Success Stories

Santo Didonato

Santo DiDonato, Portland High School, Class of 1985 “The Portland Public Schools taught me valuable life lessons to help deal with adversity in my life,” said Santo DiDonato, who graduated from Portland High School in 1985. Fourteen years after graduation, Santo experienced a life-changing accident. He was working as a mason for the family business,… Read More

Merle Nelson

Merle Nelson

Merle Nelson, Deering High School, Class of 1953   They said Merle Nelson was “not college material.” Deering High School helped her prove them wrong. Merle has dyslexia, but there weren’t any tests or special teaching methods for students with that common learning disability when she was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. Merle… Read More

Truc Huynh

Life lessons Truc Huynh learned at the Portland Public Schools helped shape his life and career. One lesson had to do with bacon and eggs. Truc, a 2001 Portland High School graduate, said his high school gym teacher and rugby coach, Rocco Frenzelli, had students picture a bacon-and-egg sandwich. Then, Truc recalled, his teacher observed,… Read More

Chanel Lewis

Chanel Lewis, a 2009 graduate of Portland High School, says the Portland Public Schools gave her the confidence to succeed. “That level of confidence and just overall esteem in myself obviously started in the home, but it was also very much cultivated at the Portland Public Schools,” she said. Chanel, 26, holds a Bachelor’s degree… Read More

Ben Waxman

Academics were a struggle for Ben Waxman at Longfellow Elementary School, Lincoln Junior High and Portland High School. But with encouragement from teachers, coaches and administrators, Ben learned to be a person “who never gives up.” “I don’t know if I was ever technically diagnosed with a learning disability, but I definitely learn differently,” Waxman… Read More

Lauren Reid Kane

From kindergarten through 12th grade at the Portland Public Schools, one thing consistently stood out for Lauren Kane. “The best thing for me was the people,” she said. She became friends with fellow students from diverse backgrounds, and also had teachers who inspired and supported her at Longfellow Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School and Deering… Read More