On a crisp November morning, 30 Colby seniors in sweatshirts and blue jeans gathered to plant hundreds of daffodil bulbs in a garden bed they'd cleared at Castonguay Square. The flowers would blossom in front of Waterville City Hall a few weeks before the seniors graduate and would be their gift to a city some will leave with very mixed emotions.
Many will bid farewell with fond memories of the place they've called home for the past four years. They'll remember the hours spent tutoring Waterville students in area schools or carrying out water testing at Maine lakes threatened by residential sprawl. They'll remember the nights dancing downstairs at the Midnight Blues Club or just hanging out on Main Street, lingering over a tall latte at Jorgensen's.
Others will leave with a tinge of resentment. The aggressive enforcement of Maine's liquor laws by local police, funded in part with federal anticrime funds, has left scores of students with an unexpected first-hand lesson about the criminal justice system. In fact, a few bulb-planting student volunteers that morning were logging community service hours related to alcohol-related incidents.