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Zachary Olsen, a 2006 Catoctin Graduate, earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Coastal and Marine System Sciences from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi in August of 2019.

After earning his B.A. at Malone University and his Masters of Sciences degree in Coastal Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi, he accepted a job with Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

Starting as a technician and then a biologist of the Upper Laguna Madre, his current job title is a coastal ecologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife in their Department of Coastal Fisheries. 

Zach is the son of Tim and Lois Olsen of Thurmont, and currently lives with his wife, Serena, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Recently, the Frederick County Retired School Personal Association (FCRSPA) had its fall luncheon at the Lewistown Fire Hall. The guest speaker was Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

Dr. Hrabowski has been credited with transforming a commuter college into an institution known for its research and innovation, especially regarding African American students. He has written three books and been the recipient of many awards and honors. Dr. Hrabowski spoke about the role of higher education in American society and the importance of telling our own stories.

Membership in the FCRSPA is open to all those who have retired from Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS). For membership information, email myfcrspa@gmail.com or call the FCRSPA Member Chairperson at 301-788-1117.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club awarded scholarships to seven students at the annual Ruritan picnic in August.

The recipients and the schools they are attending are: Allison Rippeon, Shippensburg University;  Matt Gartrell, Mount Saint Mary’s University; Jennifer Lambert, Frederick Community College; and Aaron Matlock, West Virginia University.  Recipients not pictured are Meghan Jenkins, Salisbury University; Luke Staley, Hood College; and Allison Howard, Anne Arundel Community College.

Funds for these scholarships were derived from the annual Lewistown Ruritan Golf Tournament.  The members of the Lewistown Ruritan Club are proud to support these students in furthering their education.


Scholarship recipients pictured from left are: Allison Rippeon, Matt Gartrell, Jennifer Lambert, and Aaron Matlock. Recipients not pictured are Meghan Jenkins, Luke Staley, and Allison Howard.

Catoctin High School’s Mike Franklin is one of seven finalists for the 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year, announced by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS). This most recent accomplishment is one of many honors that Franklin has earned throughout his career. These honors include: 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.

Franklin, who is a physical education teacher and baseball coach at Catoctin High School, was named Frederick County’s Teacher of the Year at the end of April. He has served as a champion and advocate for students throughout his 23 years teaching with FCPS.

Bernie Quesada, former Catoctin High School principal and now Middletown High School principal, echoes this sentiment, “Mike Franklin’s most endearing quality, and one that I personally admire, is that he has the uncanny ability to make any educational situation, no matter how difficult, much better with his positive and unwavering faith in children. That is a rare, innate quality that should be celebrated and emulated in teaching.”

Jennifer Clements, current principal at Catoctin High School, expressed her excitement surrounding Franklin’s accomplishment and stated, “Mike Franklin has been an asset to Catoctin High School for over 20 years, during which time he has taught, inspired, mentored, and supported thousands of students and colleagues. He is an excellent teacher and coach, but, most importantly, he is an amazing person who works each day to bring a smile to those around him and to ‘catch them being good.’ We are proud of Mike’s well-deserved recognition as FCPS Teacher of the Year and finalist for Maryland’s Teacher of the Year.”

Franklin recognizes the value of providing students with positive reinforcement: “I believe in celebrating successes daily. I’ve seen the power of a compliment or a simple positive phone call home to let the parents know their child is awesome.”

Finalists are selected by a panel of judges from a number of key Maryland education organizations, representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents, and higher education. The selection process is based on a rigorous set of state and national criteria that include knowledge of teacher pedagogy, community engagement, and expertise in general education topics and issues. The finalists were selected from a group of 24 local teachers of the year that represent the 24 Maryland school systems.

The 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced at the October 25, 2019, gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore.

Catoctin High School (CHS) and Frederick County Public Schools celebrate CHS’s own Mike Franklin, selected as a finalist for the 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year award.

Theresa Dardanell

Catoctin High School welcomes Jennifer Clements, Principal; Kelly Welty, Administrative Secretary; Olivia Aungst, English Teacher; Brian Brotherton, Science Teacher; Derrick Kaas, Math Teacher; Shawn Lees-Carr, English Teacher; Christopher Maze, Latin Teacher; Kaitlyn Masotta, Spanish Teacher; Stephanie Felmet, User Support Specialist.

Thurmont Middle School welcomes Rebecca Hunter, Language Arts Teacher; Todd Zinn, Career Technology Teacher; Brianne Green, History Teacher; Robert Almovodar, World Language Teacher; Aimee Watkins, Math Teacher; Krystal McKenzie, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

Thurmont Elementary School welcomes Sandy Smith, Media Specialist; Harry Hanna, Fifth Grade Teacher; Tammy Ferrell, Third Grade Teacher; Aaron Johnson, Physical Education Teacher; Kathryn Zumbrun, Music Teacher; Tammy Cody, User Support Specialist; Amanda Chapman, Beth Cochran, and Donna Smith, Special Education Instructional Assistants.

Thurmont Primary School welcomes Dr. Michele Baisey, Principal.

Lewistown Elementary School welcomes Ryan Hench, Art Teacher; Ashley Hood, Special Education Teacher; Allyson Gwinn, Fourth Grade Teacher; Emma Jozwiak, Third Grade Teacher; Todd Cutsail and Leslie Carbaugh, Pyramid Teachers.

Sabillasville Elementary School welcomes Jill Dutrow, Art Teacher; Gary Burgess, Physical Education Teacher; Carrie Trax, Music Teacher; Christine Ortiz, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

The Thurmont High School Class of 1952 met at the Thurmont Grange Hall in June.

Pictured from left are: (seated) Barbara Bittner Abraham and Betty Baker Trite; (standing) Virginia Dewees Portner, Charles Portner, Harold Long, Dorothy Jackson Ramsberg, Rodman Myers, Doris Nunamaker Dougherty, Sylvester Hann, Betty Willard, Jean Wolfe Cline, and Eugene Schoonover.

Thanks to the generosity of the supporters of the James H. Mackley Golf Day event for the past years, the Guardian Hose Company Inc. has awarded over $10,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Catoctin High School.

The scholarship was awarded to Caitlyn Naff this past year. The Guardian Hose Company will be renewing scholarships for Lauren Ames again this year. In the spring, the Guardian Hose Company will be once again presenting a local graduating student a scholarship in honor of James H. Mackley’s name to a student that wants to continue with an education in the public safety field (Fire, EMS, Police, etc).

Pictured are Terry Frushour and Caitlyn Naff.

Joan Bittner Fry

As I peruse more “stuff” in my house, I look back 70-some years to my days as a patrolman at Sabillasville Elementary School.  Some of my teachers were Naomi Martin Waynant, Margaret Leatherman Dutrow, Loretta Kincaid, and Maurice Clarke.

When a student arrived at the upper grades, a coveted duty was to become a safety patrolman.  The Automobile Association of America (AAA) sponsored School Safety Patrol, and it was an honored position, which began in 1922. It was established for traffic safety, but since we had no streets to cross, our assignments were hall patrolman, recess patrolman, or bus patrolman. This was quite a position to hold since one could be the boss of one’s peers for a time and then take names and report findings to higher-ups, namely teachers. We wore a patrolman’s canvas belt and were issued badges.  Mine says “Patrolman School Safety Patrol” centered with AAA.

Rules and regulations included: reporting for duty on time, performing duties faithfully, striving to prevent accidents, always setting a good example, and reporting dangerous activities of other students. Approval of a parent or guardian was required before taking on this position.

I couldn’t be a bus patrolman since my siblings and neighbors and I walked over a mile to school. I was a hallway patrolman. Some infractions were running the steps, pushing or shoving, talking, chewing gum, or otherwise being unruly. Bullying was not in our vocabulary; however, circumstances weren’t much different from today. Even then there were fellow students who wanted to be first, those who had to speak out, and others who wanted to bend the rules. We just didn’t have a name for it, and maybe that was a good thing.

Going on to Thurmont in eighth grade, the School Safety Patrol took a trip to Washington, D.C., where we marched in the annual parade.  The photo above is of Charlie Wastler (whom I met in eighth grade at Thurmont High School) and me on that trip. We became lifelong friends. Notice Charlie’s belt and cap. This was 1951 and may have been the first bus trip I ever took.  The other photo is my collection of School Safety Patrol memorabilia (above, left).

Theresa Dardanell

Thurmont Primary

Open House and visitation for all students and parents will be on Thursday, August 29, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Please come to meet your teacher and tour the school. 

Kindergarten parent/guardian orientation will be held on Thursday, August 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for parents only (no children, please). 

Thurmont Elementary

Thurmont Elementary is excited to announce that they will once again have an opportunity for your child to meet his/her teacher before school starts. Last year, they had quite a successful turnout and students seemed excited to meet their teachers and classmates. On Thursday, August 29, from 3:40-4:40 p.m., the school will have “The Great Reveal” again, which will allow you to find your child’s classroom and hear about the new school year, as well as meet his/her teacher. “We’re so looking forward to opening a new school year with you and your children. Enjoy the remainder of the summer with your children. Be sure to mark your calendar!” —Debbie O’Donnell, Principal

Sabillasville Elementary

Back-to-School Night will be on Thursday, August 29, at 6:00 p.m.

Lewistown Elementary

Back to School Open House Night for all grade levels, pre-K through fifth grade, will be on Thursday, August 29, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The Open House begins in the cafeteria, with staff introductions and ice cream treats. Visit the classrooms and meet the teachers. Join the PTA and purchase spirit wear.

Thurmont Middle

Open House will be on August 21, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Pick up your schedule and take a self-guided tour. Chromebook payments can be made by cash or check. T-shirts will be available for sale (also cash or check only). Come and meet your teachers during Back-to-School Night on August 29, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Catoctin High

Back-to-School Night will be Thursday, August 29, from 6:00-7:45 p.m.  Pick up your schedules, learn about clubs, visit the classrooms, and meet the teachers. Also, meet Jennifer Clements, Catoctin High School’s new principal.  

Area churches and organizations in Emmitsburg, Lewistown, Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, and Thurmont are working to provide students in need with school supplies for the 2019-2020 school year.

This program is to assist students attending the Catoctin Feeder Schools.   These schools include Emmitsburg Elementary, Lewistown Elementary & Pyramid Program, Sabillasville Elementary, Thurmont Primary, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Middle, and Catoctin High.

The 2019 Annual Catoctin Community School Supply Drive is going to be held on Tuesday, August 20,  from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., at the Graceham Moravian Church, located at 8231 Rocky Ridge Road in Thurmont. 

If you would like to donate to this program, please drop off school supplies, cash donations, or gift cards (Walmart) to the church on August 14 from 9:00 a.m. until noon. 

Any questions or concerns, please contact Coordinator Jennifer Harbaugh at 301-639-9970 or caringind@aol.com.

Blair Garrett

Teachers are an integral part in the development of youth today.

Over the course of the school year, they work day in and day out to give children a well-rounded education. But what about over the summer months when kids are out of school?

Teachers like Missy Kearchner, who teaches fifth grade at Emmitsburg Elementary School, continue the push to strengthen the curriculum and prepare new teachers for the upcoming year.

“I’m working with rewriting the curriculum and making sure we’re touching all the indicators that are important in sixth grade, and then I build the website for teachers for the entire county,” Kearchner said.

Kearchner archives resources like videos and worksheets for other teachers to use during the school year. “I’ll do that throughout the summer, and then during the school year I’ll keep editing and revising it.”

The work doesn’t end on the official last day of school each June for teachers. Much evaluation and development is done to adjust specialized subjects like math and science to better suit students as they continue on with their education into middle school and high school.

Kearchner then spends weeks over the course of June and July focusing on curriculum writing for the county, editing and making changes to ensure the upcoming school year’s academic goals have a foundation to build toward. With the curriculum paired with the website, teachers now have resources designed to cut down on extra time needed to spend putting together teaching plans.

The work done to provide strategies for new teachers across the county is a major focus for Kearchner, but her main focus over the remaining weeks of summer is on improving Emmitsburg Elementary.  

“We are also looking at our school, specifically, making sure we make it the best for this upcoming year,” Kearchner stated. “We’re brainstorming new ideas: how can we get the kids excited to be coming to school and how can we make sure while we’re keeping them excited, we’re still getting the math and reading scores up and closing that achievement gap.”

Much of the work teachers do across all grades is behind the scenes, but it’s necessary to best prepare students for the next step in their schooling, whether that’s the jump to middle school or the jump to college.

The involvement with parents has been a key in improving the parent-teacher and parent-student relationships. “This week, we’re actually making videos for parents of teachers to show them how their kids are learning at school,” Kearchner explained. “We’re working on a video for parents with an example showing them how to solve problems, and we’re showing parents that we can send these out with newsletters throughout, so hopefully then parents will be able to help their students.”

The countless hours required to be put in by teachers to bring success to their students may sometimes fly under the radar, but the impact absolutely reflects on the students’ school experience. “I haven’t had a day off since school ended,” Kearchner said.

Kearchner’s actual summer break lasts for just two weeks before new teacher orientation kicks off, where she shows teachers fresh out of college how to set up and prepare their classroom for the upcoming year. After orientation, the cycle repeats as soon as kids once again flood the halls at school for a fresh, new year.

It’s hard to quantify just how much effort teachers like Kearchner pour into their craft, but nobody benefits more than the kids who move in and out Emmitsburg Elementary.

Six graduating eighth graders took home Mother Seton School’s (MSS)highest honors for both academic achievement and outstanding character. Beckett Tayler of Frederick received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence due to his maintaining an average above 92 throughout grades 6-8, as well as ranking in the top 10 percent of the nation on standardized tests. Beckett was also selected as one of two recipients of the Mother Seton School Spirit Award for Outstanding Christian Character.

Mackenzie Orndorff of Emmitsburg was the other recipient of the Mother Seton School Spirit Award for Outstanding Christian Character. Awardees are chosen each year from among the graduating classes by faculty and staff members.

“This year’s recipients were unanimously chosen,” Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C., principal, said. “Normally we have to go through a few rounds of votes, but Beckett and Mackenzie have exemplified what it means to embody the Christian spirit during their years at MSS.”

Four of Beckett and Mackenzie’s classmates were also recognized for outstanding achievement. Jameson Doll of Emmitsburg, Brendan Guinan of Rocky Ridge, Helen Hochschild of Emmitsburg, and Grant Kelly of Emmitsburg each received the President’s Award for Educational Achievement for maintaining an A/B average throughout grades 6-8 and scoring in the 80th percentile on standardized testing.

Maxine Troxell

The Annual Thurmont High School Alumni Banquet was held June 1, 2019, at the Thurmont Event Complex. 

President Howard Lewis (Class of 1960), who replaced the late Don Dougherty as president, served as master of ceremonies.

The ceremonies opened with the singing of the “National Anthem,” followed by a delicious meal, served by the Thurmont Ambulance Company.

Eugene Long, Class of 1944, was the oldest in attendance. The person traveling the longest distance was Barbara Davies Watts from Fort Rose, Texas.

Scholarships are an important part of the alumni’s purpose: supporting continuing education.  Six scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors who have a relative that attended Thurmont High School. This year’s recipients were: Mackenzie Anders (Middletown HS)—Roy Anders (1961); Cameron Baumgardner (Catoctin HS)—Sharon Bennett (1970), Nancy Hill (1971), John Fink(1950); Ryan Bollinger (Frederick HS)—Sterling Bollinger (1946); Carly Crone (Catoctin HS)—Roger Clem (1957); Lucy Estep (Catoctin HS)—Terry Blickenstaff (THS*CHS 1969); Sydney Zentz (Catoctin HS)—Chester T. Zentz, Jr. (1951) and Jean L. (Tressler) Zentz (1955).

Donna Fisher and Dominick Massett were in attendance, representing former teachers. Former alumni officers were recognized and thanked; those who served in the military were also recognized and thanked.

Honor classes represented were from 1944, 1954, 1959, 1964, and 1969.

Recognition and thanks are extended to the many businesses who donated door prizes for the banquet. Next year’s banquet will be held on June 13, 2020.  Anniversary years will be those ending in 5 and 0.

Photos by Maxine Troxell

Thurmont High School Class of 1944

Picutred is Gene Long.

Thurmont High School Class of 1954

Pictured: (back row) Jim Moser, Connie Horn, Jim Freeze, Rau Fry, Russell Long, Buddy Bostian; (front row) Linda Fogle, Lois Griffith, Dollie Sanders, Lottie Bostian, and Irene Miller.

Thurmont High School Class of 1959

Pictured: (back row) Jim Baker, Kenny Fraley, Ray May, Deanna Shuff, Joe Fleagle, Ron Boller, Harvey Gearhart; (middle row) Barbara Campbell, Geneva Coren, Sandy Moser; (front fow) Janet Brown, Ruth Ann Miller, LaRue Beckley, Nancy Andrew, Glenna Willhide.

Thurmont High School Class of 1964

Pictured: (back row) Ann Miller, Jo Ellen Middle, Patsy Manahan, Barb Watts, Jim Fraley, Carolyn Fraley, Darlene Six, Joan Freeze; (front row) Connie Fream, Judy Vonn, Nancy Turner, Ethel Alexander Brauer, and Beverly Weddle.

Thurmont High School Class of 1969

Pictured: (back row) Daniel Walter, Daniel Delauter, Robert Black, David Delaire; (middle row) Terry Black, Deb Fogle, Martha Matthews, Mary Jane Putnam; (front row) Linda Redmond, Christina Laughman, Wayne Wireman, Joyce Marshall, and Lottie Twigg.

Ski Liberty/McKee’s Tavern, located at 78 Country Club Trail in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania, is booked for August 10, 2019, from 5:00-9:00 p.m., for the Catoctin High School Class of 1994 reunion. A buffet and cash bar will be included in the ticket cost of $40.00 per person. Please send money by July 10 to confirm your spot!

Check out the Facebook page: CHS Class of 94 or email paulas12@comcast.net for more information.

The Frederick County Public Schools’ Department of Special Education and Psychological Services hosted a celebration on May 13, 2019, honoring employees and others with outstanding achievement awards for dedication in supporting students with disabilities. 

Mary Lopez from Emmitsburg Elementary received Outstanding Special Education Instructional Assistant Award. Ann Springer from Emmitsburg Elementary received the Outstanding Speech-Language Pathologist Award.

Thurmont Auxiliary Post 168 scholarship winners and Catoctin High School graduates, Raegen Smith and Pablo Archila Arriage (shown second and third from left), are pictured with the Scholarship Committee, Bernadette Wudarski, Angela Spegal, and Charlene Stitley.

Catoctin High School graduates, Raegen Smith and Pablo Archila Arriage, are the recipients of the Thurmont Auxiliary Post 168 Scholarship Awards. Thurmont auxiliary offered the graduates congratulations and wished them the best of luck in their college years.

Michael Metz (pictured right), sixth grader at Thurmont Middle School, traveled to Chicago to compete in the 2019 U.S. Middle and Elementary School History Bee National Championships on June 7-8, 2019.

History Bee is a buzzer-based quiz competition that tests students on knowledge of world history and culture from the earliest civilizations through the 20th century. Michael placed 32nd out of almost 260 sixth-grade students from across the country and advanced to the Quarterfinal round.

Michael qualified for the National Championships as one of the top 10 sixth-grade finalists at the Baltimore Regional History Bee Competition, held on March 30, 2019. As a Regional finalist, he also automatically qualified for the biennial International History Olympiad to be held July 2020. He was the only student from Frederick County to attend the National Championships.

Michael has been passionate about history from a very young age and studied a great deal to qualify for this competition. History Bee is an extracurricular club at Thurmont Middle School. Participating students meet once a week from the beginning of the school year and qualifiy to attend the Baltimore Regional Competition by taking an online exam over the winter. The students were assisted by Candace Desonier, advanced academic specialist at Thurmont Middle School, and supported by Thurmont Middle School Principal Daniel Enck.

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association (EHSAA) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual EHSAA Scholarship Program.

Issiah Wivell, son of Chris and Mary Ann Wivell, plans to attend Shippensburg University, and Cameron Baumgardner, son of Dwight and Kim Baumgardner, plans to attend Kutztown University. Both are majoring in business.

The last of the recipients was a former graduate of Catoctin High School. Michaela Persinger, daughter of Wayne and Beth Persinger is enrolled at McDaniel College, majoring in kinesiology, with a minor in health and physical education to obtain a coaching certification.

All recipients will be recognized at the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association’s 95th Annual Banquet to be held on October 19, 2019.

“We wish them all success,” expressed the EHSAA.

After 37 years as the Mother Seton School Carnival “Pizza Man,” John Dowling proudly passes on his legendary recipe and title to his grandson, Brandon Keeney.

For almost four decades now, John Dowling has been known to members of the Mother Seton School (MSS) community and surrounding towns as “The Pizza Man.” On May 24, 2019, he passed his sauce-stained apron and legendary moniker over to the next generation. Brandon Keeney, John’s grandson, is the new carnival “Pizza Man.”

“I’m honored to be named the Pizza Man,” said Brandon. “This man is my idol and has taught me everything I know.”

John is proud to pass on his pizza-making knowledge and love for the community to his grandson. “I’ve been making pizza since the first day of the first carnival,” shared John. “It’s time for a changing of the guard, and I know Brandon will do a great job.”

It all began in 1981, when John and Kathryn, along with friends Rob and Barbara Boone, met with then-principal Sister Patricia Ann Bossle to find ways to raise money for the school. The bingos were a popular event, and John’s pizza was a draw for people. So, when they came upon the idea of hosting a carnival, it only seemed natural John would head up the pizza tent.

For his generous contributions to Mother Seton School and his years of service, John received the Seton Values Award this past October.

John expressed that it feels like the Mother Seton School Carnival has always been a part of his and his wife, Kathryn’s, life. “We have put so much of ourselves into its being, because we believe in helping MSS and we love the community. It has been a joy to be able to give back to the school for the great education our three children received here at Mother Seton.”

Brandon promises he will uphold the tradition with pride. “Over the years, I’ve observed the entire community speak so highly of him [John] and his pizza. They are big shoes to fill, but I will not let him or Mother Seton School down. I will give my all to keep the tradition alive for as long as I can.”

You can meet Brandon and taste the famous Dowling pizza at next year’s Mother Seton School Carnival, which will be held May 18-23, 2020.

The board of directors of Mother Seton School announces the appointment of Kathleen J. Kilty (pictured right) as the school’s first lay principal. A graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Dr. Kilty brings extensive experience in the field of education, both as a principal and a teacher.

“We are very blessed,” explained Dan Hallinan, chair of the Mother Seton School board. “Not only is Dr. Kilty an experienced principal and teacher in the Archdioceses of Maryland and Washington, D.C., but she will continue to carry on the mission of Mother Seton School, originally established by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and administered by the Sisters ever since. In addition, Daughters of Charity continue to serve on the Mother Seton School board and in faculty and administration roles here.”

Dr. Kilty most recently served as executive assistant to the Head of School in Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (grades 9-12) in Washington, D.C. She previously was principal, as well as assistant principal and Middle School teacher, at St. Andrew Apostle Catholic School (pre-K through grade 8) in Silver Spring, Maryland. She also served as Middle School teacher at Saint Catherine Labouré Catholic School in Wheaton, Maryland, and St. Jerome Catholic School in Hyattsville, Maryland. Dr. Kilty was also the Women’s head basketball coach for five years at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and served as team captain while a player during her undergraduate junior and senior seasons. 

A 1992 graduate of The Catholic University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education, Dr. Kilty also earned her Master of Science Degree in administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins University in 2005; she earned her Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from The Catholic University of America in 2018.

Catoctin High School physical education teacher Mike Franklin was named the Frederick County Public Schools 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year during Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban’s “Prize Patrol” visit to his school. The school system’s most prestigious award recognizes outstanding representatives of the teaching profession. In addition to teaching physical education, Franklin chairs the department at his school. He also teaches Fitness for Life through the FCPS Virtual School, coaches baseball, coordinates the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge, and chairs his school’s ROAR Club. He has earned numerous awards including 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and was named 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.

“We had 70 outstanding Teacher of the Year nominees,” said Alban. “Mr. Franklin’s emphasis on positivity and service to others makes him an excellent representative of quality teaching in Frederick County.”

“There is no more powerful tool than praise,” Franklin says and explains that he believes in the “catch ‘em being good” philosophy of encouraging students to succeed.

“I believe in celebrating successes daily. I’ve seen the power of a compliment or even a simple phone call home to let the parents know their child is awesome.”

One challenge we face in education, he adds, is that “we must make sure that students are ready to learn. We have hungry students, homeless students, students who are battling through family issues.” Teachers can help them develop abilities to manage emotions. “I want my classroom to be a 90-minute vacation from whatever challenges the students are facing in life,” Franklin explains.

As a coach, he asks players to fist-bump a statue as they prepare for athletics practice to signify, “I’m changing attitudes.” He advises scholar-athletes that when they make an error they can take their hat off to signify they let go of their frustrations and put it back on when they “have their minds right” to move forward. Likewise, during the school day, teachers help when they meet students at the door with a positive greeting and help them to do something to identify that they have figuratively “changed hats” and are ready to learn. The most powerful tool we have is our minds, says Franklin: “A compliment can make a kid feel like a million dollars when he’s broke.” 

Principal Bernie Quesada shares this wholehearted endorsement: “Mr. Franklin has made a difference for thousands of children in Frederick County in his coaching, mentoring, teaching, and, most importantly, the example he sets for all those who are in his class or work with him. His involvement with the community and the impact he has had on our area are remarkable. Just this past holiday season, he organized a food drive and came to work early every morning to stand outside as the buses arrived and collect items for the local food pantry. That is one of hundreds of examples of selfless actions he has shared as a teacher and colleague. You will not find a more influential teacher leader in FCPS.”

FCPS will celebrate Franklin and each school-selected Teacher of the Year at a special event Friday, May 10 from 4-6 p.m. at Tuscarora High School. The Board of Education will honor Franklin at their meeting on Wednesday, September 11. He and other Maryland district Teachers of the Year will receive honors at a state-wide gala on October 25. Of the 24 local Teachers of the Year, one will be selected the Maryland Teacher of the Year and go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Franklin was grateful to receive gifts from community organizations supporting the FCPS Teacher of the Year. Signifying the year 2019, Stauffer Funeral Home donated $2,019, FERKO donated $500, Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre donated tickets valued at $100, and Fountain Rock Restaurant Group donated a $150 gift certificate.

2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Michael Franklin with (left to right) his children Haylee Bentley, Kaylee Franklin and Kathan Franklin, and his wife Kristie Franklin