For Love of the Game by Nancy Mugele

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As we speak Jim and I are driving to High Point, North Carolina, and although it is Furniture Market Week, we are not going for furniture. Tomorrow night Jim is being inducted into High Point University’s Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball. I am so proud of his accomplishments (especially his Academic All American honor) although I did not know him in college or when he played for the Cincinnati Reds or Boston Red Sox in the minor leagues. Tonight our children, extended family, friends and Jim’s former HPU teammates, traveling from places near and far, will converge in High Point for a weekend of celebration. (I packed a few special bottles from the Chester River Wine and Cheese Co. just in case!)

That I should marry a baseball player was foretold to me by a psychic when I was in my early 20s. It’s true. I went to Florida with one of my close friends whose mother lived there in the mid 1980s – that is another story, but Debra and I went to the home of her mother’s friend, a psychic, on our stay. I know, it sounds lame, but it was one of those experiences that I will not forget although I can only remember one thing that she said. Sitting in the pink, overly-furnished formal living room, the soft-spoken older woman told me that I would meet and marry a baseball player. I was not dating anyone at the time so I thought it was odd that she would open the discussion with that declaration. Whatever else she told me is long forgotten, but I can still hear the clarity and conviction in her voice as she spoke about my future spouse.

Just two years later a former baseball player sat next to me on a fateful Amtrak train ride and the rest is history. With a nod to a poet during National Poetry Month, Walt Whitman said: I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game. And, I could not agree more. I spent many weekend days, including a few Mothers’ Days, watching my husband coach my son in Little League baseball. Their team played in Cooperstown, New York, the epitome of Americana, and our children got to see their Dad’s minor league stats in a record book at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Those memories are forever etched in my mind and I am so grateful to have them stored away. The Major League Baseball All Star game was always an excuse for a party at our house. Anyone and everyone was welcomed as long as they were happy picking crabs in front of the television.

To me, baseball (my favorite professional sport besides ice hockey) is a metaphor for life and I think Nolan Ryan, the pitcher with the most career strikeouts in MLB history, summed it up so well. “One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.” Don’t we all come to crossroads many times in our lives when we have to persevere and still stay standing. I also appreciate that in baseball a batter has three tries to make a difference for his team. Failure, and learning from your mistakes – perhaps a few times – makes a person resilient and strong.

Baseball is about the only sport Jim and I can agree to watch together at night. Even though I may be checking my Kent School email or playing Words with Friends while he watches the Os, I like to listen to the announcers. Baseball announcers are the best of any sport for their excitement and genuine passion for the game. And, trust me, Jim would make an incredible announcer. Several times during any given game Jim will make a comment that is then, seconds later, repeated verbatim by the announcers. It always makes me smile.

Congratulations, Jim! We are so proud of #4 on the Panthers squad. For the man you are because of your love for the game, I salute you this weekend.

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.

RiverArts Statement on People’s Choice Award at Reclaimed Runway Event

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The popular RiverArts event “Reclaimed Runway”, held on March 24, included a Best in Show award, which was determined by a panel of independent judges. There was also a People’s Choice Award, awarded to the contestant gathering the most votes from attendees and patrons.

On Friday, April 6th, the RiverArts Board of Directors received a complaint alleging that a member of the RiverArts staff knowingly ignored the official tally for the People’s Choice Award, and named the #2 vote recipient, the Kent School, the winner (with 183 votes), instead of Mike Pugh (with 210 votes). In response, the RiverArts Executive Committee convened an emergency meeting held over the weekend and determined that the allegation was true. Our Executive Director explained that her decision was based on concern over the perception that the award being given to a “RiverArts employee may have caused disgruntlement in the community”. She also stated, “I am deeply sorry for any harm I may have caused either Mike Pugh, the Kent School, RiverArts members or the Community by my decision”.

The winner of The People’s Choice Award for the 2018 Reclaimed Runway is Mr. Mike Pugh.Everyone who attended the event will instantly recall his creative use of carpet as a garment, and his larger-than-life wizards hat. Many also know him for his dedication to the RiverArts Clay Studio. Congratulations, Mike!

The RiverArts organization enjoys a very close relationship with the community and we sincerely apologize to our neighbors, members and friends, and to everyone who participated and voted in the People’s Choice Award. We congratulate the winners, Mike Pugh and the 2nd Place Winner, the Kent School, and all the fabulous designers for their very creative costumes.

Bay Ecosystem: A Hunter and Conservationist Who is “Giving Back”

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We are strolling with Jerry Harris on his 230-acre farm, Mallard Haven, when a group of ducks suddenly takes off from their marsh hiding spot. Harris, a committed conservationist and hunter, has created the perfect marshland habitat for migrating waterfowl for just this moment.

“Watching the birds come in, how they treat the marsh, how they fly around it, how they call—that whole symphony is quite intriguing to me,” Harris said. “I never tire of that.”

Harris, now 75, fell in love with waterfowl as a young boy when he started hunting, but has long seen the value of conservation over sport. On his farm, you shoot only what you can eat, and not one more. Those values were instilled in him from his first days hunting with his grandfather, Burr Love, at a family hunting cabin in the San Francisco Bay area.

”The first year when I was 11 or so, they felt I was too young to hunt, and so I got to pick the ducks. The second year, I got to wash the dishes, do the cooking, and pick the ducks, and the third year, I got to finally hunt.”

Over the years, Harris hunted with two other men who influenced his values about hunting and conservation: Louis Rapp, an old-time duck hunter and friend of his great uncle, and Ray Lewis, who taught him about the soil management technique Harris uses on his farm today.

“Over a period of 30 to 40 years, I hunted and gained extensive knowledge from all three of these people,” Harris said. “I was extraordinarily lucky to be able to partner with them over my lifetime.”

Living in New York in the early 1970s, Harris would visit Maryland’s eastern shore to hunt geese, and he recognized the area’s bountiful appeal to waterfowl. And to him. Harris, his wife, Bobbi, and their three retrievers, Maddie, Rusty, and Bo, now spend their winters on their eastern shore farmland before flying west to spend summers in Montana.

Even before he retired, Harris decided to devote much of his time to wetland conservation. He has been a member of Ducks Unlimited ever since he started a new Ducks Unlimited chapter as a student at University of California, Berkeley, and he has reached out to a variety of organizations, including Delta Waterfowl, Waterfowl Chesapeake, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and of course, Ducks Unlimited to determine how to best use the funds from the family foundation he and Bobbi set up. Wanting to preserve vital marshlands and “to give back some,” Bobbi and Jerry created a family foundation that dedicates most of its funding to wetland conservation, with a smaller portion going to secondary education.

We’re trying to demonstrate how collectively we can all make this a better place and preserve some of the rich heritage the Eastern Shore—Maryland, Delaware, Virginia—has had from a waterfowl standpoint.

All the lessons Harris absorbed from his hunting friends and experiences have turned him into a teacher for new generations of conservation managers. He thinks of Mallard Haven as a demonstration farm to teach others how they can use their properties to attract more waterfowl and how his moist soil management system attracts waterfowl and feeds their nutritional needs.

The farm is a natural maze of dirt paths, cornfields, wetlands, and a long trench that serves as freshwater storage. Depending on the time of year, it might look like another grain farm in the countryside, but when he wants to beckon ducks, Harris and his farm manager, Sam LaCompte, will flood pockets of his farmland, or impoundments as he calls them. At the end of the season slowly draining the water encourages the growth of smart weeds that provide a diverse, appetizing food source to migrating waterfowl.

“We’re trying to demonstrate how collectively we can all make this a better place and preserve some of the rich heritage the Eastern Shore—Maryland, Delaware, Virginia—has had from a waterfowl standpoint,” he said.

Harris is also helping facilitate a course that shows wildlife managers and leaders how hunting can balance with conservation. He was impressed with a course on the West Coast that UC Davis conducted with Ducks Unlimited and a local waterfowl conservation group, so this past winter, Harris and Dr. Chris Williams, wildlife ecology professor at the University of Delaware, developed and ran a similar course for the East Coast on Jerry’s Dorchester farms.

The first class, which included 10 students, recently ended and Harris considers it a success.

“None had experienced waterfowl hunting or shooting and over that three-day period, they went from 0 to 60 miles per hour. We’ve just seen their review of the program, and it was very exciting to read their comments and how it had changed their perception to the role hunting plays in wildlife conservation,” Harris said. “And that’s our goal—to make sure the future managers and leaders understand the role that hunting plays.”

Harris hopes to keep offering the course, serving as long as he can as a mentor to others, much as he was guided throughout his life.

This year, Horn Point Laboratory will honor Jerry Harris with its 2018 Chesapeake Champion award for his vision and leadership in marshland restoration and conservation. “We could not find a more fitting partner in our efforts to ensure our marshlands are preserved for wildlife habitat and coastal sustainability,” said Mike Roman, Director of Horn Point Laboratory. We are delighted to honor our good friend and devoted educator, Jerry Harris.”

The Chesapeake Champion celebration will be held Friday, April 27th, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Waterfowl Armory, Easton. Tickets are $50, sponsorships are available, and can be purchased online or by contacting Carin Starr at 410-221-8408.

Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to launch a new Marsh Ecology and Restoration Laboratory at Horn Point Laboratory. The new Lab will conduct vital research into the role marshes play in: providing critical habitat for waterfowl, birds, plants and animals; providing green infrastructure to mitigate erosion and flooding; and, filtering pollutants to improve water quality.

Jerry Harris, the Horn Point Laboratory 2018 Chesapeake Champion, talks about running a Dorchester County farm, which, with careful planning and management, turns marshland into a paradise for migrating ducks.

Kristi Moor is the Digital Communications Manager for University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science UMCES.

 

A Precious Thing by Nancy Mugele

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With all due respect to Easter, and a slight nod to April Fool’s Day, to me the first of April signals the beginning of National Poetry Month. I know I am a literary geek, but as a poet myself, I am inspired by this month dedicated to poets and their craft. National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry.

For me, poetry has always been the vehicle which allows me to observe and comment on my world. I cannot remember a time when I did not read and write poems and I can still recite poems memorized in my childhood. I especially loved reading and writing Haiku as a young girl and later expanded my writing using rhyming techniques. In my early 20s I began to explore free verse or open form poetry which does not follow a specific pattern and that is the style I currently use.

My first published poem appeared in my local hometown newspaper when I was in the 6th Grade. I won a town-wide poetry contest and that was all I needed to throw myself into writing. I have had several poems published in Poetic Voices of America anthologies over the years and they sit on my bookshelf as a reminder to Write On. I wrote a poem to each of my children when they were born – that is another story – but, I have a journal for each of them which I hope one day they will treasure.

In addition to reading and writing poetry this month at Kent School, on April 27 our Middle School students will be inspired by Femi the DriFish, a spoken word artist and slam poet who uses his artistry to encourage others to discover their own unique voices. Slam poetry expresses someone’s personal story usually in an intensely emotional and very powerful way. I am so looking forward to be moved and motivated.

Last May I had the privilege to be a part of the presentation of the Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College. An incredible endowed prize that is transformational to a young writer. For me, a highlight of the evening was a talk by Baltimore poet Elizabeth Spires whom I know. Elizabeth began her career as a professor at Washington College while she was also writing poetry. Her sixth poetry collection was published last summer and she currently directs the creative writing department at Goucher College. In her address, she asked, “Why do we write?” She detailed many reasons like wanting to tell a story and working through an emotional issue, but her description of the need to write because it is “a precious thing” resonated with me. Writing is truly a precious thing and one that I will always make time for.

Elizabeth taught me the value of writing monosyllable poems – where every word is just one syllable – as an exercise in my writing process. After you have written one there are usually nuggets you can then explore more deeply. Here is an example of a recent morning exercise, my Monosyllable to the Chester River.

I gaze

past my own porch

to the edge of grass,

Where the sand smooths

stones made by time

on its beach.

 

The tide

in ebb and flow,

bleeds deep blue and grey,

While the sun sets

and geese land on

glass paths for night.

As I write now from my home office (aka kitchen counter) which faces the Chester River, a lone Washington College crew shell is passing my house slicing the water with care and courage. A precious thing is beginning.

Follow me on Twitter @nancymugele for a taste of poetry each day during the month of April and join me on April 17 at 5:30 p.m. when I am honored to emcee Chestertown RiverArt’s Listening to the Earth: The Art of Stewardship juried exhibition of art and poetry.

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

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The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

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The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at www.CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

“Beginnings” Exhibition at MASSONIART this April

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MASSONIART, located at 203 High Street, Chestertown, will be having a new exhibit entitled “Beginnings” this April. This show will feature artists namely: Deborah Weiss, Heidi Fowler, Joe Karlik, Susan Hostetler, Blake Conroy, Katherine Kerr Allen, Marc Castelli, Alessandra Manzotti, Elizabeth DaCosta Ahern, Larry Schroth, Elizabeth Casquiero, Rob Glebe, Sara Bakken, Katherine Cox and introducing James Tatum.

The opening reception will be on Friday, April 6th, 5-8 pm. The open house will be on Saturday, April 7th, 11-3 pm. The closing reception will be on Friday, May 4th, 5-8 pm.

“When Rage Surges Up in My Soul” by Katherine Cox

Spring is a time of renewal. Artists inspire us, raise our awareness, and motivate us to see with new eyes. In planning this exhibit, we reached out to gallery artists to learn what was currently capturing their attention – perhaps a new series, medium, or subject area.

Katherine Kerr Allen’s garden collages welcome visitors as they enter the gallery.  Spring is in full glory. In these new small works, she seeks to capture authentically what she sees and responds to in the natural world using paint, cloth, bark, paper and thread.  In recent months, she has been pushing the boundaries of recognizable landscape references, embracing greater abstraction and finding a new playfulness and a heightened expression in texture and color.

Birds, birds, birds – fly up the stairs and into the beams in the new installation created by Susan Hostetler.  Hostetler, an award-winning Washington, DC artist, collaborated with gallery artist Blake Conroy who created cloud like frames in laser-cut metal as a means of suspending Hostetler’s sculpted birds in mid-air.

Hostetler’s birds fly towards the main wall in the gallery now the site of a laser cut paper sculpture installation also by Blake Conroy.  The twelve-foot piece – Definition of Monoculture II–  is composed of nearly fifty panels of cut paper creating a filigreed corn field with a hidden message.

Gallery artist Deborah Weiss has delivered a new series of oil on panel works. One never knows if she is interpreting water, sky or land. For Weiss, the exchange between terrain, climate, temperature and the elements is constant: sometimes consistent and often times transforming by the moment. Her work is an exploration of the fleeting effects of the atmospheric conditions on the land and on water.

We are welcoming back visiting artist Katherine Cox who is creating pure magic with her large-scale graphite and color pencil skyscapes.  Cox who is the Director of Education at the Huntington Museum of Art has exhibited throughout the United States.  She considers pencil the most pure and distilled medium for expression and paper integral to the image – not simply the surface that holds the image.  The brilliant red background of her powerful drawing – When Rage Surges Up in My Soul – transforms the dark clouds roiling on the surface into visceral punch to the solar plexus.

James Tatum

New to the gallery is James Tatum. Born in the US but residing for most of his life in Canada and Britain, Tatum currently lives in Devon, England where he draws inspiration for his work.  His oil and acrylic landscape paintings begin enplein air with a series of drawings, watercolors and acrylics, and are completed in his studio in Exeter.  His goal is to combine close observation with an intuitive, visceral response to the environment.  The paintings are a record of his total sensory experience of being in a particular place and a particular time.

Other gallery artists featured in the Beginnings exhibition include Heidi Fowler, Larry Schroth, Alessandra Manzotti, Elizabeth DaCosta Ahern, Vicco von Voss, Rob Glebe and Elizabeth Casqueiro.

For the artists participating in this exhibit, part of the process of beginning anew or changing direction is experimentation. Beginnings are simply the point of departure. We welcome you to join us for the journey in the Gallery.

It all begins when the soul would have its way with you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Local Artwork Finds Home at Hospice Center

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Marcy Dunn Ramsey

Artwork created by local artists found a home at the newly renovated Hospice Center, located on the third floor of the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. Compass Regional Hospice renovated the unit transforming it into a comfortable, home‐like environment that can accommodate four patients in private rooms. Currently on display are stunning oil paintings composed by well-known Kent County artists, Bonnie Howell and Marcy Dunn Ramsey.

“It was important for us to fill the Hospice Center with original art representative of the community we serve,” says Courtney Williams, manager of volunteer and professional services of Compass Regional Hospice. “These pieces reflect the beauty of life and the natural surrounds that our patients know as home. We hope that the art becomes synonymous with the experience here.”

Howell’s artwork captures her passion for people and the Creator of life; often conveying an image of love, beauty, and respect for life and the dignity of an individual. “I hope my paintings can add a bit of beauty and peace to visitors during this time in their life.”

Ramsey’s artwork explores the relationship between the natural world and the human psyche. “Inspiration for my artwork comes from a place of personal response — they are metaphors for a current state of mind,” she explains. “I hope these pieces help whoever views them to explore what their feeling in that moment.”

Ramsey experienced first-hand the blessing of hospice services, when her father-in-law passed away at home in 1985. “It’s a tremendous service, performed in the most dignifying way, at exactly the right time,” said Ramsey. “I am glad to be involved and that these pieces found a home here.”

Visitors may purchase the artwork displayed in the Hospice Center and are encouraged to visit their studios. Howell’s artwork can be found on display at The Artists’ Gallery and Ramsey’s at the Massoni Gallery, both located in Chestertown.

We extend our gratitude to the artists that either donated their work or offered to lend their pieces; these efforts have allowed us to establish the foundation for our collection. If you are interested in lending or donating artwork to be displayed at the Hospice Center in Chestertown, contact Courtney Williams, manager of volunteer and professional services, 443-262-4112cwilliams@compassregionalhospice.org.

Compass Regional Hospice – Care on your terms

Compass Regional Hospice is a fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization certified by Medicare and the State of Maryland, and accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1985, Compass Regional Hospice has been dedicated to supporting people of all ages through the challenge of living with a life-limiting illness and learning to live following the death of a loved one. Today the organization is a regional provider of hospice care and grief support in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. “Care on your terms” is the promise that guides staff and volunteers as they care for patients in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the residential hospice centers in Centreville, Chestertown and Denton. Grief support services are offered to children, adults and families of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the loss of a loved one through The Hope & Healing Center. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

True Grit by Nancy Mugele

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I know all of us on the Eastern Shore know that the Chesapeake Bay retriever is the state dog of Maryland, but did you know that it has been the mascot of the University of Maryland Baltimore County since its founding in 1966. A bronze statue of a retriever, fondly named True Grit, stands proudly on campus and students regularly rub its nose for good luck. True Grit is an apt description of UMBC’s inspiring President – Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski – whom I have the pleasure of knowing. President Hrabowski, who has led UMBC since 1992, served as a Trustee of my former school and gave the Commencement Address at the last Roland Park Country School ceremony that I attended as an employee. He spoke in honor of retiring Head of School Emerita Jean Waller Brune. I have heard him speak several times over the years and it is the true definition of motivational.

I remember as he addressed the RPCS graduates that June morning in 2016, that grit and the value of resilience were the themes of his message. He shared that it was his parents who were “really preparing me for a world that wouldn’t immediately assume that I’d be the best thinker. How do you develop the toughness of skin, but also a strong sense of self? It’s this balance between confidence and humility.” I sat in awe of Freeman that day and when he was recently recognized by Time as one of the country’s Top Ten College Presidents I believed it was deserving. What he has done to guide underrepresented students toward the study of math, science, and engineering is exceptional. And his balance of grace, confidence, and humility is extraordinary.

I am thrilled for the UMBC Retrievers who made history last weekend when they upset UVA becoming the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed during the NCAA Tournament. The team certainly played with true grit reminiscent of their school’s leader. Yet, this accomplishment in college basketball history comes with an asterisk. *The Retrievers are the first men’s team to do it. In 1998, Harvard’s women’s basketball team became the first team to accomplish this amazing feat when it beat Stanford. I am not trying to take anything away from UMBC – just pointing out a fun fact for accuracy and sports trivia enthusiasts.

My family, friends, and colleagues know how much I like Twitter. That is another story, but last weekend I enjoyed following UMBC. After a message from Harvard welcoming UMBC to the “16 over 1 club,” UMBC athletics tweeted the following: “You will always be the first and we are honored to be mentioned in the same category as that upset.  Classy. How could the athletic department be anything but, with President Hrabowski at the helm.”

In a New York Times interview in 2017, Freeman Hrabowski said: “Nothing takes the place of hard work.  It’s about finding ways of using your brainpower to work as effectively as possible to reach your goals and never give up and continue to work at it.  And the world is not necessarily fair.  Get over it.  Just keep being your best.”

I think his men’s basketball team heeded his message. Hard work, true grit and believing in each other paid off. Congratulations to the UMBC Retrievers from the Kent School Ospreys! Despite your loss in Round Two of the NCAA Tournament – you touched our hearts and your accomplishment will forever be remembered.

Several members of my family are following March Madness results a little too closely for my liking. Don’t tell anyone, but I am sure there is a pot of gold at the end for someone. Sadly, I believe my family members’ brackets are all completely busted.

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.