Debbie Osgood Urgese '74

Fryeburg Academy Alumni Association President, Dana Charles ’83, awarded the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award to alumna Debbie Osgood Urgese ’74 at the Reunion Banquet held on August 18, 2023. 

Each year, the Fryeburg Academy Alumni Association awards the Distinguished Alumni Award to an individual who has rendered meritorious service to the school and/or community. This year, we are proud to award the honor to someone whose sincere kindness and warmth have enhanced the lives of so many.

Debbie Osgood Urgese is a member of FA’s Class of 1974, and she was involved in cheerleading, basketball, and track and was a member of the chorus, National Honor Society, and the Athletic Council.  She completed her education at the University of Maine, receiving a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and psychology.

After college, while working at a local bank,  a colleague introduced her to Vision Quest – a program designed to guide troubled youth toward a better future by way of a hands-on, pioneer-type experience. The organization worked with kids ages 12-18 who had served time in maximum security detention centers but were committed to turning their lives around.

Debbie had often thought about traveling across the country but never imagined it would be by covered wagon, covering 17 miles a day while caring for 87 boys and girls, living on 13 wagons pulled by 90 horses and mules. Her first wagon train adventure began on March 1, 1980, in Arizona and ended in November in Pennsylvania; another journey traveled from Pennsylvania to Bar Harbor, ME. 

Debbie returned to the Fryeburg area, and thanks to an introduction from Mary Ellen Mackin (Brown), FA faculty member, and Debbie’s former cheering coach -–  Debbie met and later married John Urgese,  a science teacher at the Academy. Together, they raised two FA grads, Katelyn ’02 and Zach ’04.

In 1984,  with two young children of her own, Debbie opened a daycare that would leave an enduring mark on the community and Fryeburg Academy families, as many in her care were FA faculty kids. Over three and a half decades, she cared for 105 children, creating a fun, loving environment that fostered healthy relationships and growth. Each child was welcomed into her extended family, where she poured her heart into nurturing them, sharing their triumphs, and creating wonderful memories. From handcrafted clothing to the joy of gingerbread house creations, Debbie made every day a journey of discovery.

A "Debbie kid" was forever a part of her family, and when they left her care, she continued to be a steadfast presence in their lives, sending notes and attending sports games, dance recitals, and celebrations. 

Beginning with her days as a student at FA, her role with Vision Quest, and 35 years of “Debbie’s Daycare,” Her authenticity, gentle nature, and sincere desire to enrich the lives of those around her have created a legacy of love and community.

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Fryeburg Academy is an independent boarding and day school, serving grades 9-12 and postgraduate. We invite you to explore our site and learn how students from around the globe find their place in the world through our exceptional academic, art, and athletic programs.