WC Environmental Science Students Embark on Collaborative Groundwater Study

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Most people think of sea level rise as something visible, but in Rebecca Fox’s field methods in environmental science class at Washington College, students have begun long-term research into an invisible potential effect—saltwater intrusion into agricultural fields on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And, they’re collaborating with students from the University of Maryland, learning what it’s like to work with fellow researchers who aren’t even in the same county, let alone on the same campus.

Fox, assistant professor of environmental science and studies, came up with the idea with her friend and collaborator Kate Tully, assistant professor of agroecology at UMD’s Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. To jump-start the project, the pair applied for and received funding through MADE CLEAR, which is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Climate Change Education Project.

Fox used her portion ($5,000) to establish a permanent research station on a farm on the lower Chester River, where she and students installed eight groundwater wells equipped with instruments that can gather a variety of data about the groundwater.

“The data loggers collect information every 15 minutes to half an hour, data on groundwater temperature, how high the groundwater is, and the salinity of the groundwater,” Fox says. “We’re hoping we can use this data that will be collected over the next five to ten years to monitor whether saltwater is intruding into the farm fields. The goal is to bring our classes together every fall to the farm to do this research project and to look at the data… And we’ll have this long-term dataset so we can do some analyses, and there’s no reason we can’t use it for research and publish it.”

Ben Nelson ’18, an environmental science major and biology minor, was among the WC students who worked on the project last fall.

“We can look at the data and see what is going on over time, because that’s what is important,” he says. “Looking at things short-term is great, but we have to look at the bigger picture, and this research opportunity allows us to see what’s going to occur over time. We’re going to have to mitigate these issues or adapt to these changes.”

Last fall, the two groups of students met once at the site, where they spoke with the landowner about changes he has seen already, and examined how the groundwater wells work. Though looking at the same data, the classes are approaching the research from slightly different perspectives. The UMD agroecology students are focused on agriculture and food production, but also on soil health and the entire agricultural system, while the WC students, with their focus in environmental science, are thinking more broadly and about other aspects than just traditional agriculture.

“The intention is to get the students together, get them to talk, get them to look at this data, and then at the end of the class we have them come up with a plan to produce collaborative podcasts,” Fox says. “Half the podcast team was at College Park, half the team was here, and they had to figure out how to put a podcast together from different locations. So much science is collaborative, and you aren’t always in the same location as the people you’re working with. The hope was that the students would get this experience of remote collaboration and see how different it is when you have to cooperate remotely, and how clearly you have to communicate.”

Nelson says this real-world collaboration was one of the trickiest but most valuable parts of the project.

“These are people who are over an hour away, and this is when we rely on technology to communicate. And that was good practice,” he says. “It really made you plan and consider others… In the beginning when we first started communications with them we were a little bit hesitant on both ends…. But as we progressed through the project I think we realized the only way we were going to get this done is to learn and adapt.

“We could interact with people of different backgrounds and further expand our collaborative skills,” he says. “This will definitely be helpful in the workplace, because you don’t just work with the same five people every day.”

In the upcoming year, the WC students will also have the opportunity to travel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, where Tully’s side of the research is examining how different cover crops can sequester carbon dioxide.

“For that lab, instead of coming here and looking at saltwater intrusion, we’re going to look at the ability of cover crops to mitigate climate change,” Fox says. “They have all of these long- term experimental plots where they’re trying different types of cover crops, and so it’s very much more an agricultural perspective, but it’s looking at how we can diversify our crops to maybe make a difference in terms of how much carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere.”

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 washcoll.edu.

The Benedictine School 2018 Graduation Ceremony

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On the 14th of June, The Benedictine School held its annual graduation ceremony at its campus in Ridgely to celebrate the accomplishments of 11 students. The ceremony recognized the individual achievements of each graduate with a special award presentation.

Family, friends and staff in attendance enjoyed an evening of hospitality as the culminating event of the school year. The ceremony included a live performance of the national anthem sung by staff member Yvonne Duckery, vocalist, and Devin Brown, keyboardist. A volunteer group of staff also performed a sign language routine. Special guest, ‘Elsa’ from the Disney movie Frozen, surprised graduates at the end of the ceremony and posed for pictures.

Education Director Julie Hickey recognized school teacher Lorraine Slama for recently earning the title of ‘Educator of the Year’ by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services. Benedictine parent, Kathy Marinucci of Dominic’s Farm, was recognized with The Community Award for sharing her talents and farm resources with school students.

Graduates from The Benedictine School were awarded a High School Certificate of Program Completion and will move on to adult life in their home communities.  We wish them the best of luck.

Providing opportunities to live meaningful, productive lives in communities of choice, Benedictine helps children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their greatest potential without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, or age.

The Gunston School Celebrates 107th Commencement

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On the morning of June 9, 2018, The Gunston School celebrated its 107th Commencement, graduating 42 students from the Class of 2018. The longtime tradition of an outdoor ceremony along the banks of the Corsica River was greeted with cloudy skies, but warm smiles. Bagpiper Robert Wallace led the processional, as the girls in white formal dresses carrying flower bouquets and boys in blue blazers and khakis processed.  Class President Neel Patel delivered the opening greeting, followed by each senior presenting a favorite quote.

Photo: Class of 2018: L-R, front row, Lila Ingersoll, Alli Webb, Emma Hottell, Gillian Felton, Ryleigh Paskoski, Joey Smith, Mary Macmillan, Hope Murphy, Betty Zhou, Crystal Liu, Grace Dai; second row, Assistant Headmaster Christie Grabis, Headmaster John Lewis, Oliver Wu, Charlotte Sheets, Brennan Paddy, Lily Phipps, Susie Fordi, Rose Fan, Tirza Enriquez, Heidi Barcus, Steven Goss, Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, President of Washington College Kurt Landgraf; third row, Naix Wang, Tanner Ways, Max Cao, Yohanes Gray, Neel Patel, Jacob Yu, Cubby, Zhou; fourth row, Dutch Nickerson, Mitchell Naumann, Alex Papadopoulos, Sam Johnson, Henry Parkhurst, Robert Messier; back row, Nat Vivian, Kobe Zheng, Simon Cawley, Jack Morrison, Chris Newberg, Garrett Rudolfs

This year’s commencement speaker was Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Landgraf earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College, before going on to earn three master’s degrees. Mr. Landgraf earned a master’s of economics from Pennsylvania State, a master’s of educational administration from Rutgers, and a master’s of sociology from Western Michigan University. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

“Today is about defining success.” Mr. Landgraf stated in his remarks to the graduates. “Success is about you being happy, it has nothing to do with how much money you make, how big your house is, or what you drive.” He concluded with these words of wisdom, “who you are and what you are, are enough. You don’t have to be more than the person inside you.”

On Friday, June 8, the Green & White Awards Ceremony was held in The Field House. Headmaster John Lewis addressed the class of 2018 praising them for their accomplishments, adding what a privilege it had been to work with such an extraordinary group of young men and women. He wished them all the best in their future endeavors.

Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll addressed her classmates with the metaphor of a layer cake. “I crafted a unique one to represent the senior class’ four years at Gunston. I am sure you have all seen a layer cake before, but the cake I am using in this metaphor has 4 layers of cake and 4 layers of frosting in between (including the icing on top of course). When reflecting back on our high school experience, I found all the layers to be very sweet but each one has a different purpose…”

The awards ceremony was followed by the Brick Laying Ceremony and Senior Disembarkation. Four years ago the Class of 2018 arrived to campus by boat, where they were greeted by outstretched hands and smiling faces of the upperclassmen and faculty. On Friday, the 42 members of the class of 2018 once again walked through the receiving line, but this time they said farewell to their friends as they disembarked from Gunston to start their next journey.

Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll of Chestertown and Headmaster John Lewis

Several faculty members participated in the presentation of awards, which recognized the following students:

Valedictorian—Samuel A. Middleton Award: Lila Ingersoll
The Gunston Award: Henry Parkhurst
Leadership Award: Neel Patel
Diversity Leader Award—Susie Fordi
Community Service—Marguerite Thomas Award: Rose Fan
Moore Award for Improvement: Alli Webb
The Faculty Award: Josephine Smith and Gillian Felton
Environmental Stewardship Award: Sam Johnson
Paul M. Long Award: Caroline Roser
Clare Poussard Award: Katie Staley
Megan V. Batdorf Award: Elena Sherman
The Anita Gruss Athletics Award: Brennan Paddy and Mitchell Naumann
Art Award: Rose Fan
Music Award: Li (Cubby) Zhou
Theatre Award: Simon Cawley
Mathematics Award: Henry Parkhurst
Science Award: Ryleigh Paskoski
Engineering: Jack Morrison
Bay Studies High Honors: Emerson Borghardt, Jianna Casiello, Katherine Chen, Dylan Conner, Cora Duncan, Katie Easter, Cole Evans, Gillian Felton, Francesca Fisher, James Fordi, Yanni Harris, Griffin Hecht, Lindsay Hildebrand, Sam Johnson, Ellie Merton, Will Newberg, Dutch Nickerson, Henry Parkhurst, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel, Lily Phipps, Isabella Santoboni, Max Scott, Elena Sherman, Charles Shifrin, Abbie Silva, Nellie Stup, Jackson Talbott, Nat Vivian, Alli Webb, Owen White
History—Capt. John P. W. Vest Award: Sam Johnson
Spanish Award: Henry Parkhurst
Latin—Marie W. Whittico Award: Katie Easter
English Language Acquisition: Karen Chen
English—Sandra Slacum Spears Award: Lila Ingersoll
Literature—Hila C. Ferguson Award: Simon Cawley
English Immersion Award: Areopl Bai
Junior Symposium Award: Marisa Pisapia
Senior Paradigm Project Award: Hopewell Murphy

The final award, the coveted Green & White Cup for the 2017-2018 school year, was presented to the Green Team! Twice each year, Gunston declares a “green & white field day” as students, faculty and staff divide into two teams and compete in activities that range from canoe races, tennis matches, a pie eating contest and sack races, to math competitions, creative writing challenges, ultimate Frisbee, photography and more. The team accumulating the most points from both days wins the Green & White Cup.

Author Doug Norton to Speak at Chestertown Library June 30

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As a warship captain during the Cold War, Doug Norton held launch codes for nuclear weapons and was prepared to use them, but he also participated in high-stakes international negotiations to reduce their numbers and the chance of nuclear war.

On Saturday, June 30th, Mr. Norton will visit Kent County Public Library’s Chestertown branch to present “American Presidents, North Korean Dictators, and the Elephants in the Room,” which relates the fictional plots of his international thriller series Code Word to current real world developments in East Asia.

With over thirty years of real world experiences that included nuclear deterrence, tense White House meetings, and high-stakes diplomacy in Geneva, Brussels, London, and Washington, Mr. Norton brings deep knowledge and authenticity to this discussion of the demands and costs of duty and the question of whether evil can be overcome by good without resorting to evil methods.

The talk will be followed by Q&A and a book signing. A limited number of Mr. Norton’s books will be available for sale. Copies of the books can also be purchased before the program at The Book Plate in Chestertown.

For more information about this and other upcoming programs, visit kentcountylibrary.org or call 410.778.3636.

Saturday, June 30 | 11am
Kent County Public Library | Chestertown Branch

WC’s Riverfront Concert Series Kicks Off on June 28 With Sombarkin’

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Sombarkin’

Slip into summer with Washington College’s Riverfront Concert Series, which this year kicks off with Sombarkin’, the acclaimed a capella gospel, blues and jazz trio, who will open the Thursday evening series on June 28 at 6:30 p.m. Produced by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the free concerts take place at the Custom House lawn on the corner of High and Water streets in Chestertown. Bring your own picnic, (free cookies and lemonade provided!) blankets, and chairs; rally your friends, family, and neighbors, and get ready to tap your feet, clap your hands, sing along, dance, or just sit back and enjoy.

Featuring jazz, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, and more, the 2018 Riverfront Concert Series powerfully demonstrates the appeal and versatility of the grassroots music that arose from city streets, juke joints, mountain hollows, and African American churches across America. At each performance, Starr Center program manager and concert series host Michael Buckley will provide some cultural context, interview the artists, and invite questions from the audience. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM, includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”

The full concert schedule is as follows:

Joe Holt

Thursday, June 28, 2018 – Sombarkin’
The award-winning trio Sombarkin’—Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney—use the skill of vocal instrumentation and harmony to deliver an explosive performance of African American spirituals, map (code) songs, folk, gospel, blues, and jazz. Their polyphonic technique is reminiscent of the old-time camp meetings, yet they also deliver a contemporary soulful sound with surprising jazz licks and blues bends. Theirs is a transforming gospel crafted to impress the ear with the quality of an ensemble greater in number than three. Sombarkin’ will be joined by Joe Holt, the inspirational classical and jazz pianist whose performances reflect the influence of both worlds, and the joy in the moment. Hailing from Kent County, Sombarkin’s versatility has brought them into collaboration with an impressive list of renowned artists from New York’s Broadway and beyond, particularly their acclaimed performance in Red Devil Moon—an original musical based on the 1923 literary classic Cane—at the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 – Ultrafaux, with special guest Danny Knicely
Ultrafaux is an acoustic powerhouse of two guitars and upright bass that has thrilled audiences at festivals and concert halls worldwide since the release of their first CD in 2014. Ultrafaux performs original music inspired by Django Reinhardt, jazz manouche, be-bop, gypsy folk, swing, funk, blues, and French musette. Lead guitarists Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin trade dazzling leads and harmonize together on rich gypsy-inspired melodies. Ultrafaux and Hot Club of Baltimore founding guitarist and composer Michael Joseph Harris was named one of the top 10 artists in Baltimore by Baltimore Style Magazine. The band often includes top guest artists and for their debut performance at this year’s Riverfront Concert Series, Ultrafaux welcomes master mandolinist Danny Knicely. Steeped in a mountain music tradition, Knicely has shared his roots in old-time and bluegrass music throughout four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Tunisia, Morocco, and Russia. Knicely displays his virtuosity performing on mandolin, guitar and violin.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 – The High & Wides
The High & Wides, like the large-haul trains for which the band is named, project a big, driving sound—mountain musical traditions re-imagined for a new century. Formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015, they write music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from their members’ extensive backgrounds in bluegrass and take the music to a place all their own, recalling an era when old-time, rockabilly, and proto-rock’n’roll coexisted in a murky soup of hillbilly string band music. The High & Wides include Marc Dykeman (guitar and vocals), Sam Guthridge (banjo, mandolin and vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Mike Buccino (upright bass). Their new album, titled Lifted, was released this spring.

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley at 410-810-7156.Additional concerts sponsored by the Kent County Arts Council take place every other Saturday evening beginning June 10, from 7-8:30 pm at Chestertown’s Fountain Park.

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 washcoll.edu.

The Summer Literary Salon on June 19

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The Rose O’Neill Literary House’s Summer Literary Salon will feature readings by H.G. Carrillo, David MacLean, Lynn Melnick, and the Literary House’s 2018 Cave Canem Fellow, Lauren Russell, as well as music from The Pam Ortiz Band. This free, public event on June 19, starting at 4:30, will be followed by a book signing and light refreshments.

H.G. Carrillo

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Glimmer Train, Ninth Letter, Slice and other journals and publications. He is the 2018 Writer in Residence for The Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and sits on the executive board of directors of The PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

David Stuart MacLean is a PEN/American award-winning essayist. His essays and stories have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian UK, Newsweek, Ploughshares, GuernicaThe Bennington Review, Quarterly West, and on the radio program, This American Life. He is the author of the memoir The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Books of 2014.

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence and If I Should Say I Have Hope, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she also serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta, 2017)A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she was the 2014-2015 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the 2016 VIDA Fellow to the Home School, and a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in poetry. She is a research assistant professor and is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Pam Ortiz is that rare songwriter who can touch people where they feel deeply, where they laugh and where they cry. She did this for ten years with the group Terra Nova in the ’90s, playing to packed coffee houses in the Baltimore-Washington area. Her songs were showcased in the three albums that the group recorded. She released a fourth album, Rattle Them Chains, in 2012. Since then, she has performed solo, with her five-piece group the Pam Ortiz Band, and also with her husband, percussionist Bob Ortiz. Her signature clear voice, coupled with her turn of phrase and melody, enhance a catalogue of original songs that speak of who we are, what we’ve won and lost, how we love and live. The Pam Ortiz Band also includes Pam’s husband, Bob Ortiz, on percussion and guitar, Ford Schumann on guitar, Nevin Dawson on viola and violin, and Philip Dutton on piano and keyboards.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

St. Anne’s Episcopal School Graduates the Class of 2018

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Twenty-nine young men and women recently graduated in the Class of 2018 at St. Anne’s Episcopal School.  They will attend seventeen high schools, among them Archmere Academy, Bohemia Manor High School, Caesar Rodney High School, The Charter School of Wilmington, Dover High School, The Gunston School, Middletown High School, MOT Charter High School, North Harford High School, Padua Academy, Phillips Academy Andover, Sanford School, St. Andrew’s School, Tatnall School, Tower Hill School, and Ursuline Academy.  The graduating class included students from Crumpton, Cecilton, Chesapeake City, Elkton, and Warwick, MD.

Each year St. Anne’s invites several of its graduating students to speak at their commencement.  The speakers’ reflections about their past and anticipation of their future included:

Photo: St. Anne’s Episcopal School Class of 2018. Back Row: Jiya Patel, Alani Davila, Justina Guity, Abigail White, Brianna Cordova, Vivian Wiggins, Jaylen Douglas, Amaan Rather, Stanley Chen, William Hurtt, Dylan Smallwood, Luke Ratliff, Jacob Austin, Sophie Hoopes, Emma Applegate, Madelyn Galbus, Emily Smith, Allaire Berl, Emma Long. Front Row: Rachel Fonder, Lauren Drain, Anastasia Clair, Caroline Bennett, Emily Heath, Megan Disabella, Jordyn Gueh, Madison Hanlon, Sophia Shroyer, Malini Lodhavia.

Taking leaps of faith while at St. Anne’s helped me find who I am. I would have never taken sport pictures if I did not just say “yes.” I would have never talked in front of the entire school during chapel or shared my music if I did not just say “yes.” The support of everyone I surround myself with has helped me change my perspective on life, and that is what I needed when I came here. – Emma Long

Danny K. Davis says, “Middle school students are at a critical time in their lives when making good choices matters – the decisions they make in these formative years have an impact on their future success.” I completely stand by that message. We learn from each other and build each other up. We have learned to not play the victim and that, as Mark Twain states, “The world owes us nothing.” What had happened two years ago does not matter. It only matters on how we rebound, how we get back up, and how we conquer the challenges. – Brianna Cordova

From the culmination of everything we have learned in eighth grade and years past, I think I have found my own answer. I have to listen for those who cannot be heard. I have to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. I have to remind myself that even when others are facing the greatest challenges, whether it is my classmates preparing for one of Mrs. Wolinski’s science tests or people in third world countries facing poverty every day, even the smallest actions we take can make a difference. I am now confident that it is ever more important for our generation to stand up for what is right, and to shut down what is wrong. – Jiya Patel

Located in Middletown, DE, St. Anne’s Episcopal School (www.stannesde.org) is a Preschool (age 3) through Grade 8 co-ed independent day school that focuses on academic excellence and spiritual growth in a small, family-oriented and diverse community. Founded by visionary educators from St. Andrew’s School in 2002, the school’s academic program prepares students for honors course work in the finest area high schools through its commitment to intellectual, spiritual, physical, social, and artistic growth and character development.

Kent School Celebrates Graduates

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Friday, June 8 marked the 49th Graduation ceremony at Kent School. Thirteen members of the Class of 2018 were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the Kent School community during their years. In her remarks, Head of School Nancy Mugele stated, “There is a ‘big, bright, beautiful world’ waiting for you and I know you are ready. Kent School has given you an extraordinary foundation and instilled in you a love of learning – a love, I hope, will last you a lifetime. We have taught you how to think for yourself and how to ask good questions. You have learned many lessons outside of the classroom as well and have grown into empathetic, honorable and responsible citizens.”

Chris McClary ‘91, President of the Board of Trustees, addressed those gathered and presented the Navigator Award. The award is presented to an individual who has made a special contribution of time, talent, or treasure to Kent School over a sustained period of time, made a difference in the educational experience of a range of Kent School students, and supports the school mission to help each student reach their full potential. This year the Navigator Award was presented to not just one person, but a family who has been deeply involved and committed to Kent School for over 40 years. The Willock Family started their journey with Kent School in the 1970’s when John and Judie enrolled their daughter Jill Willock Caron ‘83 as a Kindergarten student. Two years later, Susan Willock ’85 entered Kindergarten. Since then, John, Judie, Jill and Susan have remained close to Kent School in a variety of roles including Trusteeship, and Parents, Teachers and Friends (PTF) leadership, as well as through their philanthropic support. Susan returned to Kent School as a teacher and Director of the Little School program from 1999 to 2003. Jill is the parent of two Kent School graduates, Jamie‘13 and Sarah ‘15. Jill has been, and remains, a loyal and flexible substitute teacher. Their most important role, which has helped sustain Kent School, is that of Friend of the School. Their tireless support has been instrumental in Kent School’s success as we reach the 50th   Anniversary.

L-R: Georgia Gillespie, Abby Russum, Cameron Lord, Andrew Baughman, Evan Gervais, Jake Cerino, Flynn Bowman, Zachary LaFleur, Reed Ferguson, Sage Cookerly, Tessa Schut, Danielle Simmons and Lexi Norman. Photo by Geoffrey DeMerritt.

The 2018 Graduation ceremony provided the opportunity to recognize three members of the faculty who are retiring this year, Kate Bennett, Pam Deringer and Holly Roddy. Kate leaves her role as Music and Drama Teacher after 23 years. Pam, who is credited with developing and growing Kent School’s nationally recognized Chesapeake Bay Studies program is leaving after 25 years of service. Finally, Holly Roddy is retiring after 20 years of teaching Seventh and Eighth Grade Literature and Language Arts. Each of these teachers has had a positive impact on every Kent School student in different ways. They will be missed but we congratulate them and wish them the best in their well-deserved retirement.

Several annual awards were presented to students at the Graduation ceremony. Each year, the Brian B. Kane Scholarship Award is presented to a Seventh Grade student who maintains a determined effort to produce quality work. The person has an attitude that is helpful, cooperative and responsible. This year, Tait Tavolacci embodies these high standards. The Americanism Award is presented by the Frank M. Jarmon American Legions Rock Hall Post 228 and emphasizes the qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship service. The Americanism Award was presented to Andrew Baughman. Sage Cookerly was the recipient of the Joan C. Merriken Award for Excellence in Literature. Sage earned this award because of his demonstration of a love of reading, an appreciation of and sensitivity to the writer’s art, and an ability to respond to literature in an intellectual level as well as an emotional level. The final award of the day, The Osprey Award was presented in recognition of the student who best represents the positive qualities of character and excellence to the Kent School Community. This contribution can take many forms: athletic, artistic, academic or personal. This year, The Osprey Award was presented to Danielle Simmons. Student speakers were Reed Ferguson and Lexi Norman. Reed spoke of the importance of the relationships he developed with teachers through the years and shared experiences between he and his classmates. Reed said, speaking of his ritual arrival to school each morning, “I have gotten so used to this morning routine, that I haven’t appreciated the amazing environment that is my second home.” The second student speaker was Lexi Norman who reflected on her journey from Preschool through Eighth Grade and how fast that time has gone. She concluded with a message to current Kent School students. “Make every moment count. Trust me, it will be worth it.”

Following all remarks, each student was introduced with personal comments written by their advisors as they received their certificates. Members of the Class of 2018 will be attending the following secondary schools: The Gunston School, The STEM Academy at Kent County High School, and St. Andrew’s School.

For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving children from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

The Public Schools Funding Challenge: What did Talbot County Do?

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As many of our readers know, the Spy goes out of its way to cover public affairs through the lens of a hyperlocal perspective. While our articles of the arts and regional culture frequently are shared in both the Chestertown Spy and Talbot Spy, when it comes to local government coverage, we have kept Kent County and Talbot County issues separated in our online publications to best serve the needs of these uniquely different communities.

But periodically, both counties must face the same challenges in how they collect revenue and support local priorities. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to not only covering the annual budget expense of their respective public schools through Maryland’s “maintenance of effort”(MOE) requirement, the bare minimum a county must provide for their school districts, but more frequently these days, must find funding well beyond that number to keep their schools competitive.

Last week, the Kent County Commissioners and residents found themselves in a heated discussion as Kent County faces this kind of challenge in the next fiscal year budget. And this conversation comes at a time when the Talbot County Council has had to face a similar issue and recently approved a substantial increase over the required MOE, despite the fact that all five members were fiscally conservative Republicans.

Without commentary, the Spy shares below an outtake of a recent GOP forum where four out of the five council members discuss their decision to raise taxes to fund the Talbot County Public Schools in the new budget year. Starting with Jennifer Williams, president of the Talbot County Council, and following by Council members Cory Pack, Chuck Callahan and Laura Price, discuss their rationale in voting for the substantial increase.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.