Gerstell Academy ninth-grader Madeleine "Maddie" Bauhof was among 20 winners in the Fox 45 "Champions of Courage" essay contest.
Her salute focused on her middle school teacher and hero, Stephen Olszewski, and his positive influence on her throughout middle school.
She summed up her thoughts on "Mr. O," as he is fondly called, in this quote: "He not only was an amazing teacher, but was also an amazing person who taught me how to be a leader and to instruct others around me. Much like Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. O helped me to always do what I believe in and to never give up on my dreams when someone says I can't do them. Mr. O is someone that I strive to be. He taught me to approach everything with as much passion and effort as I possibly can and I want to be able to teach people the same thing. Mr. O is my Champion of Courage."
Contest winners were honored at a breakfast at the historic Grand Hotel in Baltimore Jan. 31. Maddie attended the breakfast with her parents, Bradley and Tracy Bauhof; Dr. Frederick Smith, president and founder of Gerstell Academy; Gary Slyman, head of the Upper School and assistant to the president, and his wife, Michele; and Stephen Olszewski and his wife, Kathleen.
Gerstell Academy is in Finksburg.