Washington College Graduates 292

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, encouraged graduating Washington College students to keep an open mind to the constant question of “what comes next,” while knowing that their education has given them the strongest footing from which to answer it throughout their lives.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, addresses the Class of 2017 at Washington College, May 20

“Saying ‘I don’t know’ is one of the hardest things to do in life,” Lagarde told graduates, families, faculty, and alumni during the college’s 234th Commencement on the Campus Green, May 20. “We have all been trained from a young age to have an answer at the ready. But the reality is that the answer is not what matters most—it is knowing how to find the answer that is key. Your education—this wonderful, complex, classical, liberal arts training—has given you the foundation you need to begin to solve the puzzle of ‘What comes next?’ ’’

Although the future these graduates face is one where technology, automation, and artificial intelligence may take over the tasks now managed by humans, Lagarde said that the problem-solving skills, empathy, and perspective inherent in the liberal arts will become even more critical as time goes on.

“Many of the founders of this country, who were lawyers, businessmen, and farmers by training, could also recite orations from Pericles by heart. Those polymath skills not only gave their revolution historical context, it informed the society they hoped to build,” she said. “Your school embodies their vision and has instilled in you a love of knowledge. Success for your generation requires a commitment to life-long learning and an understanding that today is a milestone in your education, but it is not the end. The truth is that college has taught you how to learn, not what to learn.”

“By choosing Washington College, each of you has stood up and said that public service is important in your life. The values of this institution come directly from Washington himself; his example serves as the inspiration for your honor code. You have made a promise to help others and now you must follow through,” she said. “Think about what matters most to you—is it climate change? Homelessness? Improving education? Whatever it is, fight for it.”

Read the complete text of LaGarde’s speech here.

Before the address, President Sheila Bair awarded Lagarde an honorary doctor of laws.

Along with conferring degrees upon 292 graduates, the ceremonies on the campus green included multiple awards and citations:

  • James Allen Hall, associate professor of English and the director of the Rose O’ Neill Literary House, earned the Alumni Association’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Alex Aiello Roberts, a math and computer science major, philosophy minor, from Bel Air, Md., won the George Washington Medal and Award, given to the senior who shows the greatest promise of understanding and realizing in life and work the ideals of a liberal education.
  • Anna Elizabeth Inserra, a chemistry major from Dix Hills, N.Y., won the Clark-Porter Medal, given to the student whose character and personal integrity, in the opinion of the faculty, have most clearly enhanced the quality of campus life.
  • Alexandra D. Kurtz, of Lancaster, Pa., a political science major with minors in economics and Spanish, won the Louis L. Goldstein ’35 Award, for a graduating senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, has demonstrated unusual interest, enthusiasm, and potential in the field of public affairs.
  • Erika Louise Koontz, of Woodbine, Md., an environmental studies major with minors in Spanish and biology and a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies, earned the Eugene B. Casey Medal, given to a senior woman voted by the faculty to be outstanding in the qualities of scholarship, character, leadership, and campus citizenship.
  • Patrick S. Ginther, of Harleysville, Pa., a double major in chemistry and biology with concentrations in biochemistry and organic and medicinal chemistry, won the Henry W.C. Catlin 1894 Medal, given to a senior man voted by the faculty to be outstanding in the qualities of scholarship, character, leadership, and campus citizenship.
  • Two students won this year’s Jane Huston Goodfellow Memorial Prize, which goes to the graduating senior majoring in science who has an abiding appreciation of the arts and humanities and has shown scholastic excellence. They are Laura Elizabeth King, of Rising Sun, Md., a double major in biology and Hispanic studies, and Ryan Manning, of Chestertown, an English and chemistry double major and creative writing minor.
  • The Gold Pentagon Awards go to one senior and one alumnus, faculty, or friend of the College, selected by the Omicron Delta Kappa Society, in recognition of meritorious service to Washington College. This year they are Madeleine Morrissette, of Arlington, Mass., a biology major with a minor French studies, and Edward P. Nordberg ’82, former chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors.
  • Catalina Righter, an English major and creative writing minor from Manchester, Md., won the Sophie Kerr Prize, given to the senior who shows the most promise for future literary endeavor.

Easton Middle and High School Students Win Stock Market Game Championships

The Stock Market Game is an educational simulation that teaches students about stock markets, economic systems, investment and the global economy.  Participants develop skills in math, language arts, research and critical thinking, while building and maintaining a stock portfolio.  The Stock Market Game was made available to our teachers county-wide to use in social studies classes or as an after-school club.

Easton Middle School students Aidan Bell, Robert Delatos James Ferreira, Jesus Velazquez, Regional Winners in the Stock Market Game.

At Easton Middle School, under the guidance of coach/advisor Mr. Ed Keeler, student teams achieved distinction while learning economics and investment strategy.  Aidan Bell, Robert Delatos, James Ferreira and Jesus Velasquez were Regional Champions.  Molly Johnson, Isabella Fiorenza and Charles Mueller are State Champions!  All of these winners are students in Mr. Ed Keeler’s 8th grade U.S. History classes.  Over the years, Mr. Keeler’s students have won 4 Regional and 6 State Championships.

Easton High School students in Mr. Jeff Payne’s Personal Finance class won the Eastern Shore Region in the high school category.  Christopher Guy, Taylor Hutchinson, Brooke Lewis, and Nereyda Perez were presented their awards by the Maryland Council on Economic Education.  This is the fourth time Mr. Payne’s students have won a Stock Market Game Championship.

EHS Students Discuss the Civil Rights Movement With People Who Lived It

Ms. Vicky Wilson, Student Services Case Manager, Mrs. Pam Clay, TCPS Career and Technology Supervisor, and OS1 James Gardner.

Easton High School students discussed Civil Rights and racism in a recent U.S. History class.  Ms. Vicky Wilson, Student Services Case Manager, Mrs. Pam Clay, TCPS Career and Technology Supervisor, and OS1 James Gardner discussed their views on racism and the Civil Rights Movement with students in Mr. McLaughlin’s US History class. Vicky Wilson and Pam Clay lived through the Civil Rights movement on the Eastern Shore.  They described their lives during the 1960’s and their experiences growing up in their respective school systems. OS1 Gardner shared from the perspective of a member of the U.S. military and current teacher in the Navy Junior ROTC program.

Mr. McLaughlin organized the discussion for his students to help illustrate that the study and understanding of history is not limited to classroom lectures and reading old books.  During the discussion, students and educators described their own experiences with racism and how the county and country have changed over time.  Students were open with their experiences and the discussion flourished, creating a shared narrative on race and culture in Talbot County.

The Good Stuff: MSCF Hands Out $500K in Mid-Shore Scholarships

There are some very special days in the life of the Mid-Shore throughout the year, but very few of them can match the joy and the hope that comes with the annual distribution of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation scholarship fund to deserving young people in all five counties.

Last Saturday morning at the Talbot Country Club, Foundation president Buck Duncan, along with the MSCF Scholarship Fund co-John Lewis and programs director Robin Hill, handed out over a half million dollars of scholarship funding for eighty-one high school and college students from thirty-five different funds at the MSCF. Those awards ranged from $500-$20,000.

The Spy was there to capture the award ceremony and shared these excerpts to share this great moment for the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately seventeen minutes in length.  For more information about the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and its scholarship program please go here

Saint Michaels Middle High School Earns Maryland Green School Status

The Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) announced that St. Michaels Middle High School is one of 58 schools that have been awarded Maryland Green School status. Talbot County now has three Green Schools, Easton Elementary, Easton High, and now Saint Michaels Middle High, representing 57% of the TCPS student population.  Maryland Green Schools have demonstrated a continuous effort to integrate sustainable environmental practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development and community engagement into the culture of the school. Green School certification signifies that these schools have made a commitment to developing stewards of the earth and reducing environmental impact.

SMMHS Science Teachers Gia Ritsvey, Chris Pridgen, and Lauren Greer teamed up with students in various science classes to complete the application and meet all of the requirements in order to be awarded Maryland Green School Status.

William Keswick, Secondary Science Curriculum Supervisor said, “While Environmental Education is an integral component of the TCPS science curriculum, it is fantastic to see SMMHS staff and students take the initiative to earn the Green School Status. The work involved in the application process shows a commitment to conservation and environmental education that extends outside of our classrooms and goes beyond curriculum.”

The Maryland Green Schools Program is nationally recognized program that was started in 1999. Today there are over 582 Green Schools certified in Maryland, over 25% of all Maryland schools.

“The Maryland Green Schools program provides a framework for creating sustainable environmental structures at school, home and in the community. The Maryland Green Schools program has encouraged children to become stewards of Maryland’s environmental resources,” says Laura Johnson Collard, MAEOE Executive Director. “Students are involved in projects that save energy and reduce waste. We encourage teachers use the outdoors as an extension of the classroom.”

MAEOE will celebrate with Green Schools, Green Centers and schools that are interested in knowing more about the program at the Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit on May 18, 2017, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Author Nathaniel Philbrick Wins 2017 George Washington Prize

Author Nathaniel Philbrick has won the coveted George Washington Prize, including an award of $50,000, for his book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Viking). One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious literary awards and now in its 12th year, the George Washington Prize honors its namesake by recognizing the year’s best new books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that engage a broad public audience. Conferred by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Washington College, the award will be presented to Philbrick on May 25 at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon.

“To have Valiant Ambition recognized in this way means a tremendous amount to me, especially given the extraordinary quality of the books produced by the other six finalists,” said Philbrick. “My heartfelt thanks to the jurors involved in the selection process and to the George Washington Prize’s sponsoring institutions.”

Valiant Ambition is a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Philbrick creates a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and of the war that gave birth to a nation. He focuses on loyalty and personal integrity as he explores the relationship between Washington and Arnold—an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.

“Philbrick brings both careful craftsmanship and propulsive energy to his storytelling—a hallmark of all his widely read and acclaimed books,” says Adam Goodheart, the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College. “Moreover, Valiant Ambition is also an impressive feat of research: it offers dramatic episodes that have been largely forgotten, such as a naval battle fought by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776, which Philbrick turns into a heart-racing adventure story.”

Established in 2005, the George Washington Prize has honored a dozen leading writers on the Revolutionary era including, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical Hamilton. For this year’s prize, a distinguished jury comprised of notable historians David Preston, Kathleen DuVal, and Nick Bunker, selected the finalists from a field of nearly 60 books.

Mount Vernon’s event on May 25 will also honor the six finalists for the 2017 prize:
T.H. Breen, George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation (Simon and Schuster)
Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing)
Jane Kamensky, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (W.W. Norton)
Michael J. Klarman, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution (Oxford University Press)
Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone, Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle (University of Oklahoma Press)
Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (W.W. Norton)


The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the nation’s leading nonprofit American history education organization. The Institute’s mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

For more information: www.gilderlehrman.org.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. A privately-owned national treasure, Mount Vernon is maintained and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Since purchasing the estate from the Washington family and assuming stewardship in 1858, the Association has embraced a heroic mission to preserve, protect, and maintain the estate for the American people, relying exclusively on private donations, admission fees, and restaurant and retail proceeds. Through robust education and outreach programs, the Association expands awareness about the exceptional life and character of George Washington, sustaining his legacy through research, interpretation, and public education. In experiences on the estate and through its digital outreach platforms, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” For more information: www.mountvernon.org.

Washington College was founded in 1782, the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the college, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the college in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The college’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the George Washington Prize, is an innovative center for the study of history, culture, and politics, and fosters excellence in the art of written history through fellowships, prizes, and student programs. For more information: www.washcoll.edu.


WC’s Dam the Debt Project Provides $325K to Students to Reduce Education Loans

Washington College President Sheila Bair today announced that the Dam the Debt program will provide $325,581 to reduce the federal subsidized loan debt of 122 seniors who are graduating this May. The grants amount to a back-end scholarship that will award the seniors an average of $2,640, lowering their average federal student loan debt by nearly 10.3 percent.

“When we launched this program last year, it was something of an upstart in higher education, as no college had done this before,” President Bair says. “Now, thanks to our corporate and individual donors who understand the consequences of high student debt, we can continue sending our students into their careers and lives with one less loan to worry about. Hopefully this will enable them to save more, invest sooner, and have more freedom of choice as they move forward into the world.”

Washington College President Sheila Bair

he seniors who qualify for the program have taken out federally subsidized loans for the spring 2017 semester. Through Dam the Debt, those students will receive a grant from the College toward their financial aid package intended to replace the amount of those loans. As a result, the students will see, on average, a 10.27 percent reduction in their total federal loan burden before they even leave campus on graduation day. 

Since its inception in May 2016, the program to date has awarded a total of $659,000 to 252 eligible graduating seniors, with an average grant amount of $2,615.

Dam the Debt is one of several initiatives that President Bair has implemented since her inauguration in September 2015 to make college more affordable and accessible, and to tackle the problem of student loan debt. Funded entirely by donations, the program so far has raised $1.2 million. Among those who have donated to the program are BB&T, bloooom, inc., TD Bank, Santander Bank, Avant, John and Peggy Bacon, and Philip and Joan Riggin.

“We know that when students are burdened by debt, they delay buying homes, cars, and investing for their futures. This becomes a drag not only on them as individuals but on the economy as a whole,” President Bair says. “Anything we can do as an institution to break that cycle, we are working to do.”

In addition to Dam the Debt, the College has launched FixedFor4, which will fix tuition for four years for incoming freshmen, beginning with this fall’s incoming Class of 2021. Last year, the College also announced the Saver’s Scholarship, which will match the amount that families contribute from a 529 college savings plan or an Educational Savings Account, up to $2,500 per year, to pay for their student’s tuition. And through George’s Brigade, another donor-funded program, high-need, high-potential students can receive a full tuition scholarship, in addition to having all of their room and board covered, for four years.

In addition to these new programs, Washington College annually provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90 percent of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.

Learn more at http://www.washcoll.edu/value/ .



Lawmakers Override Hogan’s Protect Our Schools Act Veto

Maryland lawmakers voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that would specify which measures could be considered when determining a school’s quality, prohibiting student testing from being one of them.

The bill restricts the state’s ability to intervene in failing schools, which opponents worry is intended to limit the creation of charter schools and voucher systems.

The House of Delegates passed the override of the governor’s veto 90-50, and the Senate passed it the same day, 32-15.

Hogan, a Republican, vetoed House Bill 978, known as the Protect Our Schools Act of 2017, Wednesday, saying the bill weakens school accountability, according to a release from the governor’s office. In the press release, Hogan urged legislators to put aside politics and sustain the veto.

The Maryland State Board of Education and the Maryland State Department of Education have sided with the governor in opposition to this bill, according to the release.

Thursday morning, advocates for the bill gathered at a rally to call for an override. Those present included representative from the Maryland State Education Association, the Maryland Parent Teacher Association and some lawmakers.

The bill would help accommodate the needs of the students and allow parents to be involved in the process, Delegate Mary Washington, D-Baltimore, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. “We need to do more to end disparities (in education) … we cannot do that giving control to the state,” Washington said.

Bill Sponsor Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, acknowledged the common goal that both sides of the argument shared. “I’m glad we can agree every kid deserves a good education,” Luedtke said on the floor.

Although the State Board of Education opposes the bill, people who are involved in the everyday lives of children, like teachers and parents, support the bill, according to Luedtke.

Multiple delegates opposed to the bill referred to it as a “status quo” initiative on the floor, saying the bill will not bring any noticeable change that would benefit students.

Delegate Nicholaus Kipke, R-Anne Arundel, the House minority leader, said on the floor that this bill is not complicated.

“It traps students in failing schools and lessens accountability in the bureaucracy in education,” he said. Kipke made a point to say the legislation is regressive and takes tools away from the state.

Since both chambers voted to override the governor’s veto, the bill will become law July 1.

By Cara Newcomer

Talbot Chamber and Walmart Sponsor “Choices” Workshop for Eight Graders

Volunteers from Talbot County Chamber of Commerce member businesses, along with Talbot County Public Schools staff,presented the “CHOICES” program to 8th grade students in St. Michaels and Easton. “CHOICES” is an interactive, decision-making workshop that empowers teens to achieve academic success in pursuit of their career and life aspirations.

James Petrillo, Manager of Kohl’s and Robin Willey, Owner of Easton Rita’s conduct a session of the “CHOICES” workshop at Easton Middle.

During two 50-minute session, trained volunteers take students through real-world exercises on academic self-discipline, time and money management, and goal setting. Teens discover that they can take charge of their lives and increase their career and life opportunities by developing positive skills and habits for success as they look toward high school and beyond.

The “CHOICES” program is presented by the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce and Talbot County Public Schools through a grant from Wal Mart. The following volunteers conducted the session for the students:

Casey Baynard – Shore United Bank
James Petrillo – Kohl’s Store Manager
Karean (KC) Morris – 1880 Bank
Kelley Callaghan – Soul Candy Media
Kim Kastel – PNC Wealth Management
Robin Stricoff – Impacting Your People
Skip Case – Case Industrial Partners
Tom Callahan – TCPS
Vickie Wilson – TCPS
Jodi Richardson – The Peoples Bank
Robin Willey – Owner, Easton Rita’s
Lauren Harding – Bayleigh Chase Integrace

CBMM’s Rising Tide After-School Boatbuilding Program Expands

Due to an increase in attendance, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Rising Tide After-School Boatbuilding program is expanding from two to four days per week—Tuesday through Friday. Teaching middle school students in grades six to nine basic woodworking, boatbuilding, and related safety skills, the current session runs now through June.

“It’s inspiring to watch these young men and women develop skills and embrace learning in new, engaging ways as they progress through the program,” said CBMM Shipwright Educator Matthew Engel, who leads the program. “I’m so happy we’re able to expand this program to be able to reach more students.”

CBMM’s Rising Tide program began in November 2015 as a pilot initiative in collaboration with the YMCA of the Chesapeake. The program began with a six-week after-school boatbuilding session offered to Talbot County sixth-grade students. The ongoing sessions have limited participation, with the YMCA of the Chesapeake generously offering transportation to and from the program from its Easton location for YMCA and non-YMCA members.

To help with CBMM’s Rising Tide expansion, Lauren Gaunt has been hired in a new position as a Seip Family Foundation Rising Tide Program Apprentice. A former shipwright apprentice on CBMM’s 2016-2018 Edna Lockwood log-hull restoration project, Gaunt has taken the position after developing an interest in shipwright education. Her boatbuilding interests began while studying art at Michigan’s Kalamazoo College, and later as an intern at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Running from March through early June, students in CBMM’s Rising Tide After-School Boatbuilding Program are offered the opportunity to apply all they learn on woodworking in the boatyard to build a boat under the guidance of CBMM’s shipwrights and volunteers. These classes include on-the-water sessions in boater safety and proper handling, along with learning navigational skills. The finished skiff will remain waterside at CBMM for the students to take out on the Miles River on subsequent visits.

In addition to the after-school program, CBMM also offers Rising Tide summer camp, a full-day, hands-on program for students entering grades six to nine, where campers create, explore, and have fun through Chesapeake Bay-focused activities. Each week includes woodworking and boatbuilding, on-the-water adventures, and ecological excursions. Summer camp sessions begin June 19-23; registration is required to risingtide@cbmm.org.

“We are very grateful for the growing philanthropic support necessary to fund this program, to help make a huge difference in the lives of our youth,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “By expanding to four days per week, we can provide even more students with valuable support in mathematics, engineering, team building, and project management, not to mention their confidence as skills become mastered.”

CBMM’s Rising Tide program is made possible through the generous, lead support of the Wallace Genetic Foundation and Seip Family Foundation. Major support is also provided by Sandy and Bruce Hammonds, the Bryan Brothers Building Dreams for Youth Foundation, and the Dock Street Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by the Arthur H. Kudner Jr. Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Penny and John Albertine, Martha and Alfred Sikes, Ellen and Richard Bodorff, and Wiley Rein LLP.

New students wishing to participate in the program are encouraged to contact risingtide@cbmm.org. For more information about CBMM’s Rising Tide program, visit bit.ly/CBMMRisingTide.