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More in Community
Littlehale aspires to help students
OXFORD HILLS — There’s a new face at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. It’s Stephanie Littlehale, and she’s the new teacher in the Aspirations Lab.
Littlehale is one of the three full-time teachers who have been hired for the lab.
Each teacher left their mark on the school, and have worked hard to assure that each student who walks in the lab’s doors gets help in every way.
The Aspirations Lab at OHCHS is a place where any student, grade nine to 12, can get help with college applications, SAT preparations, career searches, job hunting, resumes and much more.
The Aspirations Lab has been a program in the school for several years.
Now there’s a new teacher, and her journey to get here was a hard one.
Littlehale graduated from Georges Valley High School where she won the George Mitchell Scholarship. She then went on to the University of Maine Orono and graduated from there in May.
What Littlehale didn’t know then is that the George Mitchell Scholarship would land her the Aspirations Lab job at OHCHS.
Maureen Howard, the director of the Oxford Hills Education Exchange at OHCHS, was the one who initiated the Aspirations Lab program. Howard said she wanted a full-time teacher down there for the best interest of the students.
So as soon as the FAME grant was accepted again this year, Howard started looking. “I sent out an email to all the teachers in the school, and Jason Long responded," she said.
Jason Long is a history teacher at OHCHS, and he’s also a Mitchell scholar like Littlehale.
Every year, one student from each high school gets chosen to be a Mitchell scholar, a scholarship for all four years of high school.
There is even an institute dedicated to the scholars, which is like one big family – they look out for each other, help each other get jobs and reach for other opportunities.
“He [Long] messaged me and said ‘Do you want me to see if there’s a Mitchell scholar?’ I said absolutely. So he messaged the Mitchell Institute and they forwarded the email to a few scholars and Stephanie responded immediately,” said Howard.
"My gut told me ‘this is a bright young woman who is a very hard worker.’"
Littlehale was working a few part-time jobs, but wanted a job in a small community before venturing off to law school.
“It’s good to be a part of the community and give back,” said Littlehale. “I’m actually trying to be more ‘in’ the community.”
Littlehale hopes that a lot of students will use the lab to their advantage.
“For seniors, we will work on meeting deadlines, researching colleges, working on FASFA [financial aid], and for juniors we will be just showing them their options, helping with college and career research," she said.
Littlehale also helps with SAT registration. She said she has a few clever ideas to recruit students to the lab.
She has already set up a page for the Aspirations Lab on Facebook – the students who “like” the page, she said, get entered into a drawing for gift cards and certificates to places around town like Subway, The Rising Sun and Dunkin Donuts.
Students will learn from Littlehale how to apply for their own financial aid, and without the help of parents.
Howard admits that she helped her kids with their financial aid.
“I did most of it for them,” she said, “But Stephanie [Littlehale] did it all on her own.”
Littlehale will also be attending numerous seminars and events throughout the year to help her gain more knowledge about the processes.
Littlehale said she isn’t nervous or worried about her year at OHCHS – she is ready to go.
“The hardest thing is that there’s already a system in place here, and I just have to find my place in the system,” she said, “but I’m excited to get going.”