“What’s your favorite place in Maine?” was the prompt for a Maine Community Foundation writing contest held this summer.
The prompt became part of a writing project for middle-level reading teacher Kim Astbury’s summer school program.
“Students were asked to write about their favorite place in Maine,” said Astbury. “We focused on sensory writing, and I encouraged students to write about what they would see, taste, hear, feel and smell.”
Seven students wrote about places such as Blue Hill Mountain, a lake near Machias, Hatch Cove and Marshall’s Island.
All students sent their work to the contest and two students placed in the contest. Devan Showers, soon to be in eighth grade, was declared one of three winners for her essay on Portland. Myra Hobbs, a new seventh-grade student, won honorable mention for her essay about lobstering in Stonington.
“It was definitely a successful project,” said Astbury. “Kids were really happy they were mentioned.” Astbury said she plans on using the prompt again over the course of the year.
Summer school, in general, was also a success, she said. “Summer school is an opportunity to do more individualized and creative ways of teaching,” said Astbury.
Portland is My Favorite Place
The smell of gas when I walk in Portland reminds me of home. The reason why I like Portland is the bright lights at night because they make the city look nice and make the city stand out. The tall buildings are so huge that I strain my neck looking up at them.
The sounds of the city put a touch of business to the streets. I love the sounds of cars driving by and the beeping sirens. When it rains, the smell of the wet concrete and the gas makes the city smell like a real city should. There are so many stores, but out of all of them the mall is the biggest. When you walk in, the smell of the stores is new shoes and perfume.
The people are really nice, the city’s clean, and it’s big. Most big cities aren’t clean like Portland. There are nice colleges and schools full of polite students and teachers. The police officers are really nice and helpful to the public. I have met one before in person at my school in Deer Isle.
When I graduate from high school I would love to go to college there at the Maine College of Art to pursue my dream of becoming a professional DJ. Portland is my favorite place in Maine because it is the largest city and cities make me feel at home. I can’t wait until next year when I will go visit Portland for my eighth-grade class trip!
—Devan Showers, Winner
Lobstering in Stonington
First thing you do when you go lobstering is you wake at 4 in the morning and you are very tired. Then you go to the bait shop and get herring. Sometimes the bait is fresh, which is the best type of bait. Other times it is gushy and is old bait with maggots in it. Old bait is stinky. Sometimes you wait a half an hour or an hour for bait.
After you pick up your bait, you go out to haul your lobster traps up to your boat. Once you’re on the boat, seagulls surround you. The seagulls will eat almost everything but there are two things they will not eat. One is banana peel because it is too tough. The second is red fish. No seagulls will touch it because it has a lot of horns.
You are driving on the boat and can see pot buoys through the window. The pot buoys can have different colors like blue, green, black, yellow, and red. Some can be big and small. There are also floats that go underwater when it is high tide.
You go out about twenty-five minutes before you anchor and let down your traps. Then you wait. There are a lot of other boats around one. There is one boat called The Cannon that goes fast, it can roll you upside down. The waves can get high sometimes and it’s fun because it feels like a roller coaster.
Sometimes it can be very cool out. When you catch the lobsters, it is hard work. You have to band them and put them in the box except if they’re bad, you throw them overboard. You might catch a blue lobster which is very rare. We caught one once. There are also green, purple, and white lobsters.
After a long day of lobstering you go inside and sell them to one of the four COOPs. My dad sells his lobsters at Hewey’s, which is a little lobster shack. My favorite place is out on the boat off of Stonington shore.
—Myra Hobbs, Honorable Mention