The Calvert County Optimist Clubs of Prince Frederick and Solomons recognized and honored Calvert County’s finest teachers at a breakfast Wednesday, August 22. Celebrating “Teacher Appreciation Week” the event was held at the Calvert County Board of Education.
Bob Young, chair of the committee, welcomed the group saying the teachers present symbolized the more than 1,100 teachers in Calvert County. “We recognize and appreciate the teachers for all of their hard work and contributions that they make to provide an excellent education to our youth in our county.”
Young presented a proclamation to Dr. Daniel Curry, Superintendent of Schools, issued by the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, proclaiming the week of August 21-28, 2018, “Teacher Appreciation Week.” Noting that teachers were already on their second day back to prepare for the start of a new school year “this (event) provided the opportunity to showcase the teachers and their dedication and show support for the youth in Calvert County.”
The invocation was given by the Calvert-Prince Frederick Club Chaplin, Rev. Ken Phelps, Jr., Rector at All Saints Episcopal Church. Rev. Phelps said he “was awed to be here with the teachers. Teachers help our children by giving them the skills to get on a good path. We cannot thank you enough.”
Krista Brezina, President-Elect, Calvert-Prince Frederick Club, then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The twenty-four teachers honored were those chosen by their schools as “teacher of the year.” Each teacher was presented with a gift of an Optimist mug and a check for twenty-five dollars. Teachers honored include:
- Marcella J. Brown, Barstow Elementary
- Stephanie K. Thompson, Beach Elementary
- Kimberly M. Jackson, Calvert Elementary
- Dawn C. Stiffler, Dowell Elementary
- Willanette Thomas-Lohr, Huntingtown Elementary
- Melaney M. Sanchez, Mt. Harmony Elementary*
- Carrie J. Elliott, Mutual Elementary
- Karrie A. McDermitt, Patuxent-Appeal Elementary Campus
- Thomas J. Hill, Plum Point Elementary
- Jeanette M. Giofriddo, St. Leonard Elementary
- Melissa A. Syndor, Sunderland Elementary
- Joanne C. Harbaugh, Windy Hill Elementary
- Katie J. Habert, Calvert Country
- Heather E. Zerbe, Calvert Middle
- Jennifer A. Murphy, Mill Creek Middle
- Sabrina E. Sigmon, Northern Middle
- Kathryn H. Stum, Plum Point Middle
- Sarah G. Dawson, Southern Middle
- Kevin M. Mosay, Windy Hill Middle
- Dwight A. Bradford, Career & Technology Academy
- Stephen R. King, Calvert High
- Diana B. Roof, Huntingtown High
- Robert A. Riccardo, Northern High
- Sonja L. Carroll, Patuxent High
*In addition to receiving her school’s designation of “Teacher of the Year,” Dr. Melaney Sanchez, Mt. Harmony Elementary, received the honor of “2018 Calvert County Teacher of the Year.”
Jack Brown, President, Calvert County Optimist-Prince Frederick Club, said “This is our way of recognizing and supporting the people that help us help kids. Teachers are many times overlooked and unappreciated for what they do for our kids.”
Local officials were introduced and included: Commissioner Steven Weems and Commissioner Pat Nutter, who is also a member of the Calvert County-Prince Frederick Optimists; members of the Calvert County Board of Education Dawn Balinski, Vice-President, and William J. Phalen, Sr; and school staff Dr. Daniel Curry, Laveeta Hutchins, Cheryl Wilkerson and LaCoria Contee.
LaCoria Contee, Program Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, said this type of event “recognizes our teachers and all that they do. There is no amount of gratitude you can put on our teachers’ contributions to our children. Events like this show the teachers that we appreciate who they are and what they do.”
Teachers and guests were treated to a delicious breakfast catered by Dream Weaver Catering & Café.
Made up of volunteers that represent a cross-section of the community, Optimist members recognize their civic responsibilities, joining together and giving of themselves for the development of youth and the good of the community. Events like this are funded by fundraisers held by the Optimists throughout the year. One of their largest fundraisers is the annual Christmas Tree Sale, held from Thanksgiving until the trees are sold in the parking lot of the Safeway in Prince Frederick. More than 800 trees have been ordered for this year’s sale. You can also purchase a handmade fresh wreath.
Local activities that the clubs provide for the youth of our county include: Optimist Scholarship Program, essay contest, Youth Appreciation Week, oratorical contest, Halloween activities, a fishing tournament and Santa Night. Community service projects supported are Respect for Law, Teacher Appreciation Week, Hunter Safety Program, Books for Babies, and the Maryland Childhood Cancer Campaign. They support the Calvert Shop with a Cop program, provide Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets, Miss Tranquility and Lord Calvert contests at the Calvert County Fair, Eagle Scouts and Explorer Scouts.
The Calvert County-Prince Frederick Optimists sponsor two Junior Optimist Octagon International Clubs in Calvert County. These clubs are located at Huntingtown High School and Calvert High School.
For more information on the Calvert Optimist-Prince Frederick Optimists visit: http://www.optimistclubofcalvert.org.
Joyce Stinnett Baki . Calvert Beacon Reporter