The term ‘twenty-twenty’ is indicative of clear and perfect vision and back in January, 2020, it was a good omen for the coming year.  The year 2020 was already destined to be historic: Maine made elaborate plans to celebrate its 200th anniversary with year-long events; everyone’s favorite Muppets from Sesame Street turn 50 – unbelievable; and Coastal Kids Preschool was eagerly looking forward to celebrating its 25th year.

What was unknown and unfathomable as January 2020 dawned was that the entire world would experience a once-in-a-century pandemic with a stealthy, lethal virus without a known antidote.  Schools and businesses would be forced to close and normal life became anything but.  As a consequence, all the celebrations, large and small, would be muted, placed on hold or postponed.

By this time, plans for Coastal Kids’ 25th anniversary celebration had been under way for nearly 18 months.  Echoing its inclusive mission, the school’s multi-event weekend would be a community series of celebratory, joyful events scheduled for mid-July.  It would mark the beginning of the next twenty-five years.

Phase I of the weekend would be the dedication of the school’s current facility, built in 2012, naming it the “Priscilla G. Congdon Center” in honor of Ms. Priscilla’s vision, dedication and commitment as the school’s beloved founder and long-serving Education Director.   In 1995, Coastal Kids Preschool began on its own with just a handful of students after anticipated funding under the auspices of Union 74 failed to materialize.  Committed staff and determined parents, together with a wide range of generous patrons, were determined to have Coastal Kids strive and flourish. That the program succeeded is a testament to both the importance of its mission and to Priscilla Congdon’s vision and determination.

At the naming event, a newly commissioned seven-part mural of ocean creatures, representing each of Coastal Kids’ seven classes, would have been unveiled.  Executed by seven local artists, including a GSB teacher and a student from Lincoln Academy, the whimsical and lively mural will grace the lobby of the school. The school looks forward to unveiling this wonderful new artwork when it’s safe for visitors to return to the building.

The major event of Phase II of the school’s 25th anniversary celebrations was an inventive Saturday evening ‘Play For Kids’ extravaganza featuring games of chance with a live and silent auction of select items and special opportunities.  The evening at Coastal Rivers’ Darrows Barn would have finished with an elegant, catered buffet with plenty of opportunities to support Coastal Kids’ mission of serving preschool children of all incomes and abilities.  The final event of the gala will remain a secret until that evening, but it promises to be an exciting and very entertaining surprise.

Since children, joyful noises and family fun are linked, family-focused daytime events are also planned for the school’s 25th anniversary celebrations, with games, activities, a fun run, and food on the field overlooking the beautiful Damariscotta River at Coastal Rivers’ Round Top Farm.

So, with a heavy, but practical, heart the decision was made to postpone the plans until July 9, 10, and 11, 2021, when Coastal Kids Preschool turns 26. The situation clearly called for flexibility; then, as now, health and safety will guide our decisions.  See you next year and stay safe.