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Rotary members join PYC staff to make the season bright for local youth

December 18th, 2014 by Lynn

    BY DONNA RHODES
    Drhodes@salmonpress.com

    PLYMOUTH — The spirit of Christmas filled the Pemi Youth Center last Thursday evening, when members of the Plymouth Rotary stopped in to help celebrate the holidays with everyone who takes part in their after school programs.

    “Our focus is to benefit children. Each year, we help with the party and the sharing of gifts because it’s important to our members to participate in all the giving and the joy,” said Rotary President Sharon Thorne. “It helps our membership reinforce what we do.”

    Also joining them for the festivities were students of Plymouth State University and other community members.

    As the party got underway, PYC Executive Director Jessica Dutille had a few words for all the children and teens who filled the room.

    “This is to show you how important you are to me, and what you mean in my life, not just today but every day,” she told them. “This is also to show you how loved you all are in this community.”

    Gifts for each and every one of them were provided through some special elves from PSU’s Angel Tree initiative, the Plymouth Rotarians and the staff of Meredith Village Savings Bank.

    “We find out what they like or maybe what they need, and then shop for them all individually,” Rotary members said.

    And as the presents swiftly piled up around the Christmas tree, the excitement also grew.

    “What am I most excited about? Everything!” exclaimed nine-year-old Evan as he and his friends Ethan and Dominick looked around the crowded room.

    Before the presents were unwrapped though, the Rotary invited everyone to listen or even join them in singing some holiday songs. They began with classics such as “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls” before breaking into some fun tunes with “Jingle Bells” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

    After calls for an encore from the boys and girls, they capped off their appearance with a heart-felt version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

    Besides caroling and opening their gifts, participants of PYC also enjoyed a special Christmas dinner that was prepared and served by the university’s Social Work Club.

    Dr. Thad Guldbrandsen, Vice Provost for Research and Engagement for PSU, peeked in on the festivities, too, and was pleased to see his university students interacting with area youth in such a special way.

    “I’m a big fan of both the Pemi Youth Center and Jess Dutille. We have a really important partnership with them that allows our students to develop, too,” Guldbrandsen said.

    The program, he added, provides a great opportunity for everyone who touches it, including not only the elementary, middle and high school students, but college students and members of the community as well.

    “When you leave here, you become a better person,” said Guldbrandsen.

    Pemi Youth Center was established in 1999 by Glenda Toomey of Wentworth when she felt compelled to establish a warm and loving place for local boys and girls. Her goal was for them to feel at home at a centralized location where they would also have the opportunity to be themselves and grow.

    Since the doors of PYC opened 15 years ago, children ages 10-17 have been gathering at the center on Main Street in Plymouth to socialize, take part in numerous activities and continue to learn outside their school environment.

    “God put the vision for all of this in my heart. He’s the real founder of Pemi Youth Center; He just directed me to do the work,” she said. “There’s such a caring attitude here, and Jess is so tuned in to everyone’s needs, but all the praise for establishing it goes to God, and not me.”

    PSU’s Christine Hoch wins 2014 Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

    December 18th, 2014 by Lynn

      PLYMOUTH — A dedicated Plymouth State University financial aid counselor who strives to provide superior customer service has been named the recipient of the 2014 Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff (OS) Service award. Christine Hoch of Plymouth has worked at PSU for more than 10 years. Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen said Hoch has earned a reputation as an outstanding resource in helping students and families navigate the often complex system of higher education funding.

      “At PSU, we focus on engaging with students,” said Steen. “Christine exemplifies that sense of dedication to students and to excellence.”

      “I am very honored,” Hoch said. “I never thought I did anything special; I like helping people figure out what their options are and how to get where they want to go. I love the customer service part of the job, because it feels really nice to know I’ve helped a student reach a goal.”

      The criteria for winning the award include exemplifying the spirit and values of the institution, being dedicated to providing a learning environment that supports development of the mind, body and spirit, being actively active involved in University activities, and being engaged in service to the wider community.

      Hoch started at Plymouth State a decade ago as a temporary administrative assistant in the Center for the Environment. Since then, she has committed herself to volunteering for various University, professional and community organizations, including the PSU Operating Staff Fundraising and Scholarship committee, PSU Professional Development Committee, the New Hampshire Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Conference Planning Committee and at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Plymouth.

      PSU’s Financial Aid Director, Crystal Gaff, is Christine’s supervisor, and supported her nomination for award.

      “I am so excited to hear that Christine is being honored by this award as she is dedicated to PSU students and her local community,” said Gaff. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

      Hoch, a Garwood, N.J. native and Rutgers University graduate, lives in Plymouth with her husband, Brendon, and their son, Nathan.

      The Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award winner was chosen by a five member panel of faculty, staff, community members and students.

      Plymouth State names Leslie Castonia the Patricia Storer Award Recipient

      December 18th, 2014 by Lynn

        PLYMOUTH — Leslie Castonia has been named the 2014 recipient of the Patricia Storer Award by Plymouth State University. Jim Hundrieser, PSU’s Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, presented the award at a Nov. 7 ceremony. He noted Castonia has been an integral part of Plymouth State University for nearly 11 years as the Assistant Director of Admissions and is very deserving of the award due to her commitment to the institution.

        “Leslie’s dedication to Plymouth State expands far beyond her day-today job; she often works far into the evening and on weekends interacting with students and helping students build pathways to reach their goals,” said Hundrieser. “I really appreciate her genuineness of spirit and care she has for her coworkers.”

        “I’m very honored to be the 2014 recipient of the Pat Storer Award,” Castonia said. “I love working at Plymouth because of the strong sense of community. The Plymouth State Community energizes me on a regular basis. It is exciting to be in an environment where people respect others’ ideas and encourage everyone to have a voice and contribute. I have been in the Admissions field for over 20 years, and although many things have changed, it still comes down to making that connection with a student. Each student has their own unique story and it is so rewarding to help a student make that decision to have Plymouth be a part of that story.”

        The Patricia Storer Award was established in 2008 to honor a Plymouth State employee who exemplifies dedication, knowledge and respect in serving the students, staff and faculty at Plymouth State University. Storer was a longtime Plymouth State employee who, during her career, served in a variety of roles, including faculty member in the education department, dean of women students, associate dean of academic affairs, and registrar.

        Castonia has played a key role in developing PSU’s programs for attracting first-generation students, a critical part of the institution’s role in serving the region and state. Nearly 40 percent of Plymouth State undergraduates are the first people in their family to attend college.

        Castonia is a native of Reston, Va., and is an Ashland resident; she is married to Plymouth State head football coach Paul Castonia.

        Plymouth State University’s Angel Tree project provides Christmas gifts to area families

        December 18th, 2014 by Lynn

          PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University’s Angel Tree Project provided nearly 700 gifts to area children for this year’s Christmas season. The Angel Tree Project partners with 14 Plymouth-area schools and non-profit agencies to provide gifts for youth and teens during the holiday season. PSU Community Service Advisor Linda Corriveau ’11G, said this year’s Angel tree project started with 275 gift requests, a significant increase over past years.

          “For many of the kids receiving these gifts, it makes Christmas morning a little bit happier,” Corriveau said. “Whether it’s faculty, staff or students, they’re looking for a way to give back to others in their community; for a lot of students, they know they are very fortunate so they want to take care of a kid at Christmas.”

          Plymouth State started the Angel Tree Project in 1994, during the past twenty years thousands of underprivileged children have received Christmas gifts due to the generosity of PSU students, staff, faculty and community members.

          PSU’s Christine Hoch wins 2014 Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

          December 18th, 2014 by Lynn

            PLYMOUTH — A dedicated Plymouth State University financial aid counselor who strives to provide superior customer service has been named the recipient of the 2014 Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff (OS) Service award. Christine Hoch of Plymouth has worked at PSU for more than 10 years. Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen said Hoch has earned a reputation as an outstanding resource in helping students and families navigate the often complex system of higher education funding.

            “At PSU, we focus on engaging with students,” said Steen. “Christine exemplifies that sense of dedication to students and to excellence.”

            “I am very honored,” Hoch said. “I never thought I did anything special; I like helping people figure out what their options are and how to get where they want to go. I love the customer service part of the job, because it feels really nice to know I’ve helped a student reach a goal.”

            The criteria for winning the award include exemplifying the spirit and values of the institution, being dedicated to providing a learning environment that supports development of the mind, body and spirit, being actively active involved in University activities, and being engaged in service to the wider community.
            Hoch started at Plymouth State a decade ago as a temporary administrative assistant in the Center for the Environment. Since then, she has committed herself to volunteering for various University, professional and community organizations, including the PSU Operating Staff Fundraising and Scholarship committee, PSU Professional Development Committee, the New Hampshire Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Conference Planning Committee and at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Plymouth.

            PSU’s Financial Aid Director, Crystal Gaff, is Christine’s supervisor, and supported her nomination for award.

            “I am so excited to hear that Christine is being honored by this award as she is dedicated to PSU students and her local community,” said Gaff. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

            Hoch, a Garwood, N.J. native and Rutgers University graduate, lives in Plymouth with her husband, Brendon, and their son, Nathan.

            The Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award winner was chosen by a five member panel of faculty, staff, community members and students.

            Raymond S. Burton Legacy Event raises funds for scholarship and museum bearing his name

            December 17th, 2014 by Lynn

              LITTLETON – The Bath Historical Society and Plymouth State University recently held a joint fundraiser at the home of Duane and Reta Presby- Baxter in Littleton for The Raymond S. Burton Museum and Learning Center in Bath and for the Raymond S. Burton Scholarship Fund at Plymouth State University. U. S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen and PSU Vice President of University Advancement Paula Hobson were keynote presenters. The guests were made up mostly of the Presby family and close associates of Raymond. The event was full of stories of Ray’s public service and his love of education and helping young people find ways to achieve their dreams of a higher education through scholarships.

              The guest presenters all told stories of how scholarships made their education paths possible. They all agreed that if it were not for financial help they would probably not be in their current positions of being able to help others. Guests included a current PSU student who looks to scholarship aid.

              The Scholarship received considerable donations from the event, which prior to the event had $13,600 collected toward the total of $25,000 to complete the endowment.

              The Raymond S. Burton Museum and Learning Center received some donations also. The Museum needs $20,000 for construction requirements and currently has $6,700.

              Donations can be sent to The Raymond S. Burton Museum and Learning Center c/o Bath Historical Society, PO Box 44, Bath, NH 03740. For more information, contact 747-2172.

              Lin-Wood station helps students and National Weather Service

              December 17th, 2014 by Lynn

                BY DARIN WIPPERMAN
                courierreporter@salmonpress.com

                LINCOLN—A collaborative effort between the school district, the town, and the National Weather Service (NWS) has the potential to help students and meteorologists. On Monday, LinWood science teacher Rebecca Steeves provided information about the school’s new weather station.

                Two units located on the Lin-Wood campus record temperature and precipitation. Steeves said the station’s available data can be “a great learning tool” for students and the community.

                Steeves knew public works director Bill Willey from her previous experience at Plymouth State University. She said Willey reached out to her after the NWS approached the town with an interest in putting a weather station in Lincoln.

                After investigating a few sites, Steeves said a team determined placement of the weather station on the Lin-Wood campus was the best spot.

                A similar station was built in Waterville Valley recently. Steeves said an NWS team from Grey, Maine has been interested in taking readings at various places in the White Mountains.

                Because of the topography, towns not far apart can have vastly different weather experiences from the same storm. Steeves said the NWS desire to compare forecasts to actual results led to the idea of having a weather station at Lin-Wood.

                Steeves sees the partnership with NWS as a great way to kids to gain knowledge about science in their own backyard.

                “We’ve been able to capitalize on their expertise,” she said of the school’s work with NWS.
                Neither the town nor school district incurs any costs from having the station in Lincoln, Steeves said. NWS owns and maintains the two units.

                A solar battery is used to keep the station running, Steeves added.

                Weather can have a huge impact on people and towns, Steeves continued. By placing a recording station on school grounds, she said, students can learn “there is a science behind” the weather.

                Those interested in seeing the data online can go to: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hads/. The NWSLI ID for the Lin-Wood station is LICN3. On the next screen click on “Decoded Data.”

                The data is collected every five minutes, Steeves said, but uploaded once an hour. Greenwich Mean Time is shown, which is currently five hours ahead of Lincoln (six hours after the time change in March).

                Regarding the precipitation data, Steeves said the number “is just an ongoing collection of liquid in a bucket, so the line graph will show periods of evaporation.”

                Students will be able to make graphs with the data to track the weather, Steeves noted. The chance to interact with meteorologists is another way for students to learn, she said.

                PSU’s Angel Tree Project provides Christmas gifts to area families

                December 16th, 2014 by Lynn

                  Plymouth — Plymouth State University’s Angel Tree Project provided nearly 700 gifts to area children for this year’s Christmas season. The Angel Tree Project partners with 14 Plymouth-area schools and non-profit agencies to provide gifts for youth and teens during the holiday season.

                  PSU Community Service Advisor Linda Corriveau ’11, said this year’s Angel Tree Project started with 275 gift requests, a significant increase over past years.

                  “For many of the kids receiving these gifts, it makes Christmas morning a little bit happier,” Corriveau said. “Whether it’s faculty, staff or students, they’re looking for a way to give back to others in their community; for a lot of students, they know they are very fortunate so they want to take care of a kid at Christmas.”

                  Plymouth State started the Angel Tree Project in 1994. During the past 20 years, thousands of underprivileged children have received Christmas gifts due to the generosity of PSU students, staff, faculty and community members.

                  PSU recognizes financial aid counselor

                  December 16th, 2014 by Lynn

                    Plymouth — A dedicated Plymouth State University financial aid counselor who strives to provide superior customer service has been named the recipient of the 2014 Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award.

                    Christine Hoch, of Plymouth, has worked at PSU for more than 10 years. Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen said Hoch has earned a reputation as an outstanding resource in helping students and families navigate the often complex system of higher education funding.

                    “At PSU, we focus on engaging with students,” said Steen. “Christine exemplifies that sense of dedication to students and to excellence.”

                    “I am very honored,” Hoch said. “I never thought I did anything special. I like helping people figure out what their options are and how to get where they want to go. I love the customer service part of the job, because it feels really nice to know I’ve helped a student reach a goal.”

                    The criteria for winning the award include exemplifying the spirit and values of the institution; being dedicated to providing a learning environment that supports development of the mind, body and spirit; being actively active involved in university activities and being engaged in service to the wider community.

                    Hoch started at Plymouth State a decade ago as a temporary administrative assistant in the Center for the Environment. Since then, she has committed herself to volunteering for various university, professional and community organizations, including the PSU Operating Staff Fundraising and Scholarship committee, PSU Professional Development Committee, the New Hampshire Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Conference Planning Committee and at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Plymouth.

                    PSU’s Financial Aid Director, Crystal Gaff, is Christine’s supervisor, and supported her nomination for award.

                    “I am so excited to hear that Christine is being honored by this award as she is dedicated to PSU students and her local community,” said Gaff. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

                    Hoch, a Garwood, New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate, lives in Plymouth with her husband, Brendon, and their son, Nathan.

                    Former Gov. Lynch chosen for PSU Robert Frost award

                    December 15th, 2014 by Lynn

                      By DAN SEUFERT
                      Union Leader Correspondent

                      PLYMOUTH — Former Gov. John Lynch is about to join a relatively short list of New Hampshire icons, like Sherman Adams and Norris Cotton, in winning the 22nd Plymouth State University The Robert Frost Contemporary American Award.

                      Lynch will be given the award at an honors ceremony on Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester at a gala in his honor.

                      The university has not yet formally announced the honor.

                      On Monday, a university spokesman, Steve Barba, would only say, “Plymouth State University is celebrating former Gov. John H. Lynch in honor of his receipt of The Robert Frost Contemporary American Award.”

                      All benefits from the ceremony will “be used for scholarship for New Hampshire students attending Plymouth State University,” Barba said.

                      On the ceremony program, a quote from Lynch appears.

                      “It was education that opened a whole new world of opportunity for me. Every citizen in New Hampshire deserves the same,” the former governor is quoted as saying.

                      The award was started in 1970, when the Plymouth State Alumni Association instituted what has become, university officials say, “one of the most prestigious awards made by a New England college or university.”

                      The award is named in memory of America’s late poet laureate, Robert Frost, who taught at what was then Plymouth Normal School early in the 20th century.

                      The alumni association created the award to recognize individuals “whose service to the people of New England best exemplifies Robert Frost’s values of individuality, hard work, humanitarianism, and devotion to the country ‘North of Boston.’”

                      University officials would not disclose the specific achievements by Lynch that led the alumni association to choose Lynch, 62, of Hopkinton, as their award winner. Governor of the Granite State from 2004-12, he is currently the president of The Lynch Group.

                      He is a past chairman of the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees and is president of the UNH Alumni Association. The Union Leader’s Granite State Legacy Award winner in 2013, he has received awards recently from Dartmouth College, the Rotary International, and the National Governors Association.

                      Among the past winners of the Frost award are author Stacey Cole, who died Nov. 30, in 2003; poet Donald Hall in 1997; former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman in 1995; former Gov. Walter Peterson in 1993; late U.S. Sen. Norris Cotton in 1972; and former Gov. Sherman Adams in 1970.

                      dseufert@newstote.com

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