Benedictine Announces Appointment of Cheryl Keamy to Board of Trustees

Cheryl Keamy

Benedictine, an organization that cares for nearly 200 children and adults with developmental disabilities,  announced the appointment of Cheryl Keamy to its Foundation Board of Trustees.

Keamy, of Vienna, Va., is the owner of Innovative Concepts Unlimited, Inc., and has over 25 years of experience with market research and preparation of marketing proposals and implementation.

She is an American University and Wheaton College alumna with degrees in Public Policy and Government and Economics. Keamy currently serves on the boards of Wheaton College, The Wendt Center, Chords of Courage, and Women in the Arts. Before becoming a business owner in 1987, Keamy was the Director of Marketing for AARP.

The Benedictine Foundation supports priority projects including expanding educational resources and vocational training for students and adults.  The Foundation’s Board of Trustees oversees the Foundation’s mission, planning and assets. All members of the Board are volunteers with valuable expertise in educational, legal, public policy, corporate, marketing and other arenas.

“We are extremely happy and grateful that Ms. Keamy has joined our Board.  All of the professionals who have accepted the call to serve in these volunteer positions on our Board, are distinguished in their fields. We greatly appreciate their willingness to participate in the continued success of our organization as we strive to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.” stated Charles Mills, President of Benedictine’s Board of Trustees.

Benedictine mission is to help children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential. For more information please call 410-634-2112 or visit online at

Thad Bench of Benchworks Appointed to Washington College Board

Thad Bench, CEO of the Chestertown-based international marketing and branding firm Benchworks, will be the newest member of Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Bench was nominated in May to Governor Larry Hogan for designation to one of the 12 governor-appointed seats on the 36-member board.

Bench, whose daughter Morgan graduated Washington College in 2018 with a double major in environmental studies and art and art history, has had a long relationship with the College, with many of its students getting hands-on experience as interns at Benchworks and alums signing on as full time employees, including Melissa Johnston ’98, Benchworks’ president.

As CEO of Benchworks, Inc., a family of companies that specializes in the health care and pharmaceutical industry, Bench is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in marketing, brand positioning, and product launch management. Under his leadership, Benchworks has grown sixfold since 2014 and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the last four years.

Bench was named one of the 2016 ELITE 100 in the Entrepreneur category by PM360 magazine, an honor given to the 100 most influential people in the health care industry. He has managed hundreds of large-scale marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies with a particular emphasis in the pharmaceutical industry, including nine product launches. He has owned and continues to own a number of closely held family businesses, including manufacturing and distribution operations and commercial real estate holdings.

Bench graduated from Elmira College in 1984 and lives with his wife Renee in Chestertown.

Wye River Upper School Announces New Director of Development

Lauren Kay Weber

Wye River Upper School is delighted to announce that Lauren Kay Weber has accepted the position of WRUS Director of Development.

Lauren brings over a decade of leadership experience as a major fundraiser for a range of organizations.  She most recently served as the volunteer President of her children’s school where she raised over $200,000 in cash and goods in just eight months. In her role as Communications and Development Manager for Leadership Arlington, Lauren communicated their mission to great success and launched an impactful marketing and grant-writing campaign. As a Project Manager for an Educational Software Implementation, Lauren was named Employee of the year by the Brigham Young University Center for Teaching and Learning.

Lauren’s expertise in developing community relationships and involvement through authentic, mission-aligned storytelling, is a tremendous asset to the School. Wye River is thrilled that she has dedicated her talents to their mission and will enable a greater impact on the students and families they serve.

WRUS Mission: Students who learn differently discover with innovation, develop with rigor, and celebrate their strengths at Wye River Upper School while preparing for success in college, career and life.

Wye River accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Kent. For more info about the school, visit or contact Kimberleigh Garcia at 410-758-2922.

Chautauqua Summer Series Returns to St. Michaels July 8-10

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., will once again host Maryland Humanities’ Chautauqua Summer Series this year on July 8-10. These live, waterfront performances will be focused on the theme of Making Waves, with all performances taking place from 7-8:30pm on CBMM’s Fogg’s Landing. All performances are free and open to the public.

Chautauqua performances are historical dramatizations featuring individuals who are part scholar, part actor. Each performance has three acts: the first, where the performer represents the historical figure in the first person; the second, where they invite audience questions; and the final act, where the performer steps out of character in order to answer questions that the historical figure would not have been able to answer.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Chalkley

The 2019 Chautauqua Summer Series at CBMM is generously sponsored by Karen and Langley Shook, and is funded in part by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County, and the towns of Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels.

The series will begin on Monday, July 8, with Matthew Henson, a polar explorer, author, and craftsman, who was the first African-American to reach the North Pole. Keith Henley, a historic interpreter and actor, will portray the Maryland native.

On Tuesday, July 9, the series continues with Jacques Cousteau, an oceanographer, filmmaker, and scientist known for deep-sea exploration and his invention of the aqua-lung, which is responsible for the development of SCUBA diving. Cousteau was famous in the United States for his long-running television series revealing the underwater world, but deserves recognition for his roles as a French naval officer and resistance spy during WWII as well. He also is partially responsible for the modern tradition of environmental advocacy. He will be portrayed by Doug Mishler, an independent scholar and veteran Chautauquan.

July 10’s performance will feature Grace O’Malley, a 16th century Irish Pirate Queen. O’Malley commanded ships, men, and the respect of Queen Elizabeth I during her rule on the seas. Known as the Sea Queen of Connaught and the Pirate Queen of Ireland, she commanded the West coast of Ireland and an entire fleet of ships during the 1500s. O’Malley proved herself a capable sailor and worker in the family business at a young age and so inherited ships, land, and cattle, wealth which she enlarged through trade, marriage, and piracy. She even faced down Queen Elizabeth I of England to defend her family and country. Mary Ann Jung will portray this daring woman.

“Chautauqua” was the name for the Chautauqua Lake area in Upstate New York. This region was the original home of the movement, beginning in 1874 as a Methodist summer retreat. The wide range of religious lectures and educational programs attracted a huge following. The Chautauqua movement evolved from there, presenting the latest in thinking in politics, economics, literature, science, and religion. Maryland Humanities launched the modern Chautauqua program in Maryland in 1995.

The Chautauqua Summer Series at CBMM invites guests to bring carry-on food and beverages, along with their own chairs and blankets for seating. All performances are held on the lawn of Fogg’s Landing near CBMM’s Steamboat Building, with convenient entry adjacent to parking. In the event of rain, performances will be held in the Van Lennep Auditorium, with space limited. No registration is required.

For more information, visit or call 410-745-2916. Additional information about the Chautauqua Summer Series can be found at

Easton Student Graduates College before High School

Shelby Simpkins, 18, of Easton was recently named 2019 Outstanding Dual Enrollment Student at Chesapeake College.  The outstanding student credits her lifelong drive to excel academically for her high school accomplishments.

Ms. Simpkins said that drive took her beyond the college prep curriculum of upper level and Advanced Placement classes to the fast track for a college degree. Less than a month before her graduation from Easton High School in June, Ms. Simpkins earned an associate’s degree at Chesapeake College.

Each year, high school students across the Mid-Shore get a head start on college through Chesapeake’s Dual Enrollment program. High school juniors and seniors earn college credits in classes in offered in the schools, at the college or online.

“I wanted to do something different that would really challenge me. Knowing at the end of the semester that I had made it through a true college class was motivating for me and made me want push ahead,” she said. “Dual Enrollment gave me the chance to test myself and see how I would do in a college setting. I really enjoyed the challenge.” named to the Dean’s List each semester.

Chesapeake College President Cliff Coppersmith presents Shelby Simpkins with the Dual Enrollment Student of the Year Award for 2019.

At Chesapeake, Ms. Simpkins maintained a 3.75 Grade Point Average and was with the 59 credits she is transferring from Chesapeake to Salisbury University, Ms.  Simpkins could potentially finish her bachelor’s degree when she is just 20 years old.

That accelerated pace, she says, gives her the time to earn additional emergency certifications and eventually a master’s degree. She plans to major in nursing at SU, and hopes to be a shock trauma nurse in the future.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people. It’s amazing to see how medical technology and skill can bring someone back from their lowest point to a full recovery,”Ms. Simpkins said. “I knew that I wanted to make a career of helping people.”

Ms. Simpkins volunteers with Talbot Hospice and earned nearly 200 service learning hours. She holds two jobs, including a file clerk position at an Easton law firm.  She is a member of National Honor Society and the Key Club. As a student at EHS, Ms. Simpkins also participated in the Unified Bocce Ball team.

“From day one, Shelby was a focused, determined young lady with a definite plan. She is hard working, organized and mature beyond her years,” said Easton High School Guidance Counselor Debra McQuaid. “Shelby will excel in any career she pursues.  She was a delight to work with.  I’d wish her luck, but she doesn’t need any.”

In addition to her academic achievements, Ms. Simpkins has also earned accolades as Miss Easton Fire Prevention, Miss Maryland Fire Prevention and Miss DelMarVa Fire Prevention.

For more information about Chesapeake’s Dual Enrollment program for high school students, please visit or email Angela DenHerder at

WRUS Senior Torrienne Emery Signs Division II Tennis Scholarship

Torrienne Emery, a recent graduate of Wye River Upper School in Centreville, MD has signed a Division II scholarship offer to play tennis for Southern Wesleyan University in Central, South Carolina.

Emery never lost a singles match while representing the Wye River Raptors tennis team. Emery was coached by Joe Brannegan at Wye River and privately by Coach Aime Ngounoue. Emery is ranked 70th out of 550 players in her high school region.

“Playing college tennis in the South has been a lifelong dream,” said Emery. “I am really excited to take my tennis to the next level at Southern Wesleyan. Wye River has done so much to help me academically. The people at school really helped make this dream a reality.”

Torienne Emery with Tamiiko and John Emery, her parents, Chrissy Aull, Founding Head of School, and Ron Vener, Athletic Director.

Torrie has been an invaluable asset to the Wye River community as a leader in athletics, a performer in theater and music programs, a dedicated scientist, and a coach to younger tennis players. Coach Brannegan honored her contributions and congratulated her for this outstanding achievement at a recent Awards Ceremony.

Wye River Upper School is an independent, coed, high school offering an engaging, and supportive curriculum for bright students with learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia, and/or anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent and accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. For more information visit or contact, 410.758.2922.

Talbot County Public Schools Honors Retirees

Talbot County Public Schools and the Talbot County Board of Education held a reception honoring nine employees who are retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Together they have devoted 270 years of service to the children of Talbot County. Two of the retirees have been with TCPS for more than 40 years, three were with TCPS for more than 30 years, and three had more than 20 years of service.

The 2019 TCPS Retirees are as follows: Sue Angel, Easton Elementary-Moton; Lauri Bell, Easton Middle; Thomas Callahan, Easton Middle; Joyce Crow, Tilghman Elementary; Jacqueline Haynes, Easton Middle; Robert Knell, Talbot County Education Center; Laura Krausz, White Marsh Elementary; Jeffery Payne, Easton High; Christine Pridgen, St. Michaels Middle High.

Photo: L-R: Board of Education President Michael Garman, Delegate Johnny Mautz, Christine Pridgen, Sue Angel, Joyce Crow, Jeffrey Payne, Jacqueline Haynes,Dr. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent. (Not Pictured: Lauri Bell, Thomas Callahan, Robert Knell, Laura Krausz).

Mrs. Mary Wheeler, Board of Education Vice President, gave a welcome, then awards were presented by Mrs. Tonya Hayman from the Talbot County Education Association and Mrs. Kelly Murdoch from the Talbot Association of Supervisors and Administrators.

Dr. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent, presented each retiree with a gift of an engraved clock and expressed her appreciation for their work. “Abraham Lincoln stated “and in the end it’s not the years in your life that count,” said Dr. Griffith. “It’s the life in your years!” Thank you for your many years of dedicated service, all of you truly made a difference for Talbot County children.” The retirees also received citations from the Maryland House of Delegates presented by Delegate Johnny Mautz, who is a TCPS alumnus and parent.

The Benedictine School Recognizes 13 Graduates

The Benedictine School held its annual graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 13, to celebrate the accomplishments of 13 students. The ceremony recognized the individual achievements of each graduate with a special award presentation. Parents, students and staff gathered on campus at the School’s updated community center. Previously convent space used by the Sisters, the chapel was used for the first time for this year’s graduation.

Those in attendance enjoyed an evening of hospitality as the culminating event of the school year. The ceremony included a live performance of the national anthem sung by staff member, Yvonne Duckery, a sign language routine performed by a group of volunteer staff, and a sentimental graduation video created by Teacher, Nick Fox. Special guests in attendance included Michael Arntz, representative from Congressman Andy Harris office, Dan Franklin, Vice President Caroline County Commissioners, and Wilbur Levengood, Commissioner Caroline County Commissioners.

Greensboro Pharmacy owner and pharmacist, Michelle Zdradzinski, was recognized during the event with The Community Award for her commitment to serving the students of Benedictine and always helping to meet special requests over the years.

Graduates from The Benedictine School were awarded a High School Certificate of Program Completion and will move on to adult life in their home communities.  This year’s class motto was “the world is our canvas” and staff wish them the best of luck.

Taylor Meredith is Easton High/Ben Franklin Artist of the Month for May

L-R: Mary-Ann Milligan, Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing; Jonathan Crist, Art Teacher; Taylor Meredith, May EHS Artist of the Month; Catessa Cain, Easton High School Assistant Principal.

Easton High Senior Taylor Meredith has been recognized as the Ben Franklin Artist of the Month for May.

“Taylor excels in drawing, painting and digital artwork,” said Art Teacher Jonathan Crist. “The artwork chosen is a figurative oil painting done in alla prima painting technique.  Taylor understands colors, shape and light very well for her age.  The painting was done purely from observation over the course of four days.”Taylor will attend Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the Fall.

Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing Center, in cooperation with Easton High Art Teachers, generously supports student Artists throught the Artist of the Month Program, and provides the winning students with a gift bag of art supplies and a gift card for the store.

The Gunston School Celebrates 108th Commencement

This past weekend Gunston’s campus was filled with family, friends, and faculty as they joined the Class of 2019 in celebrating their achievements and marking the end of their journey at Gunston.

On Friday, June 7, the Green & White Awards Ceremony was held in the Field House. Headmaster John Lewis offered a brief remark about each of the 47 seniors. Lewis ended his address to the Class of 2019 stating “It has been a privilege to work with you, and you have conducted yourselves with class, camaraderie, and grace during your time here. On behalf of everyone in this room, we wish you the best!”

Valedictorian Davy Song addressed his classmates “1368 days ago, we, the Class of 2019, embarked on a flotilla of boats bound for Gunston. Aboard, as we gazed into the blues of the Corsica River, Gunston meant nothing but seven white letters on a background of dark green in the distance. When we alighted from the boats and stepped onto the dock, we were oblivious to what lied ahead of us, and we could never imagine that we were to spend the next four years of our youth in a magical place, a place where we would forge deep friendships with classmates and teachers, where we would explore our raison d’êtres, and where we would transform from the innocent freshmen into the confident young adults that we are today. Four years ago, no one fell into the Corsica River during embarkation. Four years later, we are still, fortunately, intact and whole. Yet, one thing has changed: a collective experience has brought us closer together, and stronger together…We remember because of the blood, sweat, and tears that we shed shaped who we are today. Just look at how much we’ve achieved throughout our high school careers. Class of 2019—today is the day to proclaim proudly—We did it!”

Photo: From left to right, front row, Kejing Chen, Cameryn Kelly, Cora Duncan, Michell Pagan, Megan Prochaska, Claire Johnson, Elyssa Merton, Katie Schiwy, Anna Wolf, Paige Murphy, Fuji Yang; second row: Si-tong Zhou, Rebecca Defino, Anneliese Clair, Shiloh Clark, Marisa Pisapia, Caroline Roser, Elena Sherman, Morgan Smith, Leah Hellwege, Brynne Kneeland; third row, President of St. John’s College Peter Kanelos, Headmaster John Lewis, Catherine Easter, Yanni Harris, Luke Stehle, William Urquhart, Phineas Howell, Andrew Seaman, Grafton Howard, Nick Basham, Katie Staley, Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Wright, Assistant Headmaster Christie Grabis; fourth row, Menel Harris, Haorui Song, Dolan Carella, Philip Ashley, Griffin Hecht, Zachary Goss, David Armstrong; back row: Yong Yan, Zhenghao Ren, Nicholas Lee, Samuel Umidi, Ryan Evans, William Gibson, James Pratt, Juan Cordero. 

The awards ceremony was followed by the Brick Laying Ceremony and Senior Disembarkation. Four years ago the Class of 2019 arrived on campus by boat, where they were greeted by outstretched hands and smiling faces of the upperclassmen and faculty. On Friday, the 47 members of the class of 2019 once again walked through the receiving line, but this time they said farewell to their friends, family, and faculty as they disembarked from Gunston to start their next journey.

On the morning of June 8th, The Gunston School held its 108th Commencement, graduating the largest class in history—47 members. The longtime tradition of an outdoor ceremony along the banks of the Corsica River was greeted with sunny skies and warm smiles. Bagpiper Robert Wallace led the procession, as the girls in white formal dresses carrying flower bouquets and boys in blue blazers and khakis processed.  Class President Claire Johnson delivered the opening greeting, followed by each senior presenting a favorite quote.

This year’s commencement speaker was Peter Kanelos, President of St. John’s College in Annapolis.  Kanelos composed his remarks around the key concepts of Confucius’ moral philosophy: the pursuit of dao (truth), the ethical system of jen (love and benevolence), The moral ideal of chun-tze (the man of high moral achievement who constantly tries to improve and cultivate himself to achieve various stages of perfection),  and the wu-lun (five basic human relationships). Kanelos bestowed these parting words to the seniors “It is often the ambition of young people to make a difference to build a better world. This is admirable but you must begin from the inside out. The world is composed of individuals each with boundless capacity. How you cultivate your freedom will determine whether you are self-seeking or selfless. The latter path is the path to nobility. To be noble is to light the world with your love. And if enough souls shine forth in this way the world will not only be better but brighter. You are both the spark and the flame. Shine forth and shine on.”

We're glad you're enjoying The Talbot Spy.

Sign up for the the free email blast to see what's new in the Spy. It's delivered right to your inbox at 3PM sharp.

Sign up here.