Each year, Maine high school principals nominate one senior from their schools to receive an MPA Principal’s Award. The award, sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association, is given in recognition of a high school senior's academic achievement and citizenship.
The 2017 MPA Principal’s Award winners from the Portland Public Schools’ three high schools are: Ludiya Abdalla, Portland High School, nominated by Principal Sheila Jepson; Spencer Todd, Deering High School, nominated by Principal Ira Waltz; and Matthew Suslovic, Casco Bay High School, nominated by Principal Derek Pierce. The students received their awards at an Honors Luncheon in Bangor on April 8.
The Principal's Award is presented in more than 100 Maine public and private high schools by member principals of the MPA, the professional association that represents Maine's school administrators.
Below is more information about this year’s winners from the Portland Public Schools, as described by their principals and other school staff:
Matthew Suslovic, CBHS:
Matt's Suslovic's high-school years teem with stellar scholastic and co-curricular accomplishments, but to him the highest praise is when someone calls him a good listener. And what is he most proud of? “The spectrum of people I consider really good friends.” Matt is exceptionally skilled in bringing disparate people together to do good. Matt is more than a great student. He's the kind of leader our world needs – moral, conscientious, empathic, unifying and noble. Matt served as the CBHS student representative on the Portland Board of Public Education from December 2015 to December 2016 and is currently the senior representative to the CBHS student cabinet. He has been instrumental in moving issues forward from student METRO passes to a more enlightened school dress code.
Spencer Todd, DHS:
Spencer is a senior student/athlete, playing varsity golf and baseball all four years. An excellent athlete, he also has excelled in the classroom despite a rigorous academic schedule. He is also a model citizen, and courageous student. Spencer was instrumental in re-establishing the Deering Debate Team. Four years ago, an adviser sought input regarding creating a team and Spencer was the first to sign up. Through Spencer’s leadership, membership has tripled, and the team has won multiple state championships and diversified their events so that DHS participates in every style of debate offered. Spencer has now qualified in the National Speech and Debate Tournament and will travel to Birmingham, Ala. in June to compete. We are very proud of Spencer and his accomplishments. After graduation, Spencer plans to major in biology or neuroscience.
Ludiya Abdalla, PHS:
Ludiya was the PHS student representative on the Portland Board of Public Education from December 2015 to December 2016. She represented the voice of students at PHS during her time on the board. Ludiya is also a leader in Seeds of Peace – and a strong advocate for doing what is right for all students. In the time I have known her, I have seen a young lady juggle a full academic schedule, a part time job AND all of the clubs and organizations she participates in. She is poised, a good listener and an articulate communicator. I am very happy to present this award to such a fine, deserving young lady.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured (from left) are PHS senior Ludiya Abdalla with PHS Principal Sheila Jepson; DHS senior Spencer Todd with DHS Principal Ira Waltz; and CBHS senior Matt Suslovic with CBHS Director of Student Life Scott Shibles