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Our View: Thumbs up to impressive high school sophomore, off-duty MSP trooper, community center project moving forward | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: We have plenty of impressive young people in Carroll County, attending schools locally. We brought you the story of one such student on the first day of the school year. Century High School sophomore Uchechi Mba was recently selected as a Maryland delegate to the 2020 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute for her research paper and video presentation on “The Fallout of Political Instability in South Sudan.” The Global Youth Institute brings together 200 outstanding high school youth from around the world to interact with international leaders and experts dealing with food security and agricultural science and policy. Erica Crosby, Mba’s advisor, agriculture teacher Kim Moyer met virtually several times during the school’s closure last spring. Crosby and Moyer joined Mba at the Maryland Youth Institute’s virtual program, where Mba discussed her paper and research efforts with local leaders and experts on critical global challenges. Mba’s research took about a month to complete as well as time and careful consideration for her to bring that research together and write a thorough essay. Mba submitted her paper at the end of April and the virtual presentation took place at the end of May. She was notified of her Maryland delegate status last month. Mba, 15, also serves as fundraising chair of the Black Student Union, is on the executive board member for the Century’s Class of 2023, and is a parliamentarian in the Carroll County Student Government Association. “I can’t tell you how impressive this kid is,” Moyer told us.

THUMBS UP: Drivers of motor vehicles aren’t always happy to look up and see a law enforcement officer headed their way. Count Taneytown mother Terria Lemaster as someone who was thrilled, recently, when she saw Trooper 1st Class Amber Cerreto, a 10-year veteran of the Maryland State Police, approaching her stopped car. Lemaster, said she was driving on Baltimore Street in Taneytown on Aug. 19 when she looked into the car’s baby mirror and saw her baby, Ivy-Jade, with a decidedly red hue. “I pulled over as fast as I could, took her to the sidewalk, and turned her over. She wasn’t breathing and it looked like she was choking on thick mucus.” Enter Cerreto, who flipped Ivy-Jade over and began to lightly pound on her back. Cerreto said was trained in infant CPR in 2010. She recently recertified during a biannual update with the Maryland State Police. This was the first time she had to use what she learned on an infant. “She knew exactly how to get a baby breathing,” Lemaster told us. A trip to a doctor revealed that Ivy-Jade has acid reflux and Lemaster said she was told the choking is a panic response. She said she will never forget how Cerreto saved Ivy-Jade’s life. Said Cerreto, who was actually off-duty when she pulled over to help: “I swore an oath to protect and defend the citizens of Maryland — and anywhere else if I am able, whether or not I am on duty."

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THUMBS UP: Carroll countians who live in the Union Mills-Silver Run area had to be heartened by the update given at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting regarding the to-be-built Charles Carroll Community Center. Charles Carroll Elementary School closed at the end of the 2015-2016 school year and was later demolished, leaving a void in the community. To help fill that, the county plans to build a community center on the old school site and, Thursday, the commissioners voted to spend $7,500 for additional design and engineering services related to locating a septic field, bringing the project one step closer to reality. Project manager Kirk Engel told the commissioners his hope is that construction of the community center will begin in late November, though he said early December is a possibility. When complete, the community center will provide a 13,000-square-foot gymnasium with lines drawn for basketball and volleyball, Engel said. When there isn’t a pandemic, it’ll be able to seat upwards of 300 people. Engel hopes the center can open to the public in June 2021. The county has budgeted approximately $4.1 million for the project. “Timeline, overall, is going pretty well,” Engel told us. That’s good news. Carroll, in general, and that area, specifically, is in need of recreational facilities and the community center will be a welcome addition.

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