Amelia Markosian: The Fun Teacher Becomes Teacher of the Year


Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with pictures of planets behind her.   Photo by Jane Jewell

Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, has been teaching science at Kent County Middle School for six years. But her connection to Kent County goes back well before that.

Her parents used to summer in Gregg Neck on the Sassafras River when she was in grade school. She remembers making friends in the neighborhood, visiting the Tea Party Festival, even working on schooner Sultana before its launch. But she returned for good seven years ago, with her teaching certificate in hand, and she soon found work as a long-term substitute at Galena Elementary School. A year later, a job at KCMS opened up – and the rest is history.

Amelia Markosian, on left, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with her 6th-grade science class.       Photo by Jane Jewell

The Chestertown Spy visited Markosian for one of her classes Thursday, April 26 – a sixth-grade class with a focus on astronomy. The students were learning about the Moon – its phases, its distance from the Earth, and other basic facts about our closest celestial neighbor.

Markosian grew up in Willow Grove, a Philadelphia suburb, graduating from Upper Moreland High School and continuing her education at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. At the time, McDaniel didn’t offer an education major, so she majored in art with a minor in education – and enough extra credits to qualify for her teaching certificate. After teaching six months at a private school in Pennsylvania, she decided to try her luck in Maryland. She and her husband, Igor Markosian, were high school sweethearts. They now live in Chestertown and Igor commutes to his job in Middletown, Delaware.

You don’t have to watch Markosian at work for long to see why she was chosen Teacher of the Year. She is full of energy, easily engaging her students in discussion, and it’s obvious that she enjoys science. Speaking to the class about the space program and plans for a manned journey to Mars, she radiated enthusiasm. “It’ll be a really big thing,” she said, comparing it to the first manned lunar expedition. “I can’t wait to see the pictures!” She emphasized that the Mars visit would take place in the students’ lifetimes.

The students asked what the next step after Mars would be. “The moons of Jupiter,” she said, but cautioned that it was well in the future.

The students watched a video – “Earth’s Orbit Song” – that presented a wealth of facts about the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon, with a catchy rhythm and bright illustrations. Markosian drew attention to two facts from the video – the fact that the orbits of the celestial bodies are elliptical, and the distance from the Earth to the Moon is large enough for all the other planets in the Solar System to fit between the Earth and the Moon–that’s a long distance!

While much of the class involved the students working with iPads and other high-tech educational tools, Markosian was quick to use lower-tech instructional methods. At one point, she held her hand near her face to illustrate the relative positions of the Earth and Moon. At another point, she sat with several students at a table with bright lights to simulate the Sun, and small rubber balls representing the Earth and Moon. By changing the positions of the rubber balls, the students could see not only the phases of the Moon but the geometry of eclipses. “This is so cool!” said one student.

Kent County Middle School – Mrs. Markosian’s 6th-grade science class Photo by Jane Jewell

That sentiment is one Markosian shares. Asked why she chose science teaching as a career, she said she had taught every subject while substituting at Galena and realized “science was the most fun. I want to be one of the fun teachers,” the ones the students talk about when they get home.

She spoke enthusiastically about her own scientific interests – notably a teachers’ workshop  with NASA at Wallops Island, where she rubbed elbows with space scientists and got to see a launch from “about 300 feet away.” Kent County’s school system, she said, has been wonderful about providing educational opportunities for their teachers. She also told of visiting an active volcano – a cultural tour of Hawaii’s Kilauea, with a Hawaiian tribal chief as her guide. The volcano is a sacred spot in the Hawaiian religion, and visits are strictly regulated, she said.

In addition to her science classes, Markosian also coaches cheerleading and takes part in the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program, in which students are rewarded for good behavior. She also works with the Lamont Company to give the students experience in testing water. In another class, she taught the basics of forensics – showing the students the elements of fingerprints and toothprints to identify “suspects.” The toothprint specimens are collected using candy – which adds to the students’ interest, not surprisingly.

Markosian is taking courses toward her Master’s degree at Wilmington University in Delaware, with an eventual aim of getting certified as a school administrator. That’s a ways in the future, though – for now, she’s thoroughly enjoying her role as “the fun teacher” at Kent County Middle School.

Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with pictures of planets behind her.   Photo by Jane Jewell

WHEE partnered with Kent County Schools


Last Fall, WHEE partnered with Kent County Schools, community organizations, and individuals to create the Make a Movement Project, a performance art project about climate change and the effects of heat-trapping gases on our planet. Please check out the video that shows the community’s involvement in the project and events.

WHEE’s Make a Movement project is now creating a parachute with the First Day Friends Meeting of Washington, DC and facilitating leaders to create parachute projects at Salisbury University, in Stamford, Conn., Pomona, NY, Sunderland, Mass., Benga, Malawi, and El Menzel, Morocco.

Inspired by the AIDS quilt, first displayed in 1987 to raise awareness about the disease, the call for Parachutes For The Planet is for individuals and communities to create their own parachute to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and living sustainably. All parachutes will be gathered for an exhibition on the Mall in Washington DC and then toured around the US and internationally. Check out the website for details.

Director of WHEE, Hope Clark, is working with Allen Fawsett, the Chief at the Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Economic Branch who’s team wrote the Paris Agreement and created the archived EPA Student Guide to Global Warming used by the Make a Movement project in Kent County, MD.

Perhaps you know an environmental club or group in your neighborhood who would like to participate? For more information and support

The Beauty of Making a Mosaic with KCHS Students


There’s a lot of cutting glass this week at Kent County High School. That’s glass, with a “g.”

Throughout the week students have been cutting and gluing pieces of colored glass, mirror, and other material together to complete a complex glass mosaic with the hope of expressing a sense of place in their personal lives and the greater culture and beauty of the natural environment of Kent County.

The 6’ x 10’ mosaic, with a central tree motif with roots and branching limbs, is surrounded by clusters of images symbolizing elements that invigorate life on our part of the Eastern Shore. A blue crab, the white sails of Sultana, a winding river are just a few of the images that appear in the glinting formation.

“The roots of the tree represent our rich past, and the branches express our sense of all the possibilities life offers,” Spencer said.

The project idea was discussed two years ago by KCHS Fine Arts Department Chair and Visual Arts Teacher Stephanie Spencer and art advocate Tom McHugh during a period when the school system was enduring systemic changes in the county and looking for programs to underscore the positive. Never losing sight of wanting the project to happen, Spencer sought and received a state grant to cover half the cost. Along with fundraising help from Sultana’s “Evening With the Arts” and other school groups, the mosaic was finally greenlighted.

Sue Stockman and Stephanie Spencer and students

Spencer looked to practicing artist and arts advocate Sue Stockman to oversee the project. Stockman, an accomplished artist in her own right, has overseen over two-dozen mosaic projects throughout the state from Baltimore’s inner city to rural Talbot County and St. Michaels high schools, and to each, she brings a special sensibility of inclusion, equality, and respect of each other. She knows first-hand the therapeutic quality and joy of collaborative artistic endeavors having worked on mosaic projects in schools where students have suffered trauma from violence. The creative projects also give the students a space to come together and share in a mutual accomplishment far away from the white-noise of social media and anxiety of 24/7 news cycles.

“We start each session talking about our lives and the project. Everyone gets to speak as we try to create a culture of kindness so that we can begin to work together helping and encouraging each other along the way,” Stockman says. “I’m passionate about wanting to bring a sense of aesthetics into schools, to cut through some of the institutional coldness of them.”

As students circled the mosaic—another way of including everyone in the creative effort—they clipped and cut the jigsaw pieces of glass needed to follow Stockman’s underlying design. Each student was drawn to different aspects of the design, but all took part in the overall drive to complete it.

Well into its sixth day Thursday, the image was almost complete, but work was still needed to meet their 8 pm deadline and help, they hoped, would arrive from community members answering their invitation.

The mosaic will eventually be placed on the exterior of the building as a sparkling example of what can be accomplished by students unified by a common artistic goal. Hopefully, they will carry the spirit of collaboration with them.

The project was funded through the support of the Maryland State Arts Council and the Kent County Arts Council.

KCPS Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration Information


Kent County Public School System, has announced the dates for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten registration for Kent County residents. Please contact your home school to schedule an appointment.

Spring Registration Dates:
Galena Elementary School                     April 16, 2018           410-810-2510
Rock Hall Elementary School                April 17, 2018           410-810-2622
H. H. Garnett Elementary School         April 19, 2018           410-778-6890

Kent County Public Schools is pleased to offer FREE full day Pre-Kindergarten (locally and state funded) to all children who reside in Kent County and will be four years of age on or before September 1, 2018. The overall goal of the program is to provide learning experiences to develop and maintain school readiness skills necessary for successful school performance. The program achieves this goal by providing developmentally appropriate experiences that address the cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs of young children.

Income eligibility information is collected from all families as part of the registration process. Children who are economically disadvantaged, homeless, enrolled in preschool special education, limited English proficient, or exhibit lack of readiness will receive immediate notice of Pre-Kindergarten school assignment. Those who are eligible under other criteria will receive confirmation of school assignment by July 30th. In some cases, the parent/guardian may be responsible for transporting their child to and from school. We look forward to serving your family in the Kent County Public School District!

The State of Maryland requires children to attend kindergarten before entering first grade. Children who are five years of age by September 1, 2018 must register and attend kindergarten before entering the first grade. There are some exceptions to the law.

Parents may:
– apply for a home school instruction program as an alternative to the school attendance requirement.
– request a one-year level of maturity waiver if they believe a delay in school attendance is in the best interest of their child.

Parents having questions about registration are invited to phone their area elementary school. County residents are also asked to contact the school’s principal if they know of a child who should be enrolled but whose family have not received registration information.

As a reminder, a regulation pertaining to lead poisoning went into effect in 2003 for students residing in areas designated as at risk for lead poisoning. Documentation from a physician will have to be provided that certifies that if the child resides in an at-risk area, or has ever resided in an at-risk area, has undergone blood testing for lead poisoning. Forms for this purpose will be available at the school.

Please contact your child’s home school to set up a registration day appointment.

On registration day, parents should bring the following documents:
• the child’s birth certificate
• the child’s completed Immunization and Health Inventory forms
• proof of residence (one of the following):
o electric, gas, or water bill
o property tax/real estate tax bill
o lease or rental agreement
o contract of sale (including settlement or mortgage statement)
o homeowner’s/renter’s insurance statement/policy
For Pre-K only:
• proof of income
If claiming income eligible, a form will be completed during the application process and verified through the Supervisor of Student Servicesat the Central Office

Health Form: Part 1 of the health form must be filled out by a parent or guardian. Part 2 of the health form must be completed by your family physician.


State Roundtable for Education Adds Chestertown’s Aundra Anderson to Next Generation Scholars Team


State Roundtable for Education Adds Chestertown Resident to Next Generation Scholars Team

The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT), a non-profit coalition of the state’s leading employers that is dedicated to supporting excellence and accountability in education, has hired Chestertown resident Aundra Anderson to carry out Next Generation Scholars, an initiative established by the Maryland General Assembly (House Bill 1403), in Kent County Middle and High Schools.

“Kent County High School has been blessed with so many successes, and the addition of Aundra to our focused and determined team will help provide our students with the knowledge and opportunity to reach new heights,” said Nick Keckley, principal at Kent County High School. “Aundra brings tremendous energy to our school, and partnering with the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education will further enrich our students’ educational experience.”

Anderson has been working directly with school leadership and counselors to raise awareness about Next Generation Scholars and the qualifications students must meet in order to be eligible to receive the Howard P. Rawlings Maryland Guaranteed Access Grant, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). The Guaranteed Access Grant provides an award that will help cover the cost of full-time study at a Maryland college or university for low-income families.

In September 2017, the Maryland State Department of Education awarded $953,000 to MBRT, part of the state’s $4.7 million state grant program, to help enhance college and career awareness and college completion high school students with a demonstrated financial need in Allegany, Caroline and Wicomico Counties. In January 2018, MBRT received an additional grant of $368,000 to add Kent and Dorchester Counties to its roster.

Coordinating with guidance counselors, teachers and school leadership, Anderson meets one-on-one with students and also conducts classroom presentations for 7th, 8th and 9th graders to mentor them and assess their college and career aspirations. Some of those presentations feature guest speakers from the Maryland Scholars Speakers Bureau and STEM Specialists in the Classroom programs. She also holds parent and community events to ensure all those involved with students’ education are aware of the grant and understand how they can support their scholars to achieve success.

Prior to joining MBRT, Anderson worked at her alma mater Washington College as admissions counselor and later as director of admissions communications helping prospective students and families learn more about the college search and admissions process. Throughout her nine-year tenure, she managed the admissions communications plans; developed and implemented a strategy for regional recruitment in new markets; visited high schools across the country, attended college fairs as a Washington College representative; and conducted individual and small group interviews with prospective students.

She is also very active in her community. As a certified group fitness instructor, Anderson has been teaching classes around Chestertown since 2009 with the intention of leading and inspiring others to achieve their fitness and wellness goals. In addition, she served as coordinator of the Chestertown Tea Party Festival Street Party from 2014-2017 and secretary on the Colchester Farm CSA Board in Galena, Maryland 2014-2016.

“I believe everyone can be successful as long as they understand there are different ways of achieving their goals and not everyone’s path is the same,” said Anderson. “My role as a Next Generation Scholars coordinator is to work with people to help them realize their goals by finding their path forward. I’m excited to connect with students and families so they know they have options, whether that’s pursuing a college degree or jumping into a career that’s right for them.”

For more information about the Next Generation Scholars Program, visit


Upcoming Events of Democratic Club of Kent County


The Democratic Club of Kent County is pleased to announce that our speakers for the March 15 meeting will be Dr. Karen Couch, Superintendent of the Kent County Public Schools, and Patricia McGee, President of the Board of Education of Kent County. A representative of the Support Our Schools group has also been invited.

Come and learn more about what’s happening with the county’s schools, including the many new initiatives and positive outcomes that are emerging, as well as the challenges that our system is currently facing, and how school leaders are addressing them.  Opportunities for the public to get more involved in supporting their schools will be discussed as well.

The public is invited to attend this meeting and learn more about our schools, and how we all can help. The meeting takes place on the evening of Thursday, March 15, at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club (7738 Quaker Neck Rd., Chestertown) – doors open at 5:30 pm for a meal and social time – main program starts at 7:00 pm.

For additional discussion and information about Kent County Schools from parents with KCPS children, drop by the Democratic Club of Kent County’s headquarters, 357 High St., this Saturday, March 10, 10-12 Noon. Members of Support Our Schools will be on hand to listen, discuss and inform.

For more information about SOS please check out their web site,, and Facebook page,

21st Century Learning: The Future of Education in Kent County, Part II by Al Hammond


“Myki Ruby Bernard, a middle school student, is soldering her Code Club project—part of the hands-on approach to digital technology used in Kent County public schools”. Photo credit Laura Jacob.

21st Century Learning: The Future of Education in Kent County, Part II

Talk to parents of students enrolled in Kent County public schools, and a common question is: What does my child do all day? In fact, students don’t spend the whole day looking at screens—a frequently expressed concern. But they do have chromebooks (simplified laptops), tablets, or laptops accessible to them throughout the school day, and can take them home from 6th grade on. The schools’ digital platform is accessible wherever there is an internet connection, and high school teachers frequently assign course segments or practice sessions for students to do at home or over weekends.

Beyond the Discovery Education content, the Google education apps, and a set of administrative and teacher support tools (see Part I), Kent County schools don’t mandate specific digital tools or lesson plans. Teachers choose those they want to use and what they think works best with their students. Moreover, the innovation ferment in the Ed Tech sectors and in schools with digital platforms across the country means that there are new tools and creative new lesson plans that use those tools introduced every year. The result is continual experimentation, with teachers in Kent County sharing ideas and discoveries with each other. (See Box at end of article, A Short Guide to Digital Learning Tools)

Beyond specific tools, what counts is how a teacher uses them to enhance student involvement and learning. Here is what this reporter observed in three specific 50-minute classes last week.

3rd Grade math, Kelley Melvin. The focus in 3rd grade, Kelley tells me, is really mastering multiplication, both memorizing the multiplication tables and being able to apply them in many different contexts. Today’s class will use three different digital tools—a whole class exercise at their desks; then one where students are on their feet and moving around the room, working in teams; then individual exercises at their desks again.

“Gallery Walk” tool helps teams of students learn basic math. Photo credit Kelley Melvin

The class starts with a Kahoot session reviewing the concept of area. Every child enters their secret game pin on their tablet, which keeps their answers private from other students. The video screen shows a rectangle, with the area and the length given, and asks, what is the missing width. Kelley reminds the class of the formula for area, length times width, and says “think before you click”. Then she starts the clock, giving students 30 seconds to select the right answer on their tablet, which shows four color-coded choices. Music plays while students ponder. And the video screen tabulates responses (while keeping individual answers anonymous). Everyone gets this one right. Cheers break out.

Then a new exercise, with more complicated geometry. Then another. Kelley reviews the formula for area again. Then more exercises, nearly a dozen over a span of about 15 minutes. The Kahoot software keeps track of each student’s answer to each exercise, so that Kelley can see where any individual student is having trouble. To see Kahoot in action, watch this short video.

The class then switches to an activity called Gallery Walk, where pre-assigned teams of 3 students gather at stations around the room to complete exercises that are posted under a plastic sheet. One child has a marker and writes out the answers on the plastic sheet. A second child then uses his or her tablet to take a photo of the answer and submits it digitally. The third then erases the answer, clearing the slate for the next team. (See photos) The teams are working under a time limit, and when the bell rings, they move onto the next station and a new exercise. The teams also rotate roles, so everyone gets chances to take and submit the photo of the result—which they think is cool, and makes the whole exercise fun. Meanwhile, the tool has stored each team’s work, so that Kelley can review it later (often at home), make comments on it, and send it back to students—all digitally.

“Gallery Walk” Students work as team on a question and write their answer on the erasable plastic sheet Photo credit Kelley Melvin

Finally, students use a tool called Splash Math—one of their favorites—to do individual arithmetic exercises by hand at their desks, before entering their answer on the tablet. Each student’s exercises are skill-adjusted to that student, and the tool both tracks each student’s answers (so Kelley or teaching aids that circulate can see where a student is having problems and help) and won’t let the student move on until they have mastered that skill. The tool also awards digital “coins” for each right answer, which the kids can use to “buy” digital fish for their private aquarium—an incentive system that keeps kids motivated.

6th grade science, Amelia Markosian. Amelia is teaching a segment on rocks—rock types, their distinctive properties, how they are formed, where they are found. As the students come into the room, a tool called Science Sizzler is on the video screen with questions on a previously assigned article about igneous rocks. Students sit at their desk, turn on their tablets, and start work on answering the questions, submitting their answers on Google Classroom. When the class formally starts, Amelia asks if they have any questions about igneous rocks, and they do; a short discussion ensues. Science Sizzler is in effect a daily warm-up exercise with new questions every day to get the students engaged in the subject matter and prompt an opening discussion, where the teacher can answer questions and show pictures or hold up examples (in this case of rocks).

Then Amelia introduces a Radical Rocky Recognition Mission—her name for a Google Classroom interactive lab on rock types, introduced with a music video featuring a song about the rock cycle. The lab is designed both to impart information, but also to teach critical thinking skills, and it gives feedback, so that students end up with a score for the lab. The students get involved in the lab, on their tablets—they’re doing the work, leaving Amelia free to circulate and help individually with students. Every student works at their own speed—some complete the lab early and share their scores with the teacher, then go on to other things.

When everyone has finished the lab, Amelia opens another group discussion by asking each student to name their favorite type of rock, and say why they chose it. Some of the answers are amusing, provoking laughter. Others prompt students to make follow-on comments. Amelia uses the discussion to reinforce some of the lessons from the lab. The discussion is still going strong—and no one seems bored—when the bell rings.

12th grade Advanced Placement Psychology, Caron Saunders. Today’s class is small because a number of students are out with the flu. The students carry laptops and are very savvy about digital tools. The class is preparing for the Advanced Placement exam toward the end of school that will give those who pass it credits that enable them to skip introductory college classes. Today’s class is mostly review of psychology concepts and the specialized vocabulary used to name and describe them. Caron tells them to start a tool called, a kind of digital flashcards. It gives the students, working in teams, a definition and asks them to select the matching vocabulary term. The team approach forces collaboration. If the team picks the wrong answer, the tool gives them immediate feedback. Meanwhile, Caron can circulate and observe or reinforce understanding.

The class then moves on to individualized flashcards, and the tool adjusts the definitions for each student to focus on areas where he or she is weak (based on their prior use of the tool). It starts with multiple choice, but then moves to asking students to write out definitions from scratch. Caron can circulate, or prepare another lesson on her tablet, or set up a homework assignment.

Caron says that she also often uses Ed Puzzle, a video that stops and asks the students to answer a question before it continues, and which can be used by a group or by individual students or even when the student is at home (for weekend review or for students that are out ill). She also uses a tool called Noodle to give multiple choice tests, both because it gives student instant feedback (right or wrong)—promoting learning—and also, for wrong answers, gives the student a second chance at the question (for which Caron awards a correct answer half credit).

As the bell rings, Caron assigns homework for which the students will use a tool called Amanda that provides on-line lectures by leading high school psychology teachers.

What’s common to all of these classes is that none of the teachers are lecturing. The digital tools provide content (sometimes organized by the teacher in advance and often automatically customized to the student’s attainment level), and the students are actively involved in learning—absorbing or researching content, practicing skills, collaborating with other students. Meanwhile the digital platform remembers and stores everything—no paper shuffling here. Teachers, freed from both lecturing and many administrative tasks, focus on helping individual students, re-inforcing key learning, guiding classroom discussions—as well as on creating or finding lesson plans that will engage their students.


A Short Guide to Digital Learning Tools

Some tools are widely used in Kent County public schools, because teachers find that they work. They are a far cry from textbooks, homework sheets, calculators, and flashcards (although there are digital flashcards) The short descriptions below—hardly a complete list—give some sense of what life in school is like these days:

  • Clever. Home base for all the tools that students use. It works like a tablet on the web—a student logs on and clicks on the app or tool, including Google apps such as email and Microsoft apps such as Office 365 for writing documents or creating presentations.
  • Boards. These are similar to a website, can display text, photos, videos, and are easy for even elementary school students to create. Teachers use them to send assignments to students, and students use them to prepare their work and send it back to the teacher. For example, if a teacher assigned a lesson about the different categories of living things, each student would pick an example that interests them and research the topic further. A student intrigued by crocodiles might investigate them as an example of reptiles, for example, and build their own board with facts, pictures, and other things he or she has learned about where crocodiles live, what they eat, etc. The students then share the board with other students in their study group, who comment and help the student improve it. When it’s ready, the student uploads it to the teacher, who can share it the whole class for discussion.
  • Kahoot. An informal assessment tool that gauges class learning and also helps to review lessons, but which feels like a game show, with competition, lively music, and rewards. It’s very interactive and engaging, but gives the class as a whole (and each student privately) a clear sense of whether they are mastering the content. Some teachers let students create their own review questions and manage a Kahoot for the class.
  • Virtual Field Trips. Let’s a teacher take the class on a multi-media “trip” to anywhere in the world to see and learn about local conditions or unique artwork.
  • Gizmo. An interactive tool used in grades 3-9 to simulate mathematics concepts or run virtual science experiments. It allows students to vary the numbers or the conditions to see how things change and to make graphs.
  • Frontrow. A tool that gives a student feedback on areas where they are weak in mathematics or English and then provides practice exercises targeted to overcome those weaknesses.
  • Mondo guided reading. This tools helps early grade students to learn new words, to speak them correctly, and to master spoken and written language.


KCHS Presents High School Musical JR


Kelsi (Emily Spencer) helps Troy (Benji Price) and Gabriella (Allison Black) learn their music before callbacks.

It’s the first day after winter break at East High. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians and Skater Dudes all find their cliques. Basketball team captain and resident jock, Troy (senior Benji Price), discovers that the brainy Gabriella (junior Alison Black), a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has just enrolled at East High. The couple causes an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical. Although many students resent the threat posed to the “status quo,” Troy and Gabriella’s alliance might just open the door for others to shine as well.

The cast also includes Sharpay (senior Kayla Luhn), Ryan (junior Corey Robinson), Chad (senior Kyle Roderick), and Taylor (sophomore Lisa Robinson).

Performances are March 1 @ 10am, March 2 @ 7pm, and March 3 @ 2pm and 7pm. KCHS Auditorium 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton MD 21678. Tickets are available at the door. General admission is $10.

An Evening with the Arts


Director of Kent County Arts Council, John Schratwieser, with student artist at the Saturday evening gala.

The Kent County Arts community turned out in force for a gala auction to support the installation of a mural at Kent County High School. Held Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Sultana Center in Chestertown, the affair raised $7500 for the project – as well as giving attendees a good look at the amazing width and depth of artistic talent on tap in Kent County schools.

Sponsored by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, Arts in Motion, the Kent County Arts Council, and the Carla Massoni Gallery, the affair drew roughly 100 attendees. Art by students and community members – including Tom McHugh, coordinator of Arts in Motion – was available for bidders in the silent auction. Another half-dozen items were reserved for a live auction later in the evening. In addition to the visual arts, live music was provided by Kent County Middle School and Kent County High School students, by Karen and Leon Frison, and by Sombarkin. And for the taste buds, a sumptuous buffet including fresh oysters, a variety of veggies and sweets was available, along with an open bar.

Model of the ship Sultana surrounded by delicious nibbles

John Schratwieser, director of the Kent County Arts Council, acted as master of ceremonies. He thanked the sponsors, and recognized Tom McHugh, who took on the role of Arts Coordinator for Kent County in 2016. “Every county in Maryland has one, but ours is the best,” Schratwieser said. The position includes fundraising for supplies, student trips, and supporting the arts faculty of the public school system.

Stephanie Spencer of the Kent County High School arts faculty described the community mosaic mural the gala was raising funds for. The school has received some funding from the state of Maryland, And mural artist Sue Stockman of St. Michaels has signed on to help design the mural, which will include images created by students to reflect “the beauty of the community.” Spencer also recognized Noele Morris, a visual arts teacher at KCHS who is a candidate for Kent County Teacher of the Year.

Chester River Collaborative Map Print by Kent County High School students brought the highest bid in the live auction.

The gala also recognized several Kent County Arts “Graduates of Distinction.” Honorees were Anne Massoni, currently professor of photography at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; Robbi Behr, who with her husband Matthew Swanson is the creative force behind a series of illustrated books; Kyle Hackett, an award-winning painter who lectures on art at American University in Washington; and the members of the a capella trio barkin: Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett Jr, and Jerome McKinney, who performed two numbers for the audience.

Art works by elementary school students were also on display.  One especially clever work of “recycled art” was Trash Guy: A Coastal Cleanup Sculpture created by Henry Martinez, Teo O’Brien, Aryan Sharma, and Tayvion Wilson.  The accomanying sign for Trash Guy read “Our sculpture was made from material we found at the Coastal Cleanup. We came up with an idea and glued it together. It’s a man on a skateboard.  We painted the wood to look like a skateboard with a lightning strike and used cans as the wheels.”

“Over and Under” the Chesapeake Bay  

Trash Guy 











Following a duet, “Through the Storm,” with Leon Frison on flugelhorn and his wife Karen on vocal, Chris Cerino took over for the live auction, giving a lively performance that brought smiles – and enthusiastic bids – from the attendees.

Six items were auctioned off, five of them by student artists representing each of the schools in the county. A large collage by four Kent County High School students drawing on images inspired by a visit to the Sultana Center was the top draw, selling to school board president Trish McGee. The artists were all present, walking the piece around for the audience to admire and to give prospective bidders a close up look. The next highest bid, at $650, was for a fishing charter for a party of 10 on the Chesapeake Bay with captain Greg Jetton on his beautiful boat Blind Faith.

Art Graduate of Distinction, Karen Somverville, with Tom McHugh, director of Arts in Motion

Art Graduate of Distinction Kyle Hackett (center) KCHS class of 2007 with his  former KCHS art teacher, Stephanie Spencer (left) and his mother, Diana Hackett (right)


All told, the live auction garnered $2,390 for the cause. That along with ticket sales, donations, and the silent auction brought the total to around $7,500 for the schools arts program.  A program–that as this evening proved–is inspiring wonderful young artists in Kent County.

We let the art speak for itself in the photo gallery below.  The mural project will be completed this spring.  Look for pictures of it in the Spy soon!

Photo Gallery:  Art work and music by students in Kent County Public Schools. Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck. 

“Over and Under” – a collaborative work by 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, depicts various life-forms that live both above and below the water in and around the Chesapeake Bay.









“Weaving Wonder” by 5th grade students at HH Garnet Elementary School using eight different watercolor techniques on individual strips which were then woven together.

Kent County Music teachers Keith Wharton and Charles Thai. Their students performed at the Saturday evening gala.

KCHS Concert Band members




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