Long Reach grad gets surprise scholarship from former teacher

When Sarah Suskind, 18, stopped by Long Reach High School with her mother, Shelly, on Thursday morning, she thought they were there to pick up a copy of her high school transcript.

Instead, a secretary directed Suskind, a recent graduate, down the hall to the principal's office.

Visibly confused, Suskind entered the office to find not the principal but her father, Steve Suskind, brother Spencer, Long Reach Assistant Principal Sam Richman, Howard County Public School System Chief of Staff Susan Mascaro and — perhaps strangest of all — Amy Colman, one of her elementary school teachers.

Colman was there to award Suskind a $500 scholarship from the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a group of female educators. The money will help pay for Suskind's tuition at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she plans to enroll in the fall.

Suskind said she was relieved to know she wasn't in trouble.

"I was thinking, 'Did they dig up my dirty past?'" she joked.

Suskind was awarded the scholarship because she intends to enter Maryland's College of Education and become a high school English teacher.

Colman said she remembers Suskind as a brilliant student at Bellows Spring Elementary School.

"We read 'The Tale of Despereaux' [by Kate DiCamillo] in our book club," Colman said. "[Suskind's] questions were amazing and deep, and I couldn't answer them."

Colman, who has been teaching for 33 years, said at least eight of her students have gone on to teach in Howard County schools.

"It is such a joy for me to see Sarah grown up and going to college," she said.

Mascaro handed Suskind her business card.

"Every year we are hiring new teachers," she said. "We want to have you on our staff in four years."

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