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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Windham High teacher is living her dream

Melissa Dubois
By Matt Pascarella

Melissa Dubois was drawn to teaching through her love of athletics. Dubois has taught in Maryland and at Freeport High as an Educational Technician and next year will celebrate her 20th year at Windham High School.

Dubois developed a passion for coaching early in her college career. When she went to college at Radford University in Virginia, she knew she wanted to play field hockey but was undecided on her major. Eventually she figured out she wanted to be a health teacher. “Physical education and health education majors were housed in the complex where the athletes were. I was always in an environment of passionate teachers. It just kind of happened; it was a stroke of fortune,” she explains. “As I’m falling into teaching I’m thinking ‘I can coach’ I can do this. I can have my dream and live it.”

Dubois got her undergrad from Radford University in Health and Physical Education and started teaching physical education and coaching right out of college at St. Mary’s County in Maryland. She led the Saint Mary’s field hockey team to become state champions, she led the shot put, high jump, discus and triple jumper to set school records; as well as taking their basketball team, the Chopticon Braves, to regional playoffs many times.  

http://windhampowersports.com/After coaching and teaching for nine years in Maryland, she met and married a gentleman from the Coast Guard who was stationed in Maryland at the time but was originally from Maine. When her husband wanted to move home, Dubois saw moving to Maine as an adventure and she has never looked back. She started teaching at Windham High School in 1999 as a health and family consumer science teacher. She partnered with former teacher and coach Terry Christy and eventually transitioned to head field hockey coach at Windham High for five years, and then started a lacrosse program. Dubois left coaching altogether two years ago to spend more time with her family.

Dubois says she has stayed at Windham High not only because of the love of her students, but she also works with phenomenal colleagues and goes on to say the building oozes compassion. They are a group that takes care of and looks out for one another.

Recently, she received the Gay/Straight Alliance Club’s first ever ‘Ally of the Year’ award. “This is the best award I’ve ever received in my life,” exclaims Dubois. “I love everyone and embrace their mission, so I guess I kind of acted like their godmother.” She helped the club organize events, get t-shirts and supported them in any way she could. She was presented with the award during one of her classes and she’s very proud of it.

Dubois would like to get back on the field, as a referee, but only when the time is right. She lives on Sebago Lake with her husband, her yin, as she describes him. She has a son who is in college in Colorado and a son who is a junior at Bonny Eagle and two dogs. She loves four-wheeling and the outdoors. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Coach Fred Wilcox takes the reins of the varsity softball team


Fred Wilcox
By Matt Pascarella

As varsity softball coach Travis Demmons is stepping down, assistant coach Fred Wilcox, will take his place for the spring season.

Wilcox became interested in coaching through his children, which is how he met Demmons. Wilcox became a coach when his girls, Ella (now in eighth grade) and Chloe (now a junior at Windham High) played little league and he coached their little league teams. Demmons was the inspiration for Wilcox deciding to coach at the varsity level.

There won’t be any change of coaching strategy come the spring season. “Demmons built a great program and I don’t want to change that; it’s been trending upwards since he took over” says Wilcox. Although the team lost seven seniors last year, Wilcox says the program is so good it will have many great girls stepping in to fill the spots left by last year’s seniors. “I don’t really see us changing a lot except going out there and working hard, having a great season.”

http://windhampowersports.com/Wilcox does have a philosophy when it comes to coaching; he calls it the responsible coach approach. He likes to see the girls having a good time throughout the season, but also wants to make sure they’re learning technical skills and building their confidence. It is important to make them believe in themselves, so they can overcome obstacles whether it’s on or off the field. Having fun and learning about the game is key, as well as winning ball games along the way.

Wilcox is a graduate from Scarborough High School and now lives in Windham with his wife, Natalie and two daughters. He has played in a variety of baseball and softball men’s leagues and has always had a real love of the game.

Wilcox has coached in multiple Amateur Softball Association organization teams for quite a few years and has witnessed a certain amount of high-level playing. He’s learned much from the girls on the varsity softball team and from being near good coaches over the years. 

“Windham is one of the best communities I’ve been around,” stated Wilcox. “They really love the game of softball...I can’t wait to get out there and get after it. I know these girls, I know where they’re at and I know we’re going to hit the ground running [in the spring].”

Freshman Jason Scott recognized nationally for football talent

Jason Scott
By Matt Pascarella

This summer, freshman Jason Scott Jr. competed in the Middle School Showcase games in Arlington, Texas. It has been announced that Scott was recently picked to play in the International Bowl at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in January 2019. 

Playing in the Middle School showcase over the summer helped Scott Jr. to prepare for the International Bowl because it let him know what to expect from the coaches, as well as what kinds of players he’ll be meeting. Scott has a better sense of what kind of atmosphere to expect. He says there is a lot of energy at these national games both on the field and in the stands.

How was he picked? He started a couple years ago at a Boston development camp, then he went to the Georgia Regional Development games. This year, he did the Boston camp again and was then invited to Texas where he played this summer. “I was chosen from roughly a dozen tight ends because a mixture of coaches and scouts working for USA Football and the United States National Football Team thought I did the best job,” explained Scott Jr.

He was chosen for the national team to play against Mexico on the U16 team. The scout went back and looked at the filmed games and chose Scott Jr. “It makes you extra proud” says dad, Jason Scott Sr. In talking with the coaches, they said Scott Jr’s natural talent and his coachability was one of the biggest reasons Scott Jr. got picked.

Scott will play on January 18 in a game against Mexico on a team with other kids his age from the United States. “I feel very proud...they could have picked any person...it’s a good first start,” stated Scott Jr.

https://www.egcu.org/homeTo prepare, Scott has been doing a lot of training with his dad and with a trainer five days a week. Scott is doing a lot of intense workouts to help his footwork, working on speed and agility. He’s also lifting and working on blocking and passing.

Scott Jr. said he’s not that nervous, in part because he’s been down a similar road before (playing on a national stage) and, while he was on the varsity football team this season he was going up against bigger, older kids from schools like Bonny Eagle, Thornton Academy and Portland. Scott Jr. feels like going up against kids his own age won’t be too bad, especially because he’s been training and working hard to get his body in shape for these games. “I’m confident in my ability to outperform other teams; I’m not intimidated,” Scott Jr. explained. “This is the biggest game of my life...I’m not as nervous as the first time I was there.”

He’s now officially on the U16 United States National Football Team (USNFT). If Scott Jr. keeps it up, there’s no reason he can’t keep going. Several NFL players have come up through the ranks of the USNFT. There are currently four active players who are USNFT alum. “The exposure is huge...and it’s such a platform for kids to be able to shine,” stated Scott Sr.

Scott is looking to get into a Division 1 school after high school where he can play football and get noticed. “I want to thank my mom, dad, uncle, aunt and grandfather who have helped me a lot,” Scott Jr. said.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Coach Travis Demmons steps down from varsity softball

By Matt Pascarella

Winter sports may be gearing up, but come spring, the current varsity softball coach, Travis Demmons, will be stepping down and a new coach, Fred Wilcox, will become the head coach for the varsity softball team.

Coach Demmons will be stepping aside as added responsibilities with his employer, the United States Navy, no longer allow him to miss as much work.

Coach Travis Demmons
Demmons, who was head softball coach for four years at Windham got interested in coaching because of the great coaches he had in soccer and baseball growing up in Bangor. After joining the Navy, he met even more great coaches who also doubled as role models.

“I wanted to pay it forward and having a daughter who played softball, along with my prior baseball knowledge, the fit seemed perfect,” he explains. He coached Windham Little League for five years and was vice president of softball as well as president of the Little League board over the years. He coached softball for two years at Windham Middle School before becoming head coach of the varsity softball team in 2014.

One highlight during Demmon’s softball career includes breaking a seven-year drought and having the Lady Eagles make it into the playoffs in 2015. That year, his team challenged Scarborough in a semifinal game and although Windham lost, the team made it farther than many thought they could. “The girls believed, and that was all that mattered to me and my staff,” he recounts. “My day to day interactions with the girls were absolute highlights as was the support provided by Windham High’s athletic director Rich Drummond. I could not have picked a better man to have as my athletic director.”

Demmon’s daily interactions with the girls is what he will miss most. He thinks of them as his daughters. When they put on that Windham uniform, they were one unit and he truly adored them. The games were fun and were certainly an adrenaline rush, but “it was and always will be about the girls for me.” He hopes to this day that his girls feel they can reach out to him for advice, a recommendation or whatever they might need. Without a doubt, they had a family mentality and stuck together, even when times got tough.

http://windhampowersports.com/Demmons says he can’t take all the credit. Each of these community members contributed in some manner and for that Demmons is very thankful: Fred Wilcox and Eric Mora, who were his assistant coaches through the years; Mike Flanders, Wayne Nelson, Jason Elder, Jeremy Wilson, Dave Fielding, Joe Troiano, Todd Hunter, Dave Field, Su Hammond and Pat Tardiff, who were contributors to Windham/Raymond Little League either as coaches and/or umpires.

Demmons will still be coaching some of the ladies on weekends with the Southern Maine River Rats travel ball organization. He’ll be around as much as possible, but as a fan. He will enjoy watching Coach Fred Wilcox and his squad continue to make Windham proud.

“They are in very good hands though; Coach Wilcox has been in the program for years and I know that he will continue marching the girls toward that gold glove.”

Thanks Coach Travis Demmons for all you’ve done and all you will continue to do!


Windham Youth Basketball Association: An ideal way for kids to learn the game

Tate Robinson and Jack Henry
By Matt Pascarella

The colder weather is on its way and it’s time to start thinking about winter sports. The Windham Youth Basketball Association (WYBA) is a non-profit organization run by volunteer mothers and fathers of past and current participants of WYBA; as well as generous contributions from community sponsors. Windham Youth Basketball Association provides recreation level competition, skills training and travel basketball for boys and girls from grades pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.


The WYBA volunteer board and coaches help provide various opportunities for recreation and travel basketball in the town of Windham. These include skills and drills training for pre-kindergarten to first grade; skills and drills training that is coordinated with high school coaches and players. 

Recreation level teams from Windham, Gray and Raymond include second and third graders as the beginner leagues, third and fourth graders are junior leagues and fifth and sixth grade are senior leagues. Fifth and sixth graders also have a travel league that plays competitively against other local communities.

https://whsfallmusical.weebly.com/Seventh and eighth grade offers ‘D League’ which is a coed league that does not have a regular practice time but plays games on Saturday afternoons. The season starts with open gyms in mid-December and then they formalize teams and start the season in January.  

Pat Moody, president of WYBA for almost 10 years, has been involved in WYBA since he was a participant in fifth grade and it was organized by the Windham Recreational Department. As a young adult he organized a kindergarten through second grade skills and drills program which he ran for a number of years. Shortly after Moody’s daughter Hayleigh was born, he began helping Tim Blackie and other board members to organize and set up the beginnings of what is today Windham Youth Basketball. That was roughly 15 years ago. In addition to managing the logistics of WYBA, Moody is very proud to be coaching his 10-year-old son, AJ, and his friends on the fifth grade boys travel team this year.

“There have been many folks who contribute to the success of WYBA over the years at it shows with the volumes of kids participating at all levels. It takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of their time to make our program run smoothly and I know Windham parents and kids greatly appreciate the time and efforts,” says Moody.  

The deadline to register for the pre-kindergarten to sixth grade programs is Saturday, November 10. You can register by visiting www.windhamyouthbasketball.com. The middle school D league registration will be open until mid-December. 

For more information please visit www.windhamyouthbasketball.com or email windhamyouthbasketball@yahoo.com. If you are interested in volunteering, coaching or becoming a board member they are always looking for community members to help. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

First Fall Ball season exceeded expectations

 AJ Sweet 
By Matt Pascarella

The boys’ Little League and girls’ softball teams had a great Fall Ball season, with 72 boys and girls participating. The 12U softball team had six wins, one loss and one tie.

Fall Ball is a new fall season softball sport to offer more experiential practice and fun for both girls and boys, ages six to twelve according to the Vice President of League.

The 10U Eagles Black team also played well winning three games against Bonny Eagle and Gorham. The 10U Eagles Maroon team were newcomers, with three kids coming up from coach pitch and five kids that had never played before. They stayed in it every single game; getting a win in their final game.

Both 12U baseball teams played against stronger, older, more experienced teams from Falmouth, Gorham and Bonny Eagle. The 12U Black team gave 110% every game and the younger teams went full throttle, not backing down either.

“Overall, we, Windham Little League, exceeded expectations, had great teams, and a blast during Fall Ball. For this being our first year, it couldn’t have gone any better, and the future of Windham Baseball and Softball is bright,” said coach of the 10U Eagles Maroon team, Vice President Of Minors Baseball & Fall Ball Coordinator, Mike Butterfield.



Girls varsity soccer showed skill against Scarborough

Alanna Joyce
By Matt Pascarella

After Windham beat Bonny Eagle 3-0 in the quarterfinal game, #5 seeded Windham went up against #1 seeded Scarborough, at Scarborough, on Friday, October 26.

As I was watching the girls warm up, I saw focus, determination and a concentration ready to put everything they’d been working on all season into this game.

The Lady Eagles took the field with intensity. Right out of the gate they had strong defense and offense, not only keeping Scarborough from putting the ball into the goal but taking multiple shots on Scarborough’s goal. Windham was pressuring with excellent teamwork, giving their all. Scarborough was pressuring Windham right back.

http://windhampowersports.com/Half: 0-0

Windham didn’t slow down in the second half. They continued their tough defense; keeping Scarborough at bay. Offensively, the Lady Eagles didn’t let up either taking many shots on Scarborough’s goal. The clock was winding down with less than ten minutes left until the final buzzer. Windham left it all on the field, giving it everything they had. When the final buzzer went off, there had been 80 minutes of regulation play, against an undefeated team, and no one had scored.

Heading into overtime, the girls showed no signs of slowing down and took the field ready to keep going. Roughly 90 seconds into the overtime period, Scarborough managed to get one in the net, ending the game 1-0.

“We’ve improved so much, even from a week ago. This is a completely different team from what we saw back in August, early September...more composed, played together, really came together and really accomplished a lot. We just took a team that was 15-0 to overtime...I don’t think [Scarborough] has been challenged like this from many other teams, if any, in the league. [Windham] should be proud of the season they’ve had and how far they came,” observed coach Deb Lebel.

Windham cross-country teams rocked it and beat personal best at state championship

Hannah Langstaff
By Matt Pascarella

Saturday, October 27 was quite a day for the Windham High School boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams. They both competed in the state championship meet in Belfast at Troy Howard Middle School’s 5K course.

Senior, Mason Rosborough of the boys’ team and the entire Lady Eagles cross country team qualified in the state regionals in Cumberland on October 20. As a result, they were ready to show their competitors what Windham was made of at the state competitions.

Rosborough, in his final high school cross country race ran his all-time best, a personal record finishing the 5K with a time of 16 minutes 55 seconds and 55 one hundredths of a second. This knocked a full 20 seconds off his past personal record. Rosborough finished as the 24th best runner, out of 120 runners in the Class A competition. When compared with all the runners from each high school class (A, B, C, D) in Maine, he was 30th out of the 344 runners.

https://whsfallmusical.weebly.com/The Lady Eagles had an equally impressive showing. They finished 8th place as a team out of 116 Class A runners. Just like their sweatshirts say, these girls ‘Fight For It’ and let that Eagle Pride show.
The girls were ready to compete and took on teams that had beaten them in the Regional Championships. Individually, Senior Abigail Clinch finished with a time of 21 minutes 51 second and 93 hundredths of a second. Senior Morgan Colangelo finished with a time of 21 minutes 52 seconds and 58 one hundredths of a second. As a team, Windham beat Class A South teams like: Greely, Deering, Gorham, Marshwood and Kennebunk. They were only beaten by Bonny Eagle, Falmouth and Cheverus from Class A South.

When compared to all the runners from each high school class in the state of Maine, the girls, as a team, came in 12th of the 38 girls’ teams that competed on that day.