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April 25, 2011




Bernard A Paradis, educator, coach, husband, father, and volunteer extraordinaire, will be honored with the University of Maine Distinguished Service Award at the University’s 129th Commencement on Saturday, May 7.

Born in Frenchville, Maine, the second oldest of six brothers and five sisters, Ben’s first hands-on experience began at a very young age helping his father repairing typewriters and helping his mother doing house chores. His aspirations were to become an Oblate priest and perform missionary work. 
Paradis attended high school at the Junior Seminary in Bucksport, Maine and one year of college in Bar Harbor. Upon returning home, he went to work at Fraser Paper in Madawaska, Maine. 
After only one year he decided that was not for him and returned to finish your higher education, where he graduated in 1967 from Fort Kent State College, now the University of Maine at Fort Kent. He was the president of his class.
Paradis began his teaching career at M.S.A.D. # 27 in the fall of 1967, teaching fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science at Eagle Lake Elementary School. It was there he also held his first coaching position in soccer, basketball and baseball. The following fall he transferred to Fort Kent Community High School to teach Physical Science, where he has remained to this day.  
The next year, he was accepted at Cornell University, where he graduated with a Masters in Physics. Upon returning to teaching at Community High School, Paradis began teaching the physics class, as well as other science courses. Although not a big fan of lecturing, he chose to interact with his students to make learning physics fun. In 1972, Ben started teaching science courses at UMFK, where he still teaches part-time today.
In addition to his teaching career, Paradis has devoted over thirty years coaching the sport of skiing at the Fort Kent Community High School. Through his efforts, the Community High School ski team has enjoyed much success. His dedication has resulted in five, Class A and Class C state championships and more than 20 Aroostook County Ski Leagues titles.
Paradis has served on numerous boards and organizations, including the Maine Education Association Board; Tenth Mountain Ski Center Board; director and president of the Lonesome Pine Trails; past president of Northern Aroostook Education Association; and as a director of the UMFK Foundation Board. 
This past fall, Paradis was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame.
As an educator and mentor, his love and brand of teaching has inspired countless students to appreciate the value of an education.