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

Kent County 4-H Calendar for December


Volunteers needed in 4-H:  Looking for volunteers as Kent County Fair 4-H Division chairpersons, judges and much more!  Call the Extension Office if interested, 410-778-1661. The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.


14          4-H Animal Science Updates Webinar for Volunteers, 6:30 p.m.

15-18     4-H Toy Drive Weekend – packing, sorting, shopping etc. Detailed schedule to come.

19          UME Online 4-H Volunteer Training, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Must register in Kent Office 1 week prior to reserve a spot

20          Ag Center Board of Directors Meeting, 7 p.m., Extension Office

21          Kent 4-H Clover Kids – Holiday Wreaths, 6 – 7:30 p.m. Snack provided. Must register by 12/18!

25          Christmas Holiday ~ Extension Office Closed

28          24-H Record Book Work Day, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Extension Office. All youth encouraged to work on Record Books


KENT COUNTY 4-H Scheduled Club Meetings (Subject to Change!)

Bits & Bridle Horse Club3rd Saturday, 1 p.m., Running W Kennels

Kent 4-H Triple Shots Shooting Sports Shotgun – 2nd Sunday, Noon, Kent Gun Club, 4th Sunday, Noon, Sudlersville Skeet Club, Archery, 1st and 3rd Sundays, 2 p.m., Cypress Creek Archery, Millington, Rifle, 2nd and 4th Sundays, 2-4 p.m., Kent Ag Center Rifle Range, Tolchester

Business meeting held the 1st Wednesday of every month, EXCEPT: January and July. 6:30 p.m. at the UMD Extension Office

Junior Dairy Associates3rd Friday monthly, 7 p.m., Kennedyville United Methodist Church

Kent Clover Calf – 2nd Wednesday, 7 p.m., Kennedyville United Methodist Church

Kent Fuzzy Tails & Shiny Scales – 4th Thursday monthly, 6:30 p.m., Winter, Presbyterian Church of Chestertown

Kent Puppy Pals Dog ClubPractice 3rd and 4th Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., Winter: Radcliffe Creek School, Summer:  Running W. Kennels, Worton. Monthly business meeting, 2nd Monday, Running W Kennels, 6:30 p.m.

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

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


To register, visit or call 410.778.3636.


“The “Greening” of the Past – “The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” on December 9 at Washington College


Illustration of the French Religious Wars between Catholics and Huguenots by a contemporaneous artist Frans Hogenberg (1535 – 1590)

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The human casualties of four decades of intermittent civil “Dominion and Domain: The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” will discuss this question and the development of a history of modern eco-consciousness–the “greening” of the past. Jeff Persels, associate professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures, will lead this conversation of 16th-century France’s potential contributions to that history.

The French Wars of Religion, also known as the Huguenot Wars, lasted from 1562-1598 — 36 years and one month — although there was not constant fighting. It began in the era of Catherine de Medici, the queen-mother of France, and was the second deadliest European religious war. (The deadliest was the Thirty Years’ War, 1618 -1648, which took over eight million lives in what is now Germany.) But there was more than religion at stake.

The talk, sponsored by the William James Forum and the Center for Environment & Society, is set for December 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Hynson Lounge and is free and open to the public.

Persels’ research interests focus on early modern French prose and verse polemic. He teaches courses in early modern French literature and culture, French theater, contemporary French culture and society and European Studies. He also stages student and amateur French-language plays, most recently an original co-authored creation at the Columbia Museum of Art, Tableaux vivants, tableaux parlants (March 2013). He and his wife Brigitte write, produce, and perform puppet shows in French based on classic children’s tales. His publications include FLS 39. The Environment in/and French and Francophone Literature and Film (editor and introduction, Rodopi 2012), and he is currently working on a manuscript called Man Bites God: The Ludic Quality of Early Modern French Religious Polemic, as well as an adaptation for the English-language stage of Montaigne’s Essais.

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


The Sky is Literally the Limit as Washington College Students Learn Astrophotography


Students look up at the night sky at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Photo credit: Brian Palmer.

In a dimly lit classroom at Washington College, students are examining a photo of the night sky that Brian Palmer has just brought up on a big screen. Everyone’s faces are aglow in the weird projected light.

“There are three streaks here in the sky,” says Palmer, director of Digital Media Services, which oversees IDEAWORKS, a multimedia resource for students. “Do you know what they are?”

Planes, answers one student, and he’s right, at least partly. When Palmer zooms in on one of the streaks, the repetitive blips of white, green, and red stitched across the sky reveal the navigation lights of a plane that the camera’s open shutter captured. But when Palmer zooms in on the other two, the colors and patterns definitely aren’t coming from something that took off from planet Earth. They are meteors, scorching a luminous furrow across the black field of space.

The Milky Way, as seen at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Photo credit: Brian Palmer.

“Why is the color different?” asks Charlie Kehm, chair of the Department of Physics and a physics and environmental science and studies professor. “It’s in the ice, or the minerals. Potentially different materials burn in different colors.” The stars, too, have different colors, he says, and when Palmer zooms in some more, what were once little white dots become clear individuals of blue, red, yellow. “Oh, yeah!” says another student.

The night sky, always wondrous, starts to reveal its mysteries in this collaboration between Kehm and Palmer, who introduce students in Kehm’s beginning level astronomy class to astrophotography. The students and teachers spent several hours one night this fall at the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC), using cameras and gear provided by Digital Media Services, shooting the night sky. Tonight, they’re in a lab learning how to use Camera Raw and Photoshop to process their images and, while doing so, get a closer look at the objects of their class’s study.

“It was the first time I had ever seen so many stars in one place,” says sophomore Kate Voynow, an American studies major and history minor, who’s taking the class because she’s always been intrigued by astronomy, and it fulfilled a distribution requirement. “It was surreal. There was something really magical about it.”

The Andromeda galaxy, shot during the astrophotography lab at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Credit Brian Palmer.

The class surveys the universe, starting with Earth and moving through space and time to galactic clusters, supernovae, and black holes. Kehm says this is the second time that he and Palmer have collaborated to bring the art of photography into the science of astronomy.

“For students, this is one of the most enjoyable experiences of the semester,” Kehm says. “Most students already have an affinity for photography. Very quickly Brian can bring them up to speed in the use of SLR cameras and techniques for night photography. The lab gives us an opportunity to spend some time with the night sky, view constellations, observe the Milky Way, and sometimes see some planets. We even get to see some evidence of stellar colors in our long-duration exposures.”

Indeed, as the students processed their images back on campus, they found galaxies—including Andromeda, a swirl of gauzy white—meteors, and star clusters as they tweaked color, contrast, clarity, and other options to create scientifically publishable photos— what Kehm calls “an honest portrayal of the sky”—as well as versions that pushed into art photography.

“What I like most about the lab is the way it inspires the students,” he says. “There’s something about that pursuit of the aesthetic and the immersion under the starry sky that activates imagination and gets students excited about the subject. And even after doing this for many, many years, I’m still in awe every time I go out.”

For Voynow, who says she’s “not that good at STEM,” the class has been fun, if challenging at times. But the astrophotography lab and the night sky at RAFC were a revelation.

“As a history student, it’s kind of interesting because we learn about societies and we learn about the rise and fall of empires or how the United States began, all the things you learn about in history classes,” she says. “This is like Big History. Uber History. It’s fun to look at it that way. ‘Now, let’s look at the history of everything.’ And it kind of makes what I’m learning, it puts it into perspective. Look at all this fighting, look at all this war. What’s the point? It’s not Big History. The universe is so big, and how small we are compared to it. I take comfort in that. There’s something nice about it.”

The night sky at the River and Field Campus, photographed and processed by students Kate Voynow and Madi Shenk.

Kehm says RAFC “offers some of the darkest skies in the region, and it’s only minutes from campus. It is an absolutely fantastic resource for us. One of my long-term goals is to develop a permanent observing platform at the River and Field Campus, which would make it easier for us to use telescopes more routinely at the site. The property offers a lot of promise for astronomy at the College. We’re only starting to realize that potential.”

Palmer says the lab is fun for him because it lets him teach students how to use cameras and technologies supplied by IDEAWORKS that help them imagine new possibilities for their work.

“I love to see the students light up when they explore the power of these newly acquired skills,” he says. “Whether it be centered around discovery, expression, or problem solving, I think programming we can offer the students through IDEAWORKS is truly a unique and valuable addition to their undergraduate experience.”


Mid-Shore Education: Radcliffe Creek School’s Molly Judge Takes a Bow


As Radcliffe Creek School director Molly Judge enters her last year leading the private school she founded in Chestertown as a regional hub for bright students who learn differently, it is safe to predict that what took place at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s annual awards lunch last Friday will be repeated quite a few times before she officially steps down at the end of June.

And that is because, as Buck Duncan, president of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, noted in his remarks to the overflow crowd in presenting Molly with the Foundation’s Town Watch Society Award, Molly has, “changed the educational landscape on the Mid-Shore forever.”

The Spy caught some of Buck’s comments and raided the Radcliffe Creek School’s Facebook page for some images of the school and its students.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School please go here