Linda Quin’s suggestion of The Phoenix as the new mascot for School Administrative District 54 captures the resilience of the six communities making up SAD 54 (“Skowhegan students have nine options for new school mascot,” July 23).

In the late 1970s and early ’80s these communities were under great stress with loss of jobs in the shoe industry and instability in the woods-based industry.

New Balance moved into that gap in Skowhegan and Norridgewock. A major factor in that move was the availability of skilled hard-working shoemakers in these communities of SAD 54.

As the paper industry came under duress in Maine SAPPI, once Scott Paper, has continued to invest in their plant in Skowhegan. Access to wood for pulp and skilled hard-working paper makers from the communities of SAD 54 are the keys to this company’s success.

Redington Fairview grew from two separate “cottage” hospitals to a Critical Access Hospital receiving national recognition. This is based on leadership and committed workers from the SAD 54 communities.

This part of Maine has become a grain hub for the Northeast, based in the old county jail. We sponsor an internationally known Kneading Conference and Bread Fair.

The mythological Phoenix represents this resilience and rebirth. There is only one Phoenix on earth at any given time. It lives for 500 years or more. A new one emerges from the flames. It can inspire students in many endeavors, from sports to academics to individual growth.

I take a great deal of pride in living here and being part of these communities. We can all take pride in the resilience of this place we choose to live in

The Phoenix would be a wonderful representation of the strength and resilience of these communities.

 

Roger Renfrew

Skowhegan