Like children nationwide, Rangeley's youngsters spent the spring of 2020 at home. The community found resourceful and creative ways to keep them fed and entertained.
School staff and teachers ensured no one missed a weekday meal by offering free breakfasts and lunches at pick-up locations throughout the district. Third-grade teacher and Rangeley Rises champion Brittany DiPompo recalls, "Teachers, staff, parents, and community members came together in just a few days to make a seamless transition into remote learning. Although not easy or perfect, the school community knew how important routine and structure is for students. In order to make children feel loved and a part of the community, they began to brainstorm ways to keep the kids excited about each day."
Rangeley's downtown blossomed into a socially distant playground for children, with obstacle courses chalked onto the sidewalks, scavenger-hunt paper hearts in business's windows, and free, hygienically packaged snacks, crafts, and activity packs on a table outside Morton & Furbish real estate and rental agency. The table is replenished every few days by businesses and bakers around town, and by the town's dynamic art teachers.
For Easter, the fire department brought out a few trucks and cruised around every neighborhood with lights flashing and people dressed as Easter Bunny and Sparky the Dog waving to children from atop the truck. They even did it again the next day when they realized they had missed three houses.
These and many other acts of kindness prove the message on the school's marque: "Hope and Strength Are Not Canceled."