TCPS Career and Technology Students Attain Automotive Industry Certifications

Talbot County Public Schools Career and Technology Education Pathways offer students the opportunity to earn College Credits and Industry Standard Certifications in a variety of industries and fields of study.

One of those pathways is Automotive Technician (NATEF).Successful students may attain industry certification through the National Automotive Skill Standards Assessments in Engine Performance, Maintenance Light Repair, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Engine Repair, Brakes and Suspension & Steering.

The following students are eligible for or have earned automotive industry NATEF certifications:  Evan Cohoon, Tim Jensen, Collin Mills, David Edwards, Colby Florkewicz, Alex Morales-Donis, Seth Horney, Ben Corbin, Brad Moore, Noah Fountain, Mason Parks, Henry Brady, Michael Clark, Dan Davis, Sam Harrison.

TCPS Senior Cole Schuman Earns Fire and Rescue Certifications

Students attending high school in Talbot County have the opportunity to earn College Credits and Industry Standard Certifications students through TCPS Career and Technology Education Pathways.

One of those pathways is Emergency Medical Responder/Fire Fighter (MFRI). Successful students may obtain certification in Emergency Medical Responder, Fire Fighter I, Hazardous Materials Operations, Rescue Technician-Site Operations and Rescue Technician-Vehicle and Machinery Extrication.

Cole Schuman is a senior at Easton High School.  He attends the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute 5 days a week in Queen Anne’s County.  He is currently certified in the following:  Fire Fighter I; Hazardous Materials Operations; Emergency Medical Responder; and Maryland and National Pro Board Certification as a Fire Fighter I.

Easton Middle School Presents “Seussical”

“Oh, the thinks you can think” when Dr. Seuss’ best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unforgettable musical extravaganza!

Under the direction of Richard A. Vitanovec, Easton Middle School Theatre Department brings Dr. Seuss’ colorful, beloved characters to life in a musical that even “The Grinch” would love. Let your imagination run wild amidst the toe-tapping cornucopia of musical styles– ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and R&B to funk.

Tony Award winners, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

The Cat in the Hat (Claire Weedon) introduces us to Horton (Logan Herron), an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the “Whos”, including Mr. Mayor (Luke Adelman), Mrs. Mayor (Selene Wagner) and their son, Jojo (Connor Flaherty), a “Who” child sent off with General Gengus Khan Schmitz (Jaylen Nixon) to a military school for thinking too many “thinks”. Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the “Whos” from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird (Sammi Tibbitt). Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the faithful Gertrude McFuzz (Sara Chapple) never loses faith in him. Throughout this musical extravaganza, Dr. Seuss’ characters battle with standing up for friendship, loyalty, family, community, and learn some very valuable lessons

For kids and adults who grew up reading Dr. Seuss books, this musical adaption of his classic stories will be fun for the whole family.

Performances are April 20th at 7pm, 21st at 7pm, 22nd at 2pm, 27th at 7pm, and 28th at 7pm at Easton High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $10 for an adult and $5 for a child/student (up to 18 years old) and can be purchased in advance from the Talbot County Public Schools Website or in the Main Office at Easton Middle School.

Easton Middle School Musicians Benefit from Artist-in-Residence Program

Band students from Easton Middle School (EMS) recently held a Student Recital at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton, demonstrating what they learned from the University of Maryland’s Potomac Winds Ensemble as part of a new Artist-in-Residence Program.

According to Nancy Larson, representing the Talbot County Arts Council, “The project was initiated by members of the board of directors of the Talbot County Arts Council who were dismayed by the near total absence of young people attending Mid-Shore Area performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Chesapeake Music.  A study group concluded that younger people might begin attending if they could be introduced to classical music in various appealing forms at the secondary school level.”

Photo: Pictured back row, L-R: Bechora Aguoru, David Ludwig, & Mara Stoyanov, Potomac Wind members. Pictured middle row, L-R: Mrs. Donna Ewing, Mrs. Jackie Valcik, David Gardner, Elaina Steinly, Anna Lesher, Charlotte Moseley, Ian Branic, & Mrs. CJ Henry. Pictured front row (kneeling): Eduardo Diaz-Chavero, Olivia Tagbo, Merceyde Wilkins, Ahltair Baltimore, & John Schwaninger.

A committee from the board of the Talbot County Arts Council then brought together the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Music, the music and social studies faculty of Easton Middle School, and Chesapeake Music to discuss the issue. The objective of the group was to provide the student body a rare opportunity to learn from the skill and experience of graduate-level musicians, to both inspire a lifelong love of classical music among the general student body and allow music students to benefit from the skill and enthusiasm of young professional-level musicians, who are qualified as music teachers and who are participating as volunteers.

The ensemble made four two-day visits to EMS during the school year, working closely with students and teachers to bridge the gap between the classroom knowledge of world history and the experiences of world music, through both assemblies and master classes with EMS band students. According to Robert DiLutis, Director of Community Engagement at the UMD School of Music, “This has been an incredible first year of our chamber music residency. It has also been an amazing experience watching the Easton Middle School students develop meaningful relationships with the Potomac Wind members over the past year as they have grown and developed. We are also extremely excited about the possibility of continuing the residency next year with a UMD brass quintet.”

Pictured L-R are Potomac Winds flutist Ceylon Mitchell with Mara Stoyanov of Easton Middle School. (Photo courtesy of: Debbie Gardner)

Donna Ewing, Band Instructor at EMS, comments, “It has been a joy to watch the band program grow at EMS over the last 12 years. The community has been so supportive of bridging the gap between student performers and professionals.”

A number of EMS students who participated in the recital, had been working on solo and ensemble work, getting ready for State of Maryland Solo and Ensemble Festival. Both Ian Branick, a 7th grader, and Anna Lesher, an 8th grader, found that Potomac Winds helped them with their sound and how to make the music sound better – including the dynamics of their playing.

Ijeoma Tagbo, mother of 6th grade flutist Onyi Tagbo, states, “The program has helped with creating discipline. My daughter is growing to love the flute.”

Bechorah Agulru, an 8th grader who plays the clarinet, states, “The experience really helped us to develop skills to bring out our fullest potential in the music we were playing to prepare for our Festival. I won a superior rating at the Festival after working with Melissa Morales, the clarinetist of Potomac Winds.”

Potomac Winds is a DC Metro Area-based ensemble comprised of graduate students from the UMD School of Music.  Members have performed in professional orchestras throughout the United States.  Their individual honors have included concerto competition finalists, debut recitals, orchestral soloists, and young artist awards.  The members of Potomac Winds are Ceylon Mitchell, flute; Sarah Balzer, oboe; Melissa Morales, clarinet; Avery Pettigrew, horn; and Jonathan Zepp, bassoon. Ceylon Mitchell comments, “It’s been exciting for us – seeing the youth and their excitement with us coming to mentor them.”

Melissa Morales, adds, “You have a vibrant, wonderful community in Talbot County.”

Courtney Kane, president of Chesapeake Music, coordinated the housing of the musicians with the help of Chesapeake Music’s executive director Donald Buxton and Hanna Woicke, chair of Chesapeake Music’s YouthReach Committee. Courtney comments, “There was instant electricity when the Potomac Winds met EMS student musicians. Potomac Winds artists were talented, skilled in their approach to the group…….and young. The band classes responded with unmistakable enthusiasm. Each session included demonstration, some theory, small group and individual coaching. Kudos to all, including generous local hosts who welcomed the visitors into their homes.”

Given the apparent success of this year’s program, it is hoped funding will be found to continue the initiative in future years at Easton Middle School and possibly expand the project to include other local schools. The program is made possible by grant from the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, with funds from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, using revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council. Carpe Diem Arts also supported the program.

Paige Friedman’s Artwork Showcased at First Lady Yumi Hogan’s Exhibition

Easton High School Junior Paige Friedman was among the talented students whose artwork was chosen for the First Lady Yumi Hogan’s Spring 2018 Student Artwork Exhibition.  Paige is pursuing the Interactive Media Production Career and Technology Pathway at Easton High School under the direction of Mrs. Garnette Hines.  Her painting, created with Adobe Illustrator, is titled “Crane Mountain.”

First Lady Hogan, the Maryland State Department of Education-Office of Fine Arts, the Maryland Art Education Association and the Maryland State Arts Council partner to host the annual exhibition to recognize outstanding Maryland student artists.  An opening reception for student artists and their families was held at the House of Delegates Gallery Space on March 19, and the student artwork will remain on display there until September 2018.

“We are very pleased to see Paige’s work recognized at this special exhibition, and we look forward to seeing her continue to develop her talent,” said Mr. James Redman, Curriculum Supervisor for Fine Arts at Talbot County Public Schools.

Easton High School Students are Inducted into National Latin Honor Society


A ceremony was held at Easton High School to induct 22 new members into the school’s chapter of the National Latin Honor Society (NLHS). NLHS membership is granted to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and citizenship in Latin class.

The program included a welcome by NLHS Vice President Natasha Panduwawala, and an introduction by President Mitchell Lantz. The Guest Speaker was Easton High Alumna Jackie Royer, who now works for EAG Laboratories/Wildlife International. Ms. Royer explained to the students that she had always loved Science, but that studying Latin both helped her succeed in her field and inspired her to be a life-long learner in general.

The Induction Speech was given by Mrs. Inna Kunz, NLHS Advisor. The inductees and officers recited the National Junior Classical League Creed, vowing to “hand on the torch of classical civilization in the modern world,” to uphold the standards of achievement of NLHS, and to continue to strive for excellence. “I am excited for a new batch of students to continue increasing the Latin Honor Society’s positive impact on the community, and I can’t wait for another year of helping and learning. Excelsior!” said Mrs. Kunz.

2018 Inductees:

Katherine Chapple
Madison Cordle
Jared DeGuzman
Maci Dixon
Phoebe Fisher
Scott Harrison
Billy Haufe
Garrid Hutchison
Caroline Kilbourne
Haley McMaster
Mikayla Moaney
Bryan Moran Iztep **
Charles Mueller
James Parkinson
Colleen Pogue

Alexis Reyes **
Josiah Sanders
Catherine Sauter
Jack Stinson
Meredith Strickland
Marco Verteramo
Raffaele Verteramo

Previously Inducted Members:

Susanna Bruce
Sabrina Davis
Claire Dowd
Justin Hanna
Jackson Hutchison
Matthew Langfitt
Mitchell Lantz
Natasha Pandwawala
Heather Principe
Michael Rahilly
Emily Redmond
Natalie Ross
Kathryn Spofford
Kaitlyn Tilley
Alison Todd

** Not Pictured

Saint Michaels Middle High Students are “Tapped” into National Honor Society

In keeping with a long-standing tradition, Saint Michaels Middle High School held their annual “Tapping” to induct 22 juniors and seniors into the Tidewater Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). NHS is a national organization established in 1921 which serves to recognize students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

Qualifying students are given the opportunity to submit an application and resume, which are reviewed by a Saint Michaels Middle High School faculty committee.  The actual “Tapping” is a surprise to the students who are selected, and families are invited to be present to participate in the celebration. The new members sign a special book listing all of those inducted since 1990.  Mr. JR Burkhardt, Guidance Counselor, serves as the National Honor Society Faculty Advisor. “There are pictures in the yearbooks from the 1960s or earlier of members wearing gowns and carrying candles as they do the “tapping”, said Mr. Burkhardt.  “It’s truly an honor to be able to perpetuate this special tradition at our school.”

The 2018 inductees are as follows:

Jordan Bateson
Alan Keen
William Pittman
Christina Smithpeter

Layla Berry
Colby Bryan
Randei Collins
Matthew Dunn
Brandon Foy
Jade Gilliece
Cole Johnson
Alexis Jones
Hannah Kerr
Cassidy Kling
Cian McCue
Elise McGovern
Emma Quigley
Benjamin Rieck
Lydia Shreves
Savannah Stewart
Jack Vener
Eve Yacopino

White Marsh Elementary Daniel Schwaninger Wins Sodexo Culinary Competition

TCPS elementary students had a chance to test their culinary skills in Sodexo’s 2018 Future Chef Culinary Competition. The event is an exciting and engaging way to encourage students to learn more about healthy food choices by participating in a fun and rewarding recipe contest, and is sponsored by Sodexo, provider of TCPS food services.

School districts across the country held Future Chef events throughout February and March. The winning student from each participating district will be considered for regional finalist awards, and the selected regional finalists will vie to become a national finalist, competing for the public’s vote on a special Future Chefs YouTube channel.The culinary theme this year was “Healthy Asian Fusion”.

Talbot County’s 2018 Sodexo Future Chef Competition Overall Winner was Daniel Schwaninger, 4th Grade, White Marsh Elementary School.

The Talbot County Public Schools Future Chef Culinary competition was held at Easton High School.  The panel of judges included Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools; Michael Garman, Board of Education President; Juanita Hopkins Board Member; Charles Connolly, TCPS Finance Director;and George Higley, District Manager from Sodexo. The following TCPS elementary students were finalists with their outstanding recipes:

Daniel Schwaninger – 4th Grade, White Marsh Elementary – Asian Shrimp Kebobs (1st Place)

Molly Genrich – 5th Grade, St. Michaels Elementary School – Molly Wrap Dogs (2nd Place)

Madelynne Plog – 5th Grade, St. Michael’s Elementary – Teriyaki Chicken Spring Rolls (3rd Place)

Lane Hutchison – 5th Grade, Chapel District Elementary – Teriyaki Chicken & Rice (4th Place)

Daniel Schwaninger was the overall winner with his recipe for Asian Shrimp Kebobs.  “The recipes were all amazing,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent.  “I am always so impressed with the culinary skills our elementary students demonstrate in in this competition!”

Talbot Shows Improvement in Kindergarten Readiness for Fall 2017

Results from Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) reveals that 45% of Talbot County’s incoming students in the fall of 2017 were fully prepared for learning.  This was shared with the Talbot County Board of Education at their March meeting.

The data offers a new baseline for assessing kindergarten readiness to help elevate preparation for all Talbot County school children and close achievement gaps.

The report, Readiness Matters, Equity Matters!, found that 45 percent of incoming kindergartners were fully ready to begin learning, compared to 38 percent in 2016-17. Another 39 percent were “approaching” readiness, while 17 percent were “emerging.” The report provides insights into readiness and children’s experiences with various forms of pre-K programs.

In addition to the improvements in the overall level of readiness, 43% of children entering Kindergarten in the fall of 2017 also demonstrated readiness in language and literacy (up from 32% last year), 62% demonstrated readiness in social foundations (up from 59% last year), and 50% demonstrated readiness in physical well-being and motor development (up from 47% last year.)

MSDE has worked with local educators to develop the KRA, and has since engaged educators, including kindergarten teachers, to strengthen the assessment process.

According to the Maryland Department of Education, “The KRA measures the skills and behaviors that children should learn prior to entering kindergarten. The KRA is an age-appropriate, assessment tool that relies on standardized performance tasks, along with focused observations of children’s work and play, to best understand what each entering kindergartner knows and is able to do in four key areas: social foundations; physical well-being and motor development; language and literacy; and mathematics.”

This assessment is part of Ready for Kindergarten (R4K), Maryland’s comprehensive early childhood assessment system. The KRA sets a baseline for tracking student progress in future years, aligned to Maryland’s rigorous PreK through 12th grade college and career-ready standards.

The new KRA data can be found here:

Vener is Named Principal of St. Michaels Middle High

Talbot County Public Schools has appointed Mrs. Theresa Vener as Principal of St. Michaels Middle High School effective July 1, 2018.  She will replace Mrs. Tracy Elzey, who has been appointed Curriculum Supervisor at the Board of Education for the 2018-2019 school year.

Mrs. Vener is originally from Long Island, New York.  She graduated from State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oswego in May of 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Spanish.  She earned a Master of Science in Supervision and Curriculum with Administration I Certification from Western Maryland College in August of 2000.

Vener began her career teaching Spanish at St. Michaels Middle High School in August 1993.  At that time she also taught some PE/Health classes.  She taught Spanish for 14 years, and was promoted to Assistant Principal at Saint Michaels Middle High in 2007.  She was transferred to Easton High School in 2015 as Assistant Principal and Administrator for the class of 2019.  “Mrs. Vener’s educational background, her years of experience as an Assistant Principal, and her knowledge of the Saint Michaels Middle High community are excellent preparation for her to take on this new challenge,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools.

Mrs. Vener lives in Easton with her husband Ron and her sons Jack and Max, who both attend Talbot County Public Schools. She has coached field hockey, Easton Little League baseball, and varsity softball.“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to the place where I began my educational career.” Mrs. Vener said.  “My three years at Easton High School have given me many important learning opportunities that have helped prepare me for this next step professionally.  I look forward to bringing my enthusiasm and energy back to SMMHS.  I have high expectations for the staff, students and community of SMMHS and working together we can provide the best college and career opportunities for our students.”