Mentor of the Year Award

2017 Mentor of Year Don Hanson being presented with his award by Northern Prosthetics and Orthotics Owner Cory LaPlante.


Aroostook Aspirations Initiative recognizes the important role mentors play in the education and professional success of young people. A good mentor demonstrates empathy, encourages growth and guides students by shaping and inspiring them to become the future leaders of our region.

The Mentor of the Year award, which is presented by Northern Prosthetics and Orthotics, is given to an individual who has positively impacted the lives of Aroostook County students. Our Gauvin Scholars nominate community members, teachers, administrators, coaches, friends or family members whom they believe have developed meaningful relationships with the scholar, their peers and/or their community.

Don Hanson, this year's Mentor of the Year, is a shop teacher at Washburn District High School. He received not one, but two nominations.

"To many of my classmates Mr. Hanson isn't just a teacher, but a friend. He has been there for his students as a supporter, a listener, and a good advice giver. There wasn't a problem we couldn't go to him about. He not only taught us life skills, but found our strengths and helped us to succeed," said Jacquilin West, a 2017 KFC-Taco Bell Gauvin Scholar.

"Mr. Hanson has helped so many kids at Washburn High School. He is always there for us like a friend but he knows when to be a teacher," said Kelsea Jencks, a 2017 Gauvin Scholar.

Business of the Year Award

Kristen Wells, Executive Director of Aroostook Aspirations presenting the 2017 Business of the Year award to Chris Anderson, President and CEO of F.A. Peabody Company. This year's award was sponsored by Cary Medical Center.


Business partnerships are essential to the impact of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative. As donors, supporters and industry leaders, businesses enhance our work and shape our future. The Business of the Year Award recognizes a business that reflects the mission and values of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative through their support of our organization, their leadership in the community and through workforce development.

F.A. Peabody Company, this year's Business of the Year, was nominated by the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce.

F.A. Peabody Company is recognized for their proven commitment to Aroostook County and to their customers. They have just celebrated 90 years in business and are constantly changing to move with the times. Each year, F.A. Peabody Company takes on interns, often hiring them upon completion of their internship. They encourage their interns to explore their options in the insurance industry.

F.A. Peabody Company recognizes the value of teaching and encouraging the youth of Aroostook County to stay and plant their roots.

Innovative Educator of the Year Award

2017 Innovative Educator of the Year Gina Jandreau being presented with her award by Matthew McHatten COO of MMG Insurance.


Innovative education strategies are crucial to engaging students in their education and developing workforce skills. The Innovative Educator of the Year Award is presented by MMG Insurance to an educator in Aroostook County who utilizes innovative techniques in the classroom. This award recognizes educators that implement new programs, strategies, techniques and technology within their classroom in order to better serve and engage students.

Gina Jandreau, a science teacher at Madawaska Elementary School, is this year's Innovative Educator of the Year. She was nominated by Denise Duperre, Executive Marketing Director at NorState Federal Credit Union.

"Through her interactive classroom education, Mrs. Jandreau is able to inspire young minds to think outside of science to what the world has to offer. She goes above and beyond her normal teaching schedule to bring the outside world into her classroom. Children are engaged in science and development because her class stands out."

Road Back Home Award

Sandy Gauvin, President of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, presenting Dr. James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System, with the third annual Road Back Home Award.


The Road Back Home Award has been created to honor county-born/raised individuals who demonstrate a deep sentiment for their roots. It recognizes those who are still connected in some way, who continue to make the county proud no matter where they live, who give back and whose actions demonstrate dedication and support for Aroostook. The purpose of this award is to express appreciation, honor loyalty, instill pride and promote the Aroostook County way of life in order to ensure its bright future.

Dr. James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System, is this year's Road Back Home Award recipient.

Ray and Sandy Gauvin have established an endowed scholarship... This remarkable gift reflects their values and their belief that higher education is the gateway to a promising future. This effort represents the best of Maine and challenges all of us to try and make a difference in the lives of others.

Dr. John Fitzsimmons

President Maine Community College System