By Abigail W. Adams
The Wiscasset High School Student Council visits the Togus Veterans Administration Medical Center in Augusta Thursday, Nov. 20. Students baked cookies,
talked, and sang with the veterans during their annual visit. (Photo courtesy Deb Pooler)
As you give, you will receive. It is an axiom that is well-known and oft-repeated. On Thursday, Nov. 20, Wiscasset High School’s Student Council experienced it during their
annual trip to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Togus.
The Togus Medical Center is a hospital and 100-bed nursing home that serves Maine’s veterans. The student council’s annual trip to the facility was first arranged
four years ago by Deb Pooler, student council adviser, to provide the students with an opportunity to learn important life lessons.
Based on the quality of the discussion that occurred after the visit, Pooler said, the students learned just that. Each year, student council members are given
different projects to do with the veterans.
This year, they baked and decorated holiday cookies, donated lap blankets that had been knitted by the mother of a WHS staff member, and interviewed the veterans
about their service and lives.
Those interviews are written into narratives that are hung outside the veterans’ rooms, so staff and visitors are reminded about their service to the nation. Perhaps
the most memorable event of the trip occurred when a veteran said he was going to return to his room because there was no music.
Upon hearing this, student council members Corey Campbell and Vanessa Dunn broke out the national anthem. Every single veteran in attendance sang with them. “It gave
me goose bumps,” Pooler said. “I feel really privileged to have witnessed that.”
The student council presented the veterans with a plaque thanking them for their service, and they are already planning to return. The annual trip to Togus may be
occurring much more frequently at the students’ request.
The student council’s trip to Togus is just one of the social service activities that WHS students are involved in. The council is currently putting together its
annual Turkey Aid program, which has been occurring for 25 years.
The student council receives the names of two families from the town of Wiscasset that have applied for assistance for a Thanksgiving dinner. Shopping bags were
placed in every classroom for students and staff to donate certain food items. Money was collected so perishable food items could be purchased.
The student council will deliver the supplies Tuesday, Nov. 25 to ensure those families will enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. The Togus visit, Turkey Aid packages, and
other programs Wiscasset High School’s Student Council organizes and participates in provide a small snapshot of the students’ charitable work. “We definitely have amazing kids
at WHS,” Pooler said.