OXFORD — Helping others has been a big focus for Oxford’s Molly Littlefield throughout her four years at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, logging more than 115 service hours, especially impressive since her work was cut short by the pandemic more than a year ago.
Littlefield started at the Pink Feather Foundation, the nonprofit that provides clothing and accessories to youth in need throughout Oxford Hills, as a freshman. She logged in about 60 hours over about two years.
“I would go to the store, iron and fold clothes, the whole nine yards,” she said. “What really appealed to me about Pink Feather is the good feeling, of giving back to the community, and especially to people I might know because it’s for the Oxford Hills community. It’s something I loved. I remember once, seeing someone with the pink feather box. I saw them walking along with it and that was so meaningful for me.”
Littlefield was not able to continue her work because of the pandemic. But last March she switched to volunteering at the Oxford Police Station, where she helps out with whatever needs to be done – doing a lot of paperwork filing but also washing and vacuuming out the police cars.
“My mom works there so during COVID it was easier for me to just go down with her,” she explained. “I have a good time and I enjoy working with everyone there.”
Some of Littlefield’s favorite moments of supporting her peers have been with OHCHS’ Unified Basketball team, which she has played on since her sophomore year. She first heard about the team from her field hockey coach, who recommended her to join as a guide.
“I love it, it’s so much fun,” she declared. “I have so much fun interacting with the other kids, and we’ve built a really community. Like during winter carnival, we play against the teachers and the atmosphere of that game in the gym, you can’t replicate it. It’s one of my favorite memories of high school.
“This year we only played two games against Fryeburg Academy, but there are other unified teams in the area. Poland and Leavitt have teams.”
The Unified Basketball Team had 10 players this year; Littlefield was one of eight partners.
“We play with two guides and three athletes,” she said. “We bring the ball down to the athletes, pass the ball around and let them shoot. It’s about helping them run the game. We don’t score baskets, we just help them do it. We kind of guide them on the floor but they run the show. There is so much joy. Everyone is happy and excited, just giddy to be there and be able to play. I’d never been a part of something like it. It’s been a great experience and I appreciate being able to participate in it.”
“At one of the games last year, one player scored a three-point shot. And the entire school just ran onto the floor and crowded around him. I know that will stick with him for the rest of his life. I’d known him since elementary school. It was one of the best moments of playing unified basketball.”
Aside from supportive athletics, Littlefield is an accomplished lacrosse and field hockey player, which she will continue playing in college.
“I started playing field hockey when I was in fifth grade,” she said. “It’s my favorite sport. I was part of a travel team, Maine Sticks, in Portland. I’ve been on Oxford’s varsity team since my junior year, and this year I’m captain. I play defense, midfield.
“Even though everything was different last fall, we still had a really good season and were able to finish it out. In our last game I scored a penalty corner goal, which we won. I’m just grateful that I was able to play my senior year.”
Littlefield was also happy to start lacrosse practice recently, another COVID casualty of last spring.
“Lacrosse is kind of field hockey, but in the air,” she said.
Littlefield was enrolled in Oxford Hills Technical School’s hospitality program at OHTS during her sophomore and junior years. She learned the basics of the business, with a focus on tourism in Maine. In addition to competing in DECA, a field trip to Bar Harbor made a lasting impact on her.
“It was really intriguing to interact with those who work in the industry,” she recalled. “We met with local businesses there. A local bus company that covers Mt. Desert Isle, the front desk manager at an in, and a nonprofit director. I was amazed at all the logistics that are involved with it.
“I am forever grateful for what I learned, and especially because we built a little family in the class, which is what happens in tech school program. I grew very close to the others, being with them for two years.”
While her college prep course load kept her from doing a third year of the hospitality program, she said the skills she learned were valuable, from a business standpoint as well as for personal development.
“It brought me out of my shell a little,” she said. “And taught me to talk to people in a professional manner. At that point I was thinking I would go into the business someday, but the hospitality skills I learned there will help wherever I’ll go in life.
Littlefield will attend Thomas College in Waterville next year and will major in political science. She doesn’t know yet exactly what career will be for her so she has chosen a broad field where she can focus on her interests in both history and current events.
“I really enjoy American history. It’s been one of my favorite classes,” she said. “All the movements that have happened [in America], like the women’s suffrage movement. I also found the Civil War interesting and especially the founding of America, the colonial era.
“I’ll figure out what I want to do in college, but I do see myself living in the northeast and I want to help people. How, I’ll have to figure it out, but that’s what I want to do. There’s a lot of work to be done. We need unity in this country more than ever – I would say that the very first step we all need to take is to just treat people with respect and kindness.”