U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, visited Leroy H. Smith School May 1 to present Principal Dawn Moore with a commemorative flag for being named Maine's Elementary Principal of the Year 2018.

Moore found out a couple of weeks ago at a "surprise assembly" that she had been selected by the Maine Principals' Association to receive the prestigious award for her work at the pre-K-5 elementary school.

Collins began her presentation to the school by asking, "Did you know there was something very special about your principal?"

"Yes," a student replied. "That she is principal of the whole state of Maine?"

Collins replied, "I had this flag flown over the Capitol in her honor, for her being named Principal of the Year 2018."

Collins told students that when she was younger, growing up in Caribou, she had "no idea that I would one day be a United States senator…. I wanted to be all sorts of things; a ballerina, archaeologist, a dentist. You never know what you will be in life."

She explained about running for governor of Maine and losing to Angus King, and "… now I work with him in the Senate."

The moral she said, is "Sometimes you don't achieve your dream the first time." But if you work hard, and keep trying, "you can be whatever you want to be."

One student asked, "What is your least favorite part of your job?"

"Probably traveling back and forth so much," Collins said. "Sometimes I wish people would be nicer in Washington. They would do good coming back to this school."

Another student asked, "What do you do as a senator?"

"I help make the laws," Collins replied.

She ended her presentation by saying how important attendance was and to "just work hard and follow your dreams."

Before heading out, Collins visited with the first-grade class and read a story to the children. She also popped into a pre-K class to see artwork they were working on.

When asked what set her apart from other principals vying for this award, Moore said, "Many other principals are worthy of this award …. Our commitment to the children. We focus on the whole child and not just a piece."

Moore, who has been principal at Leroy H. Smith School for seven years, said the award is also "great for the community."

"Winterport is a small, tight-knit community and they are being recognized as well," she said.