Down East 2013 ©
Maine islands are known for having a rhythm all of their own. Restaurants and stores are few and far between, and ferry trips to the mainland are limited, so islanders are far better at separating needs from wants than mainlanders. Nevertheless, we were surprised when Vinalhaven high school students responded to the news that cell phone service may soon be coming to the island by asking the school board to ban mobile phones from classrooms.
“Our concern was that cell phone use in school, especially during class time, would detract from our education,” explains Bethany Candage, a junior and member of the Student Leadership Team, which made the recommendation to the board. “We haven’t grown up with cell phone use, so we see it as a privilege. We’ve lived so long without it that it’s not a necessity for us.”
Cell phone signals are spotty and unpredictable on Vinalhaven. Candage says she has a cell phone, as do many of her friends, but they generally use the devices only when they go to the mainland for sports and academic events. That may soon change, however, thanks to Tower Specialist, Inc., which erected a cell-phone tower about three miles inland from Carvers Harbor this past spring. The town is now looking for a service carrier.
The Student Leadership Team did not want to put the kibosh on cell phones altogether. It suggested the school board draft a policy that permits phones to be kept in lockers and allows their use when classes are not in session. Members of the Student Leadership Team are students with good grades and diverse extracurricular activities. They also seem to have a finger on the pulse of their schoolmates: 76 percent of the Vinalhaven school’s fifty-two high schoolers shared their attitude about cell phones.
“I’m almost going to be sad when it comes because it’s not going to be the same,” Candage says. “I don’t want to have that conversation with someone in the street who has his nose stuck in his phone.” —Virginia M. Wright
Photo Credit: Anteroxx | Dreamstime.com