The Higgins - Demas Theater at Mount Desert Island High School is undergoing a major renovation this summer. The theater named after Joyce Higgins and George Demas, is receiving a new stage, in memory of Ashleigh Littlefield, a 2009 alumna of MDI High School who passed away at the age of 19 as a result of a pulmonary embolism.

Fund raising for the new stage actually started in 2009, when the Class of 2009 made a gift in the amount of $500. But when Ashleigh passed away a year later, her mother, Wendy Littlefield, the bookkeeper at the high school, decided that this project would be a perfect memorial for her daughter.  She put her grief aside, and decided to do something positive. You see Ashleigh started performing at the age of 5, when she was in ballet, and Ashleigh performed in roles for the Acadia Theater growing up, and when she went to MDI High School, she found her place on the stage in the theater group. Thus, the Black Rose Fund was created.

So far over $60,000 has been collected for the stage renovation. When Ashleigh passed away, friends and family made donations in her name. Because the Littlefield family has been a part of Northeast Harbor for so long, many summer residents knew them personally and because of the family business, Hayne's Garage. There were lots of $500 and $1000 donations. Many suppers were held, and this year, all the proceeds from advertisements in the theater programs went to the stage renovation fund.

Still, they were about $10,000 short, that was until the MDI Music Boosters stepped up, and made a donation just recently. That allowed the work to begin now, and be ready for the 2013-2014 school year. They still are short about $10,000 to  $12,000 and if you would like to contribute, please call Wendy at MDI High School at 207-288-5011 extension 3352. If more is collected, there are hopes to replace the stage curtain and lighting!