Education Foundation Announces Fall Event

The TCPS Education Foundation announces its first annual “Mission Possible –Celebrating TCPS Alumni and Supporting Teachers” fundraiser on Friday November 16 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Milestone Event Center.  The event will include a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres and a reverse auction benefitting the foundation’s Grants for Teachers program.

The purpose of the event is to recognize distinguished alumni, celebrate Talbot County Public Education, and raise funds, awareness, and support for the Education Foundation.  “We are very excited about our first Fall Event,” said Becky Firth, Foundation Advisory Board and event committee member.  “This is an opportunity for TCPS Alumni and other members of the community to enjoy a fun evening together while supporting our teachers and students.  Several teachers will be on hand to share their grant proposals so that guests can see first-hand examples of the incredible instructional initiatives that we are striving to fund.”Tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased on-line at or by calling Debbie Gardner at (410)822-0330, ext. 102. There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities available as well. The Education Foundation is most grateful for sponsorship commitments from Paris Foods, The Star Democrat, Sodexo Margy and Jim Robfogel, Margret Quimby, DDS, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, The Whalen Company, 1880 Bank, For All Seasons, the Hopkins Group, LLC, Easton High Alumni Association, Ewing Dietz Fountain & Kaludis and Mr. and Mrs. Brent Spurry!

The 2018 Mission Possible Honorees were selected for their outstanding accomplishments, their commitment to giving back to their communities, and their belief in and support of public education.

Mr. Otis E. Sampson, Moton High School, Class of 1963

After graduating from high school, Mr. Sampson attended the Radio School of Announcing and Speech in New York City and the Radio Engineering Institute of Virginia.  Early in his career he worked in radio broadcasting, as well as the newspaper business.  He also worked for Black & Decker and Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.  Throughout his life, he has given back to the community in numerous ways, including serving as a special advocate for CASA of Talbot County for 12 years, as a member of the Affordable Housing Board for the Town of Easton, President of the Talbot County branch of the NAACP, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Service Center, Inc. and Talbot County Commission on Aging. He is a past member of the Kiwanis Club, a member of the Samuel T. Hemsley Elks Lodge #974 of IBPOE, and the Moton Alumni Association.  Mr. Sampson has received the Community Champion Award from Verizon and the NAACP, was nominated for the Maryland’s Most Beautiful People Award, and received the Ministers and Citizens for Change Award. He has also been nominated for the Maryland’s Most Beautiful People Award.  Mr. Sampson currently serves as a member of the Talbot County Board of Education.

Captain Ann F. Stencil, USN (ret), Easton High School, Class of 1976

Following in her father and brother’s footsteps, Captain Stencil is a proud graduate of the first class of the United States Naval Academy to integrate women (1980).  In addition to her Bachelor’s degree, she holds two Master of Science degrees, and she credits Talbot County Public Schools with setting her on a course for a lifetime of advanced education.  Her 27-year military career took her around the globe with assignments in multiple cities such as Moscow, Tokyo, Stockholm, Seoul, Istanbul and Alice Springs.  She became the first female Military Training Officer at the all-male bootcamp in San Diego, was the director of Protocol for the Secretary of Defense, and had command of 32 recruiting stations in the south.  Since retiring from the military, she has worked in defense contracting, and is now the Executive Consultant for Bravo Zulu Consulting, LLC.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the Naval Federal Credit Union,  the Executive Council for the Nation’s celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812, the Board of Directors for the Cooke’s Hope Homeowner’s Association, and has volunteered for Talbot Hospice.

Mr. John R. Valliant, Saint Michaels Middle High School Class of1971

Mr. Valliant Earned a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University.  His additional education includes the Grantsmanship Training Center, Leadership Maryland, Board Source, and the Smithsonian Institution Management Course.  Mr. Valliant has been the President of the Grayce B. Kerr Fund, Inc. in Easton, Maryland and the Principal of Responsible Philanthropy Group, LLC since 2006.   Prior to that he spent nearly 20 years in leadership positions with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, ultimately serving as President from 2002 – 2006.  Mr. Valliant has extensive experience providing consulting services for museums in Maine, Maryland and Florida.  He has served on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations, including the St. Michaels High School Alumni Association, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Heritage Alliance, and the ACE Mentoring Program.  He has been the President of the Maryland Association of History Museums, Treasurer of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, and the President of the Council of American Maritime Museums.

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation was established in 2016 in partnership with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.  Its mission is to engage and utilize community resources to provide TCPS students and teachers with otherwise unavailable enrichment opportunities that will enhance the TCPS educational experience and produce exceptional graduates.  Since its inception, the foundation has funded more than $16,000 in grants for teachers including projects such as “Creating Robotic Engineers,” “Diversity in Classroom Libraries,” “Hands-On Life Science,” “STEM with Drones” and an “Outdoor Classroom.”  To learn more about supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation, visit their website at or contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at 410-822-0330 ext. 102 or by email at

TCPS Appoints Natasha Panduwawala and Lydia Shreves as Student Representatives to Board of Ed

Natasha Panduwawala and Lydia Shreves

Two local high school students were chosen to represent their respective schools as members of the TCPS Board of Education for the 2018-2019 school year following an application and interview process. The students were officially sworn in during the September 19 Board Meeting.

Natasha Panduwawala attends Easton High School and has extensive leadership experience in her school community and beyond.  She has served as President of the Latin Club, Key Club, and National Latin Honor Society.  She served in Student Government as Treasurer for the class of 2019 during her sophomore and junior year and is a member of the National Honor Society, through which she volunteers as a Peer Tutor. This year she was elected President of the National Junior Classical League, an organization for middle and high school students in classical courses, and one of the largest academic youth organizations in the world.

Natasha has been active in Easton High’s Theatre and Choral programs and has played Warrior Lacrosse and Unified Bocce.  She also attended the 2018 Youth Leadership Conference on Asian and Pacific Islander Health at Stanford University.

In 2016, while traveling to Sri Lanka for a wedding, Natasha learned of a tremendous need in her family’s home country for orthopedic aids for the less fortunate.  Upon her return, she quickly acted and formed a non-profit to collect the needed supplies, and raised the funds to travel back to Sri Lanka to deliver them.  She also provided donated school supplies to a Sri Lanka orphanage.

Natasha has received numerous awards, including the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Rotary Youth Leadership Award,Carson Scholar Award, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.   She was a United States Achievement Academy Honoree, and has twice received the EHS Women of Tomorrow Certificate of Recognition.“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be seated with the board members for this school year,” exclaimed Natasha.  “Ever since my freshman year at Easton High, I have been curious about our school system and how the decisions of the Board of Education positively affect thousands of students as years go by,” she adds. “I pursued being the Student Rep because I could have the chance to see those decisions in action and represent Easton High School simultaneously.”

Lydia Shreves is a senior at Saint Michaels Middle High, where she actively participates in school clubs and organizations.  She is President of Student Government and a Yearbook Editor and is the President of the National Honor Society.  She has served on the Prom Committee, the African-American Alliance, Students Helping Other People, the Gay-Straight Alliance and was a member of the Destination Imagination Team Aero “DI”namics that travelled to the Global Finals competition in Nashville, TN.

Lydia Shreves and Natasha Panduwawala attended their first meeting as student representatives to the Talbot County Board of Ed on September 19.

Lydia is very active in Saints Athletics, playing field hockey, basketball and tennis.  She has been team captain of the basketball team and was awarded Rookie of the Year, Offensive MVP and received the Saints Award.

Her community service activities include serving as a Character Counts Coach, and participating in Games on Wheels, the Six Pillars Century Bike Race, and Teen Court.  “I became interested in this position because I am interested in not only actively participating in the Board of Education but also learning more about how it functions,” Lydia said.  “I am looking forward to serving as St. Michaels’ student board representative as I hope to bring an authentic students’ perspective to the Board of Education this 2018-2019 school year!”

Natasha and Lydia will attend the monthly Board of Education meetings during which they will report to the Board on important happenings at their schools.

TCPS Class of 2018 Includes Two National AP Scholars

Both Easton High and Saint Michaels Middle High schools have reported outstanding results for the class of 2018. Of the combined total of 323 students receiving diplomas, 82% plan to enter a two- or four-year college or technical school, 13% will enter directly into the workforce and 5% will serve our country in the military.

The Saint Michaels Middle High School Class of 2018 included 66 graduates receiving diplomas.

Of the 323 TCPS Class of 2018 graduates:

• 177 (55%)completed at least one Advanced Placement Course before graduating.
• 83 (27%) earned credit for at least one dual enrollment course at the community college level.
• 194 (59%) seniors fulfilled requirements for at least one Career and Technology Education program (this is more than double the state average!
• The composite SAT score was 1095 for math and critical reading (an increase of 15 points from 2017), while the ACT composite average increased to 23.6.
• TCPS graduates were awarded a record high total of $16,752,086 in scholarships.

The class of 2018 also included two National AP Scholars, Alyssa Lucero and Matthew Langfitt, both graduates of Easton High School. To achieve National AP Scholar status, students must earn a score of 4 or higher on all Advanced Placement Exams taken and have completed at least 8 exams. Alyssa Lucero graduated 6th in her class with a 4.03 GPA, and she completed 10 AP classes while attending EHS. Alyssa will be attending University of Maryland College Park (UMD). Matthew Langfitt graduated with scores of 4 or 5 in a total of 9 Advanced Placement Classes.He will attend University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, entering as a second semester sophomore with 40 credits.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the class of 2018, and I am confident that they will do great things during the next chapter of their life,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, TCPS Superintendent. “Our team of educators is committed to ensuring that our students develop the global competencies they will need for active, responsible citizenship in an increasingly interconnected world, and this is reflected in our graduates’ achievements.”

The Easton High School Class of 2018 included 257 diploma recipients.

The list of colleges and universities to which TCPS students were accepted is equally impressive, and includes three acceptances to Ivy League Schools. The complete list is as follows:

Albright College
Advanced Technology Institute
American University
Anne Arundel Community College
Arcadia University
Arizona State University
Art Institute of Chicago
Atlanta Technical College
Auburn University
Automotive Training Center
Bates College
Berry College
Bloomsburg University
Bowie State University
Bridgewater College
Brooklyn College
Campbell University
Cape Fear Community College
Carpentry Trade School
Catholic University
Cedarville Automotive
Chesapeake College
Chico State University
Christopher Newport University
City College of New York
Clemson University
Coastal Carolina University
College of Charleston
College of William & Mary
Covenant College
Culinary Institute of America
Davis & Elkins
Delaware Technical Community College
Delaware College of Art & Design
Drexel University
East Carolina University
Elizabethtown College
Elon University
Embry Riddle University
Emory & Henry College
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Flagler College
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Tech
Fordham University
Franklin & Marshall College
Frostburg University
Furman University
George Mason University
Gettysburg College
Golf Academy of America
Grand Valley State University
Hampton University
High Point University
Howard University
Hunter College
Indiana State University
Indiana University
Ithaca College
Jacksonville University
James Madison University
Liberty University
Longwood University
Loyola University
Lynchburg College
Marquette University
Marshall University
Mary Baldwin University
Maryland Institute College of Art
McDaniel College
MD School of Fire Technology
Merchant Marine Academy
Mercyhurst North East
Methodist University
Michigan State University
Michigan Tech
Mississippi State
Monmouth University
Morgan State University
Mount St. Mary’s University
Muhlenberg College
Niagara University
North Carolina State University
Northern Illinois University
Norwich University
Notre Dame of MD University
Nova Southeastern University
Ohio University
Old Dominion University
Oral Roberts University
Otterbein University
Pace University
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Palm Beach University
Parsons The New School
Paul Mitchell School
Penn State
Pratt MWF
Randolph-Macon College
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Roanoke College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rutgers University
Salisbury University
Savannah College of Art and Design
Shaw University
Shenandoah University
Shepherd University
Southern Illinois University
St. Francis University
St. Joseph’s University
St. Lawrence College
St. Leo University
St. Mary’s College
St. Peter’s University
Stevenson University
SUNY Albany
Susquehanna University
Syracuse University
Temple University
The University of the South
Towson University
UNC Asheville
UNC Charlotte
UNC Wilmington
United States Naval Academy
University of Missouri Columbia
University of Alabama
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Colorado – Boulder
University of Dayton
University of Delaware
University of Denver
University of Georgia
University of Kentucky
University of Louisville
University of Mary Washington
University of Maryland Baltimore Co.
University of Maryland College Park
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Michigan
University of Mississippi
University of New Hampshire
University of North Florida
University of Notre Dame
University of San Francisco
University of Scranton
University of South Carolina
University of Tampa
University of Tennessee
University of Vermont
Valencia College
Villanova University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
Virginia Wesleyan University
Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Lee University
Washington College
Wells College
Wesley College
West Virginia University
West Virginia Wesleyan University
Western Governors University
Western Kentucky University
Western Michigan University
Widener University
Wofford College
Xavier University
York College

Talbot’s Renee Warfield is Maryland Teacher of the Year Finalist

Each year, the Maryland Department of Education Teacher of the Year Panel selects seven teachers from counties across the State as finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year. Talbot County Public Schools is very pleased and extremely proud to announce that TCPS Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Renee Warfield, has been named as a State Finalist. This is the second year in a row that a TCPS teacher has been a finalist for the State award.

Mrs. Warfield is an ESOL/Spanish Teacher at Easton High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a Minor in Art in 2002 from Salisbury University and a Master of Education, also from Salisbury University, in 2006. She began her career with TCPS in 2007 as a Spanish Teacher at Saint Michaels Middle High School. In 2014 she transferred to Easton High School, where she now teaches English 9 and English 10 for English Language Learners (ELL) and is a co-teacher for Algebra, Biology and Government.

Pictured L-R: Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools, Mr. James Redman, Curriculum Supervisor, Mrs. Renee Warfield, Mr. Kirk Howie, Principal, Easton High School.

In addition to her work as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Warfield serves as a translator and interpreter and plans special events for ELL students and their families. As a member of the Digital Leader Team, she leads training and professional development for her peers. She has been Chair of the Easton High School Spirit Committee and the advisor for Easton High School’s Cultura Unidas, a bi-lingual service club,

Mrs. Warfield has demonstrated commitment to the students she serves through her additional work in the community. She collaborates with Chesapeake College on new student enrollment, and she provides after-school tutoring and college planning in partnership with the Chesapeake Multi-Cultural Resource Center. In 2010, Mrs. Warfield was named a Fulbright-Hays Award recipient, and through this program traveled to Mexico with teachers from around the state to visit and learn from schools and government agencies. She was an Easton High School Ready “R” Recipient, and Teacher of the Month, and she currently serves on the Dorchester County Library Board of Trustees.

“Renee is to be commended for her advocacy for each student’s culture to be respected and each student’s voice to be heard,” commented Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools. “She believes in the importance of gaining a comprehensive understanding of a child and his or her background in order to effectively meet their needs as student and empower them to succeed! She is a tremendous asset to TCPS and we are so proud of her!”

The Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced at the annual gala in Baltimore on October 12.

School System Receives Grants to Improve Literacy and Expand Pre-Kindergarten

Talbot County Public Schools has received a $1.78 million grant from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  This three-year grant will provide funding for literacy coaches, professional learning for school-based literacy teams to improve instruction across all content areas, and needed resources to support these initiatives.  The grant is one of $43.3 million in grants made to Maryland school districts to help advance literacy among students from birth to grade 12.

“Every child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of the neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” said Governor Larry Hoganin a press release from MSDE. “These grants will help provide the vital and necessary literacy skills that lead to greater success in the classroom and in the workforce.”

According to the MSDE press release, funds for the program came through the three-year $45 million federal Striving Readers’ Comprehensive Literacy Grant, awarded to MSDE last year.  It was the largest competitive grant awarded to MSDE in nearly three years.  For TCPS, this funding will provide one early childhood, three elementary and three secondary literacy coaches, as well as one digital literacy coach.

Funding amounts were determined by peer reviewers using priority areas developed by the US Department of Education. Reviewers looked at each application for adherence to federal grant guidelines and placed emphasis on disadvantaged students; use of strong and moderate evidence; alignment of birth to grade 5; partnerships with nonprofit providers of early childhood education; and use of strategic professional learning.

TCPS has also sought and been awarded a Preschool Expansion grant from MSDE in the amount of $271,728.  This funding will provide for expansion of the Pre-Kindergarten program at Easton Elementary – Dobson for the 2018-2019 school year.   This opportunity was limited only to schools which have a Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) rate of 65% or greater, so Dobson was the only school in Talbot County that qualified to apply.

For 2018-2019, Easton Elementary Dobson will have six classrooms of full-day pre-kindergarten.  “We are very excited about the opportunity this grant will provide for students at Easton Elementary,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  “Our Kindergarten Readiness Assessments have clearly indicated the potential benefit of expansion of our pre-kindergarten program.  A full day Pre-Kindergarten program, along with the early childhood literacy coach, who will be integrated with the Judy Center, will help us to prepare our students for long-term success.”

Schools Donate Retired Bus to Parks and Recreation

Freddie McCracken, TCPS School Safety and Security Specialist and Preston Peper, Director of Talbot County Parks and Recreation.

A “retired” school bus has been repurposed to serve local children in a new way.  Talbot County Public Schools has donated a 15-year-old school bus to Talbot County Parks and Recreation.  TCPR will use the bus to transport summer campers to field trips and other off-site activities.

“While this bus has exceeded its usable life for the school system’s purposes,” said Freddie McCracken, TCPS School Safety and Security Specialist, “the motor and transmission are still in good working order. It should work for this type of use by Parks and Recreation for quite some time.”

The bus will soon have a new look and new color scheme so be on the look-out!

Education Foundation Supports Saint Michaels Destination Imagination Teams

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation awarded a grant in the amount of $1000 to support the five Destination Imagination Teams that advanced to the Global Finals Competition in Knoxville Tennessee.

Destination Imagination (DI) encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and service learning competitions.  Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem-solving process.  Global Finals is a celebration of this creativity as it brings together the best teams from all across the world to meet, compete and learn from each other.

Photo: Front Row L to R: DI Team Members Brynn Lizewski and Molly Genrich. Middle Row L to R: DI Team Members Ryley Beers, Will Asmussen, and Benny Rieck. Education Foundation Advisory Board Members Becky Firth, Laura Heikes, and Gwen Fike. Back Row L to R:DI Team Member Lydia Shreves, Foundation Advisory Board Members Jo Ann Murray, Ty Russ, Juanita Hopkins, Patrick Fitzgerald, and Graham Lee.

A group of students from the Saint Michaels DI teams recently paid a visit to an Education Foundation Advisory Board meeting to express their appreciation for the support and share reflections about the experience.  “This is what the Education Foundation is all about!” said Foundation Advisory Board Member Becky Firth.  “These students are amazing, and it was so exciting to hear about their projects and how they were challenged and inspired through this experience.”

Formed in the Fall of 2016, the mission of the Education Foundation is to engage and utilize community resources to provide TCPS students and teachers with otherwise unavailable enrichment opportunities that will enhance the TCPS educational experience and produce exceptional graduates.  To learn more about supporting Destination Imagination teams or other Education Foundation Grant Programs, visit our website at or contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at 410-822-0330 ext. 102 or by email at

Schools Offer Summer Hours for Student Registration

All Talbot County Public Schools are open during the summer for walk-in registration. Hours vary by school, and TCPS is encouraging families to register as soon as possible.

Elementary Schools are open for registration as follows:

Easton Elementary: Mon. – Thur. 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 410-822-0686/410-822-0550.
Chapel District Elementary: Mon. – Thur. 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. through 8/9 (7:00 a.m. – noon only on Monday 8/6). Mon. 8/13 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Mon – Fri. 8/20 – 8/318:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 410-822-2391.
St. Michaels Elementary: Mon. 7/23, Tues. 7/24, Mon. 8/6, Tues. 8/7, Thur. 8/9, Mon. 8/20 – Thur. 8/23, Mon. 8/27 – Thur. 8/30. 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 410-745-2882.
Tilghman Elementary: Mon. – Thur. 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (please call ahead as staff is limited) 410-886-2391.
White Marsh Elementary: Mon. – Thur. 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.410-476-3144.

For registration at the middle and high school levels, please call the school for hours and availability.

Easton Middle School: 410-822-2910
Easton High School: 410-822-4180
Saint Michaels Middle High School: 410-745-2852

School offices will be closed on the morning of Wednesday 8/29 so that staff may attend the annual Opening Day Celebration.

Please bring registration forms, which may be found online at or in any school building. Forms will also be available the day of registration. In addition, you must bring the following documents:

1. Up-to-date immunization record
2. Birth Certificate (proof of custody)
3. Social Security Card (if available)
4. Parent or Guardian with ID
5. Proof of Current Grade (if transferring from another school)
6. Income Verification (Pre-K only)
7. Proof of Residency (signed lease/deed or electric bill)

Families will also need two of the following: (name on the Supplemental ID must match the name of the Proof of Residence)
• Driver’s License
• W-2 Form
• Bank Statement
• Voter Registration Card
• Pay Stub
• Income Tax Return

For more information contact Talbot County Public Schools Student Services at (410)822-0330.

Schools Will Offer Free Summer Meals

Many children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year may not have access to nutritious meals during the summer when schools are closed. To help address this need in our community, Talbot County Public Schools is participating in the 2018 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The program is made possible with support from the Partnership To End Childhood Hunger in Maryland, the Maryland State Department of Education, and No Kid Hungry.

The SFSP provides healthy meals and plays a vital role in reducing childhood hunger when schools are not in session. The program reimburses organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. Meals will be available to children and teens age 18 and under free of charge at the following sites and times:

Easton Middle School
201 Peachblossom Rd.
Easton, MD 21601
June 18 – August 30, 2018
Monday – Thursday
Breakfast – 8:10 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.
Lunch – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

St. Michaels Elementary School
100 Seymour Ave.
St. Michaels, MD 21663
June 18 – August 30, 2018
Monday – Thursday
Breakfast – 8:10 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.
Lunch – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

St. Michaels Farmers Market
204 S. Talbot St.
St. Michaels, MD 21601
June 9 – September 1, 2018
Saturdays Only
Breakfast – 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Easton High Students Present Science Symposium

Students in the Project Lead The Way(PLTW) Biological Innovations, Advanced Placement Biology and Advanced Placement Environmental Science courses at Easton High School recently presented their research projects at the annual Science Symposium held in the school media center.  After conducting research in a scientific area of interest, students invited their mentors, parents and guardians, school administrators and the general public to an evening event that included a poster session and formal electronic presentations.

Research topics ranged from the medical field to the environment, including titles such as “The Effects of Supplemental Oxygen on Athletes After Exertion”; “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome”; “The Opioid Epidemic”; “The Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes on the Human Body”; “The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Organisms”; “The Power of a Mindset: How the Way We Think Affects Our Health”; and “Run-off and Algae Blooms in the Chesapeake Bay”.

Photo: Easton High School Seniors Arlette Felix-Martinez and Tiffany Zheng present their research project on “The Possible Effects of E-Cigarettes” at the Annual Science Symposium.

Teachers Cheryl Overington, Julie Harp and Lauren Rose matched their students with mentors from the community who advised and supported the students throughout their studies. “I find it very rewarding to see our students working at such a rigorous level; our seniors are choosing majors in colleges which parallel the exact area of scientific study that they researched this year in high school,” said LeeAnn Hutchison, Interim Science Supervisor, “and they are serious about pursuing careers that are aligned with those studies.”

Mentors included experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Natural Resources, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Center at Easton, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Lab, ShoreRivers, the Talbot County Health Department, and various psychological and medical organizations.  Some students also connected to mentors online rather than in person.  These partnerships helped provide students with a balanced, unbiased approach to scientific research, the investigatory approach to learning, and a strong understanding of the strategies and skills needed for appropriate and meaningful action.

“I was impressed with how professional the students were and how they really knew their subject matter.  Their ability to articulate their research findings was amazing.  I am also impressed with all of the mentors from our community who supported our students,” said Pam Clay, Career and Technology Supervisor.

The Science Symposium is held annually to celebrate the accomplishments of high school students in the area of scientific research, to recognize the importance of scientists and health care experts as mentors, and to include the public in the educational process.