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Students To Celebrate Better World Day 2022

On Friday, May 6, three of Portland’s public schools that are part of the EL Education network – Casco Bay High School, King Middle School and Presumpscot Elementary School – will team up to participate in Better World Day. Small groups of students from the three schools will work with Pamela Moulton, a Maine-based environmental artist, assisting her in creating the giant immersive sculptures that will be a part of her "Every Tree Tells a Story," a public art installation commissioned by TEMPOart and planned for Payson Park this summer.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Casco Bay High School, located at 196 Allen Avenue.

Better World Day is an annual, national event showcasing student learning that contributes to a better world, according to EL Education. EL Education, formerly known as Expeditionary Learning, emphasizes high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork. On Better World Day, the organization’s website says, “students present learning projects and engage in acts of service that demonstrate the power of EL Education’s vision for public school: a place where children become great scholars and active citizens with the capacity to make a positive impact.”

This year, the PPS students are collaborating with Moulton, a multi-disciplinary environmental artist. Moulton builds large-scale art installations “that engage the public, sparking conversations about environmental problems our planet faces,” according to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s ArtLab, which is collaborating with her on the upcoming “Every Tree Tells a Story” art project. “Her present work uses abandoned fishing gear to create whimsical interactive sculptures that are both weirdly fun but also show nature’s perilous beauty. These playful immersive sculptures are created through community hands and it takes an army!”

The PPS students are part of that community army. CBHS juniors began their contribution earlier this month. Each junior worked with Moulton for two full days as a part of their Junior Journey 2022. The nature of the Junior Journey varies from year to year, but always is an opportunity to expand students’ sense of their world and who they are through service and adventure learning. On May 6, the high school juniors will serve as mentors for the seventh- and fifth-graders assisting the artist with her project on Better the World Day.

“We are thrilled that our juniors will once again get to partner with the fabulous Pamela Moulton – and work alongside fellow students from King and Presumpscot to help create art for Portland that is fun, environmentally friendly and visually wondrous,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce.

Moulton said, “The CBHS Juniors taught me so much during our weeklong collaboration! The coral chair, inspired by their hard work and brilliance, is driving the direction of one of my sculptures! THANK YOU, Casco Bay High School!  I can’t wait to continue our collaboration on May 6!”

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.