THUMBS UP: For much of the past collegiate year, it wasn’t clear if McDaniel College would be able to hold a proper graduation ceremony for its Class of 2021, after holding no real commencement for its Class of 2020 because of of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the college was able to honor both classes with a pair of outdoor ceremonies on the same day, last Saturday. At Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, the college honored nearly 700 students receiving bachelor’s degrees and some 450 receiving master’s degrees, the 150th and 151st commencement in school history and the final ones for outgoing President Roger Casey. “McDaniel has learned so much from knowing you,” he said in a speech to the Class of 2020. “Our world has so much to gain from your lives ahead. It has been an honor serving you as your president. Me. We. I am McDaniel. We are McDaniel.” Given how much COVID-19 affected the past two graduating classes, it was appropriate that Ed Singer, Carroll County’s health officer who has been a central figure locally during the pandemic as well as a 1987 alumnus, was given the Trustee Alumni Award during the 2021 ceremony. “Use your skills to help solve problems and make the world a better place,” he told graduates “Be nice to other people and you will create relationships that will change your life for the better. And do both of these things at the same time by getting vaccinated.”
THUMBS UP: Jameson Greenwood, a 12-year-old from Hampstead, likes to play sports but recognized that not every kid is fortunate enough to be able to afford the equipment and registration fees needed to do so. Seeking out a service project anyway, he came up with the idea to start a nonprofit, Replay Hampstead, raising money and hosting sports equipment exchange events, helping children who want to play sports but otherwise couldn’t afford to. He held an equipment exchange event in February, where people brought in equipment their own kids had outgrown to trade with others. He’s also been collecting gift cards from sporting good stores to help buy some athletic equipment to donate. Jameson’s initiative led him to winning the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award in Carroll County. On May 19, Comptroller Peter Franchot virtually presented his award. “Jameson has not only created an avenue for children to participate in sports, he opened doors to brighter, healthier futures for each one,” Franchot said during the presentation. Jameson is the second in his family to receive the award for taking action to help members of the community. In 2017, Jameson’s sister, Makenzie, was recognized for a Little Free Pantry. The North Carroll Cooperative Parish has provided support and resources.
THUMBS UP: A teacher in Carroll County Public Schools and her daughter are showing kids that being a nerd for nature is preetty cool. The mother-daughter duo are making videos and using their platform on YouTube to educate others about wildlife. Carly Miller and her daughter, Sammy, known on YouTube as Adventure Kid Sam, are the stars of the online series, Nature Nerds. The two started making videos in March 2020, when Sammy was just 5. She’s now 7. Miller said the idea was born at the beginning of the pandemic. She wanted to remind others that it’s healthy to be outdoors during tough times. Miller also started a Facebook group with 1,300 people who share pictures of wildlife or order Nature Nerds shirts. As the videos persisted, they gained a lot of followers and Carroll County Public Schools teachers started to use the videos in their curriculum, Miller said. She added families said those who homeschool their children also use the videos to educate their kids. “I like that I get to hold wild creatures that my mom catches,” Sammy told us shortly after holding the Outdoor School turtle, Shelly, and playing with cicadas she captured. Miller said she hopes other parents will watch their videos and get the kids outside. “Anyone can be a Nature Nerd,” she said.