The band students at West Friendship Elementary School get a kick out of seeing their names in print and teacher Amy Syversen enjoys praising them for a job well done. This week, she would like to recognize the February Musicians of the Month: Joseph Biegel (percussion), Megan Blackman (clarinet), Madison Costigan (clarinet), Elisabeth Degenford (alto saxophone), Owen Reider (clarinet), and Hana Thamer (clarinet). Congratulations, everyone!

A growing number of West Friendship Elementary band students have also mastered their scales to become "Scale Stars."

Kudos go to:

Erin Ko (oboe; Chromatic, C major, F major, B flat major, E flat major, A flat major, G major, D major, and A major);

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Sidney Parkent (bells; Chromatic, C major, F major, B flat major, E flat major, A flat major, and G major);

Emily Morton (flute; C major, F major, B flat major, E flat major, A flat major, and G major);

Tyler Brandt (tenor saxophone; C major and G major);

Elisabeth Degenford (alto saxophone; Chromatic);

Austin Cestone (trumpet; C major);

Su Min Kim (trombone; C major);

Allison Polinsky (trumpet; C major);

Caroline Underwood (trumpet; C major);

Jonathan Bitterli (tuba; B flat major);

and Jacob Coomber (alto saxophone; G major).

The end-of-school awards ceremony at Marriotts Ridge High School always showcases an impressive field of honor roll students, especially those who have earned straight 'A's throughout the year. Wouldn't it be great if those top-notch students could earn monetary compensation and real work experience using the academic skills in which they excel? Peer2Peer, a Maryland-based tutoring company, offers students that very opportunity.

So what is Peer2Peer? In 2003, Erik Kimel, then a 17 year-old student from Churchill High School in Montgomery County, founded the company on the premise that students can successfully teach their peers and relate to them in ways adults cannot. For instance, a peer tutor may have had the same class or teacher and can also understand the pressures a fellow student may feel.

Peer2Peer now offers its services in Howard and Montgomery counties and select counties in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, northern Virginia, North Carolina and in Washington, D.C.Although every high school in Howard County is represented, Peer2Peer currently seeks more tutors from Marriotts Ridge to pair with students in need of academic assistance. (The company tries to match compatible students from the same schools.)

Interested students in grades 10-12 or college can apply online at The company will perform an academic screening to identify those who are always "shining" and fall in the top 5 to 7 percent of their class. A local M.O.M. (Management Operational Mentor) will then interview the screened applicants to pinpoint those who are personable, friendly, and engaging. In Howard County, that M.O.M. is Melissa Barrett, a freelance college consultant and former guidance counselor who resides in Ellicott City and has two children attending local schools.

Barrett has held her position since July 2011 and, in that time, has worked hard to promote community outreach. Peer2Peer has offered free tutoring programs during local PTA meetings and donated free tutoring hours to Howard County schools as fundraising prizes.

The flip side of the company, of course, is that it is an effective resource for parents seeking academic help for their children. Peer2Peer tutors assist students grades K-12 in every academic subject, as well as athletics, extracurricular activities, study skills, test preparation, and college essay assistance.