ARL students outstanding in finance competition [Glenwood/Glenelg/Dayton]

Howard County residents benefit from an excellent school system, including 12 high schools and the Applications and Research Laboratory, which is the county's career and technology high school.

The ARL offers centralized programs in unique content areas, with opportunities for internships and real world experiences. Students partner with businesses to earn certifications and college credits while attending the ARL. They also have many opportunities to show off the incredible skills they are learning.

Glenelg High School junior, and student at ARL, Noah Van Blarcom, was part of a team of financial experts which placed first in the National Personal Finance Challenge held in St. Louis, Mo., in May. The team had placed first at the Maryland Personal Finance Challenge in April, competing against 18 teams of high school juniors and seniors from schools across Maryland.

As Maryland champions, the Howard County Academy of Finance team consisting of Victoria Brown from Atholton High School, Van Blarcom from Glenelg, Siddhant Chhabra and Justin Overstreet from Howard High School, and Desmond Morrison from Reservoir High School, continued on to the St. Louis competition, and came in first in the country.

Kevin Guyer, another junior from Glenelg High School, qualified for the national level of the SkillsUSA competition by winning gold in the Maryland state competition for Advertising Design/Graphics. He will be competing in the 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City this summer. Kevin is a student of the Visual Communications Academy (Graphic arts pathway) at the Applications and Research Laboratory.

Congratulations and good luck to these talented students.

At the end of March I told you about Robert Ballantine Jr., of Woodbine, who was hospitalized with pneumonia and blood infections on the last day of December in 2013. He spent four months in Intensive Care Units, before being transferred to North Arundel Rehabilitation Center in May. His daughter, Tori Ballantine-Meliotis, reports that her dad is getting stronger every day in rehab, as he is learning how to walk with a walker.

When Ballantine was first hospitalized, his family was told that he had little chance of surviving the multiple infections. He is a fighter, and is now recovering, but the bills are piling up. Ballantine is a self-employed contractor, and his wife, Debora, worked for him, so their business has stopped, and they have no income. Insurance is only paying for part of the bills, and the family is desperately trying to pay the mortgage and household expenses so there is a home for Ballantine to live in when he is finally released from the hospital.

Ballantine, a graduate of Mount Hebron High School, has lived in Woodbine for over 35 years, and his children all attended Glenelg High School. He owns Ballantine Foundations Coatings, which makes concrete foundations for homes, and waterproofs the foundations. He was always active in the community and could often be found using his bulldozer to plow neighbors' driveways after heavy snowstorms.

This is a local family that really needs our help. For more information about what the family needs, or to make a donation, contact Tori Ballantine-Meliotis at 20 Merino Court, Owings Mills, MD 21117, or by phone at 410-984-4704. Please do what you can to help them.

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