Leonardtown E.S. Student Wins State Sherry Unger Award

BALTIMORE - Seven service-learning projects were selected as recipients of this year's Sherry Unger Award for meeting a need in the community; developing student responsibility; and equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary for service. Leonardtown Elementary School hosts the one project in southern Maryland to win one of the awards.

The Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) Sherry Unger Award is named in honor of an outstanding Prince George's County educator who continually facilitated and promoted exemplary service-learning experiences for students throughout her county. Unger died in 2002, and MSDE changed the name of its award program to honor her legacy.

Service-learning is a teaching method that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning. Maryland students improve their academic skills by applying what they learn in school to the real world; they then reflect on their experience to reinforce the link between their service and their learning.

"Service-learning is an excellent way for students to impact their surrounding environment," said Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. "All Marylanders, students and residents alike, benefit from this terrific program."

Each one of the winning projects will be featured on the MSDE website as projects worthy of recognition and emulation by students and teachers around the state. A different project is highlighted on the homepage of the service-learning section of the website on a rotating basis.

Eligible projects must be Maryland public school projects by a student or group of students, projects carried out by a club or organization, or projects submitted by a community based organization (CBO) that was carried out by youth. Featured project winners receive a library of service-learning materials, a certificate of recognition from Dr. Grasmick, and their projects are featured in the MSDE service-learning project idea archive indefinitely so others may emulate the experiences.

Sherry Unger Award winners have been selected and honored on the website since September 2000. Sixty-seven projects have received this honor in the past and remain on the MSDE website as a service-learning project resource and an inspiration to students, teachers, and community organizations on the potential of service-learning.

The 2007-2008 Sherry Unger Service-Learning Project Winners:

* August 2007 - Demonstration Bayscape Garden, Nicole Hoeck (student), Baltimore County;

* September & October 2007 - Historical Chesapeake City, Bohemia Manor Middle School 8th Grade Team, Cecil County;

* November & December 2007 - Student Santas, Rayna Cato (student), Leonardtown Elementary School, St. Mary's County;

* January & February 2008 - Homelessness in Harford County, Edgewood High School Business Department, Harford County;

* March & April 2008 - The Aftermath Drunken Driving Video, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Aberdeen High School, Robin Testerman, R.N., Harford County;

* May & June 2008 - Let's Beautify Cumberland and Rocky Gap, Allegany High School 9th Grade Government Classes, Tammy Twigg, Allegany County;

* July 2008 - The Battle for the Bell - Charity Basketball Game for Cancer Research, Charles G. Mallonee, III, Baltimore County.

For more information on the program, visit Maryland's service-learning website at http://www.mdservice-learning.org.

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