Gunston to Welcome Mary Evelyn Tucker for In Celebration of Books Program


On Friday, October 27, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author with Brian Swimme of Journey of the Universe (Yale UP, 2011) will be visiting Gunston for the fall installment of the school’s In Celebration of Books program. Journey of the Universe was the 2017 Gunston community summer read and focuses on the story of the universe as seen through the multiple lenses of scientific discovery and human insight.

The book has already been incorporated into Gunston’s tenth grade curriculum as part of its innovative History of Ideas course. “We’re delighted to have Dr. Tucker join us for In Celebration of Books,” says Headmaster John Lewis. “Journey of the Universe asks us to consider questions about our identities as human beings and our relationship with each other. Beyond that, it also asks us to think about our collective role in the development of the universe, which is ever-evolving.”

Lewis says that the integrative approach of Journey of the Universe is reflective of Gunston’s overarching mission, which strives to educate “ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society.” Tucker’s visit, he notes, “will be an opportunity for the community to engage in deeper conversation about issues that ultimately impact the ways in which we think about sustainability.”

Journey of the Universe is a multimedia project developed by Tucker and evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme, with whom she has worked for some twenty-five years. In addition to the book, the project includes an Emmy award winning film, which was first broadcast on PBS and is now available on Amazon Prime. There is also a series of Journey Conversations that Tucker did with twenty scientists, historians, and environmentalists discussing the significance of this universe story, especially for ecological issues. For more information about the Journey of the Universe project, visit the website:

Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. She teaches in the joint MA program in religion and ecology and directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.

Her keynote speech will be begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, October 27. The public is welcome to attend. After the keynote, Tucker will visit with tenth grade students in their History of Ideas classes.

Chocolate for Food Day!


Hugo Chavez Ayala

October 24 is nationally designated as Food Day—a day to examine how to improve our diets, our foods, and food policies—and Washington College this year is taking on a sweet subject: Chocolate. Hugo Chavez Ayala, co-founder of Agrofloresta Mesoamerica, will discuss cacao cultivation and how the choices we make as consumers of chocolate can affect the people, landscape, and cultures of the countries that grow cacao.

The event at 6:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge is free and open to the public and will be followed by a chocolate tasting.

Ayala will explain the logistics of cacao cultivation and how the agroforestry system where it grows can have positive social and environmental impacts. He will also discuss the difference between mainstream versus artisanal chocolate, and how the consumer choices can make a difference in the producing countries.

Ayala is an agronomist with a master’s degree in sustainable rural development. After working in academia for several years, he launched Agrofloresta to prove the thesis that it was possible to have a sustainable cacao business in Southern Mexico. Currently, Agrofloresta is working on its second cacao season, exporting fine flavor cacao to the U.S. and Europe, and is exploring the sustainable trade of other products, while benefiting more than 200 farmers with better prices and capacity building.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society and the Student Environmental Alliance.


Talking About the Tax Man


Vanessa Williamson

Vanessa Williamson, whose new book  Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes  argues that Americans view paying their taxes as a moral and civic responsibility, will visit Washington College on Oct. 30 to discuss her work.

The program at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, is the final installment in this semester’s Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. It is free and open to the public.

A Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, Williamson studies the politics of redistribution, with a focus on attitudes about taxation. Her work challenges the conventional wisdom that Americans hate taxes, instead positing that Americans view taxpaying as a moral obligation, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and the nation. Many worry that some people are shirking their tax responsibilities and that government uses their money to benefit the elite few rather than the public interest. Ironically, Williamson argues, the depth of the American civic commitment to taxpaying makes the failures of government, perceived and real, especially potent frustrations.

Williamson is also the author, with Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, which examines how the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party farther to the right. The book was named one of the 10 best political books of the year in The New Yorker. Her other work includes examinations of the political origins of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the electoral effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the conditions in which voters have supported state tax increases, and the factors predicting protests against police brutality.

Williamson has testified before Congress and appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and Al Jazeera America. She has written in a variety of outlets, including a recent op-ed on Donald Trump’s non-payment of taxes in the Sunday edition of The New York TimesTeen Vogue piece on the defense of democracy in America, as well as for The Atlantic, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and her hometown newspaper, The Sacramento Bee. Her work has also been cited by The Economist, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio, among other sources.

Williamson previously served as the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She received her Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University. She has a master’s degree from NYU’s Institute of French Studies, and received her B.A. in French language and literature from NYU.

Established in 1990, the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. It has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders, and government officials of both national and international stature. Christine Wade, professor of political science and international studies, is its current curator.


Kent School Chesapeake Bay Studies Incorporate STEM



Kent School students in Grade 4 and Grade 7 recently engaged in STEM activities related to their Chesapeake Bay Studies curriculum. Grade 4 students, in conjunction with The Center for Environment and Society at Washington College participated in a buoy building activity.

Students were challenged to design and build a buoy that would both float and support at least fifteen golf balls. The golf balls represent equipment that a real life buoy might hold when in operation.

Designing a buoy

Students worked in small groups to meet several specific challenges fulfilling criteria of cutting-edge STEM education that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curricula.  In addition to a variety of problem solving skills, students explored principles of engineering such as buoyancy, displacement, balance, and weight distribution. Students experimented with two-tiered designs, designs with larger surface areas and inverted designs. Groups were also given allotted time to revise ideas and redesign. This program is a part of the Youth Observatory Project sponsored by the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College.

Oysters are the topic of a multi-phase science project for Grade Seven students. Hannah Richardson, Middle School Science teacher said, “The Seventh Grade curriculum emphasizes life science and ecology concepts. We are currently learning about taxonomy and the classification of animals. Using oysters to guide the curriculum, we were able to provide a rich, real-world, hands-on teaching and learning opportunity involving, research, construction of oyster cages and an outdoor education experience to Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.”

Kent School students with oyster spat.

Students constructed twelve oyster cages and added oyster spat provided by Horn Point. The cages were delivered to locations on the Chester River and Corsica River. They will be responsible for tracking salinity and the oyster growth rate until May when they oysters will be released into oyster bars in the Bay proper. Richardson continued, “It is truly rewarding to present seventh grade life science in ways my students can truly relate to their everyday lives. This experience ties seamlessly with our commitment to Chesapeake Bay Studies and our status as a Maryland Certified Green School.”

Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “Kent School is nationally recognized for its school-wide Chesapeake Bay Studies Program. The Chester River is one of the largest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Our unique location on the bank of the Chester River affords many wonderful teaching and learning opportunities. Using the environment as an integrating context allows us to teach core subjects through the theme of Chesapeake Bay Studies.”

For more information about Kent School’s Chesapeake Bay Studies Program or any other facet of the school visit, or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The School’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

Area High School Students Take Advantage of Chesapeake College Dual Enrollment for College Credit


Natasha Panduwawala and Devon Tyler are two of the hundreds of Mid-Shore high school students taking college courses this year through Chesapeake College’s Dual Enrollment program.

Panduwawala, a junior, has already earned nine transferable college credits through dual enrollment classes taught at Easton High School. She enjoys the subjects and academic challenge presented by a college curriculum and plans to take additional courses this spring.

“It’s great to be able to have this college experience in high school and study topics like psychology,” she said.

Natasha Panduwawala

Tyler, a senior at North Dorchester High School, is taking College Algebra, Introduction to Business and Introduction to Music classes on weekdays at Chesapeake’s Cambridge Center. By graduation, he hopes to transfer 18 credits to the college he’ll be attending.

“This will definitely help me when I go to college,” he said. “I will know what the schedule is like, and I will have experience managing my time.  I also like having time in between my classes at the Cambridge Center.  I have a 10a.m. and a 1p.m. class, so I stay there to study and do my homework.”

Spring Semester registration for Chesapeake College dual enrollment courses begins this month.  Typically, students take the classes during their junior and senior years and must be at least 16 years old.

Devon Tyler

For the current Fall Semester, 336 Mid Shore high school students are taking dual enrollment classes and registration is up 56 percent, a record for the college.

The highest increase is in Dorchester County (+182%) from students attending three area high schools:  Cambridge-South Dorchester, North Dorchester and Open Bible Academy.

Large increases in dual enrollment have also been seen among high school students in Caroline (+27%), Kent (+57%), Queen Anne’s (+68%) and Talbot (+32%) counties.

The jump is attributed to the strong relationships formed between the college and area schools.

“We are excited by the results because we’ve worked very hard as an institution to renew and strengthen partnerships with our high schools,” said David Harper, Chesapeake College Dean for Faculty and Teaching.

Students with a 3.0 grade point average or above and at least a C in Algebra II can take core college courses in English and math. Dual enrollment classes in communications, history, psychology and other subjects require a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Dual enrollment is great deal, according to Harper.

A three-credit dual enrollment course at Chesapeake College costs $405 compared to $900 to $1,000 for a similar course at a public institution in Maryland.

Students who earn George B. Todd and Roberta B. Holt enrollment grants can lower their course fees even more.  Income-eligible students can also apply for Maryland PT grants and those in the Free and Reduced Meals program (FARM) will have 100 percent of tuition covered for their first four classes.

“Many students don’t realize that they can take dual enrollment classes inexpensively and are guaranteed to transfer those credits to all state public institutions, including the University of Maryland College Park and Salisbury University,” Harper said. “With careful planning, seniors can graduate having earned a diploma and completed their first semester of college.”

Recent graduates have also transferred to private institutions including McDaniel College in Westminster, Boston College and Delaware Valley University.

“The savings are a plus,” Panduwawala said, “and I’m sure that will mean a lot when we’re looking at tuition bills in the future.”

Information and grant applications for Dual Enrollment are available at Application can also be made through high school guidance counselors.

Informational meetings are being held at area high schools throughout the month as well as on-site testing and registration sessions.

About Chesapeake College

Founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake serves five Eastern Shore counties – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. With more than 130,000 alumnae, Chesapeake has 2,300 students and almost 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs.

Special Board of Education Meeting


School Board members

The Kent County Board of Education is holding a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Board of Education building, 5608 Boundary Ave., Rock Hall.

The purpose of  the meeting is to approve a Transportation Resolution and Execution of Transaction Documents related to the purchase of school buses for the district. The purchase is to be financed in the amount of  $1,414,248  by City National Bank City National Capital Finance, Inc.





Mashups, Anansi Trio Headline College Concert Series


The Mashups

The second half of Washington College’s Fall 2017 concert series begins Oct. 25 with the Mashups, closing out with Anansi Trio on Nov. 2.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall at the Gibson Centre for the Arts and begins at 7:30. Tickets are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College Students/Seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 17 and under are free.

On October 25, The Mashups bring their passion for genre bending to the College with a concert that mixes Beyonce with Bizet and couples Porter with Puccini. They break all the rules while taking the audience on an adventure through opera to jazz to musicals to Motown and back again. The Mashups are a trio: Julia Chalfin, who loves opera and the big stage, has made a name for herself in Munich, Germany, as an opera-cabaret performer with original shows such as The Birth of a DivaA Taste of AmericaSopranos-more than just a pretty voice! and Ladies, who Brunch, which she wrote, produced and performed. Cory O’Niell Walker is a diverse performer, composer, and designer who performs in many genres including opera, musical theater, art song and dance. He has also been seen at the Philly Fringe Festival performing his own art-song-based theater works, and he is executive artistic director and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Artsong Repertory Theater Company, and also performs regularly with The Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus. Matt Brower, a lecturer in piano at Washington College since 2015, is a Philadelphia-based pianist, coach, and educator who brings vision and sensitivity to a variety of genres, from classical piano, chamber music, opera, and art song to musical theatre and jazz.

Anansi Trio

On Nov 2, Washington College welcomes Anansi Trio, a group of like-minded musicians drawing from a wide range of musical influences. Taking their name from a West African trickster spirit associated with storytelling, the trio uses the language of jazz as their starting point. Adding elements of Afro-Cuban and Indian music as well as other global traditions, their sound is deep and diverse. Using percussion, saxophones, and acoustic bass they create a music that’s unique and experimental yet remains accessible. With a strong rhythmic approach and a focus on improvisation, Anansi Trio hopes to put their own stamp on the American legacy known as jazz. The Anansi Trio features Mark Merella (drums), Matt Beltzer (saxophone), and Larry Melton (bass).

Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at, or with cash or check at the door. Inquiries can be sent to Debbie Reed at or 410-778-7839.

Kent School to Host Empty Bowls Benefit


On Friday, November 3 at 6:00 p.m. Kent School is hosting an Empty Bowls event to benefit the Kent County Food Pantry. Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level. The event is open to the public. While admission is free, guests may enjoy a variety of homemade soups and breads with the purchase of a student-made ceramic bowl. Each bowl is $10. The soup dinner will be held in the M.V. “Mike” Williams Gymnasium. All proceeds from the sale of the bowls will go the Kent County Food Pantry. This event is a collaboration between the Kent School’s Art Department and the Student Government Association.

Since the start of this academic year, art classes have been devoted to ceramics. As a result, every student at Kent School from Preschool through Grade Eight, has made at least one ceramic bowl. Kent School’s art teacher, Pat Parkhurst said, “This is the second year completing the Empty Bowls project with our students. It is a great example of our School’s mission in practice. The students’ work is not only artistically excellent, they are all practicing moral excellence by offering their pieces to support the Kent County Food Pantry.” Parkhurst continued, “It is gratifying on so many levels. When the students see their work evolve from a mound of gray clay to a fully glazed and fired piece featuring their own personal design elements, the sense of accomplishment is very fulfilling.”

Susan Basener, the Board President of the Kent County Food Pantry said, “Kent School donated all proceeds of their 2016 Empty Bowls event to the community food pantry. Their large donation was enough to purchase food for over forty families for a week.” Basener continued, “This meaningful event not only supported the work of the Pantry, but it also provided an authentic learning experience for every student. Artistic expression, thoughtful reflection and an understanding of local hunger were integrated into an experience the students will likely remember.”

Kent School students have a long-term, ongoing relationship with the Kent County Food Pantry. Each year the Student Government Association (SGA) at Kent School leads charitable activities in support of the Kent County Food Pantry. The students coordinate food drives throughout the year. Parkhurst continued, “The partnership between SGA and the Art Department is a natural fit. This is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate a concentrated art unit with a student-led community service program. It has been an ambitious project for them, but a very satisfying and meaningful learning experience for all of us.”

To make a reservation for Kent School’s Empty Bowls event email For more information, visit or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, Md., is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The school’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

Legislators Weigh Recommendations to Expand Prekindergarten


The state’s income threshold for families to qualify for free prekindergarten should be increased by more than 60 percent, a state workgroup told a legislative panel this week.

A state House and Senate committee weighing universal schooling for 4-year-olds met on Tuesday and acknowledged the need for an increase in funding for the early education program statewide.

A workgroup formed to study universal access to prekindergarten was charged in April with presenting a report to the governor and the General Assembly by December.

Universal, high quality, full-day prekindergarten should be accessible to all 4-year-old children through a variety of programs and providers with a combination of public and private funding, the state’s education department, presenting the workgroup’s findings, told the panel on Tuesday.

The legislative committee also took into account a report published in January 2016 by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, a consulting firm in Colorado, that highlighted the need to offer more access to prekindergarten in Maryland and increase the number of high-quality spots available to serve 80 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds.

According to the Colorado firm’s data, 35.6 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in state prekindergarten in Maryland as of January 2016.

Maryland’s enrollment is similar to neighboring states’ — such as Delaware and Virginia, which have 5.6 percent enrollment and 17.7 percent enrollment respectively; however, other states have rates of prekindergarten enrollment greater than 70 percent, such as Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont.

Maryland currently mandates that each district provide at least a half day of free pre-K for 4-year-olds who are in households with incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,510 for a family of four, according to Steven Hershkowitz of the Maryland State Education Association.

The income level qualification would be raised to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $73,800 for a family of four, over a period of at least 10 years if the workgroup’s recommendations are implemented.

The workgroup also suggests that funds flow through the state Department of Education and be distributed to school systems and community-based programs through a grant process.

The change would improve access for many families in the state who can’t afford a private provider, but also aren’t eligible for free programs.

Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, the chair of the committee, said she supports expanding pre-kindergarten, but that funding will be a challenge.

“I’m definitely a believer in pre-k I’ll tell you that,” King said Tuesday. “Difference in abilities is outstanding, from someone who has had pre-k and someone who hasn’t. You wonder throughout the years who does catch up.”

On Thursday, Maryland’s Kirwin Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is scheduled to discuss revising funding for state education, as well as consider the proposal for universal prekindergarten.

By Jess Feldman
Capital News Service