Kudos to Clarksville Middle School for being named a 2018-2019 Maryland Blue Ribbon School. The program honors schools that exhibit high performance and/or significant improvement in reading and mathematics as measured by state assessments. The school received five out of five stars from the new Maryland State Department of Education School Report Card. Next up, the Clarksville school will compete for National Blue Ribbon awards, which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The school previously received the state and national Blue Ribbon awards in 2005-2006.
Congratulations to Richard McCready for being named a semi-finalist for the 2018 Music & Arts Music Educator of the Year award. McCready, who teaches music technology at River Hill High School, is one of only 25 teachers nationwide to make the list. David Matchim, who teaches at Centennial High School, also was named a semi-finalist.
Maryland Public Television recently recorded a program at Great Sage restaurant and Roots Market. The local venues were the backdrop for the show “To Dine For with Kate Sullivan.” The television show tells the “stories of creators and dreamers who have reached uncommon success through ingenuity and innovation.” This episode focused on local inventor Kavita Shukla, the founder and CEO of Freshpaper, a company that makes towel-like sheets of paper that help to keep produce fresh. The show tells the remarkable story of how a young Shukla came up with the idea for this natural and organic product after visiting her grandmother in India. What started as a middle school science project created in her garage is now an award-winning product that is trying to address the global food shortages by helping more people have access to fresh food longer.
Shukla selected Great Sage as her favorite restaurant, so the show was taped while she and Sullivan dined and conversed. The show first aired on Maryland Public Television on Dec. 20, and can be streamed online at PBS.org.
Every year a local group of friends identifies a community service organization to support around the holidays. This year Susanna Ling and her friends selected Building Families for Children, a nonprofit in Columbia that has been serving Maryland's most vulnerable children in families since 1920.
“They do important work to provide children with nurturing, safe, family environments,” Ling said. “One of their programs focuses on children in the foster care system. They provide special services and support for children and teens that have experienced trauma, and provide resources to help the kids overcome their difficulties and thrive.”
The group set out to collect gifts for teens who do not have permanent homes or who are in crisis situations in Howard County. They gathered gift cards to popular retailers. They also sought donations of personal items such as scarves, purses and beauty products for young women and wallets, head phones and athletic apparel for young men. After the collection drive, they delivered the gifts and worked with dozens of volunteers to prepare the presents for their recipients at a gift-wrapping party at Building Families for Children.
“This project is important to me because as a community, we need to support each other, especially those that are most vulnerable such as children and teenagers,” Ling said. “There's so much negativity in today’s world and kids should be allowed to be kids and not have to worry about having enough food to eat, finding a safe place to sleep, or having clean clothes to wear. Due to a variety of reasons, many children and teens are in unstable environments and do have to worry about those basic needs so we are hoping to provide some holiday cheer to them.”
In the past, the group has supported Howard County’s Blessings in a Backpack program and donated gifts to women and children’s shelters.