The Gunston School Launches Chesapeake Watershed Semester Program


Last week, Gunston’s Board of Trustees formally approved the launch of a new, ambitious, and important educational endeavor: the Chesapeake Watershed Semester. This fully-accredited, semester-long program for high school juniors and seniors will welcome eight to twelve Gunston students in its inaugural pilot year, and will seek to welcome students from around the region and beyond in future years. Utilizing the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed as the foundation for an immersive, rigorous, and interdisciplinary curriculum, and with a strong focus on the domains of environmental science, public policy, and sustainability, the Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) is the only secondary school program of its kind. The inaugural semester will commence this August.

More than two years in the planning, and borrowing from Gunston’s 20-plus years of innovative Chesapeake Bay Studies programming, CWS will offer students extraordinary learning and life experiences. Within the intensive fifteen-week program, students spend nearly a third of their time on various leadership expeditions and field experiences, ranging from a trip to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, to seminars with public policy leaders in Annapolis and Washington, to an extended tour of the energy-producing regions of Pennsylvania, to a multi-day stay on the ecologically fragile Tangier Island, where the impacts of sea level rise can be observed first-hand.  Meanwhile, rigorous classroom, lab, and research project work will deepen each student’s academic foundation, leading to a capstone action project to be publicly presented at the end of the program. We expect that each cohort of CWS students will emerge as reflective and confident scholars and leaders who can support regional and global environmental sustainability through their understanding of scientific, social, cultural, and political systems.

CWS will be directed by Ms. Emily Beck, Gunston’s current Director of Sustainability and Bay Studies, as well as a Biology and Environmental Science teacher. Under Beck’s leadership the program has engaged a diverse group of formal institutional partners, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Lab, Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and the Harry Hughes Center for AgroEcology, among others.  To further support the program, CWS has also established an advisory board that includes key community members and a diversity of Chesapeake watershed subject experts, including several members of Gunston’s Board of Trustees and parent community.  Curriculum development retreats have already been held, and the formal educational program is being developed by an innovative group of Gunston faculty and leadership team members.

As Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis commented, “Without question, there is tremendous urgency for educational programs like the Chesapeake Watershed Semester, and it is designed to prepare students to meet the complex challenges of our era.” Details about the CWS mission, philosophy, and program, as well as admissions information, is comprehensively articulated on the program’s website:

The Gunston School, a co-ed independent college preparatory school, offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society. To learn more about Gunston visit, email, or call 410.758.0620 ext. 6.

Chesapeake College Foundation Receives Largest Planned Gift


The Chesapeake College Foundation has received the largest planned gift in its history from the estate of Rev. William L. English, an Episcopal priest from Dorchester County.

As stipulated by the estate, an $892,000 endowment has been established to fund W.L. English Nursing Scholarships for Chesapeake students.  Preference is given to Dorchester County residents pursuing a nursing degree.

“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift that makes it possible for students to attend Chesapeake College, earn a degree and pursue a rewarding career in nursing,” said Lucie Hughes, the college’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the school’s foundation.  “As one who ministered to others, Father English understood the power of compassionate care and appreciated the collaborative education and training provided by Chesapeake College and Shore Health to bring along our next generation of nursing professionals.”

(L to R) Nurse Bill Shertenlieb with Pat and Richard Gauen outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Father English’s former church in East New Market.

Rev. English was a patient at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester where the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing team treated him on several occasions in 2015.

According to Pat and Richard Gauen, close friends from East New Market, he often spoke of the excellent nursing care provided during those hospital stays.

“He said they treated him like a king, but they didn’t know he was going to make this donation,” Pat said.  “I never heard him complain that he received bad care in the hospital…not one time.”

Bill Shertenlieb, a registered nurse from Cambridge and graduate of the Chesapeake College nursing program, was one of Rev. English’s regular ICU caregivers.

“He was very easy to take care of and had the ability to bring out creativity and kindness in the care you delivered,” Schertenlieb said. “He made you happy to be a nurse.”

Nursing is a family profession in the Shertenlieb household. His wife Wendy also graduated from the Chesapeake program and became a nurse in 2013. While she was in school and caring for their children, Bill worked three nursing jobs to support the family.

“Father English and I discussed how hard it was, but I didn’t have the slightest clue about the donation,” he said. “I was stunned. Sometimes you get surprises like this…you don’t always know whose day you’ve made.”

Shertenlieb is now a critical care transport nurse with Shore Health Maryland Express Care. Wendy works for Coastal Hospice in Dorchester County.

Nursing care is a critical need in the Mid-Shore region according to Jon Longest, Chesapeake College Health Professions Chair.

Rev. William L. English

“We are in the midst of a significant nursing shortage in the United States that is even more pronounced in rural areas like the Eastern Shore,” Longest said.  “The English scholarship makes a nursing career more accessible to young adults and even older students who are making a career change or looking to advance within the profession.”

Hughes said the number of annual awards given by the English scholarship fund will depend on need and other financial aid students receive. Initial awards range from $350 to $2,000.  She estimates that as many as 25 students a year could receive grants in the future.

Students interested in the nursing scholarships should complete Chesapeake’s general scholarship application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both are accessible at

Donors interested in discussing a planned gift with the college can contact Hughes at 410-827-5879. Online donations can be made at

Rev. English was born at Dorchester General Hospital in 1936 and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1954. He was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1965 by the Bishop of Easton and from 1965-1966, he was the rector for three Mid-Shore parishes:  St. Stephen’s, East New Market; St. Andrew’s, Hurlock; and the Chapel of the Epiphany, Preston.

Following 32 years of ministry on Staten Island in New York City, he retired to Cambridge where he lived in his childhood home on Radiance Drive until his death in 2015.

January 2018 Sky-Watch: Morning Planets, A Blue Moon, and a Lunar Eclipse



Mars and Jupiter will lead the way and give us the month’s planetary highlight when they pass within just one degree of each other on January 7th.  Mars shines at magnitude +1.5 and Jupiter dazzles at –1.8, when on January 1st, the pair rise four hours before sunrise and stand just 2.5 degrees apart.  The two straddle Libra’s brightest star, Zubenelgenubi, and the will appear to shift eastward relative to the background star during January.

Mars moves faster in its closer, inner orbit, so its position and Jupiter’s position appear to change, bringing them to within one degree of each other by January 7th.  They will almost appear to be touching, and a telescopic view will place both in the same field of view.  Mars will appear much smaller, even though it is closer to us.  Jupiter’s immense size makes it look larger, and Mars is a relatively small planet, only 60% the size of Earth in fact.  Four days after this great conjunction, the waning, crescent Moon will join the two planets for another really stunning sight!

Through the month of January, the distance between the two planets will widen; Jupiter staying among the stars of Libra, while Mars pushes east into Scorpius.  By January 31st, Mars will be close to Antares, the brightest star of Scorpius, and it will brighten to magnitude +1.2.  Antares means “rival of Mars” because it is a red-orange giant star, and thus it mimics the color of the planet Mars.

Mercury will also be visible this month below Mars and Jupiter, until about the 20th.  On January 1st, thirty minutes before sunrise, Mercury will be about 11 degrees above the eastern horizon and to the lower left of Mars and Jupiter at magnitude –0.3.  Mercury will lose altitude as it swings back toward the Sun in its orbit. It will still be 8 degrees up on January 9th, but down to only 4 degrees on January 20th.

On the morning of January 13th if looking for Mercury, look just one degree above it and you will see Saturn.  Since both will be in a bit of twilight then, binoculars will be helpful to see them.  By the end of January, Saturn will have risen higher among the stars of Sagittarius and be a bit easier to see.  Mercury, by then, will be lost in the glare of the Sun.

According to tradition, the first full moon in the northern hemisphere is called the Full Wolf Moon.

January has a somewhat rare event —- two Full Moons.  Because this only happens about every 2 1/2 years, the expression “once in a Blue Moon” has become a part of our conversation, for the 2nd Full Moon in a Calendar year is called a “Blue Moon.”  The first Full Moon is on the 1st, and the 2nd is on January 31st.

The January 31st Full Moon will also be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow across North America.  It occurs before dawn with totality lasting 76 minutes.  However, the western two-thirds of North America get the best view of it.  East of a line through the Ohio/Indiana border down to the Gulf of Mexico, the eclipse begins after the start of morning twilight, and the Moon will set before totality begins.  So we in Maryland will miss most of it this time.  The Moon enters Earth’s Shadow at 6:48 EST, and within 20 minutes the Moon will look like a cookie with a bite taken from it.

The Sun just below the horizon and about to rise in the East will be opposite the eclipsed Moon setting low in the West.  Unfortunately, we here will miss most of this spectacular event.  But look anyway for the early beginning of the eclipse —- and remember, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to look at.  No eye protection is needed.

Happy New Year to all Sky-watchers!!


Gunston Welcomes New Trustee


Patricia Parkhurst

Gunston School is pleased  to announce the addition of Patricia Parkhurst to the 2017-2018 Board of Trustees. Currently Pat teaches Art at Kent School and has served on several area boards including the Kent School Board of Trustees, and the Gunston Century Capital Campaign committee.

An alumna of Gunston, Pat lives in Centreville with her husband Steve and their three children, two of whom currently attend Gunston. She earned her Bachelor’s from Roanoke College and a Certificate in Fundraising from George Washington University.

Headmaster John Lewis said, “Over the past decade, Mrs. Parkhurst has served on a number of key school committees, and has therefore played an important role in helping to shape Gunston’s institutional identity.  As an alumna and current parent, she cares deeply about Gunston, and we will benefit from her wisdom and experience.”

Washington College Students Bring Food, Fellowship to Community Table


Margot Patois (foreground, left) and other WC students serve local residents who are attending the Community Table dinner.

In the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church in Chestertown, excitement comes on a Monday evening in the form of enormous tin trays, as Washington College students Rose Adelizzi, Felicia Attor, and Lizzie Massey uncover them one at a time.

“Oh, that looks yummy!” says Cheryl Hoopes, a neighbor and volunteer at the Community Table, a dinner that happens every Monday night in the church’s fellowship hall. “Oh, my goodness, it’s still coming, guys! Turkey!” She helps the students and other volunteers uncover the dishes one by one—rice, some kind of mushroom and pasta casserole, roasted veggies—prepping them to go out onto three long tables that will serve as the buffet line once dinner begins. “We love it when the students come,” Hoopes says. “They’re just wonderful. It’s like Christmas every week for us.”

The students are members of Washington College’s Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) and its Food Recovery Network (FRN) chapter. Every Monday evening, they show up with leftover food from the College’s dining hall and contribute it to other food prepared for the Community Table, a weekly gathering that draws a wide range of local residents to share a meal together. The students help set up, serve, and dine with those who have come to dinner. Sometimes only a few are able to come; tonight, nearly a dozen students are helping.

Melia Greene, Felicia Attor, and Rose Adelizzi deliver food to the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church.

“We usually sit down and eat with them, get to know them, and it’s fun when you go into town and someone says, ‘Oh, you served food at the dinner!’ It’s nice to be connected to the town in that way,’’ says sophomore Gillian Heckert-Mitchell, an anthropology major who is now in her second semester of participating in the FRN. “It’s by far my favorite thing of the week. It gets you off the campus, and I just like to serve and meet the community.”

Like many other clubs on campus, the Student Environmental Alliance wanted to become more directly involved with something that served the larger community, says junior Samantha Trikeriotis, a psychology major and the current head of the FRN. Last year, several students worked to create a local chapter of the FRN, a national organization that mobilizes students on college campuses to prevent food waste by donating food that would not otherwise be used.

Don Stanwick, Director of Dining Services, helped the students get organized. The program is now in its third semester, going strong, and he’s encouraging the students to expand it. Stanwick says that Dining Services tries to forecast its menu for the day, estimating how much of a particular dish it will need for the College. Much of the time, leftover food goes into another meal for students, especially soups, he says. But if there’s a large portion that can’t, for whatever reason, be used in time or for another meal, Stanwick says that becomes food for the FRN.

“In the past, it got tossed, and it was just a waste,” he says. “This allows us to give food to somebody who needs food, and that’s why we like the program and we like to support it. It helps out. It’s one of those things that everyone can be involved in. You just have to give a little bit of your time.”

As of November 20, students had recovered 1,207 pounds of food during the fall semester, Trikeriotis says. They head to the dining hall at about 4 p.m. in the afternoon on Mondays and get trays of food, already heated and in a rolling food insulator that the students then drive down to the church. Working with other volunteers from the community, they set up and serve soup, salad, fresh veggies, and multiple entrees. A new addition this year is composting; the students have expanded the College’s composting program to include as much as possible from the Community Table dinner.

“It’s just another way to close the gap on food waste,” says sophomore Melia Greene, who heads up the SEA’s composting program. “It’s fun to teach people about it. Instead of wasting so much, we can teach them to give back.”

Students serving soup and salad wear their FRN ballcaps.

Pastor David Ryan says the Community Table typically draws 100 to 125 people each week. Some of them depend on the meal financially, and for others, it’s a way to connect to their community. People of all ages and backgrounds attend. About six volunteer cooks join up to 10 other volunteers who team up with the College students to provide the food, set up, serve, and clean up.

“It’s for everyone to participate,” Ryan says. “What’s wonderful to me is that people talk about diversity, but here they sit together and stand in line together. There are older people who are fine financially, but they don’t want to eat alone. We really try to serve everyone… being together is part of why we are doing this.”

Chestertown resident Pat Pardee attends nearly every Monday with her husband, Alvin. “It’s always very good,” she says. “You get all kinds of people. No matter who you are, you’re welcome. And it’s nice they have so many College students helping.”

Like many of the students, Trikeriotis says she’d never done anything like this before, and now, it’s something she looks forward to every week.

“Everyone here is really friendly,” she says. “Everyone is really kind, and they’re excited to see all the Washington College students.”

Mid-Shore Education: Kent School and Neuroscience in the Classroom


It’s hard to say that neuroscience is new these days. Over the last twenty years, there has been a breathtaking surge in neuroscience research which has radically changed the fields of neurosurgery, psychiatry, pain management, audiology, and countless other disciplines across a wide range of areas.

And so it may not be surprising that this study of neurons and nervous system functions would eventually find its way into the American classroom, but the Spy nonetheless found it remarkable that one institution that was a pioneer in this field would turn out to be the Kent School in Chestertown.

Last year, Kent’s head of school, Nancy Mugele, a strong advocate for using neuroscience techniques in primary education, sought out a three-year partnership with the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning in Bethesda to apply mind and brain research to the pre-K-8 grade school’s curriculum and teacher training. By doing so, Kent became one of only seven schools in the entire country to participate in a program designed to maximize teacher effectiveness and stimulate students to achieve their highest potential.

The Spy was interested enough in this bold move to seek out Michelle Duke, Kent School’s Assistant Head for Academics, to explain what this means for both educators and students alike in this new and perhaps final frontier in how human beings learn.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Kent School please go here

Hodson Trust Grants $3.5 Million to WC for Student Scholarship Endowment


The Hodson Trust, whose generosity has supported hundreds of Washington College students over 81 years, this year is donating $3.5 million to endow student scholarships. Representatives of the Trust, which has been the largest single benefactor to the College, presented the gift to College President Kurt Landgraf on December 7.

“It is hard to overstate how critical this funding is for our students and programs, and how much we appreciate the loyal support that The Hodson Trust continues to show Washington College,” Landgraf says. “We believe that the education and opportunities we offer to undergraduates are unparalleled, and we are grateful to Chairman Gerald Holm and the Hodson trustees for seeing that value and consistently supporting it with this endowment funding.”

This year’s donation provides$2.75 million to the Hodson Merit Scholarship endowment, and $750,000 to the George’s Brigade scholarship endowment. Already this academic year, as a result of previous Hodson gifts, 105 students are receiving an average merit scholarship in the amount of $21,000, for a total of $2.2 million from Hodson Trust-funded scholarship endowments.

“The need is great,” Landgraf says. “Gifts such as this generous scholarship funding from The Hodson Trust are invaluable for our students in their ambition to attain the strong foundation that a college education in the liberal arts and sciences provides.”

The Hodson Trust is the school’s largest single benefactor. Starting with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935, the Trust has given Washington College nearly $80 million. The Trust that was established in 1920 by the family of Colonel Clarence Hodson benefits four Maryland educational institutions: Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College of Annapolis, and The Johns Hopkins University. Colonel Hodson, who received the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws,from Washington College in 1922, served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928.

Colonel Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, Maryland, founded the Beneficial Loan Society to make small loans available to working-class Americans at affordable interest rates.  This groundbreaking business grew into the Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States.  An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $240 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at

Beekeeping 101 Classes Set


Starting in January 2018, Michael Embrey will be offering beginning beekeeping classes in both Chestertown and Easton. Beekeeping 101 consists of a total of 7 classes. The first five classes will be held every other week until the end of April. The last two classes, focusing on winterizing your hives and keeping your bees healthy, will take place in September. Attendants will learn about the lives of bees, how to take care of hives, pest and diseases, swarm management, honey extraction and much more. Mr. Embrey is a retired apiculturalist with the University of Maryland Extension and has been teaching beekeeping classes for decades.The recommended textbook Is, “The Beekeeper’s Handbook, Fourth Edition” by Diana Sammataro. Registration fee for the entire series is $125.

Classes in Chestertown will start on Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m in the Sophie Kerr Room, Miller Library at Washington College. To register for this class, please contact Mike Wham, or 302-354-3150.

Classes in Easton will start on Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Talbot County Extension Office, Marvel Court (off of Glebe Road). To register for this class, please contact Mike Embrey, mecharjew@yahoo.com410-924-0028.

In addition to the classes, anyone interested in bees or beekeeping is invited to attend the monthly lectures and meetings of the following Beekeepers Associations:

  • Upper Eastern Shore Beekeepers Association, 2nd Wednesday of the month in the yellow building at the Kent County Public Library in Chestertown.
  • Lower Eastern Shore Beekeepers Association, 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Wicomico Extension Office on Nanticoke Road in Salisbury.
  • Wye River Beekeepers Association, 3rd Wednesday of the month at the Adult Education Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

More information is available online or on Facebook Upper Eastern Shore Beekeeping Association

Build a Gingerbread House at the Library! Dec. 13 & 14


To register, visit or call 410.778.3636.