO of Unitel.

NOKOMIS
Olympia’s Leaders from Nokomis Regional High School included Shelby Glidden, Madison Ivory, Mary Libby and Mallory Cogswell. They were advised by Jonie Dunivan, regional human resource manager at Wayfair, and Barbie Poirier, finance assistant manager at CIANBRO Corporation.

OAK HILL
Olympia’s Leaders from Oak Hill High School included Natalya Armstrong, Daisy Cole and Caitlyn Hamilton. They were advised by Kimberly Simard, vice president and human resource business partner of Finance and Corporate Development at WEX Inc.

SKOWHEGAN AREA
Olympia’s Leaders from Skowhegan Area High School included Kayla Dickinson, Breeanna Faulkingham, Breanna Mushero, Alivia Rac and Emma York. They were advised by Lisa Landry, human resources director at Redington Fairview General Hospital.
During the year end celebrations, Mushero was one of two recipients to be presented the Sharon Y. Miller Leadership Award, a $2,500 scholarship created and named in honor of the chairwoman of the Institute’s founding Board of Directors.

WINSLOW
Olympia’s Leaders from Winslow High School included Logan Bolduc, Katie Doughty, Justice Picard, Carrie Selwood and Mallory Sheridan. They were advised by Michelle Van Twistern, head of Deposit Operations at TD Bank, N.A.
Three of Winslow’s top 10 students were Olympia’s Leaders: Doughty who was named class valedictorian, Picard and Selwood.

For more information, visit snoweleadershipinstitute.org.

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