Five years ago, I had the privilege of being part of a group of Francis Scott Key High School administration, faculty, alumni, parents, business, community and political leaders that came together to boost and emphasize academic achievement, character education, consistent attendance and community involvement at the school. The group has become known as the FSK Advisory Council and Academic Boosters.
High on the list of goals for the group was to significantly increase the number of Advanced Placement tests being taken by students at FSK. Students were taking the AP courses in good numbers but the cost of the tests was a hindrance to some. Through fundraising and donations from individuals and businesses in the community, the Academic Boosters have provided scholarships for a significant number of students at FSK and the number of AP tests taken are way up.
Small rewards have been provided to students who improve their daily attendance at school. It's remarkable what a gift card for a McDonald's sandwich will achieve.
The Veterans Day Celebration at FSK has brought the students face-to-face with American heroes and both groups have benefited. The vets get to tell their stories and get to know this new generation. The students get to hear firsthand the history they have only read about and to appreciate the sacrifices made by previous generations that impact their lives today. Character counts and it is on display at these celebrations.
Last Friday at the football game between FSK and Westminster High School, another goal of the FSK Advisory Council and Academic Boosters was achieved. Since the group was founded we have been talking about establishing a Wall of Excellence at the school — a permanent structure designed and built by students and faculty; a place where FSK alumni could be held up to the current student body as examples of what former students had achieved and what was possible for them to achieve as well. The game between longstanding rivals served as the venue to announce the inaugural class for the FSK Wall of Excellence. They include:
Granville Hibberd, Class of 1965, BA, MA, teacher at Manchester and Elmer Wolfe Elementary schools and Francis Scott Key High School. "Mr. FSK" as he is known was also the soccer coach who led the FSK boys soccer team to two state championships.
Todd Herring, Class of 1979, graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School, Department of Physical Therapy. Todd has had a very successful business career in real estate, physical rehabilitation and sports medicine. He has been FSK Business Partner of the Year in 2004 and 2010. Todd also serves on local nonprofit boards of directors.
Dr. Lynn Raab, Class of 2003, graduated with honors from University of Maryland, College Park, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with a specialty in large animals. She is now an associate veterinarian at the Maryland Mobile Vet Clinic where she has the opportunity to provide services to the FSK community.
Joseph Crouse, Class of 2011, took full advantage of the Advanced Placement system taking four AP courses but 18 AP tests earning an associate degree from Carroll Community College before he graduated from FSK. Joe has a PhD in economics and is a professor at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
James Loy, Class of 2012, worked hard at FSK, which earned him a four-year scholarship at UMBC where he graduated in 2016 as valedictorian for the physics department. He is now enrolled at Princeton in the physics doctorate program. He was recently selected to attend a symposium in Canada on the global direction for quantum physics.
Audrey Cimino is executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. She writes from Westminster.