Mark your calendars.
On May 4, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce made history.
That was the day on which, for the third year in a row, the chamber recognized Carroll's Outstanding Teachers.
What's historic is that somebody is saying something nice about teachers -- and doing it in public.
That's a big deal in a community in which anonymous phone callers can air their biases in print.
The idea for this program came out of the chamber's Business and Education Committee. The committee, and the chamber as a whole for that matter, believe that teachers deserve some positive strokes.
Says chamber Director Helen Utz, "We're very interested in seeing that students are well prepared for the world of work." To that end, the chamber offers "public thanks to teachers who do an outstanding job."
More than 130 of Carroll's finest were nominated by their peers, by their students and by members of the community at large. From the nominees, teams of judges selected six Award Recipients to receive Outstanding Teacher awards and a stipend of $300.
Imagine -- a cash award to teachers. Aren't they overpaid? After all, they "only" work 10 months a year.
The judging teams, composed of one retired teacher and one business person, review the letters of nomination and documents provided by the nominees themselves. The teams obviously take the process seriously, since they spend days considering the materials and making their choices.
They are not the only ones who take the program seriously. Chamber official Jill Kartalia -- "This is her baby," says Utz -- put in more than 30 hours of overtime in one week alone preparing for the event.
Some very generous local businesses are also serious. Each of them put up cash to provide the awards: Carroll County Bank & Trust, McShea & Co., Mills Communications, Taneytown Bank & Trust, Union National Bank, and Westminster Bank & Trust.
Somebody should thank them, so I will. THANKS!
Larry Wilhelm of Friendly Farms Restaurant is especially serious. He donates the meals for all of the nominees. Thanks, Larry.
The six Award Recipients this year are:
* Dick Thompson of West Middle;
* Henry Adami of the Career and Technology Center;
* Dorothy Gerhold from Winfield;
* Judith Guynn of Taneytown Annex/Northwest Middle;
* Jeanne Henderson from Carrolltowne;
* Marti Tomko of North Carroll High.
These six are typical of Carroll's excellent teaching faculties. Congratulations to all of them and to the chamber for taking their work seriously.