Field Of Dreams

The 2023 Plymouth Area Softball League wrapped up its season and our MPA team came out winners! . . . well, not necessarily in the standings, but sometimes accomplishments can’t be measured by a scoreboard. 

2023 marked the first year MPA has ever fielded a team in this popular area league. And it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Jessie Gaudioso and Steve Meier.

“I had achieved some success playing sports in college and was looking for a way to stay active locally,” says Jessie Gaudioso, Principal, Karen Langley Learning Center, Mount Prospect Academy. “Steve & I had known about the local softball league, there is history for us, and thought it might be a great way to get involved again in competitive sports, while also engaging with our workmates outside the office.”

In order to start a team, they needed a sponsor. That’s when Jessie approached Jay Marshall, Head of Schools at MPA.

“He jumped at the opportunity to help out. He not only offered to sponsor an MPA team for the Plymouth league but the neighboring Lincoln League as well.”

The core group of 2 quickly recruited nearly 40 of their workmates, friends and family and the inaugural MPA Softball Team was born. They competed on Monday and Tuesday evenings throughout June and July in Plymouth, and Sunday mornings in Lincoln. It’s a coed, slow-pitch league so everyone is encouraged to play, although each team is required to field at least 3 women at a time to keep the teams on par every inning.

“It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere. That isn’t to say we’re not out there every day looking to win. Some of our teammates have never played softball before, but a core group of us are able to play alongside them, teach them the basics and cheer alongside them when we record an out or drive in a run.”

In the end, they finished in the back of the pack of 9 teams but consider the experience a huge success. They created quite the buzz in the MPA community, with aspirations of recruiting enough players next year to field 2 teams. And those outside the MPA community, in the form of opposing teams, got to learn a little more about the school by meeting, interacting and learning first-hand what MPA does and who they service.

“What got me most excited was the camaraderie we built over the course of the summer. You’re playing with workmates who you sometimes only speak with over the phone. It fits in so nicely with our wellness initiative here, which is basically to take care of yourself outside of work. There’s also so much to learn out there on the ball field: How to strike out and get back up there and try again; lift each other up; celebrate the highs and lows, together. It’s what we try to instill in our kids in the classroom. Putting it to work on the ball field.”

AJ Joseph

AJ’s Journey

Antoine Joseph (AJ) is a paraeducator, youth counselor and basketball coach at MPA’s Plymouth campus. His journey to MPA has all the twists and turns of a major motion picture, complete with happy ending, we like to think, because he ended up with us!

He was born in Saint-Marc, Haiti, a small village outside of Port-Au-Prince, and raised by a single mother who worked as a housekeeper to support herself, AJ and his little sister. “You would expect me to say life was hard,” he explains when asked about his childhood. “My father walked out on us when I was very small. We had very little but I never felt worry, sadness or helplessness. That’s because my mother worked hard to get us an education and raised us to believe we could achieve great things if we put the work in and always tried to be the best at whatever we did.”

AJ Joseph

AJ Joseph of Mount Prospect Academy

And soccer was what AJ was best at. From an early age he was running circles around players on opposing teams; winning games and championships. At the age of 15 he earned a spot on the National Team for Haiti. It was there a scout took notice of his skills and recruited him for the French Guiana Football League. His dream of becoming a professional soccer player was one step closer to being realized. Fame and, hopefully, fortune would surely follow. Only one obstacle now stood in his way. As he was still, technically, a minor, he would need permission from his mother.

“My mother was less than enthusiastic,” AJ explains. “Here was the chance of a lifetime. A team that would allow me to travel all over the world doing what I loved most, all expenses paid. And she was skeptical. ‘Who are these people’ she said. ‘I’ve never met them and this contract does not fully explain to me what you are signing up for.’ I was angry with her and couldn’t understand why she was questioning anything about this golden opportunity.”

AJ reluctantly called the scout and explained he would need to speak directly with his mother before any contract was signed.

“He scoffed at me and reminded me how many kids would jump at the opportunity to take my place. My mother held firm and with that, the offer was rescinded. My soccer career was over.”

While AJ remained heartbroken, his body was going through dramatic changes. A growth spurt put him head and shoulders above his peers, leading him to try his hand in a new sport: Basketball. By age 22 he was 6’ 9’’ and dominant on the courts, drawing on his footwork skills and the competitive edge that came naturally from years of playing soccer.

“I was at a level where I was drawing interest from colleges in the United States. Partial scholarships were offered, which was like no offer at all to me. I couldn’t even afford basketball shoes.”

With all the attention he was receiving, AJ, and even his mother became determined to use his new sport to get him out of Haiti. There were opportunities overseas far greater than what his village or anywhere else in his country could offer. And to make matters even more pressing, political instability and a rise in gang violence was making Haiti a dangerous place to live.

“I spent every day visiting my church and praying,” he explains. “My mother’s work ethic is ingrained in me. I was using everything at my disposal, physically and spiritually, to get myself out of Haiti. I’m proud to say, God answered my prayers.”

At age 22 AJ was offered a full basketball scholarship at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee where he thrived as an athlete and student, despite not knowing not one word of English. Within 6 months he was fluent and a star basketball player. He went on to play professionally in Argentina, while also finding time on the side to coach and mentor kids. As someone whose journey had not been an easy one, this came naturally to him.

He eventually returned to Haiti and became captain of the Haitian National Basketball Team, where he witnessed, first-hand the unrest in his home country. He was convinced, once again, that he needed to leave and got to work using his extensive overseas contacts for a way out.

His agent put him in touch with Moses Jean-Pierre, former basketball star of Plymouth State University.

“We hit it off right away. We both played at a high level and he is the son of Haitian immigrants so we have a lot in common. He also knew about my passion for mentoring kids so immediately told me about MPA. It seemed like a perfect match for me, particularly after I spoke with Jim Carey, Director of Recruiting at MPA.”

“He’s an extremely likable guy,” says Jay Marshall, Head of School. “And what he’s done for the kids in this school is invaluable. MPA is a community built on helping the most at-risk, overlooked, forgotten kids. It’s just not in our nature to give up on anyone.

“Everything happens for a reason,” says AJ. “It was my faith in God and the relentless love, guidance and hard work of my mother that brought me to where I am today. I was recently offered a contract to play basketball professionally in Spain, but turned it down. I feel I belong here and owe it to this place and the community that adopted me to fulfill my passion for helping kids. It’s bigger than money. It’s about making an impact. And I feel like I’m just getting started .

Mount Prospect Academy Scores Big At Robotics Competition

Karen McAlpine, a teacher at Mount Prospect Academy couldn’t contain her excitement when she heard the news. Just days after returning from the SeaPerch Robotics Competition in Durham, New Hampshire, she learned her students had earned top 10 honors.

McAlpine, along with fellow instructor, Connor Sullivan assembled their team of 2 middle and 4 high schoolers back in January as part of their Adventure Science class. Their goal was to participate in the competition while incorporating the rigorous process of preparation into their curriculum.

“It starts with a kit,” she explained. “The kit contains everything you need to assemble a remote operated vehicle (ROV), designed to not only follow the commands of its human operators but to endure the challenges of functioning underwater. We actually ordered 3 with the intention of putting the best performing ROV into the competition.”

Assembling the robots was no easy task. The accompanying instructions were limited and the whole process required lots of problem solving and ingenuity. McAlpine’s students proved up to the task. The whole MPA campus was abuzz with how quickly they took to designing and creating their vehicles. By the end of February they were ready to test them. The challenge was, they didn’t have a facility on campus in which to do so.

“That’s where Alex Ray stepped in,” McAlpine said. “You can’t just wait until the day of competition, throw them in the water and cross your fingers. Alex gave us access to the pool at the Common Man Spa so we could see first hand how each ROV was responding and practice maneuvering and working as a team.”MPA Robotics

The competition itself consisted of 3 separate judging categories. The first was a technical design report, where students include data analysis to describe the process of their engineering design. The remaining two involved actual operation, which included maneuvering the ROV underwater through a series of hoops, around obstacles and in patterns that simulate ocean mapping techniques. One task even included pushing and picking up odd shaped objects on a steep ramp. At no point were adults permitted to assist. 2 students were in charge of operating the vehicle; 2 guiding the tether, while the others provided technical support and helped document their experience.

“We placed 10th out of 26 high school teams. Pretty good considering our team included middle schoolers and we were competing against some formidable opponents like Phillips Exeter Academy.”

For now, McAlpine plans to keep the ROV and other competition mementos on display at the school so others can share in their accomplishment. But there’s no resting on laurels, as she and the students are already preparing for an even better showing at next year’s competition.

“I think what Karen, Connor and the rest of our team here at Mount Prospect Academy does is incredible,” says John Fulp,” Superintendent and Director of Operations at MPA. “Remember, we’re a placement school, committed to taking in kids who are having difficulties being successful anywhere else. It just goes to show that everybody has the potential to achieve great things. Sometimes we just need to teach differently; get kids excited about something and let their natural curiosity take over. I couldn’t be more proud of our team here and what they accomplish, every day, with our amazing students.”

Ice Climbing at MPA

New Ice Climbing Program Takes Students To New Heights

Imagine being suspended nearly 50 feet off the ground, clinging to a frozen column of ice! Such was the scene this past winter for a daring group of MPA students as part of the school’s adventure-based learning program. Led by Outdoor Paraeducator, Connor Sullivan, the group was outfitted with crampons, mountaineering boots, harnesses, ice 

picks and other climbing equipment before they headed north to the east side of Franconia Notch near Cannon Mountain. 3 students were led into the woods on a cold, blustery day faced with wind and snow squalls. After hiking for a half hour, they reached their destination, a 45 foot series of frozen waterfalls jutting from a mountainside. Instructors set up and anchored rope at the top and students took turns finessing their way up the ice, hours of training put to work navigating the ice pockets, crags and steep gullies.
“It’s certainly not as dangerous as it sounds,” explains Sullivan. “Climbers are secured by safety ropes at all times, with belayers on hand to assist if a student needs assistance or encouragement.” 
Still, the ascent presented a formidable challenge for the students, 2 of whom had never climbed. Sullivan reported that each picked it up quickly, putting their training to work by relying on all their senses, not just brute strength. Although there was little danger given the team’s experience and all the safety protocols, falling debris in the form of ice fragments chipped loose by each climber posed the greatest danger, so a safe distance was maintained by those waiting below. Which isn’t to say there was time to stand around, idly . . .
“It was great to see students helping and enc
ouraging one another as they climbed. It really highlighted what adventure based learning is all about: communication, creative thinking, problem solving; all at work in one activity.”
The trip lasted over 4 hours, with plenty of stories to follow when the students returned to school. Look for even more adventures with Sullivan and his team this year, including several backpacking trips over the spring and a presidential traverse this summer.
MPA Donates to Plymouth Police Department

Mount Prospect Academy donates $10,000 to Plymouth Police Department

At a luncheon ceremony in their Career Development Center in Plymouth, Mount Prospect Academy presented the Plymouth Police Department with a check for $10,000. The donation stems from a phone call Plymouth Police Chief Alex Hutchins had with MPA’s President, Jeffrey Caron.
Jeffrey Caron
“I recently assisted Mount Prospect Academy staff here in Plymouth in a high-stress situation involving one of their students,” explained Hutchins. “I was impressed with how the staff conducted themselves in a professional manner while de-escalating the situation. It was obvious to me that these staff members had been well trained for these types of situations. I really felt that they needed to be recognized, so I contacted Jeff to offer my commendation to his team. Jeff was very appreciative and asked if they could assist us in any way.”

The result was two financial donations, totaling $10,000 to be used towards active threat resources for the town of Plymouth and surrounding communities. “MPA never overlooks the fact that we are more than just a school for at-risk kids,” said Jeffrey Caron at the presentation ceremony. “We’re a part of several communities, including Plymouth, Campton, Rumney, Warren and Pike. As such, we’re not only here to help our kids, but our communities. When Alex mentioned initiatives that would benefit from community support, I saw an opportunity for us at Mount Prospect Academy to help out.”

On-hand was the MPA Plymouth team recognized by Chief Hutchins. They included Nayou Shar, Devin Michalewicz, Clayton Scala-Habert, Andrew Fosher, Adelaide Schumaker and Hilel Gubenko. The funds will be used to purchase equipment, tools and supplies to better prepare the department in case of an active threat situation in Plymouth or area towns. In keeping with MPA’s mission, a portion of the money will also be used to purchase supplies for community events to continue to connect the police department and the community.

MPA golf tournament at Owl's Nest

MPA hosts 9th annual Mayhew/McDermott Memorial Golf Tournament

This fall, over 84 golfers converged on Owl’s Nest Golf Resort in Thornton for the annual Mayhew/McDermott Memorial Golf Tournament, an event MPA has hosted since 2013. It was a beautiful fall day, with unseasonably warm temperatures and a backdrop of fall foliage on full display.

MPA golf tournament at Owl's NestThe tournament is named after Dave Mayhew and John McDermott who both tragically passed away in 2013. Dave worked at MPA as Assistant Director of Academics. John was a Director of Operations.

After their passing, MPA leadership decided to start the tournament, with monies raised to benefit the aptly named Mayhew/McDermott scholarship fund, which provides current and former students with independent life skills assistance. Any current or former student can apply, which includes an essay submission as well as information about the request and their budget needs. Past scholarship recipients have used the funds for such things as the purchase of a bicycle for transportation to work, tools to help further a career, summer camp tuition, job interview clothing and job-related laptops.MPA golf tournament at Owl's Nest

The tournament would not be possible without the financial assistance from individuals and sponsors. In particular, companies such as Kinney Pike, Lockton, One Digital, PretiFlherty, Passumpsic Bank and White River Toyota have consistently stepped up to the plate over the years to sponsor holes and foursomes, allowing organizers to not only cover the expenses of hosting the tournament but growing the Mayhew/McDermott scholarship fund. To date, the scholarship fund has supported numerous students through the years.

Winner’s of this year’s tournament were the team from Becket: Christian Wolter, Dan Elliot, Tom Peters and Ben Peters. They shot 18 under which is commendable, a birdie on every hole! They were presented with a custom-made trophy, built and designed by MPA wood shop students. In the end, all the golfers left winners, having experiencing a day of golf with friends on a stunningly beautiful day. Organizers noted that the weather is always superior for this late fall event. It’s as if Dave and John are there in spirit, smiling down on their MPA friends and family.

Under the Hood at MPA Automotive Center

It’s not often you meet a teenager with the skills to change the oil in an automobile, repair its brakes, exhaust or suspension, let alone swapping out its engine. At MPA’s Career Development Center, it’s not such a rare sight after all. 

Meet the kids of MPA’s Livermore Automotive Center, an approved classroom that is a full service, auto repair shop located in MPA’s Rumney Career Development Center campus. The program was started back in 1993 as part of the school’s experiential learning program. Jeff Caron, MPA President, brought his vision of “vocational learning” to then part-time instructor at Laconia Community College, Dave Morrill, offering him a job imparting his mechanics skills to at-risk kids at MPA.

“Jeff had incredible enthusiasm and this idea that, if kids split their school time between the classroom and real, hands-on work, it would boost their self esteem and confidence, ultimately improving their behavior.”

And he was right. Since those early years of working out of a 1-stall garage in an abandoned wood shop to the now, state of the art automotive center, complete with 2 lifts and superior air and electrical systems, the program has thrived. Hundreds of students have benefited from Dave’s expertise, taking their skills outside the school and applying them in everyday life, some even pursuing careers in the automotive field.

“We typically have 6-15 kids each week in the shop performing work on company vehicles and those belonging to employees,” Dave explains. “We run the classroom just like any other business out there in the community. We make appointments, troubleshoot, diagnose, repair and invoice. And the kids help from start to finish.”

Jeff Caron notes that behaviors improve when students participate in hands-on, academic learning. “Statistically, we have very few behavior issues when students have hands-on learning opportunities. They gain confidence and realize they can succeed in a field of their choice.”

These days, Dave and fellow mechanic, Ray Whitcher can be seen under the hood of numerous projects with eagerly listening students. Just recently, Ray supervised a student changing out the engine of a Kia Sorento. “Well, I was more of a bystander,” Ray admits. “That kid knew what he was doing – even figured out the wiring harness was faulty and swapped it out before I noticed it was a problem. It kind of made me proud. You don’t see many 14-16 year olds with those skills.”

The Livermore Auto Center services over 60 of MPA’s own vehicles and gives precedent to MPA team members, alumnae and their families. Dave is quick to point out that the school isn’t looking to compete with local businesses. “Our main purpose is, and will always be, to teach kids to be successful. We just so happen to do it with a wrench, not a pencil.”

Student Council at MPA

Recently, the Mount Prospect Academy’s Student Council sat down and met as a team to discuss topics to improve and better their facilities. The 4 students, and 8 faculty met at noon to eat lunch and follow with facilitating discussions on ideas that ranged from making student handbooks, to creating a career day.

The MPA Student Council was created by Mount Prospect Academy’s Richard Potack with the help of Denise Castonguay in the 2013-2014 school year. The purpose was to give students a forum in which they could have a direct and long-lasting impact on the school; where they could make changes for themselves and each other, while learning about how governments operate on this and other levels in the outside world.

The Student Council at MPA is important for student life because they address and tackle issues important to their community as well as making sure students’ voices are heard. Much of what this group is focusing on, is how to save the environment and how to create better environments around the students. These students are working to make a change within their community by using leadership tools to work together and make a difference.


The Co-Student Council Presidents, led the meeting by inviting everyone to introduce themselves and then turning to business as they began reading the student council’s agenda and discussion notes. There were many discussions and conversations that took place within the meeting, many important ideas were brought to the table; for example, creating a logo for MPA Student Council so that merchandise can be embroidered, creating more after-school activities, such as a soccer team, and basketball tournaments, a band, and a zen garden, as well as improving the MPA school store by creating and handing out a survey to ensure that the school store is carrying material that the students want to purchase.

One of the bigger announcements that was made within the meeting was the opportunity to meet and work with someone from the “You Got this Kid” campaign. Chuck Saia’s “You Got this Kid” campaign is a leadership foundation that evokes positive change for youth. By working with this organization, the Student Council will participate in a workshop to develop better leadership skills and act to fundraise for a new green house. By enhancing leadership skills and raising money for a greenhouse, the student council will encourage saving the environment while creating another activity to partake in.

The Mount Prospect Academy Student Council carefully debated and reviewed numerous issues that are important to the students of MPA to provide advancements within the facilities and environments surrounding the schools. By addressing recycling issues, gym renovations, career expansion, and expanding curriculums, they are taking action in bettering programs and student life.This group is working to challenge themselves and each other in empowering their voices and ideas to boost and promote their progress!

Awards Night

On the first of June, Mount Prospect Academy held an awards night for the staff who have been a part of MPA for 5 years, 10 years, 15, 20 and 25 years. The faculty of MPA were invited to the Common Man’s “The Barn on the Pemi” from 5-8pm for an awards ceremony, accompanied by dinner and drinks. To kick off the ceremony, MPA’s Director of Operations, John Fulp, said a few words. Fulp talked about the obstacles that MPA has faced through the duration of COVID-19 and how Mount Prospect Academy has continued to work as a team to overcome the hardships the company and the schools face. He explained that Mount Prospect Academy continues to grow stronger with the people and strategies they continue to use. Fulp closed by saying,“we just keep getting better and better and that’s because of all you folks and all of us working together. So thank you everyone; thank you to those who have stuck with it year after year, we are able to honor you tonight.” The microphone was handed to Mount Prospect Academy President, Jeffrey Caron, where he also showed appreciation to the staff within the room. Jeff spoke of their longevity at Mount Prospect, whether it was 5 years at the company, or 25 years. There were different gifts presented to the staff depending on how long they have been with MPA. Jeff pointed out that not only is MPA creating careers to help kids, but it’s also a fortunate place that allows staff to change lives, for as long as 25 years. He spoke highly of the mini biking trip (National Youth Project Using Minibikes; ie NYPUM) that he and Jay Marshall, Head of Schools, went on earlier with 6 students. He explained how smooth, civilized, and pleasant the trip had been, showing that having great trips with the students of MPA is due to the amazing faculty and staff who work with the kids. “Treating students with compassion and leadership allows these children to respect themselves, their environments, and others around them. Working for MPA is beneficial not only to the students, but also to outsiders and our surrounding communities. The attraction Mount Prospect Academy creates, encourages other companies and corporations to want to be a part of something so influential and impactful.” As Jeff Caron, John Fulp and Jeff Park hand out awards to MPA staff recipients, there is a light and grateful atmosphere; as everyone acknowledges their roles within a business that has one main goal: to better the education and environment of our youth.


Recognized were:

5 Years Award:

– Don Jones

– Rebecca Moulton

– Megan Smith

– Paul Thomas

– Corey Tower

– Dori Craigie

– Rob Alvey Sr.

– Harry Bearden

– Josh Colle

– Mike Burnham

– Becky Drapeau

– Jessie Gaudioso

– LeRoy Hollis

– Tyree Jones

– Derek Pitcha

Recipients for the 10 Years Award:

– Karen McAlpine

– Mark Labonte

– Richard Moulton

– Bill Greene

– Joe Cristiano

– Tom Corbin

– Lacy Hunt

– Mike Adamkowski

Recipients for the 15 Years Award:

– Chris Boyd



“At approximately 8:32 pm on Monday, September 5, a murder was reported at Resident Camp Kikakee, which is located at Lower Baker Pond in Wentworth on Route 25a. The murder was reported by the Cook, a foodservice staff member at Camp Kikakee. The victim was identified as Frederica Cowlea. The believed cause of death was Possible Homicide/Drowning.”

It’s a story one might expect in TV’s “CSI” or ripped from the front page of the Manchester Union Leader, when in reality (or more like science fiction), this case is at the center of a learning experience for a lucky group of students at Mount Prospect Academy.

Meet Corey Tower, an Adventure Science instructor at MPA’s Plymouth campus. Corey, along with fellow instructor Karen McAlpine are leading a forensics class in Adventure Science this spring.

“We created a fictional crime from scratch,” he explains, “complete with backstory, a crime scene and evidence. We have several faculty participating as ‘suspects,’ while the entire class is tasked with gathering and analyzing evidence, facts and testimony which they will then use to formulate a case and identify likely suspects.”

The class has been learning about forensic science in the classroom, including basic skills, deduction, fingerprinting, fabric analysis and blood typing. They then apply what they learn in the “real world,” which in this case, is a crime scene staged with physical evidence planted by the instructors. Students are given time to study the evidence while instructors observe and offer information relative to the case. They’re given a week to analyze their findings, come to a conclusion and then build their case against their prime suspect.

“The kids are learning all different facets of science as well as chemistry and deduction. There’s a level of excitement here you don’t usually see in a school setting because we’re actually getting them out of the classroom and into a real-world situation. It’s science in action. In my opinion, the best way to learn.”

One could argue the class extends far beyond science, to psychology, public speaking and criminal law, as the classroom is transformed into a mock courtroom, where students are tasked with presenting their case, using physical evidence and witness testimony, before a judge and jury (played by faculty and their fellow students).

Corey and the Adventure Science team have more adventures planned for the months ahead, including an underwater robotics class, a camping trip to Pennsylvania, which includes 4 days of paddling over 28 miles and an ocean kayak trip in Maine. Just another example of the power of adventure-based learning at Mount Prospect Academy.