Laura grew up in Southern Maine and attended Gorham schools. After high school, she completed her undergraduate degree at Fordham University in NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. During this time, she studied abroad for a year in Mendoza, Argentina, where she learned Spanish and discovered her love of learning about new languages and cultures. In Argentina, she directly enrolled in and took classes at an Argentine university and lived with a host family, which allowed her to completely immerse herself in the local community. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she attended the University of Maine School of Law and received her J.D., graduating summa cum laude. During law school, Laura focused a great deal of her attention on immigration law, where she worked with several non-profits. Currently, Laura is a partner at Camden Law LLP located in Camden, ME. She has a diverse law practice and takes on cases in the areas of criminal law, general civil litigation, immigration law, appellate law, and family law. In her free time, Laura enjoys running, yoga, reading, and traveling.
Penny has a long history of international and intercultural exchange. As a senior in high school her family hosted an exchange student, a young lady from Tehran, Iran, when little was known geographically or culturally of that country. Years later, Penny and her teenage daughter hosted exchange students from northern Lebanon and Brazil. She continues to be in contact with these
Penny adopted her daughter from Ecuador and, to assure that her daughter would know the language and culture of her origins, they later moved to live in Ecuador for 18 months. Upon returning and moving to Rockport, Maine, Penny and her daughter began hosting Penobscot School English Immersion students. They have since hosted over 20 adult students from Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Mongolia, Mali, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Mexico.
In her own appreciation for international connections, Penny initiated and implemented a ten-day service trip for twenty Camden Hills High School students. The group formed lasting international relationships and contributed efforts in building Ecuador’s first high school in the rainforest. She reconnected with several of the Ecuadorean English Immersion students who welcomed and generously shared their hospitality with the student group.
Penny has traveled to England, Scotland, Europe, Mexico, Ecuador and Thailand for both business and pleasure. An active member of her local Rotary Youth Exchange Committee, she has counseled incoming and outgoing students, and local host families. Penny continues to support education and entrepreneurial development in Ecuador through the Yachana Foundation.
Penny is grateful for the opportunities to connect with people and cultures of the world through the many offerings of Penobscot School. She has served on the school’s board for several years.
Amy grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in MidCoast Maine off and on since 1984, finally settling in Thomaston in 2002. She has also lived in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic, and has travelled throughout Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a BA in Community Studies. She has worked at Camden Hills Regional High School as a Spanish Teacher since 2007. Prior to teaching at CHRHS, Amy was a social worker, working with immigrant families and gang affiliated youth in Santa Barbara, and homeless youth in Rockland. She is continuing to study Italian, and has also studied Portuguese. She is passionate about language learning, teaching and introducing the world to her students.
Amy has a daughter, Isabel, who is a 2019 graduate of Oceanside High School. During the 2015-2016 school year Amy took a leave of absence from her job to live in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico with Isabel, who is half Mexican. Amy wanted to give Isabel the opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and to get to know her heritage and her Mexican side of the family. While her daughter attended the local high school as a ninth grader, Amy taught at a language school, Cornerstone Idiomas, giving Spanish lessons to foreigners living in Barra. Additionally, she gave English lessons to locals, and ran a group for teenagers called, “Todos somos americanos” (We Are All Americans).
Amy has been connected to the Penobscot School since 1992 when she first took an Italian class. She has been the coordinator of two weekend Spanish Immersions at the school, and has volunteered with many other Spanish Immersions as well, including “Español en el bosque” at Tanglewood. She is excited to be a new board member and to contribute to a school that has been such an integral part of our community for so many years.
Kenneth (Kenny) grew up in Brooklyn New York where he pursued a BA in Marine Biology at New York University. Surrounded by the diversity of New York City, Kenny became interested in learning languages and he started learning Mandarin and has traveled to China. Apart from New York, Kenny spent part of his life in Jacksonville, Florida, where he pursued a degree in Fire Science. While in Florida, he studied for more than a decade a Brazilian martial art Capoeira that led him to immerse himself in the language and culture of Brazil. He moved to Maine in 2018 where he started his career as Physical Therapist Assistant and personal trainer. Kenny is currently invested in learning Spanish, and hoping to become fluent one day, to be able to communicate with his parents-in-law in their native language.
Chris grew up in central Maine. His passion for languages and international cultural exchange was awakened in high school when he joined the American Field Service (AFS) club and participated in a summer abroad program in Spain. Since then, Chris has lived and traveled extensively in Spain, France, and England. Chris speaks French and Spanish.
For the last 23 years, Chris has been an attorney in midcoast Maine and has been deeply involved in the community. He served as chair of the Camden Planning Board for many years, he was a long-time member of the West Bay Rotary Club, he has coached the CHRHS mock trial team, and he was recently elected to serve on the Camden Charter Commission.
In his free time, Chris can be found playing softball, training for his next triathlon, hiking, and traveling. He plans to travel to Tanzania in October to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He has begun studying Swahili in advance of the trip.
Hannah's first international trip was at age 10, when she spent the summer with her best friend, a classmate from Mexico. She went on to study more than half a dozen foreign languages in high school and became involved with American Field Service's exchange program both as a host family and as an exchange student to France and Argentina. In college, she studied Portuguese and spent a summer at Middlebury Language Schools' German language immersion program. Over a 20-year career in forest conservation, she conducted fieldwork in temperate and tropical forests around the world and worked with nonprofit organizations on land conservation and sustainable forest management. She has written professionally on sustainable agriculture, forestry, water resources, indigenous rights, and social justice and provided translation (Spanish and Portuguese to English). Hannah has extensive experience in grants management and connecting grassroots activists to funders. She currently manages an international grants program that disburses over $1 million annually to organizations advocating for improved conditions for farmed animals. Hannah holds a Master of Forestry degree from Yale and a bachelor's degree in Afro-American Studies from Harvard.
In her spare time, Hannah enjoys growing, cooking, and building community around food. After graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute's plant-based culinary program in New York, she moved to her partner's hometown on the Straits of Magellan, where she opened and ran Patagonia Baking Company. Hannah, her partner and their two globe-trotting cats moved to Maine in 2018, after three years living in Punta Arenas, Chile at the southern tip of South America. When not playing in the woods or the kitchen, Hannah can be found on long walks and exploring Maine's coast and mountains.
Dana Strout has been a long time student and board member at the Penobscot School, as well as serving as its President for several years. He is on his third tour of being a board member and is committed to helping the school. He speaks French, Italian and Spanish, all of which he learned at the school over the past twenty years. He practices law locally when not involved with school activities.