New PAA Alumnus Has Strong Personal Goals

August 01, 2008 | Liesl Vistaunet

New Portland Adventist Academy alumni member Deanna Lemire wowed her teachers with her senior project before graduation in June.

Lemire's project, a diploma requirement at PAA, was inspired by her interest in "fiber arts." Lemire went through the entire process of raising wool on her llama, Tater Tot, shearing, cleaning, spinning, dying it from berry juices and then weaving it on a loom to create yarn. She then knitted hats, gloves, scarves and a blanket from the material she made.

To say Lemire's teachers were proud is an understatement. "We give very few perfect scores on the senior project," says Gale Crosby, PAA principal and judge. "But Deanna earned it!"

Lemire is not an average teenager. During the school months, she would rise at four in the morning to hand milk nine goats and her cow, collect eggs and, of course, feed all her animals, which took over two hours every morning. And because the Lemire family lives a long distance from PAA, she had to be on the road by 6:30 a.m. to make it on time for band rehearsal.

Lemire accomplished much during her years at PAA. She graduated as senior class chaplain, an active member of the climbing club, a band member and an honor society student. Outside of school, Lemire sold eggs, milk, cream and butter from her animals. She was a 4-H teen leader, junior chairmen of the Northwest Pigeon Association and was recently named the Columbia County Dairy princess ambassador.

Her teachers were impressed with the enthusiasm and determination for her project. "But what I was most impressed with," says Crosby "was why she wanted to become a spinner in the first place." Lemire says "I want to get back to the sense of community that we are losing. Spinning used to be about people coming together with their yarn and food and they'd just sit and spin and talk all day long."

"Deanna bonded with her teachers and mentors," remarks Crosby. "She made relationships that, I believe, will carry on throughout her life because she cares about this lost art. She demonstrated extraordinary maturity."

This fall Lemire will use a scholarship she earned for Mt. Hood Community College. She then has plans for Walla Walla University, followed up with Loma Linda Medical Center where she wants to earn a degree in orthodontics.