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Community News Briefs


Arts Alliance Provides Art Boxes for Elementary School Children

WHITE PLAINS—On August 2, members of the Charles County Arts Alliance Board of Directors and Staff happily stuffed 300 art boxes for local elementary school children. The art boxes contained glue, glue sticks, #2 pencils, safety scissors, erasers, colored pencils and crayons. A special thanks goes to the employees of Walmart in California, Maryland, for their assistance in procuring the supplies.

On Tuesday, August 12, CCAA President Robert Rausch delivered the boxes to the Charles County Children's Aid Society, and was assisted by Warehouse Manager Janet Brett and volunteers Nina Wyatt and Jemm Dela Cruz.

Charles County Children's Aid Society Executive Director Maria Bryan thanked CCAA, saying, "It is only through the heartfelt contributions, made by generous people such as you, that we are able to continue serving the families of Charles County in their time of need."

Avian Sponsors Winning Yacht ~ 2014 Governor's Cup TPP Trophy

The Crocodile, skippered by Scott Ward, sailed to victory at the 41st running of the Governor’s Cup. (Submitted photo)
The Crocodile, skippered by Scott Ward, sailed to victory at the 41st running of the Governor’s Cup. (Submitted photo)

LEXINGTON PARK—LtCol. Scott Ward, USMC (ret), and his crew sailed to victory in the 41st running of the St. Mary's College (SMCM) Governor's Cup, Annapolis route, held August 1-2, 2014. Finishing the race in 9 hours, 6 minutes and 57 seconds, the Crocodile and crew were named the winners of The Patuxent Partnership's trophy, as well as the coveted SMCM Alumni trophy.

The SMCM Governor's Cup, Annapolis route, which is the oldest and longest overnight race on the Chesapeake Bay, begins in Annapolis on Friday afternoon and ends on Saturday when the boats arrive at the finish line at SMCM. This year's race was especially challenging due to the rain and wind. None the less, Skipper Ward and crew were able to brave the storm and bring the Crocodile to the finish line ahead of 81 other competitors.

Avian, a longtime member of The Patuxent Partnership, sponsors the Crocodile and the many races she competes in. "We couldn't be more pleased to present the 2014 TPP trophy to Scott and the Avian team. "It's great to see our members participating in so many different activities within the community. The Governor's Cup is just one more example of Avian's commitment to workforce retention and community involvement" said Bonnie Green, Executive Director of The Patuxent Partnership.

Congratulations to the entire Crocodile crew, Scott Ward (Skipper), Matt Fafoutis, Ben Yanuzzi, Matt Brennan, Shane Morast (Navigator), Kristin Pederson, and James "Buddy" Denham.

To learn more about Avian, please visit www.avianllc.com.

Interested in competing for the TPP Trophy in 2015? Visit The Patuxent Partnership's at www.paxpartnership.org.

Dana Burke Selected for Leadership Southern Maryland

ST. MARY’S CITY—St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced that Dana Burke, director of career development in the college’s Career Development Center, has been selected for Leadership Southern Maryland’s Class of 2015.

Burke continues a legacy of St. Mary’s College employees who have been through the program: Liisa Franzén (Class of 2009), Lee Capristo (Class of 2011), and Chip Jackson (Class of 2012).

Founded in 2008, Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month, tuition-based program dedicated to building a cadre of informed regional leaders, prepared to address common issues and bring long-term benefit to their neighbors and communities. The program incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.

During the program, LSM participants engage with recognized leaders in academia, health care, government and industry, focusing on leadership development by highlighting pertinent regional issues that include land use and the environment, housing and transportation, human services, health of the community, economic development, tourism, and the defense industry, education and workforce development, and diversity.

Four Pax River Flight Academy Students Attend Ambition Program in Pensacola

Zoe Lambert and flight partner Seth Keller take a moment to enjoy an interactive display at the National Naval Aviation Museum while attending the National Flight Academy’s Ambition program in Pensacola, Florida. (Submitted photo)
Zoe Lambert and flight partner Seth Keller take a moment to enjoy an interactive display at the National Naval Aviation Museum while attending the National Flight Academy’s Ambition program in Pensacola, Florida. (Submitted photo)

LEXINGTON PARK—Four students from the James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center participated in a week long training program at the National Flight Academy (NFA) in Pensacola, Florida. The students, who all recently completed the Pax River Flight Academy curriculum at the Tech Center, received scholarships to the Ambition Program under a grant from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) to The Patuxent Partnership.

The NFA is a 102,000 sq. ft. four-story structure designed to be fully immersive experience. The NFA’s adventure begins when the students enter the building, a virtual aircraft carrier called Ambition. Each deck of Ambition is designed scenically and theatrically to simulate a modern aircraft carrier. The first deck houses the galley, mess deck, administrative spaces and the aircraft hangar bays. The second deck is dedicated to academic spaces including the operations and intelligence centers. The third and fourth decks house berthing (crew quarters), lounges and activity rooms. It is easy for students to forget they are inside a building and not on a real aircraft carrier.

The four students, Seth Keller, Zoe Lambert, Ryan Rutkowski, and Christopher White, were nominated for the scholarship based on their outstanding performance during the school year. Lyn Whitmer, Pax River Flight Academy Instructor said, “This is the first year of operation for the Pax River Flight Academy and we were able to successfully graduate 17 High School students from the program. We are looking forward to adding additional students for the 2014-2015 school year, as well as some additional opportunities for middle school students.” Whitmer, who is a retired naval aviator with over 4,500 hours of flight time in a variety of different aircraft, has been instrumental in the success of the program.

The Pax River Flight Academy was made possible by a grant from NAWCAD to The Patuxent Partnership. The grant allowed for an Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE) to be developed and implemented within the St. Mary’s County Public School system. The ACE at the Tech Center is a scaled down version of what students would experience while attending the National Flight Academy at Pensacola.

“We are committed to advancing education through STEM initiatives and the development of our future workforce,” said Bonnie Green, Executive Director of The Patuxent Partnership. “The Pax River Flight Academy and the National Flight Academy’s Ambition program reinforce STEM fundamentals and the importance of science and math in a multitude of career paths, to include aviation. We appreciate NAWCAD’s continued collaboration in support of our STEM initiatives and are pleased with their decision to select The Patuxent Partnership to administer this grant.”

To learn more about the Pax River Flight Academy, visit the James A. Forrest Career and Technology webpage at: schools.smcps.org/tech/electives/206-pax-river-flight-academy

The Patuxent Partnership works with government, industry and academia on initiatives in science and technology, hosts programs of interest to NAVAIR and the broader DoD community, and supports workforce development including education initiatives and professional development. Visit www.paxpartnership.org.

Leadership Southern Maryland Selects Class of 2015

LEONARDTOWN—The Leadership Southern Maryland Board (LSM) of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of 35 Southern Maryland leaders for its 7th class - the Class of 2015. Selectees from Calvert County are Thomas Barnett, Keith Gordon, Christina Payne, Michael Van Meter, Stephanie Witte. Selectees from Charles County are Dianna Abney, Dana Levy, Kelly McMurray, Agnes Miller, Brendan Moon, Nancy Schertler, July Simpson, and Karen Smith Hupp. Selectees from St. Mary's County are Dana Burke, Kelsey Bush, Lindsay Frazier, Gerald Gardiner, Tom Garrison, Robert Goodman, Timothy Gowen, Lehomer Grant, Darla Hardy, Amber Hughes, Donna Jordan, Walt Nilsson, Dan Parker, Thomas Phelan, Anne Powers, Chris Powers, Sharmella Riggs, Fred Severson, Stephanie Taylor, Dana Van Abbema, Kristine Wilcox, and Lynette Wright. Leadership Southern Maryland has successfully graduated over 200 regional leaders.

Founded in 2008, LSM is an independent, educational leadership development organization designed to broaden the knowledge base of mid to senior level public and private sector executives about the critical issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the region. Leadership Southern Maryland is a not-for-profit organization.

LSM is a nine-month tuition-based program specifically designed to develop leaders from the Southern Maryland area for regional collaboration. The LSM program is dedicated to building a cadre of informed regional leaders, prepared to address common issues and bring long-term benefit to their neighbors and communities and incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.

"These selectees represent a broad array of extraordinary folks from a high caliber pool of applicants representing Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties," said Helen Wernecke, Executive Director of Leadership Southern Maryland. "After participating in the LSM program, with a wide range of experiences throughout the year, these leaders will serve as important ambassadors in the challenging, but exciting effort to shape the future of Southern Maryland."

Following a two-day opening retreat in September, these class members will attend eight one or two-day intense sessions focusing on energy & environment, defense, public safety, health care, housing & human services, education, economic & workforce development, and multiculturalism. These sessions will be followed by a one and one-half day closing retreat in April followed by a graduation celebration the evening of the second day. More than 50 experts from across the region and state representing business, government, education, and the non-profit community will serve as panelists and guest speakers.

For further information on Leadership Southern Maryland, contact Helen M. Wernecke, Executive Director, 240-725-5469 or via email helen [at] leadershipsomd.org or visit www.lsmlead.org.

Charles County Arts Alliance Awards 5 $1000 Arts Scholarships

WHITE PLAINS—For over fifteen years, the Charles County Arts Alliance (CCAA) has offered arts scholarships to one qualifying graduating senior from each Charles County public high school and a graduating student from the College of Southern Maryland. These individual $1,000 scholarships will help students continue their visual, performing and/or literary arts college education. All scholarship recipients are Charles County residents and have each earned a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average (GPA). Each student's application included a detailed resume, a 500-word essay about his/her artistic and academic accomplishments and goals, letters of recommendation, and an official transcript of grades.

The CCAA is proud to announce the recipients for this year's arts scholarship awards, who represent the highest level of artistic talent and academic achievement in Charles County schools. The recipients include: Maryn Fuller of Henry E. Lackey High School, Monica Garza of North Point High School, Carl McManus of Westlake High School, Tessa Norman of Maurice J. McDonough High School and Kenneth Waters, Jr., of the College of Southern Maryland.

Maryn Fuller, an outstanding student, artist, and athlete from Henry E. Lackey High School, held a High Honors level GPA on a weighted scale, which included multiple Honors and Advanced Placement courses. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Government Association, and appeared on the Principal's Honor Roll. This active student found time to perform with the Henry E. Lackey Symphonic Band and served as the band president. To balance her academic and artistic activities, she also pursued athletic interests. She excelled at swimming for the school varsity swim team, played varsity field hockey, and played soccer for the Bryans Road Soccer Association. In addition, her volunteer record included participating in several school, local, and regional programs and events: Key Club, Relay for Life, Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery, and swim-a-thons to raise money for charity. Ms. Fuller will be pursuing a career in the field of graphic design at Frostburg University.

Monica Garza, from North Point High School, maintained a Highest Honors level GPA on a weighted scale while taking rigorous Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Her academic record included membership in the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. Her school artistic achievements included playing French horn in the Symphonic Band, where she was seated 1st chair. She sang with the Eagles in Harmony Honors Chorus and earned a spot in All-County Choir for two years. Outside of school, she performed regularly with the College of Southern Maryland and Port Tobacco Players community theaters, in such productions as Into the Woods. Pocahontas, HONK! and others. In addition, she appeared as an extra for mainstream films, such as War of the Worlds and Ladder 49. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she has been seen in commercials for Ruby Tuesday, Fannie May, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Central PA, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. This student will continue her professional acting career in Musical Theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

Carl McManus, from Westlake High School, maintained a Highest Honors level GPA on a weighted scale that included multiple Honors and Advanced Placement courses. In addition to his academic achievements, his artistic achievements included multiple theater and chorus performances. He appeared in the Westlake Theatre Company in the stage shows Shrek: The Musical, Snow Angel, Curtains, and Little Shop of Horrors. He was inducted into the International Thespian Society Troupe in January 2012, and served as the Board Historian. In addition to singing in Westlake's Men's Choir, Chamber Choir, and A Cappella Ensemble, he has performed for the past three years in All-County Chorus and Tri-County Chorus. Mr. McManus will continue his acting studies as a theater major at Frostburg University.

Tessa Norman, from Maurice J. McDonough High School, graduated with Honors level GPA on a weighted scale that included several rigorous Honors courses. She had an extensive list of acting roles in McDonough High School theater productions, including West Side Story, Grease, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. She learned other aspects of the craft by working as stage manager for Peter Pan. During her senior year, she immersed herself in theater studies, including Advance Acting, Stage Production, and Multi-media 2 and added an Independent Study in Theater. According to her drama teacher, this student has called her stage and classroom leadership "invaluable." She was considered a "triple threat" in her acting, singing, and dancing. It is no surprise to learn that Ms. Norman will attend Frostburg State University to study as a Theatrical Studies Major.

Kenneth Waters, Jr. started at the College of Southern Maryland as an accounting and business student, but changed his focus when the bright lights of the theater beckoned to him. His decision to focus on theater cemented his future college and career plans. His new found purpose was demonstrated in a cumulative level Honors GPA and appearances in CSM and local theater productions, including Willie Wonka and Little Shop of Horrors. He has built and managed stage sets, acted, and sung, all while working off campus in both full- and part-time jobs. Mr. Waters will continue his college education at North Carolina A&T to pursue his dream of teaching theater.

MWA Logo Contest Winner Announced

Pictured, left to right, are: Edna Troiano, MWACCC President, Ashley Espiritu (winner) and Michelle Brosco Christian, MWACCC Vice President.
Pictured, left to right, are: Edna Troiano, MWACCC President, Ashley Espiritu (winner) and Michelle Brosco Christian, MWACCC Vice President. (Submitted photo)

A recent College of Southern Maryland graduate, Ashley Espiritu, won the Maryland Writers' Association, Charles County Chapter contest to design a unique logo for the non-profit writing group.

"Ashley is an amazing student who always strives to create something unique," said Katherine Sifers, assistant professor in the Communication, Arts and Humanities Division at CSM. "She is a very dedicated student and has a genuine interest in growing the arts community at the college."

The MWA, Charles County Chapter, began more than a year ago to support, encourage and continue the art of writing among local community members and college students. The group holds meetings 10 months out of the year and includes members who are both published writers and those who are just exploring their literary interests.

"Since we are based at CSM and CSM has been supportive of our venture, we wanted to offer the logo design challenge to college students," said Michelle Brosco Christian, assistant professor of communication at CSM and vice president of the MWACCC. "The new art club seemed like the perfect place to promote the logo contest."

As the winner of the contest, Espiritu won $150. Espiritu has been integral in forming the art club and she "was a key member of a group of Co-op students who worked together to design the symbol for the fall campus-wide theme of power," said Sifers. "She is a very dedicated student and has a genuine interest in growing the arts community at the college."

Espiritu graduated in May, earning several degrees, including an Associate's in Arts and Sciences, Associates in Arts and Sciences: Art. Currently, she said she lives in Great Mills, but she will be moving soon to attend University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she will pursue a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

"As a graphic design intern at CSM during Spring 2014, I am one of the co-founders of the first CSM Art Club. My co-founders and I started and advertised the club by creating posters, recruiting friends and classmates, designing logos, and planning for the club's future activities," said Espiritu.

After designing the logo for the art club, Espiritu said she decided to enter the MWA logo contest on behalf of the club. "I would say that simplicity is my best policy when it comes to designing," she said. "The logo that I designed for the MWACCC works since it is easy to understand and use in different situations."

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