Thumbs up: Memorial Day, this past Monday, brought the sacrifices and honor of veterans near and far to mind. And it was clear that the Carroll County community embraced the chance to celebrate our veterans. A new memorial was dedicated to all veterans interred at the historic Springfield Cemetery in Sykesville — one of many observations of the holiday in Carroll County. Family members, neighbors and friends braced a hot, sunny day to observe the Westminster parade along East Main Street. Carroll County resident Robert McCurdy played his bagpipes during the Memorial Day Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens — and then got on a plane the next day to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. If all that weren’t enough to make you feel proud to be an American, just listen to Leonard Kirk, a 95-year-old Eldersburg native who was drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. For a long time, Kirk was reluctant to talk about his service as a medic, his role in liberating Rome, his captivity in Germany and what happened after he was discharged. Thanks to a support group, that’s changed — he spoke at VFW Post 467 in Westminster on the holiday. “Now, they can’t shut me up,” he told us. We wouldn’t want him to. And if any other veterans want to share their stories, the Community Media Center in Westminster is inviting veterans for an Oral History Collection Day on June 8.
Thumbs up: Congratulations to the graduates! We’ll leave the wide words of advice to the commencement speakers, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t send off a salute in this space. There are several schools that have yet to send their newest graduating classes on to the next chapter, but others have donned their caps and gowns and collected their diplomas already. Carroll County’s graduates never disappoint. From a three-sport athlete and salutatorian to first-generation college students, it’s clear this is a group of exceptional young individuals. To them we tip our caps.
Thumbs up: A Carroll County woman will be representing the United States in a worldwide competition in Russia with her talents in print media technology. Working at a newspaper, it’s easy for us to appreciate the complexity behind printing. But compared to Brittany Whitestone, we don’t know the half of it. A Winters Mill High School alumna from Westminster and a rising senior at California University of Pennsylvania, has been working with print media technology since she was 15 years old. Originally, she wanted to do graphic design but found passion for a different platform at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center. And now she’s applying that passion to a world stage; the WorldSkills championships attract more than 1,600 competitors from more than 76 countries and regions around the world to compete in more than 50 different trade skills. The printing she does involves multiple parts and processes, but think of it as the work with ink, metal and paper that a printing press uses to produce a newspaper. She told us her printing work has been “the biggest part of my life for the part four or five years.” She competed in her first regional competition at the age of 17 and, after placing second, she decided she needed to work harder. Some might settle for second, but it’s clear this young woman has a natural drive to win. She’s scheduled to leave for Russia on Aug. 18, and the competition will be held from Aug. 22 to 27. Carroll County, let’s cheer her on.
Thumbs up: This was a particularly strong week for Carroll County lacrosse. For one, Maryland’s latest women’s lacrosse national championship once again featured a Carroll County flair. The Terps put away Boston College 12-10 to earn their 14th title in program history and finish the season with a 22-1 record. Sophomore midfielder Grace Griffin, a Liberty graduate, had three goals in the win, and ended the year with 57 points on 45 goals. Griffin, the 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, added 27 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers while making 22 starts this year. One of Griffin’s goals in the NCAA final came from an assist by Hannah Warther (Century). The junior midfielder collected 12 goals and three assists this season. Lizzie Colson (Manchester Valley), and junior defender, paced the Terps with seven draw controls against Boston College. Colson amassed 127 draws, 46 ground balls, and 25 caused turnovers. She earned All-South Region second-team honors from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. Certainly these were plenty of meaningful contributions to a dynastic winner. In addition, Bryan Shaw of Eldersburg is one of 44 high school seniors selected to take part in the annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic on June 29. And that’s a week after he won a national championship with the Bullis School. “It’s awesome just to end a lacrosse career on that note,” he told us. “To go out that way means a lot to me.”