DEXTER – A group of Tri-County Technical Center students recently combined learning with community service. Now thanks to kids helping kids, Monson has a $3,000 half-pipe ramp for its new skate park at no cost to the town.
After reading a Bangor Daily News story about a local request for help in moving a donated skate ramp from Lewiston to Monson, 10 students in the commercial truck driving program at the center and their instructor, Dale Gerald, volunteered their service.
“They did an excellent job for us,” Monson Town Manager Robert Nicholson said Monday of the technical center students and staff. Of the six calls Nicholson received offering the town help, the technical center’s offer was selected because it had a dual outcome, he said.
“It gave young students a chance to learn how to do interstate wide-load transportation, and it gave us an opportunity to utilize a service in our backyard that we didn’t even know was there,” Nicholson said.
Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter offers occupational preparation programs for high school students at Dexter Regional High School, Foxcroft Academy, Greenville High School, Nokomis Regional High School, Penquis Valley High School and Piscataquis Community High School.
Julie Anderson, Monson town clerk, said Friday that the town is most grateful to the center for its help.
“It was very important for us because we had no way to get it,” she said of the new ramp donated by Butler Bros. of Lewiston.
The skate park is so busy after school and on weekends that her son Matthew, 16, has had to leave and return later when fewer people were waiting for a chance to use the facility, Anderson said.
There have been more than 40 to 50 youths there at the same time waiting to use the new half-pipe, she said. “It’s been a great project for the kids,” Anderson said.
Jim Smythe, a driving instructor at the vocational center, said five students and Gerald went to Lewiston on Sept. 29 in the center’s 1996 Freightliner with its detachable trailer. Another five students in the course delivered the half-pipe from Dexter to the Monson skate park on Oct. 2.
“Not only was it an invaluable learning experience for those students because it was all hands-on work, but they also performed community service,” Smythe said Friday.
Smythe said the students did all of the physical labor of loading and unloading the 9-foot-wide, 11-foot-long, and 4-foot-high ramp, and they took turns driving the distance from Dexter to Lewiston.
The students involved in the trip from Dexter to Lewiston were: Jeff Gove, Dexter Regional High School; Joseph Flint, Foxcroft Academy; Andrew Smith, Nokomis Regional High School; and Shawn Murphy and Dustin Bubar, Penquis Valley High School.
Students who trucked the skate ramp from Dexter to Monson were: Joshua Nugent, Nokomis Regional High School; and Tobey Cleaves, Thomas Douglass and Michael Olmstead, Piscataquis Community High School.
Those students made the difference for children in the Monson area, Nicholson said.
Nicholson said that local children have always had to skateboard on the streets or go to another facility in another town. Now children from other towns come to Monson to experience what the town has, giving children pride in their community.
Monson town officials had offered to pay the transportation costs, but center officials declined the offer, according to Smythe. The center is always looking to help out local communities whose students are enrolled at the school, he said.