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Our View: Thumbs-up to a local hero, CCPS students adjusting again, and a ‘peaceful’ transition | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: A congratulations to Sykesville native Michael Slein for his commitment to our country, one that he was adopted into at 2 years old just before the turn of the last century. Slein, who was brought to the United States from Romania by Sean and Jodi Slein, wanted to give back to the country that accepted him and the family that supports him. He’s attending Officer Candidate School for the United States Navy in Newport, Rhode Island to specialize in a career as a surface warfare officer. Slein, 23 and a Century High School graduate, reported to Officer Candidate School in October and is scheduled to graduate as an Ensign on Jan. 29 to join the ranks of the Navy’s leadership aboard the USS Boxer in San Diego. He starts Basic Division Officer School for his specific job in April, also in San Diego. “I always had a high level of respect for veterans, especially those that impact my life in my area,” Slein told us. “There were many people I looked up to and I knew deep down, I felt like it was something I needed to do being given this chance in a comfortable life with a supportive family so other people can enjoy that same opportunity.” The OCS program lasts 13 weeks and includes fundamental skills such as firefighting, damage control, seamanship, watch-standing, small arms, fitness, and militarization. OCS goes further with more advanced navigation, leadership, and officer development skills to meet the core competencies of a Naval officer. “It’s hard and I miss him,” Jodi Slein told us. “I want him to do well and his dad and I are so proud of him. This is a kid who overcame some really tough beginnings and has just flourished. He has worked so hard and what he’s doing is so honorable.”

THUMBS UP: Figuring out the Carroll County Public Schools schedule this year has been tricky amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re proud of those students who have made the best of the situation. Many of them returned to school buildings on Thursday when CCPS’ hybrid learning format resumed. Students were roaming the halls once again on Thursday, the first day back to hybrid learning for cohort B. “I’m excited but nervous. Just because of the virus,” Nicole Schneider told us as she helped her daughter get out of the car at William Winchester Elementary School. Schneider added that it was worth it because her child was not successfully learning at home. James Carver, principal at East Middle School, told us six staffers had to be quarantined on Wednesday, but by Thursday morning their positions had been filled. Carver expected about 218 students to attend school that day and 231 students when cohort A arrives next week. Cindy McCabe, chief of schools, said 75% of the cohort B students across the county who signed up for in-person learning attended that day. Altogether, 5,475 students were in the buildings, which broke down to 3,013 in elementary schools, 1,131 in middle schools and 1,331 in high schools. She said principals contacted parents a few weeks ago to see if they would send students back to hybrid or remain virtual if the learning model were to change.

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THUMBS UP: Carroll County’s Board of Commissioners met for the first time in 2021 and displayed a “peaceful transition of power,” from outgoing board president Stephen Wantz to new president Ed Rothstein. The nature of that transfer wasn’t lost on them in light of Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol. The five commissioners representing Carroll County, which voted overwhelmingly to elect President Donald Trump in 2016 and again during his failed reelection bid in 2020, all began their portion of the weekly meeting by denouncing the actions of the Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Early in the commissioners meeting, Rothstein said he takes it as a compliment when people recognize him as “colonel” or “commissioner” or as a “soldier,” but that the best compliment for him is when he is called “an American.” As such, he described the events in Washington as “horrifying acts” and “pretty terrifying.”

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