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Our View: Thumbs up to Blue Ribbon school, heroic motorists, Emmy-winning professor, ducky idea | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: Educators don’t do what they do for awards. But it’s always nice to earn a particularly prestigious one. Hampstead Elementary has been named a National Blue Ribbon School, one of just six public schools in Maryland to earn that honor and the first school from Carroll County to be so-named since 2013. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Hampstead was honored as an “Exemplary High Performing School,” which means it is among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. “We are extremely proud of Hampstead Elementary School,” Superintendent Steven Lockard said. “Being named a National Blue Ribbon School affirms the combined work of the students, staff, families, and the community in creating an outstanding, welcoming school where students are learning and thriving.” The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. Each of the the 317 public and 50 non-public school honorees will be mailed plaques and flags.

THUMBS UP: A Taneytown man has been charged with first- and second-degree assault, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, obstructing and hindering a police officer, and failing to obey a reasonable and lawful order given by a police officer after an alleged incident during a recent traffic stop in Keymar. Nothing worthy of a thumbs-up there, of course. But things could have been much worse if not for two citizens who stopped to help. Charging documents read that the 24-year-old man became “irate” during the traffic stop and struck the deputy repeatedly, causing the deputy to fall and hit his head on the road, knocking him unconscious. A passing motorist stopped, helped get the man off the deputy and kept the man from moving until the deputy came to and handcuffed him, according to charging documents. Another passerby also stopped and the three of them got the suspect into the police car. We reached out to the first citizen, hoping to write a story about him. He declined, saying he wasn’t seeking publicity. Totally understandable. Still, he and the second passerby deserve kudos for their actions.

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THUMBS UP: Jonathan Slade, professor of Communication & Cinema at McDaniel College, recently received his seventh Emmy award for his two-hour 2019 documentary, “Made Possible By Viewers Like You: 50 years of Maryland Public Television.” The program debuted on Maryland Public Television in August 2018 and won for outstanding arts/entertainment special during a virtual event in Washington D.C. Slade is a Carroll County native who graduated from McDaniel with a degree in Communications in 1988 before earning his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California. He spent three years working in Hollywood before returning to his alma mater to teach. Slade told us he spent nine months working with his team researching, writing, shooting and mixing the documentary. Initially planning to interview 12 people on camera, he and his crew wound up interviewing nearly three times that many. “So, it grew from a one-hour doc to a two-hour doc with lots of bonus footage,” Slade said. “Ultimately, I think it’s a better documentary because of it, though.” Obviously, the Emmy voters did, too.

THUMBS UP: It hasn’t been an easy year for raising funds. Nor for having fun. So those who are able to come up with a way to do both deserve recognition. The Rotary Club of Mount Airy and the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company are sponsoring a Duck Race to be held Sunday, Sept. 27 at the fire company’s carnival grounds. They exceeded their goal of selling 3,000 tickets well in advance. Dick Wilcher, president of the Rotary Club of Mount Airy, purchased 10,000 rubber ducks from another club that tried, unsuccessfully, to do something similar. The race will feature rubber ducks being pushed down an obstacle course. Fire company tankers will unleash a water supply and hay bales donated by Knill’s Farm Market will be barriers. The purchased, numbered ducks will have heats with winners moving onto the finals. The winner is slated to receive $1,000. Wilcher said the Rotary Club teamed with the fire company to put on the race because the fire company lost its annual fundraising events this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the town had to cancel some of its mainstays as well. More than $40,000 has been raised.

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