h1

Peg Has Left the Building

October 13, 2020

Margaret (Peg) Maxwell, longtime art teacher at Bonny Eagle High School was recently featured in The Eagle Times, the school newspaper. Peg left her art classroom this year due to the Coronavirus but is helping out with the remote learning students.

In Peg’s words: “It was heartfelt and such an honor for me to be recognized….I sure miss all of what I had and hope to continue in another phase when this is over..I am grateful for Joann Lannin, a wonderful journalist and mentor to our students and to Kaylei Myers for her kind and thoughtul professionalism. She will do well in the world of Journalism.  Joann Lannin, a wonderful published author and journalist who often takes our students to the National Award status for our newspaper and in the past has taken them to the National Journalism Museum in Washington. We are so lucky to have faculty dedicated to student success. I so miss my colleagues, but they have found a way during this pandemic to keep us all connected.

BY KAYLEI MYERS
Oct. 1, 2020

      Ms. Margaret (Peg) Maxwel will not be teaching at Bonny Eagle High School this year due to Coronavirus concerns. She is currently still involved with school by helping out with the remote learning students. Ms. Maxwell has been an art teacher here since 1989. The beginning of this year would’ve been the start of her 38th year with us. Besides teaching art classes, she has coached tennis, advised the National Honor Society, the FACS (Fight Against Cancer Society), STAND (Students Affirming the Non-Use of Drugs), and the Outing Club. She mentored students in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and had a Bible Club for a few years after school.  The Eagle Times caught up with Ms. Maxwell (remotely) for a question and answer session early last week.

Margaret Peg Maxwell in her classroom at Bonny Eagle High School

Was this a hard decision to make?
    This decision to not go back was and continues to be very difficult. It was made by me and strongly recommended by my doctor. After doing the research, she highly advised me not to enter the classroom due to my health issues.  I do not want to make the students ill and I do not want to get sick either.  My immune system is weak and I need to be aware of the current situation.

What are you going to miss most about working here?
    I will miss all of it. The students, my colleagues, the art room being such a special time for Mr. Twilley and I to share, that sacred place where so many students enjoyed making art, hanging out, and becoming great artists in the real world. Our classrooms were like open books. The door between us was never locked and students and teachers knew when and where to be in order to express their creativity and to find inspiration. Mr. Twilley was a great teaching partner. We had 30 years of collaboration, friendship and pure love of art.
    Every day I woke up ready to teach in that wonderful room. Waiting for students, walking the halls with many smiles, and hearing ‘Good Morning Ms. MaxwellI’.  I had a cluttered classroom, but I knew where everything was when someone needed something. I miss the students coming after school and needing to work on a project from another class and wanting help with posters, information, or just a cup of tea or pizza when we needed to clean the space.

​Has Bonny Eagle High School been a welcoming place for the arts?
    The Bonny Eagle community always supported the arts, our requests for materials, workshops, and additional educational resources to make all of this happen. This district rocks, including, the school board, administration at all levels, and the greater public. We have students working for CNN, Disney, North Face, Mass General Hospital, Dartmouth Press, Flowfold Inc., Illustrating for Amazon, FableVision, PBS, interned with Dale Chihuly, Nickelodeon, Wired Magazine, Burton, Rossignol, MIT Industrial Design, etc. The list goes on and on. I just had a former student, Chelsea Johnson, make me a great Wizard of Oz platter reminding me of my continued references to Dorothy and the importance of having a heart, brains, and the courage to succeed in tough times, like now.
     Our school was part of NEA grants through the Portland Museum of Art on three occasions commemorating the works of Winslow Homer ,and student work was displayed on the walls of the museum. Lastly, an essay about my curriculum during the pandemic last trimester was published in the Union of Maine Visual Artists this summer. 
     The MSAD 6 district has provided me with many opportunities to teach at the state and Tri-District levels with integrated Arts and STEAM workshops. They provided summer opportunities for me at Bennington College in their summer institutes, studying book arts with Meryl Brater, a Radcliffe Scholar. This brought much integration into the district for K-12 education. They gave me the opportunity to study at the Darling Marine Education Center in Damariscotta, as well as study Marine Biological Illustration, and many courses at MECA in botanical illustration and digital art and 3-d printing and laser cut art works. All of this enhanced the curriculum for the students when I returned each fall to share the information and my work.

Are there hopes of you coming back after this is all over? And if not, what other ventures do you have in the works?
    As for now, I will not be able to go back to the school and need to quarantine until this is over.  I am not able to have vaccines even if there is one, so I’m working at home developing a non-profit on food security. My dream is to have my puppets create an online or zoom presentation to teach children about food security. I worked with Jim Henson when I started teaching in the 1970’s at Princeton University when he was developing Sesame Street. I taught preschool in an inner-city head start program. We gave him stories and he gave us ways to teach kids through entertainment. I have a trademark in the final stages in Washington and the copyright to song lyrics that I have written to accompany a well known tune. I’m in the process of getting the rights to the music.
    I have a board started and the puppets designed. Several former Bonny Eagle students are consulting with me and helping me in the process. Our Backpack program inspired a set of puppets I do think all will like.
     My Dream is to start a production company at Bonny Eagle after I retire and work with departments who want to collaborate. I have a student interested in painting the backdrops for the puppet theatre. I would like to have students on the board and willing to work with all aspects of developing a production company. I have the drive and the expertise of great people. I was asked to go national with the idea, but I do not have the strength or the desire. My heart is at Bonny Eagle and that is where I want to end my career.  
     In addition, I have been writing a memoir and a musical for several years. My playwright teacher from New York City thinks this would be a great way to end it. ‘The closing of the BLUE DOOR’, as I see it.  I painted my house doors the same color blue as my classroom door. I have been writing silly songs since I was six years old and poetry essays and stories all my life. Now it is the time to tell my story.  Bonny Eagle has been a major part and will be the finale.

Peg – third from left in top row

2 comments

  1. Thank you Argy for this tribute….it means much to me. You put much effort into keeping us connected.


  2. Wonderful teachers deserve recognition. I am sure you are greatly missed at Bonny Eagle and I’m glad you continue to be connected to the school community!
    ~Argy



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: