Ret. Chief Master Sergeant Roger Sands ’67 & Mrs. Dawn MacPherson-Allen, Named Prestigious Awards Winners at 2021 FA Alumni Banquet

August 8, 2021
Food at the 2021 Foxcroft Academy Alumni Banquet

Dover-Foxcroft – Two prestigious awards were announced at Foxcroft Academy’s 2021 Alumni Banquet, the Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Award, and the Tillson D. Thomas Award.  This year’s worthy recipients are Roger Sands ’67 (Lowell Award) and Mrs. Dawn MacPherson-Allen (Thomas Award).

The Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Award.  This award is named in honor of Dr. Lowell, who was an 1881 alumna of the Academy.  Upon graduating from FA, Dr. Lowell earned the distinction of being one of the first women to earn the degrees of Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Law, and Doctor of Jurisprudence. Each year this award is given by the Academy’s alumni, who nominate and vote for an alumnus who has distinguished him or herself professionally.  We are pleased to announce that this year’s recipient is Retired Chief Master Sergeant Roger Sands. Class of 1967.

During Roger’s four years at Foxcroft Academy, he was very active in many activities. He was a member of the Competition Concert Band, Marching Band, Varsity Glee Club, and football team. He was Stage Manager for Stage Plays and had roles in several plays. He was selected to Boys State and Advanced Band Camp. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts and later the Explores. He played Dracula in a movie, The Bride of Dracula, produced by a local filmmaker which was aired on the TV show WEIRD Theater. Roger was always busy mowing lawns and delivering The Bangor Daily News, which led him to win a trip to New York City. He also could be found working at Beeches Gulf Station on West Main Street. Roger attributes his strong work ethic to his hard-working parents who raised 6 kids.

Retired Chief Master Sergeant Roger Sands with Mr. Arnold Shorey

After graduation from Foxcroft Academy, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968. He completed his basic training at Lackland AFB, in Texas. and was assigned to Lowry AFB, in Colorado for nine months of training as a Missile Electronics Technician. Roger graduated at the top of his class. While assigned there he was selected as a member of the Lowry AFB Elite Marching Band.

This was the start of a decorated military career traveling all over Air Force bases from coast to coast and all over the world.  During that time, he worked on projects such as maintaining the world’s largest Super Flash X-Ray machine and he was involved with the development of a portable Absolute Gravity Meter that could be taken to any location in the world to measure regional variations of gravity.

In January 1976 he was assigned to the newly named Air Force Geophysics Laboratory as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Geodesy and Gravity Branch. Five years later, Roger had the honor of attending the International Symposium on Absolute Gravity at the Bureau of Weights and Measures, in Paris, France.

He continued his work as a Research and Development Engineer, assigned to the Laboratory’s Absolute Gravity Program where he served as a special consultant to the Defense Mapping Agency supporting their mission of worldwide gravity standardization in support of the MX Missile Program. Over time, Roger gained worldwide recognition for his work in the field of gravity research.  Following that, he was assigned to the newly named Geophysics Laboratory and in July of that year assigned as the Director of Instrumentation and Field Programs.

In December of 1990, Roger was assigned to the newly named Phillips Laboratory’s Geophysics Directorate. As Director of Field Operations, he recommended operating and contingency plans to the Director. He was technical liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology and to Headquarters, Defense Mapping Agency. He continued to serve in this position and as Senior Enlisted Manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory until his retirement in October 1998.

During his tour at Hanscom AFB Roger continued his education through local colleges and the College of the Air Force. He credits his ability to do the scientific work usually done by officers or civilian engineers to the courses he took in math, calculus, and physics, along with the solid foundation he gained in electronics at his technical school.       

Roger volunteered his time at various local schools in all grade levels teaching computer sciences and tutoring. He led many field trips to the base’s air traffic control tower and drove buses to bring Veterans to appointments and special outings. He also coached baseball, basketball, and soccer following his children into and through High School.

Roger’s military decorations and awards are too many to name, but let’s say there are many of them and they are all well-deserved.   

Roger has authored or co-authored 24 published scientific articles including two with foreign countries.  He holds degrees in Engineering Technology and Science. He is a certified tower climber and a certified Geodetic Surveyor for the Government. He retired from the Air Force on October 30, 1998, with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank held by only 1% of enlisted members of the Air Force.

After his military retirement, Roger was employed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) an agency in the Department of Defense.

Roger retired from civil service after 13 years. He had a stellar career in both the military and civil service.

Roger says the best event of his life was meeting Diane, his wife, her family, and having 3 wonderful children was by far the greatest. He credits his success to his wife Diane and their wonderful children Kim, Mike, and Jim. The encouragement, support, and sacrifices they made throughout his career made it all possible. They were the real heroes in his life and he thanks them for all they did.

The Tillson D. Thomas Award recognizes a past faculty or staff member who has served the students of Foxcroft Academy with the highest degree of professionalism as nominated and voted upon by the Academy’s alumni. This years’ Tillson D. Thomas award winner is being awarded to Ms. Dawn MacPherson-Allen, beloved English teacher and director of the drama program for close to 20 years.

Dawn began at the Academy in 1988 as the 6-12 Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the district. She worked with then headmaster Howard Ryder to develop honors courses and add AP courses to the Foxcroft Curriculum. She moved from her part-time eighth grade English position at Sedomocha to a part-time position at Foxcroft Academy in 1989 to teach honors English 9, 10, and 11. She continued in that position for several years until the district phased out the Gifted and Talented Coordinator’s position. At that time she became a full-time English teacher at the Academy until she retired in 2006, after teaching for 37 years. 

Mrs. Dawn MacPherson-Allen with Mr. Arnold Shorey and Mr. Toby Nelson ’95.

In 1992, while waiting for her son Tom to be done with musical practice, she approached Arnie Poland to see if he would like her help with the drama portion of the musical as he was doing both things. He was very happy for the help, and she worked with him on Guys and Dolls that year for no salary. When Tom Lyford gave up the One-Acts, Howard hired her to do drama, and she did a senior play, a series of One-Acts, and the musical with Arnie from then to her retirement. 

During her tenure at Foxcroft, Dawn represented The Academy and the state of Maine in 1998 as one of two presidential teachers from Maine in Washington DC. She also served as the State of Maine president of a woman teachers organization from 2001-2003 and was Maine’s representative to its International Board with full support from Brad Ashley and all the administrative team. 

When asked what her fondest memories are of her time at the Academy, her response was unequivocally the fabulous faculty with whom she was privileged to work. They were truly caring and professional colleagues who carried on the business of the Academy through good times and bad times. 

She was asked what her favorite musical or play might be. There is no easy answer because each one was so unique. But there were favorites. The top three musicals were A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, West Side Story, and Grease, and the reason these were the favorites is because they were the biggest in every way. It took the community to do the sets, the band and community players to fill the pit, the community to costume them all, and a huge amount of students to fill all the roles and be part of the chorus, and another group of students to run the stage, move the sets, and help the cast change costumes. Her favorite three-act plays were The Pink Panther and the rustic scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

She has been thanked by many students over the years, and the number one comment is “Thank you for teaching me to write”. She hopes that is a talent she helped many students to improve. 

In addition to these Alumni awards, the Trustees of Foxcroft Academy awarded three other honors with the James S. Holmes Award and the Oakes Family Award.

The James S. Holmes Award is in honor of the founder of Foxcroft Academy.  Mr. Holmes came to Foxcroft Academy in 1822 to practice law.  He along with the assistance of 11 other townspeople, were granted a charter on January 31, 1823, for the incorporation of Foxcroft Academy.  The Trustees present this award to community members who have distinguished themselves in service to the Academy and to further the school’s mission.  This year, the award was given to Bruce and Kris Anderson Gurall.

On March 19, 1997, the Trustees of Foxcroft Academy established the Oakes Family Award in honor of Harry, Louis, and Myrtice Oakes, who provided the Academy with philanthropic leadership and whose endowments continue to protect the future of Foxcroft Academy. The Trustees give the Oakes family Award to community members who have distinguished themselves in service to the Academy and to the furtherance of the school’s mission. This year, two awards were given. The first award was given to Charlie and Jane Hibbard-Merrill, and the second to Jim and Peg Robinson.

During Alumni Weekend 2021, Foxcroft Academy inducted its latest two classes of Academic Hall of Fame members for 2020 and 2021. Their accomplishments are quite impressive. For a list of inductees and their biographies, go to https://www.foxcroftacademy.org/academics/academic-hall-of-fame/. #rideonponies