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Theresa Dardanell

The 2016-2017 Sportsmanship Award was presented to Catoctin High School (CHS) by the Central Maryland Conference (CMC). Athletic directors and principals from all ten schools in the CMC review the conduct of coaches, student-athletes, parents, spectators, and fans during the school year and then vote for the school that has demonstrated model sportsmanship.

Catoctin High School Athletic Director Kevin McMullen believes that the philosophy of the athletic program at CHS is the reason for the recognition.  Student-athletes, along with parents and fans, are encouraged to serve as role models when representing CHS during all sporting events, as well as in the classroom and at any community event. Students and their parents are first introduced to this philosophy during the “Meet the Coaches” program and then reminded of these goals after the teams are chosen. The athletic program and the character education program at CHS are interrelated; athletics is part of the educational process and good behavior is encouraged at all times.

Students at CHS participate in cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, volleyball, basketball, indoor track, swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, softball, tennis, and track and field.  McMullen said that at the varsity level, none of the CHS athletes or coaches were ejected from any competition during the entire school year. He is very proud of the way the coaches and students conduct themselves.

Pictured from left are Catoctin High School Athletic Director Kevin McMullen, FCPS Supervisor of Athletics and Extracurricular Activities Kevin Kendro, and Catoctin High School Principal Bernard Quesada.


Area churches and organizations in Emmitsburg, Lewistown, Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, and Thurmont are working to provide students in need with school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year. This program is to assist students attending the Catoctin Feeder Schools: Emmitsburg Elementary, Lewistown Elementary and Pyramid Program, Sabillasville Elementary, Thurmont Primary, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Middle, and Catoctin High.

The Annual Catoctin Community School Supply Drive is going to be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 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 (Staples or Walmart) to the church on August 16, from 9:00 a.m.-noon.

Any questions or concerns, please contact the coordinator, Jennifer Harbaugh, at 301-639-9970 or

Catoctin High School has earned a 2016-17 School of the Year Award from the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University (MCCE). Principal Bernard Quesada commends school counselor Dana Brashear for outstanding work leading to this recognition, which will include a School of the Year banner for Catoctin to display, a certificate of recognition, and attendance at an October 5 awards program at the university’s Rockland Center, Owings Mills campus.

“Schools of character prove that when school communities come together for a common purpose, amazing things happen,” said Principal Quesada. “Our commitment to operating as a school of character works to safeguard our kids and our community.”

State-level School of the Year winners have reached a standard of excellence to serve as models and mentors for other schools and educators. MCCE Executive Coordinator Linda Muska wrote that “Achieving state-level recognition is difficult because the reviewers have high standards and are very thorough.”

“In schools of character, adults embrace their critical role as models. Teachers work together as professionals—and with parents and community members as partners—to positively shape the social, emotional, and character development of the young people entrusted to them each day,” according to the Character Education Partnership (CEP) website,

When these principles are in place, according to the CEP site, bullying is rare; cheating and discipline problems decline; test scores, grades, and homework completion go up; teacher retention and satisfaction are high; and parent satisfaction and engagement rates, as well as student engagement and involvement, are high.

This is the fifth consecutive year Catoctin High School has earned MCCE School of the Year recognition.

Theresa Dardanell

The Catoctin High School Mudcats, a team of students who participated in the Maryland Envirothon, won first place in the Frederick County competition.   During the statewide Maryland Envirothon at Camp Pecomoth in Queen Anne’s County in June, they placed first in the Soils category, second in 5th Issue, third in Aquatics, and fourth overall. Their score was only six points less (out of a possible 500) than that of the first-place team. Envirothon coach and science teacher April Wells was very proud of her “amazing group of students.”

The Envirothon gives students the opportunity to study Maryland’s natural resources and then compete in the categories of Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, and a 5th Issue topic that changes every year.

According to Wells, the Mudcats chose their team name because they have occasionally worked in very muddy soil pits during competitions.  In the Soils category, students work alongside soil scientists to learn about techniques used to determine soil characteristics for farming and developing activities.

Pictured from left are Edison Hatter, Devin Shorb, Alyssa Baker, Brietta Latham, and Jimmy Kempisty.

Through August 9, 2017, Seton Family Store, located at 16840 South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg, will serve as a drop-off site for the United Way of Frederick County’s Stuff the Bus Drive!

The community is invited to bring backpacks and school supplies to Seton Family Store, so all school children can start off the year with everything they need to learn. For more information, call Seton Center at 301-447-6102, ext. 15.

Catoctin High School’s marching band is looking for student participants: great social group, community engagement, school spirit. Limited musical ability is needed. Practices are happening now on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., in the Catoctin High School band room. Come be part of the fun.

For additional information, contact or just show up to practice.

Theresa Dardanell

The floor of the Sabillasville Elementary gym became the Atlantic Ocean—gymnastic mats were transformed into the Titanic, and ordinary physical education equipment turned into icebergs, lifeboats, and gear to get the students (passengers) to safety. That was only one of the exciting activities during STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Night on May 5, 2017.

Twenty-five families attended the event, which began with a welcome by teacher Melinda Bentz and a pizza dinner served by Principal Kate Krietz and other staff members. Students had the opportunity to visit two of the five stations set up throughout the school. Physical Education teacher Michael Pritt said that the Titanic Challenge gave the students the opportunity to create an engineering strategy and work as a team.
In the Imagination challenge, students used Legos to build a car powered by a balloon. Teachers Tonya Wantz and Shari Austin worked with students to design their cars. One outstanding car traveled 101 inches!

Art teacher Heidi Hench said that the Transportation Creation challenge combined art and math; students used geometric shapes to create and draw different means of transportation.

The computer lab was the location of the Information Station, where Media Specialist Renee Bennett showed students, and their parents, how to use a database to learn more about the Titanic and then use that information to create a fun bookmark.

Thurmont Library staff members Jeannie Read and Shelba Bollinger set up the Engineering Challenge station, where students could design and build structures using everyday items like clothespins, blocks, plastic cups, rulers, and paint sticks. Educational door prizes like Lego, art, and building sets were given out during the evening. One excited student jumped up and cheered as soon as his name was called as a prize winner.

Students were challenged to build the tallest structure during STEAM Night at Sabillasville Elementary School, while parent Kellie Bytella (far right) cheered them on: (back row) Cale Tyeryar and Blair Carpenter; (front row) Brynn Eyler and Giana Bytella.

by Anita DiGregory

In Honor of Fathers

On June 18, America will celebrate Father’s Day, a day devoted to our dedicated dads.  Although widely celebrated today, surprisingly, Father’s Day was not always embraced by society. In fact, it did not receive its designation as an official holiday until the early 20th century, when it was established as a complement to Mother’s Day.

According to, the first organized day of recognition for fathers was celebrated in the state of Washington on June 19, 1910, when Sonora Smart Dodd, a Spokane woman, went to local community leaders in an attempt to establish a day of celebration for fathers in honor of her father, a single parent of six. However, it took sixty-two years for it to become an official holiday, and even then faced some controversy. President Woodrow Wilson had already approved in 1914 a resolution to establish Mother’s Day. This day, set in honor of “that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America,” was enthusiastically embraced, having already been celebrated in forty-five states since 1909.

After Dodd’s 1910 celebration, the idea of Father’s Day slowly increased in popularity, despite thoughts that some dads lacked the sentimentality or interest in a day of honor for them.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge advised local governments to institute this day of honor for dads.

During the Great Depression, U.S. retailers struggling to make ends meet launched campaigns in support of Father’s Day and promoted the necessary card and gift purchases to go along with it. With World War II, Father’s Day took on another meaning, becoming synonymous not just with the support of our fathers, but also with the American soldier, many of whom were honored dads. Finally, in 1972, Father’s Day became a national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed the federal proclamation.

In honor of Father’s Day, I would like to give a shout-out to all dads out there. Your role as father is sacred, special, and super important.  It is not easy and certainly not glamorous, but it is monumental; in choosing to get up each day and face your struggles and be there and provide, you shape lives. Your silent sacrifices, devotion to your family, and commitment to being the man you are called to be, is what shapes communities and motivates today’s youth to be equally as inspiring.

So, in honor of my dad (a perpetual list maker), my husband (an amazing and inspiring father and also a list maker) and all dads out there, I have included some Happy Father’s Day Lists, featuring quotes, favorite Dad movies, and things you can do in honor of Father’s Day.

Fun and Inspiring Quotes about Dads

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  —Billy Graham

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.”  —Ephesians 6:4

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”  —Mark Twain

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”  —Charles Wadsworth

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”  —Sigmund Freud

“Having children is like living in a frat house—nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.”  —Ray Romano

“When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children.”  —Chris Rock

 “Fatherhood is not a matter of station or wealth. It is a matter of desire, diligence and determination to see one’s family exalted in the celestial kingdom. If that prize is lost, nothing else really matters.”  —Ezra Taft Benson

“It’s like you have a child and you think, ‘Everything that I’ve done up until this point is insignificant in comparison to being a father.’ It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”  —Vin Diesel

“Every night before I get my one hour of sleep, I have the same thought: ‘Well, that’s a wrap on another day of acting like I know what I’m doing.’ I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Most of the time, I feel entirely unqualified to be a parent. I call these times being awake.”  —Jim Gaffigan


Favorite Movies About Dads

Here are some great movies to watch with Dad: Father of the Bride; Three Men and A Baby; The Goofy Movie; Hotel Transylvania; Meet the Robinsons; Finding Nemo; Mrs. Doubtfire; RV; We Bought a Zoo; and Dan in Real Life.


Things You Can Do for Dad in Honor of Father’s Day

Clean the car inside and out (yes, that includes getting all of the old French fries and Cheerios out from under the seats), do the yardwork, clean out the garage, clean out the clutter and have a yard sale, surrender the remote, serve him breakfast in bed, go to church with him, take him fishing, go hiking together, plan a family day trip or getaway, work on a household project together, run a 5K with him, go biking, or attend a sporting event together. Listen to him and have fun together. But above all, spend time with him!

Theresa Dardanell

Everyone who attended the Free Community Meal at Catoctin High School (CHS) on April 11, 2017, enjoyed pizza, pasta, garlic rolls, salad, and cake. The dinner was provided at minimal cost by Rocky’s Restaurant in Thurmont, and the cakes were donated by Trinity United Church of Christ.  The CHS Outreach Committee sponsored this event to show unity and to bring people in the community together. Susan Weaver, CHS guidance counselor and Outreach Committee chairperson, said that many of the students, school staff, and families, in the Catoctin feeder area, attended the dinner. It was a time to relax and enjoy the company of neighbors and friends. Tables were set up with activities for children and teens. The “smaller kiddo activities” table had coloring books, Easter craft activities, markers, and pencils; the “bigger kiddo activities” table had board games.

Weaver said that the first community dinner, which was held in the fall, was a great success. She shared a heartwarming story with me.  During that dinner, a couple sat down with a woman who was sitting alone. Because it was close to Thanksgiving, they asked her what she was doing for the holiday. She began to cry and said that she had nowhere to go. They immediately invited her to have dinner at their home. Food really does bring people together!

The Outreach Committee also has a BFF (Backpacks For Food) program to provide food on the weekends for students who might otherwise go hungry. Each week, food donated by parents, staff, students, and community organizations is collected, sorted, and packed in backpacks by volunteers. These backpacks are distributed to about sixty students at Catoctin High, Thurmont Middle, Sabillasville Elementary, and Thurmont Elementary.

Friends and Neighbors enjoy a Free Community Meal at Catoctin High School

Theresa Dardanell

Record crowds attended the performance of Grease at Catoctin High School (CHS) in March. According to director Cheryl Ehrlich, it was the highest attendance ever for a show at the school. Ehrlich expressed, “I couldn’t be more proud of the students, especially since many of the cast members had never been in a performance on stage before.” This was Ehrlich’s first year as the director at CHS, and she has made it a policy to give a large number of students the opportunity to be involved.

After the show, I spoke to cast members Colleen Slotwinski, Victoria Hoke, Tyler McNally, and Lauren Wotring.  Slotwinski, a senior, who has been involved in every performance since her freshman year, said that dancing in the poodle skirt was the best part of being in Grease.

Wotring, a junior, said that she enjoyed the partner dancing, but her favorite part was the opportunity to sing “Freddy My Love.”

Hoke, a senior, loved singing the song “Mooning” and dancing with her partner. She has been involved in nine shows during her four years at CHS.

“Greased Lightning” was McNally’s choice for the most fun. Grease and Oklahoma were the two performances he especially enjoyed being in during his four years at CHS.

Catoctin High teacher Benjamin Zamostny was the music director/tech manager, and Kylie Reed was the choreographer. The cast also included Jeffrey Wilson, Tara O’Donnell, Madelyne Jones, Eliza Phillips, Maddi Wehler, Aubrie Gadra, Matt Imes, Casey Ecker, Christopher Reed, Emma Appel, Jean Pembroke, Samantha Casperson, Sean Miller, Zavier White, Madeline Godlove, Adrianna Bussey, Mackenzie Myers, Emma Ford, Amelia Myers, Mackenzie Myers, and Teairah Velasquez. Crew members were Matthew Wilson, Josephine Isaacson-Echavarria, Sami Starkey, Lauren Haller, Jude O’Donnell, and Warren Corbin.

Grease cast performing “We Go Together.”

Theresa Dardanell

Catoctin High School (CHS) is one of four Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) high schools chosen to participate in the One-To-One Device pilot program, in which all students receive a Chromebook to use at school. Students have the option to also take the Chromebooks home or choose the “bring your own device” option and use their own devices, to include laptops, tablets, or smartphones, at school as well as at home.

A Chromebook is similar to a laptop but is designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet. Most applications and documents “live in” the cloud.

CHS English Teacher Kathy Herrmann explained that her students work with Google Classroom. This web service allows students to check assignments, get extra help, and communicate with the teacher at school and at home. She also uses websites like Kahoot and Quizlet, which promote interaction between students in class.

CHS Media Specialist Kate Mills said that students have many databases and reference books available online; with the Chromebook, they can access them at any time, instead of just during computer lab. Teachers incorporate “acceptable and responsible use of the internet” as a part of their lessons.

Assistant Principal Kelly Kirby said that because the students are enthusiastic about using technology, the teachers can redirect that interest into their instructions. Lessons have been redesigned for online use, and teachers were given training on how to use online resources. “The response to the One-To-One program has been positive for teachers and students.”

Students in Kathy Herrmann’s class use Chromebooks, with the website Kahoot.

Theresa Dardanell

Every Friday at Catoctin High School, students get a “dose of positivity.” That’s how teacher and coach Michael Franklin describes Fired Up Friday. This weekly event provides an opportunity for students and staff to share positive experiences, encourage others through difficult times, acknowledge good deeds, and become motivated to be better citizens.

It all started in 2012 after the Sandy Hook School shootings. Mike Franklin, along with the physical education department staff—Dana Brashear, Doug Williams, and Amy Entwhistle—wanted to acknowledge positive instead of negative news.  A special event every Friday was created to recognize random acts of kindness. Students are encouraged to “catch” classmates doing something good, no matter how big or small.  One student saw someone drop a $10 bill in the hall. He picked it up and took it to him in his classroom.  Another student raised hundreds of dollars to donate to a charity.  Several students held a fundraiser for a classmate with a serious illness.  Another gave a special treat to all of the cafeteria workers and custodians to thank them for their hard work.  These students are only a few who have been recognized in the past five years. Along with the recognition they receive during the event, they get a special T-shirt. Andrew Franklin from Norris Auto has donated at least fifty T-shirts every year for this program.

This popular program has grown to include motivational speakers, who share their stories. Jason Polanski, a former CHS student who is blind,  talked about how he overcame hardships and how he faces his obstacles. Paratriathlete Scot Seiss shared his experiences.  Every year, during the special Friday college program, CHS alumni return and talk about the pressures they encounter and how to deal with them. Former CHS students, who are now police officers in Frederick County, were recently honored during one of the programs.

Some of the Friday events feature inspirational videos about topics that include random acts of kindness, leadership, teamwork, and awareness of disabilities. After the videos, students and staff have the opportunity to discuss what is presented and share their own personal experiences. A message in one of the videos sums up the program: “You can contribute. You have Value. You can serve others.”

Max Bingman earns a “Fired Up Friday” T-shirt for bringing every cafeteria worker and custodian a candy bar to show appreciation.

Leo Avie Hopcraft of the Catoctin High School (CHS) Leo Club has been awarded CHS Leo of the Year 2017, in recognition of her commitment to serving the Thurmont-Emmitsburg community as a high school student since her freshman year. Currently in her junior year, she has served over seventy hours as a Leo, with another ninety service hours for other activities and programs. She has held true to the “Leo Motto” for Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity.

Leo Avie was presented with the award during a ceremony held on March 8, 2017, during the Thurmont Lions Club “Youth Night.”  She has been a member of the CHS Leo Club, which is sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club, for three years, beginning in her freshman year. She has participated in various club projects, including raising money and providing food donations for Thurmont Food Bank, volunteering for various community activities and events in Thurmont, and joining Thurmont Lions to support major fundraisers held in the area.

“It is very rewarding to help fulfill community needs, and it is a great honor to be presented with this award,” said Avie.

The CHS Leo Club has twenty-nine members and meets on the second Thursday of each month at Catoctin High School. Thurmont Lion Wendy Candela is the current Leo Club advisor, joined by Kathy Herrmann as the CHS faculty advisor. Young people enrolled at CHS who would like more information about the CHS Leo Club can contact Kathy Herrmann or Lion Advisor Wendy Candela at  Visit their website at for more information. Like the Leo Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Lions clubs sponsor approximately 5,800 Leo clubs in 140 countries. While helping others in their community, Leos develop leadership skills and experience teamwork in action. For more information about the Leo Club Program, visit the Youth Programs section of the Lions website at


The Emmitsburg High School Alumni would like to make sure that any class members who did not graduate but would like to come to the banquet are invited. If you know of anyone who attended Emmitsburg School at any time, please send his/her name, graduating class year, and mailing information, to the following address: Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association, c/o Sam Valentine, 11203 Keysville Road, Taneytown, MD 21787-1127 or by Email at The next reunion banquet will be held in October 2017.