In 1998, a Kennebunk High School sophomore, Matthew Barry was diagnosed with a form of cancer that required amputation of his lower leg. In an effort to assist his family with living and medical expenses, the Kennebunk High School Foreign Language Club organized a restaurant raffle which raised a total of $5,200. More than 200 students assisted with this effort.
The efforts of one young lady, however, were extraordinary. Micah Inoue, also a sophomore at Kennebunk High School, took on a leadership role in the fundraising effort. As soon as the raffle began, Micah set out to help by going to both the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport Rotary Clubs to speak about the fundraising effort on behalf of Matt's family. Her verve and energy did not end there. She continued to solicit other community members and convinced the "School Around Us" Crafts Fair organizers to allow the raffle tickets to be sold at their event. Her efforts alone raised over $1,000 for the family.
One other example of Micah's service to others is her catalytic role in getting her Japanese language class at Kennebunk High School committed to a project to make 1,000 paper cranes, a Japanese symbol to bring good health to an individual, for Matt and another student who was hospitalized for cancer treatment. The time needed to construct 1,000 origami cranes amounted to almost 100 hours. While a small amount of these cranes were done in the Japanese class, the majority were done by the Japanese language students outside of class time. Micah, herself, made more than 500 of these cranes.
Besides her involvement with the Foreign Language Club, Micah has also been involved with the club STAND (Students Taking a New Direction). Goals and objectives for this group are to promote substance abuse education through an Alcohol and Drug Awareness program elementary and middle school students. Micah has also been part of promoting the group's second goal, which is the planning of substance abuse-free activities for the high school.
Micah is described by Dr. Thomas Sferes, the Chair of the Foreign Language Department at Kennebunk High School as a "young lady who possesses a passion for helping others. What is truly unique about Micah is that she has translated this passion into action. She is an example for not only her peers, but our staff and community as well."
At this time last year, Micah and her mother spent hours creating Fimo clay hearts to be sold at a crafts fair. The project, called "Hearts for Honduras," raised more than $1,300 for the Red Cross to provide to hurricane victims in Honduras.