Three Local Students Receive Prestigious Achievement Awards in State-wide Ceremony

BALTIMORE, Md. - On Friday, April 20, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) hosted the Excellence for Minority Achievement Awards which saluted students, educators, and community leaders who helped to advance minority achievement among students across the state of Maryland. The awards were presented during a formal gala which was held at Martin's West in Baltimore. Three students and two groups from southern Maryland received awards.

The Excellence for Minority Achievement Awards were established in 1998 to inspire educators and the public in their efforts to enhance minority achievement as well as to reaffirm the tremendous potential of Maryland’s minority students. The awards are presented by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Achievement Initiative for Maryland’s Minority Students (AIMMS) Council and Steering Committee.

The Excellence for Minority Achievement Awards Ceremony is held each year to recognize and celebrate award winners. The ceremony provides an opportunity to applaud young adults, colleagues, and friends for their accomplishments, and to be inspired by the many contributions made to public education every day.

The following students and organizations from southern Maryland were presented awards. The abstracts are quoted from the event's program.

Student Excellence Award Winners:

LaShayia T. Kent (Calvert High School, Calvert County) When a student’s reputation as a leader in the school community precedes her, what more can be said? In the case of LaShayia, add gracious, grateful, accomplished, valuable, respectful, motivated, and caring, and you begin to see the type of person LaShayia is — not only at school but also in her church, neighborhood, and volunteer activities. Whether she is preparing lunches for Christmas in April or serving in her church youth group ministry, LaShayia knows who she is and what she wants to do — and she will do it.

Aaron T. Jackson (Westlake High School, Charles County) Everyone has felt that magical moment when, suddenly, something makes sense. However, even more magical for Aaron is the opportunity to see a student he has tutored come to the “aha” moment when he or she finally gets a concept or skill that was previously difficult. While he may not seem like a magician, Aaron does spread magic wherever he goes. As a team leader of the Community 1st Pharmacy senior citizen outreach program, Aaron has brought energy and happiness to nursing home residents. Unique and charismatic, Aaron’s enthusiasm and commitment to helping others inspire the people and community around him.

Colvin Young (Great Mills High School, St. Mary’s County) The Harrier, Hornet, Pirate Connection (H2P) sounds a little ominous but it’s actually Colvin’s initiative to mentor middle school students from three feeder schools to help them transition to the high school environment. This is just one example of how Colvin is making a difference. As a gifted singer, disciplined student, and compassionate young man with amazing people skills, Colvin stands at the forefront of his generation’s leaders.

Community Excellence Award Winners

Nu Zeta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, (AKA), Inc. (Charles County) The three “E’s” — esteem, empathy, and equity — are the foundation for multicultural education at the Nu Zeta Omega chapter of AKA. With members’ inspiring leadership and active participation in mentoring, public awareness, and school programs, student performance has improved and interest in school has increased.

Superintendent’s Blue Ribbon Task Force (St. Mary’s County) The old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” resonates with the St. Mary’s County Blue Ribbon Task Force to Eliminate the Achievement Gap. Focusing on a quality workforce, exemplary instruction, cultural diversity, interventions and specialty programs, and parent/student/community/business partnerships, the task force has called upon the community to eliminate — once and for all — the achievement gap among students.

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