Wall Street Journal

There's a lot happening as we move toward starting construction next month, continue our fundraising and outreach, and inspire people across Maine and the nation to reimagine public education.  


Last week, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal visited St. George School to learn about our community, school, and the CTE/Makerspace Project.  You can read that article here and I've attached a PDF copy. The article describes how the CTE/Makerspace Project is rooted in the history, traditions, values, and people of St. George. It talks about the amazing work our students and teachers are doing - from 4th graders creating objects using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to kindergarteners and 1st graders hammering together wooden boxes with laser engraved designs that they created.

You'll read about how St. George School students are better prepared for advanced technical learning in high school at Mid-Coast School of Technology (MCST).  The story highlights Bryson Mattox who spent hours in the St. George School Makerspace while in middle school, started his own business in high school, and - as a senior attending MCST - already has a job offer from Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding.

I want to thank all of the students, school staff, parents, community members, and business owners who met with the reporter to share our story.  Listening to the interviews and conversations, I was inspired by how our community has come together to meet the needs of students and develop a model for transforming public education.

We are leading the way by creating a vision for public education that is rooted not only in our history, but also the history of so many communities across the nation.  It's founded upon the understanding that students learn better when they use their hands and their minds.  It's the not-so-radical idea that kids will be more engaged when they understand how their learning connects with and impacts their community and career path. It's the realization, that somehow got lost or forgotten, that there are MANY pathways to success, with the 4-year college track being only one among many.  It's recognizing again the DIGNITY and VALUE of all of those pathways and of work itself.

Above all, it's the recognition that schools can't do it alone.  We need our families, community members, civic organizations, town government, local businesses, churches, and nonprofits if we're going to meet the needs of students and build a more resilient and vibrant community.

Our vision, history, and shared commitment to kids allowed our school & community to dream BIG and create the CTE/Makerspace Project.  However, students across the nation need similar opportunities.  We will continue to share our work and vision with other communities so they can adapt and adopt our model to fit their unique characteristics.  I truly believe we are creating a map for the future of public education.  


The CTE Building Committee has been hard at work this winter preparing for construction to start on the new building this spring!  We've been working with Bowman Constructors, the general contractor, as well as our architect and owner's representative, to finalize plans.  We're hoping to begin excavation work in March or early April and estimate construction will take about a year.  We'll reach out when we have an official date for the groundbreaking ceremony!


We have raised over $2.8 million for the new project - an incredible accomplishment for a small community:

  • Private Donations: $1,550,000

  • Private Grants: $567,000 (includes the $500,000 form the Yass Prize)

  • Federal Grants: $596,000

  • Business Sponsorships: 70,000 (from over 30 business sponsors)

  • Buy-A-Brick Program: $56,000

We estimate that the total project cost will be around $3.5 million.  As we've worked to finalize plans, we've run into additional costs, such adjusting the site layout because of ledge.  However, we feel very good about the design and are continuing to identify additional funding sources (see more below about the Connectivity Hub grant program).

Thank you all for your incredible generosity and support of the project! If you would like to make another donation - or give for the first time - you can do that here.


In an exciting development, we've been invited by the Maine Connectivity Authority to submit a grant to the Connectivity Hub grant program.  We're looking to partner with a number of organizations - including MCST, the St. George Community Development Corporation, St. George Community Paramedicine Program, Jackson Memorial Library, and the Island Institute - so that the CTE/Makerspace Building will provide high-speed internet access for online education, workforce training, and telehealth.  Grants amounts range from $250,000 to $2,0000

That's more than enough for one email.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and I'll keep you updated - there will be a lot happening over the next few months!  

Mike Felton, St. George MSU Superintendent