Naomi Ling, a student at Clarksville Middle School, was named a Carson Scholar.
Naomi Ling, a student at Clarksville Middle School, was named a Carson Scholar. (courtesy photo)

Two local students have been named 2019 Carson Scholars. Alena Shen of River Hill High School and Naomi Ling of Clarksville Middle School were recognized for demonstrating outstanding academic achievement and humanitarianism. Each will receive a $1,000 college scholarship, an Olympic-size medal and a trophy for their schools. Shen was chosen to give the introduction speech at the 2019 Maryland Carson Scholars Banquet on May 5 before Dr. Ben Carson presents the keynote address.

Shen, a junior, loves to study biological sciences and aspires to become a neurosurgeon. She is passionate about music, art and service. She has played in various county and statewide musical ensembles and remains an active artist in her free time.

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Alena Shen
Alena Shen (Courtesy Photo)

Combining these interests, Shen established a countywide organization to serve the residents of local senior homes. Founded in 2016, STAMP, Serving Through Art and Music Projects, brings musical and artistic talent to brighten the lives of seniors living with dementia.

Shen also is active as co-president of River Hill’s largest community service club and is the public relations officer of the school’s Science Olympiad. She manages multiple websites and social media pages for clubs and community activities.

Naomi Ling, a seventh grader, has been on the Principal’s Honor roll for straight A students for the past two years. She loves to read and write. Her submission for the 2019 Women’s History Month Essay contest, sponsored by the Howard County Commission for Women, took first place in the Middle School division. Ling also enjoys singing. As a member of the 2019 All-State Chorus, she performed as a soloist.

In sixth grade, Ling created a newsletter with a small group of students at her school. Working as the editor, she leads the group in issuing the publication each month.

Shen and Ling were among seven Howard County Public School System students to be named first-time Carson Scholars out of just over 500 students nationwide. River Hill High School students Mia Ehrlich, Anastasia Lesho and Cindy Tian were commended as Recognized Carson Scholars for renewing their status by maintaining high academic standards and a strong commitment to their communities.

Four athletes from Clarksville Middle School recently traveled to Belgium to participate in an international acrobatic gymnastics competition. Isabel Chang, Ethan Chang, Sam Lacy and Cate Lacy competed in the Flanders International Acro Cup Finals, performing routines choreographed to music that feature dancing and tumbling components. Isabel Chang won a gold medal in the senior women's group title. Ethan Chang, Sam Lacy and former Clarksville Middle School student Cade Shields, took the silver medal in the junior men’s group. Cate Lacy's group advanced to the finals for the 11-16 age group and placed eighth out of 43 groups.

Two Clarksville Middle students received honors for writing papers for the Uniting Against Hate essay contest. The Howard County 2019 Holocaust Remembrance Committee named Jazil Khalid as the middle school winner. Sitara Chakkamadathil took second place.

Congratulations to Pointers Run Elementary for participating in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge. During the program, participants collected and recycled pieces of clear plastic. Pointers Run finished first place in the state of Maryland, collecting 1,066 pounds of plastic film. The school took third place in the Mid-Atlantic region. The school’s collection was equal to approximately 56,886 plastic shopping bags or 107,451 newspaper sleeves. Students and family members collected 400 more pounds than during last year’s challenge.

Pointers Run’s program would not have been a success without the help of 12 fourth-grade students who gave up their recess once a week to collect, sort and weigh the plastic film. Also helping were school staff members who dropped off the recyclable material each week.

Behind all of these outstanding students are terrific teachers.

The first full week of May is designated as Teacher Appreciation Week and local schools have been recognizing our all-star educators for the many things they do for students. Meals, flowers, gift cards and candies are just a few ways that students and families have been showing their appreciation.

While all of those treats are well-deserved, over the years. friends who are teachers have said that their favorite “gifts” come from the heart. Cards, notes and drawings are often held especially dear. It’s never too late to send a note thanking a special teacher in your life.

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