High school junior Brayden Bachelder holds a 3D printed moped engine part during his presentation at the weekly Maranacook Community Cafe at Maranacook Community Middle School in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

READFIELD — When Brayden Bachelder presented his woodshop etchings and plastic 3D printer creations, he was ready for questions from his audience, some of whom might not know what a 3D printer is.  

“How long does it take you to make that?” one person asked. 

“The school has those machines?” another wanted to know.   

“Do you have time to make what you want during the school day?” a third asked. 

Bachelder, 16 and a junior at Maranacook Community High School, was one of the student presenters at the Maranacook Community Café — a weekly school event at the middle and high school that brings the school-age generation together with older residents from the area over coffee and pastries.  

Every week features a new presentation that gives community members a chance to see their grandchildren or other students they know from their neighborhoods showcase what they’re learning and doing.


The Maranacook Community Café — formerly called the Senior Café — started nearly 18 years ago but stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan Holman, a middle school teacher at Maranacook Community Middle School, started the event back up in November. 

Readfield resident John Perry attends weekly. 

“It started as seniors, but it’s more about the community to bring members together for the social time, but also to hear what’s going on,” Perry said. “It’s an opportunity to bring people together.” 

Rather than worrying about attendance each Thursday, the students worry about having enough chairs for those that show up.  

Though the weekly café is open to the community, most people that attend are older people that show up from Mount Vernon, Readfield, Augusta, Manchester and Vienna.  

Students say they have started to see the community members at school events, like the high school concert, and the students and community members have a book club going in collaboration with the school and Readfield’s Community Library. 


Seventh grade student Beatrice Vazquez called the experience with the older community eye-opening. 

“They have experienced more than we have, and we show them what we did in class and then they usually say, ‘Back in my day…,'” Vazquez said, laughing.

Bachelder was asked by Dora Clark, a fellow student and teacher’s assistant that runs the café, to present his project. While he was nervous, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat.  

“I spend a lot of my day doing what I do, so it’s fun when people ask me questions about it,” he said.  

Tom Molokie chats with a group of middle school boys during the weekly Community Cafe at Maranacook Community Middle School in Readfield. For nearly two decades, the cafe has invited older community members to the school to see what the students are learning. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Audience members were fascinated by the technology he used, and were not aware the school had the tools, or the technology, for students to create the work Bachelder did.   

Tom Molokie from Readfield said he enjoys seeing such a different way of learning. 


“They think outside the box,” said Molokie, who attends weekly with his wife and has seen their eighth grade grandson present. 

Up next for café attendees is the debut of a book club. Students and visitors will read either “Night,” a memoir by Elie Wiesel, or “Man Searching for Meaning,” by Viktor E. Frankl, two books on the Holocaust.   

Chris Armstrong of Augusta said she’s slowly making her way through “Night” and she’s looking forward to the book discussion to hear the students’ perspectives. Armstrong carpools weekly to the café with her friend, Doris Murray from Manchester. 

“It will be interesting to see how the young people of today (talk about it) and how they take it,” Armstrong said of the Holocaust-centered book. “I don’t know if they’ll believe these things ever happened.”  

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