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Rodgers Forge students complete citizenship program [Rodgers Forge]

How much American history do you know? Can you identify the 24 counties in Maryland? Can you recite the American's Creed? That one was new to me. Remember the ninth grade citizenship test we had to pass in order to graduate from a Maryland public high school? Would you pass if you took that test today? If your memory is hazy and the facts are just out of focus, the students at Rodgers Forge Elementary School can definitely provide you academic support.

For the six weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend, students participated in the Patriot and Defenders Program, a patriotic endeavor to learn more about our state and country. Every student at RFES worked hard to reach their grades' designation, from the Yankee Doodles in kindergarten and the Soaring Eagles in first grade, to the Stars and Stripes second-graders, and third grade Minutemen — all the way up to the fourth- and fifth-grade Patriots and Defenders. In all, 243 students successfully completed the program — that's more than half the school.

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Each grade had successively more challenging requirements for attaining their designation and as each child reached his or her goal, cheers could be heard around the school. Many parent volunteers encouraged and assisted the participants over the course of the program and it would not have been as successful without them. The school held a special assembly on May 27 with special recognition for the 40 who attained Patriot status.

In a packed cafeteria, RFES Principal Melissa Fanshaw; Dumbarton Middle School Principal Sue Harris; fifth-grade teacher and champion of the Patriots and Defenders Program at RFES, Katie Lark; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Carter Braxton Chapter Registrar, Joy Hare; and special guests Councilman David Marks, Del. Bill Frank and state Sen. Jim Brochin recognized the 40 fourth- and fifth-grade Patriots and Defenders, who, by Del. Frank's observation, know even more on the subject of American history than some of the college students he teaches.

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Congratulations to Sam Amos, Gabriela Arango, Caroline Bailey, Samara Bratt, Riley Crabtree, Alessandra Crippa, Emily Davis, William Derbyshire, Isabella Ehrhardt, Liam Emmons, Matthew Ensign, Delanie Evans, Colin Freas, Ashton Fry, Natalie Gimignani, Julien Goodrich, Lydia Hamilton, Rory Harmon, Jane Kastner, Kevin Lankford, Emma Lohr, Kacey McKenna, Mia Mendel, Tess Moayedi, Willis Morales, Olivia Osgood, Ryan Quinn, Will Rayburn, Isabel Rodriguez, Natalie Russell, Audrey Russell, Anna Saracino, Victoria Schofield, Will Schwab, Hannah Smith, Yanaiza Sullivan Avillo, Miyu Takimoto, Ian Tucker, JC Varela and Lindy Zhu.

As a reward for successfully completing the program, the RFES PTA sponsored a special trip on June 2 to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The students may have even taught the docents a thing or two while they were there. They're some pretty smart kids!

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