Eight county teachers recognized at banquet for outstanding work Judges select winners from 203 nominations; 3 scholarships awarded


Some of Carroll's best teachers got a chance last night to enjoy a moment in the spotlight at the annual Outstanding Teacher Awards banquet sponsored by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

More than 600 people attended the event at Wilhelm LTD Caterers in Westminster, including 178 nominated teachers, their families, students and parents. The event has grown significantly since the first awards banquet in 1988, when 50 teachers were nominated.

The eight teachers selected to receive $300 awards from the eight participating business sponsors were: Ruth M. Aukerman, Edith S. Burbage, Susan H. Withnell, Jeffrey M. Leister, Elizabeth L. Hester, Cynthia L. Foltz, Ann M. Durham and Michael J. Chrvala.

Foltz also won one of three $300 Wilhelm scholarships awarded to teachers who plan to use the money for continuing education. The other two scholarships went to Tracey Folio, who teaches physical education to special education students at Hampstead Elementary, and Jan Soth, a foods and nutrition teacher at Liberty High School. The scholarships are donated by Wilhelm catering.

The eight winners were chosen by eight pairs of judges. Each pair consisted of a retired teacher and a businessperson. The chamber sponsors the event to highlight the accomplishments of local teachers.

The names of 203 teachers were submitted to the Chamber of Commerce by students, parents and colleagues. The chamber notified the nominated teachers and asked them to provide biographical information, and 188 teachers responded, said Jill Kartalia, administrative assistant for the chamber.

All nominated teachers at last night's dinner received a certificate to mark their achievement.

Nominators remained anonymous, but the chamber released their letters praising the eight winners.

The eight winners

Ruth M. Aukerman, art teacher at Taneytown Elementary School and Elmer Wolfe Elementary School, began as a teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick in 1975.

Her nominator wrote, "Every year Mrs. Aukerman puts together an art show at our town's library. It is a great feeling seeing my artwork and my friends' artwork hanging up."

In her biographical form, Aukerman wrote, "When a student tells me, 'I want to be an artist,' my reply is 'You will be, whether you end up as a businessman, homemaker, physician or firefighter.' "

Edith S. Burbage, a special education teacher at Winfield Elementary School, began teaching special education students at Manchester Elementary in 1976.

Her nominator wrote that Burbage inspires students to be as independent as possible.

"When they [the students] arrive at school, they are responsible for hanging up their coats, unpacking books and putting their lunch money where it belongs. She never takes the easy way out. She knows that giving these students the most independence possible is what will give them the brightest future."

Michael J. Chrvala has been a social studies teacher at North Carroll Middle School since 1994.

Chrvala stood out because of a project in his eighth-grade World Cultures and Geography class, in which students "adopted" the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the fall.

Students became pen pals with 110 Nimitz crew members bTC during its six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf. Class discussions on current events, such as the standoff over weapons inspections in Iraq, incorporated information shared through correspondence with crew members.

Ann M. Durham, a Spanish teacher at North Carroll High School (( and Spanish instructor at Villa Julie College in Stevenson, began teaching Spanish at South Carroll High School in 1969.

The students who nominated Durham wrote of her "sparkling personality," her sense of humor and her creative assignments, such as writing a children's story in Spanish.

"Whenever we are with her she gives us the freedom to use our own minds even though we are TEENAGERS," a nominator wrote.

Cynthia L. Foltz, a special education teacher at Robert Moton Elementary School, was a founder and teacher at St. Paul's Christian School in Mountville, Pa.

In her biographical form, Foltz wrote, "My students must be viewed as more than just cute little kids, but as students who will grow up to take their places as productive members of society."

The parent who nominated Foltz wrote, "Her kids are learning and thriving in school, something that many parents never thought could be possible. Mrs. Foltz has not only raised the level of self-esteem of her kids, but she has given renewed hope to every parent whose child she has touched."

Elizabeth L. Hester, a teacher in the allied health careers division of the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, began teaching high school science in Virginia in 1976.

As part of her course, some of her students have the opportunity to gain clinical experience at Carroll Lutheran Village, a retirement and assisted-living facility in Westminster.

A student nominator wrote of how Hester helped her to get over her initial nervousness and become comfortable with her patients.

"Each week I grew more and more confident and by the last week I had made so many bonds with patients that I was very reluctant to leave," the student wrote. "That is how I knew that nursing was the right profession for me."

Jeffrey M. Leister has been an automotive instructor at South Carroll High School since 1995.

Leister replicates an actual auto mechanic's business in his vocational classes. Students are required to wear uniforms and are assigned jobs, including shop foreman and parts person.

His nominator wrote, "Because of Mr. Leister's rapport with local dealerships, the program has received donations of up-to-date equipment and autos. His students have also benefited by gaining work experience placements at these dealerships."

Susan H. Withnell has been a kindergarten teacher at Carrolltowne Elementary School since 1995.

The parent who nominated her praised Withnell's innovative teaching techniques. For a lesson on nutrition, for example, her class made chicken soup. They went to the grocery store, bought the ingredients, helped to prepare the soup and then made a graph to show how many people liked the soup and how many didn't.

"They felt a sense of pride in having created a wonderful healthy snack," the nominator wrote.

Pub Date: 5/05/98

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