Shelly Williams, the band director at Mt. View Middle School, was given the Outstanding Music Teacher award from the Maryland Music Educators Association
Shelly Williams, the band director at Mt. View Middle School, was given the Outstanding Music Teacher award from the Maryland Music Educators Association (Submitted photo)

The beginning of the calendar year traditionally marks the time for Hollywood awards ceremonies, but a little closer to home, the Maryland Music Educators Association also just announced their 2012 Awards of Excellence. MMEA bestows three Outstanding Music Teacher awards annually — for choral, instrumental, and general music instruction, and this year, the MMEA Teacher Award of Excellence for Instrumental Music goes to … Shelly Williams, band director at Mt. View Middle School!

The Mt. View Band Boosters, under the guidance of President Berni Giroux, nominated Williams for this well-deserved award and were thrilled when she won. Of course, the nomination process involved more than just suggesting a name; members of the Band Boosters diligently compiled a packet of data with supporting documentation, including letters of recommendation from parents, current and former students, music colleagues, and other Mt. View staff.


From this wealth of material emerged some recurring themes: Williams is wholly dedicated to her students and her craft, she has high expectations tempered with compassion and a quick sense of humor, and she acts generously throughout the school and community. In describing Williams, students said things such as, "She believes in us," "She thinks we're independent and pushes us to do our best," and "She tells us, 'You're better than that,' so we try to do better."

Readers of this column are probably familiar with the accolades that Mt. View band students receive every year, such as superior ratings at adjudications and festivals, and large numbers of students selected for Gifted and Talented, Honors, and All-State bands. Williams clearly has a knack for bringing out the best in her students. She works hard for them and respects with them as individuals, and as a result, they strive to make her proud.

Congratulations to Shelly on her recognition for a job well done!

The MMEA Awards of Excellence Luncheon will take place April 21 at noon at Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center. For more information, go to

Congratulations are also in order for a number of local students who have advanced from their school History Day competitions to the Howard County competition, scheduled from Saturday, March 17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Reservoir High School. The theme for this year's competition is "Reaction, Revolution, and Reform in History."

The Mt. View Middle School students who have advanced include Julia Mann and Aileen Yu, for a documentary on Walt Disney; Niklas Schnake, for a documentary on Sesame Street; Lauren Foley and Grace Mann, for an exhibit on the Beatles; Annalise Lower, for an exhibit on Japanese internment camps; Hannah Frederick and Rachel Yu, for an exhibit on the cultural revolution; Yaw Owusu-Boaitey, for a paper on the NAACP; Yixuan Liu, for a website about the Titanic; Chancelor Campbell and Patrick Keefe, for a website about Pearl Harbor; Makarand Parigi, for a website about the Internet; and Emma Groman, Christina Hallam and Anna Fish, for a website about The Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

The students who will represent Marriotts Ridge High School include Mary Koutrelakos for a documentary, 'Prohibition: Americans Take a Stand;' Manaahel Rao, for a documentary, 'The Transcendental Affect: Abolitionism;' Katharine Berdy, for an exhibit, 'The Second Red Scare: The Entertainment Industry's Reaction to McCarthyism;' Rebecca Brnich, for an exhibit, 'Magna Carta: How It Influenced the Formation of the U.S. Constitution and Representative Government;' Dirk Holzman, for a paper, 'Russia and Egypt: A Revolutionary Comparison;' Zachary Moody, for a paper, 'Letters From a Russian Factory Worker: A Reaction to the Russian Revolution of 1917;' Gabrielle Rouse, for a website, 'Impact of Social Media on the 2008 Presidential Election;' and Katie Tich, for a website, 'The Truth Revealed: Silent Spring Sparks Reform of Environmental Protection.'

Best of luck to these students as they present their projects this weekend.

Saturday, March 17 is a big day for other local happenings, too. Glenelg United Methodist Church (13900 Burntwoods Road) will open its food pantry from 9 to 10 a.m. to serve those in need of grocery assistance. The church is always happy to accept donations of food or money for this mission, and the need is currently highest for spaghetti sauce, laundry detergent and toiletry items.

For more information, call 410-489-7260, or email

In the Woodstock area, the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Knights of Columbus will host a St. Patrick's Celebration Saturday, March 17 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in the church hall, 10800 Old Court Road. Entry costs $20 per person and includes a corned beef dinner with all the trimmings, five "Lucky Bucks" to use in games of chance, and opportunities to win door prizes.

The evening will also feature a 50/50 raffle and live music by the Lenny Adams Trio. To inquire about tickets, contact Ed Pelsinsky at 410-313-8808 or Brian Lawton at 410-303-9206 or

Also in Woodstock, the Marriotts Ridge High School Booster Club will host its big annual fundraiser, Mustang March Madness, Saturday, March 17 at Player's Bar and Grill in the Waverly Woods Village Center (10795 Birmingham Way).

The event, which is scheduled from 7 to 11 p.m., costs $50 per person and includes food, basketball, prizes, live and silent auctions, and lots of fun camaraderie with fellow Marriotts Ridge parents. Order tickets online at, or email Felicia Fleming at for additional information.


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church will hold its monthly community feast Thursday, March 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost is $9 per person or $30 maximum per family, and kids 5 and younger eat free. Proceeds will help send youth from St. Andrew's and Baltimore City to camp at the Bishop Claggett Center in Buckeystown. Call Lynne Quinn at 410-442-5445 with questions about the menu, or call the church at 410-489-4035 for other information.

On Sunday, March 25, St. Andrew's will hold a Paris Couture Collections Extravaganza from 1 to 6 p.m., with gowns available at a huge discount to support the Glenelg High School Marching Unit. Independent beauty vendors (for jewelry, purses, skin care and more) will also be onsite. Come shop for prom or any other special event! St. Andrew's lies between the Glenwood Post Office and Union Chapel Road, at 2892 Route 97.

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for an excuse to get out of cooking and I even feel virtuous if eating out supports a great cause. On March 27, patrons who mention "Team Mark" at the Columbia Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille (8872 McGaw Road) will see a portion of their bill benefit the Mark Hollingsworth Scholarship.


The Columbia Foundation awards $1,000 annually to a Marriotts Ridge High senior who demonstrates a positive outlook on life and care and concern for others. For more information about the scholarship, contact Marriotts Ridge counselor Jodi Dubbs at Email Michelle Hollingsworth with any questions about the Greene Turtle event.

Don't forget that tonight, Thursday, March 15, the Howard County Conservancy will host nutrition expert Anthony Geraci at 7 p.m. as he delivers a high-energy presentation about "Healthy Food in Our Schools." The program costs $5 per family, and all students are free. Call the Conservancy at 410-465-8877 to learn more, or go to The address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 16, marks the date for Clarlen Nursery School's free family event – a "Wheely Fun Day" from 1 to 3 p.m. on the back parking lot of Bethany United Methodist Church (2875 Bethany Lane, in Ellicott City). A variety of wheeled vehicles – forklift, moving van, army truck, motorized trike, bicycles, and more – will be on display for children to learn about "cars and trucks and things that go."

Magician and balloon artist Tom Lilly will also be on hand to entertain the younger set. In case of rain, the event will move to March 23.

Questions? Call the school at 410-465-7405.