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Off to a good start in 2014 with good news, congrats [Towson]

Towson UniversityHigh SchoolsSchoolsAfrican-American History MonthThe CW (tv network)

As we start the new year with resolutions and goals that we are determined to fulfill in 2014 (I am sure that we are all still holding on to those resolutions, yes?), several members of our community are already celebrating recent accomplishments and accolades.

Calvert Hall '97 alum, Adam Van Bavel, of Reisterstown, was featured recently by Baltimore magazine as one of 40 "up-and-comers" under the age of 40 in the fields of business, tech, nonprofit, politics, science, and the arts. Van Bavel, 34, was noted for his philanthropic contributions to various Baltimore communities. Van Bavel said he has participated in several volunteer efforts, including #BmoreLocal, an effort he launched in 2013 to "bring together like-minded individuals who support local business, local causes, and a better Baltimore."

According to Van Bavel, #BmoreLocal was also a great catalyst to introduce #GivingTuesday and #BmoreGivesMore to a larger segment of the Baltimore population.

Van Bavel attributes much of his philanthropic nature to his upbringing and educational experiences at Calvert Hall.

"My grandparents raised me, and my grandfather (as well as all the males in my family) went to Calvert Hall, so I think it runs in the family as well as the curriculum to give back to the community," Van Bavel said. "Calvert Hall was an integral force in helping to shape the man I am today, and I'm appreciative of the friends and experiences I gained during my time in high school."

Van Bavel was not shy as a Calvert Hall student; he immersed himself in the school community as often as possible. "I was a member of almost every club offered, which really exposed me to diversity and individuals from many backgrounds. I remember being a 'big brother' for the first time and the feeling it brought me to be a role model, friend, and inspiration to someone impressionable and needing of such a figure in their life."

Since then, Van Bavel has built on the foundation of his family and education at Calvert Hall to help more people, in more ways. "What drives me today is what has always driven me, Van Bavel said. "The force behind my actions is to create a better society where our lives are filled with more opportunity and enrichment than struggle and sadness. I strive for a better Baltimore for us all."

For more information about #BmoreLocal, you can follow on Twitter @AdamVanBavel.

In other community news, Joshua Bixler Tyler, of Hampton, graduated with honors from Towson University with a bachelor's of science degree in physics on Dec. 19, 2013. Tyler is the grandson of Daniel and Joy Wheeler, also of Hampton, who just celebrated their 65th anniversary in November. Congratulations!

Two Loch Raven High School students were named finalists in the 27th annual "Champions of Courage" Black History Month essay competition, presented by M&T Bank. Yasmine Mzayek and Eunji Park were two of the ten Baltimore County Public School students who were named among the 20 finalists.

The award-winning essays were selected from among more than 3,000 student entries from Baltimore area schools. Students in grades six through 12 were asked to write essays about their personal heroes and how they reflect and share the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As finalists, the students' recitations of their essays will be aired January and February on WBFF-TV Fox 45, WNUV-TV The CW Baltimore, and WUTB MyTV Baltimore.

Each finalist will receive a $100 prize at an awards breakfast to be held at the Tremont Grand in Baltimore on Jan. 25. At the event, the top three essayists will be announced and will receive more than $3,000 in scholarships and cash prizes for their schools. Good luck to all finalists!

At Towson High School, students comprising the group named SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) are collecting submissions from Towson High students, teachers and parents for a cookbook, which they plan on selling as a fundraiser later in the school year. Categories include appetizers, salads, side dishes, main meals, and desserts. Specific information about the cookbook, including submission forms that you can download, can be found on the Towson High website (http://towsonhs.bcps.org/)

SADD, according to its website (www.sadd.org), has evolved from being a campaign to end student drinking and driving to a "peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide."

The Towson High chapter of SADD encourages students who are interested in getting involved to attend an upcoming meeting, usually the third Thursday of every month.

If you have celebratory news and information to share, please contact me at rusvw13@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Photo Caption: Adam Van Bavel serves ice cream at a #BmoreLocal event benefiting the Village Learning Place with De'Von Brown of Taharka Brothers. Photo provided by Adam Van Bavel.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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