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Catoctin’s FFA wrapped up a busy summer schedule. In June, Catoctin FFA members attended the 94th Maryland State FFA Convention at the Frederick Fairgrounds, with 160 members across the state. This year’s theme was Pursuing your Passion!  

The Ag Sales Team earned a trip to the National FFA Convention in the fall by placing first in the state competition. This team researched different types of herbicides and fungicides and then sold products. Team members included Kendall Abruzzese (1st ind.), Cheyenne Van Echo (3rd ind.), Carly Ridenour (5th ind.), and Alyssa Costa (6th ind.)

Shane Milbourne, Kiandra Strickhouser, and Kolton Whetzel are members of the Ag Marketing Team. This team made a marketing plan for Red Dust Farms. The team placed first in the competition and will compete at the national level in October. 

The Ag Issues Team placed first in the state. Team members, Ella Burrier, Sheridan Chaney, Caroline Clark, Owen Cook, Abby Moreland, and Trinity Spidle researched lab cultured meats and created a presentation to inform the viewer about the subject. They will travel to the National Convention in the fall for competition.  

Dairy handler, Dallas Hassel, had to show dairy cows. She was judged on how well she showed the different animals and placed seventh in the state.

The FFA Knowledge Team placed second. Students took a written exam on FFA history and worked together to complete a team activity. Team members include Ella Burrier, Rianna Chaney (7th ind.), Sheridan Chaney, and Caroline Clark (4th ind.).

Trinity Spidle wrote a speech and answered questions about it to place third in the Jr. Prepared Speaking Competition.

Senior Extemporaneous Speaker, Kendall Aburzzese, won first in the state when she picked a topic out of a hat and had 30 minutes to write a four- to six-minute speech about the topic.

Annalise Aburzzese memorized the FFA Creed, presented it, and answered questions about the creed and her FFA experiences. Annalise was fourth in the state. Annalise was also named the 2022 Maryland State FFA Outstanding Greenhand (best first-year member in the state). 

Rianna and Sheridan Chaney earned bronze placings on their state proficiency application. Rianna’s application was for her beef project, and Sheridan’s application was about agriculture education. 

Twins Rianna and Sheridan Chaney were both awarded (separate awards) the “Domino’s Pizza LLC Scholarship” and the “LaCrosse Footwear Inc. Scholarship.” Upon graduation, Sheridan and Rianna will be attending Oklahoma State University for communications and public relations. Rianna and Sheridan Chaney and Cheyenne Van Echo each received the Griffith Scholarship Awards. Cheyenne will be attending the University of Maryland College Park majoring in animal science.

Kendall Abruzzese, Rianna Chaney, Sheridan Chaney, Kiandra Strickhouser, Cheyenne Van Echo, and Kolton Whetzel earned their State FFA degree. This is the highest degree our state can bestow to its members. Abby Kinnaird and Sierra Weatherly were recognized for being American FFA Degree candidates.   

Kendall Aburzzese was elected as the 2022-2023 MD State FFA president. She will spend the year with her team, leading and serving Maryland FFA.

On August 3, the Catoctin FFA Livestock Judging Team placed first at the state competition at the Carroll County Fair. FFA members had to complete a written exam, complete a team activity, judge eight classes of livestock animals, and give reasons. Team members were Ellie Baker (1st ind.), Peyton Davis (2nd ind.), Colt Sanders (4th ind.) and Luke Iferd (5th ind.).

The Catoctin FFA Livestock Judging Team placed first at the state competition at the Carroll County Fair: Ellie Baker (1st ind.), Peyton Davis (2nd ind.), Colt Sanders (4th ind.), and Luke Iferd (5th ind.).

The Lewistown Ruritan Club awarded $4,200 in scholarships to eight students during the annual Ruritan picnic in August. Randy Green, co-chair of the Education and Scholarship Program for the Lewistown Ruritan Club, presented the scholarships to the students. The recipients of the scholarships (pictured above from left) include Dalton Mount, Westminster High School, who will be attending Waynesburg University; Lauren Anderson, Walkersville High School, who will be attending Bucknell University; Natalie Dodson, Catoctin High School, who will be attending Penn State at Altoona; Michael Staley, Walkersville High School, who will be attending University of North Carolina; and Aaron Matlock, Jefferson High School, who will be attending West Virginia University. 

Recipients receiving scholarships but were unable to attend include Jennifer Burrier, Catoctin High School, who will be attending Hagerstown Community College; Allison Rippeon, Catoctin High School, who will be attending Shippenburg University; and Nathan Mount, Loyola Blakefield, who will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology.

Funds for these scholarships were made possible through fundraising events by the Lewistown Ruritan. Ruritan is a national organization dedicated to improving communities and building a better America through fellowship, goodwill, and community service. We welcome new members to our meetings, held the first Tuesday of each month, at the Lewistown United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. For questions regarding the Lewistown Ruritan Club, contact President Frank Warner at 301-898-5650.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 686, Bovine Intervention, a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) high school level robotics program at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, competed at a FIRST, off-season, 2022 West Virginia Robotics Extreme (WVRoX) competition, held at West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, West Virginia, hosted by WVU and FRC Team 2614 MARS.

WVRoX, “the world’s first and only FIRST Robotics Competition endurance event,” is 26 hours and 14 minutes of a marathon-style robotics competition, with events occurring biennially. The 2022 event began on Friday, August 5, and concluded on Saturday, August 6. Bovine Intervention was the only WVRoX participating FRC team from Maryland and competed with 23 other FRC teams from Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Bovine Intervention finished the competition ranking 8 out of 24 teams and was promoted to the fifth playoff captain with their alliance selections to Team 117, Steel Dragons Robotics from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Team 325, Respawn Robotics from Hamilton, Ohio. Their alliance competed in the playoff quarterfinals.

Participating at WVRoX was part of Bovine Intervention’s summer-training program. This training benefited new rising first-year students to Catoctin High School who joined the team in June and were unfamiliar with FIRST and FRC. Existing student team members increased their skills and competition game strategies. Students also collaborated with other teams from various parts of the United States, whom they usually don’t meet during the FIRST Chesapeake District in-season competitions. To accomplish the entire duration of the marathon-style competition, students took breaks periodically at the team’s designated resting area at the event. Overall, the WVRoX unique experience inspired students, provided opportunities to operate the team’s robot, and generated much fun.

Bovine Intervention comprises various Frederick County Public School (FCPS) high school students. Students on the team are inspired and learn valuable STEM skills related to computer programming, CAD, and engineering principles for designing and building a competition robot. The team is growing and will continue their training during the fall, with outreach and another off-season event in October. All of this is in preparation for the January 2023 FIRST FRC season kickoff event. Their robot workspace and testing lab are currently held at a commercial building in Thurmont.

To learn more about Bovine Intervention and FIRST, for information and links to Facebook and Instagram sites, or if you would like to join the team, please visit the team website at

An above-ground view of the robot competition field (showing six robots/teams per match in two groups or alliances of red and blue).

Team 686 Bovine Intervention (high school students and mentors).

Thurmont Grange #409 was proud to present scholarships to two Catoctin High School 2022 graduates pursuing their higher education goals. Both scholarship recipients are exceptional students and very involved in community service, as well as in many extracurricular activities.

Sean Whitworth will be attending Salisbury State University, and Paige Baker will be attending Frederick Community College, transferring to Wilson College upon completion of her associate’s degree.  Congratulations and best of luck to Sean, Paige, and to all of our 2022 graduates.

(above) Pictured from left are Susan Crone (Scholarship Committee), Sean Whitworth, and Niki Eyler (Scholarship Chair).

(above) Pictured from left are Susan Crone (Scholarship Committee), Paige Baker, and Niki Eyler (Scholarship Chair).

Courtesy Photos

This year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awarded 100 high school seniors with their prestigious college scholarship. These scholarship recipients will receive up to $55,000 toward the cost of their undergraduate education at some of the nation’s top colleges and universities.

Along with the financial support, the recipients are provided with ongoing academic and career advising and networking opportunities. Applicants this year were from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

The Cooke College Scholarship Program aims to assist high-achieving students with financial need to obtain a college degree.

Only one student from Frederick County and only six in all of Maryland were awarded this scholarship. The scholarship winner of this prestigious award from Frederick County is Nicholas “Nick” Miller (pictured above).

Nick is a resident of Thurmont. He graduated from Catoctin High with his classmates on May 25. In the fall, Nick will be attending Hamilton College, located in upstate New York, to study microbiology. Nick has been an exceptional student during high school and is planning to be a scientific researcher, hoping to make an impact on the field of medical research in the future. A full list of all the scholarship winners can be found on the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation website at

Twin sisters Emma and Sarah Simmons’s love of horses has led them to the winner’s circle at the Frederick County Science and Engineering Fair. Their invention, “Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System for Equine Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases,” garnered them several awards, including: the Overall Middle School Grand Prize; 1st place in the Middle School Biomedical Engineering category; the Broadcom Masters Top Prize (Broadcom Masters is affiliated with the Society for Science); the Hively Family Inventor Award; the Lemelson Early Inventor Prize (sponsored by the Lemelson Foundation.The Broadcom Masters top prize includes an invitation to the national competition in Fall 2022.

The seventh graders engineered a device that delivers medication to a horse with equine inflammatory respiratory disease. This device is unique because it allows a rider to administer the medication while remaining mounted. Typically, horses are given medicine for diseases, such as asthma, through an intramuscular injection or an electric nebulizer, which requires that the horse be taken to a stable or veterinarian. The nebulizer treatments require electricity to operate the compressor, and the horse is kept still and quiet during administration since the horse is required to wear a mask.

“We are incredibly proud of Emma and Sarah,” said Mother Seton School Principal Kathleen Kilty, Ph.D. “The ingenuity and hard work that went into this project are impressive.”

The sisters’ invention has many potential applications, such as for mounted police engaged in urban crowd control, farming and ranching, and equestrian eventing. In these situations, if a horse becomes respiratory compromised, emergency medication cannot easily or safely be administered. With the system Emma and Sarah engineered, the life-saving medication can be delivered by the rider without the rider dismounting. 

“It is an amazing achievement for Emma and Sarah,” said their mother, Lisa McLeod-Simmons, Ph.D. “It also highlights what a great school Mother Seton is, that students are not only ’taught’ science, but they are taught to ‘do’ science.”

Mother Seton School announces Emma and Sarah Simmons, grade 7, as Overall Middle School Grand Prize winners of the 41st Annual Frederick County Science and Engineering Fair for their invention, “Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System for Equine Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases.”

The Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) 8th grade Life Skills curriculum includes a service learning project. This year, the students at Thurmont Middle School (TMS) chose to help the people of Ukraine.

The students researched the needs of the people since the February 2022 invasion by Russia. The class decided to make and sell support ribbons and crochet bracelets in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Each student made a persuasive poster, advertising the sale of these items and set a class goal for $400. They surpassed their goal and will be sending a check for $423 to Direct Relief. Congratulations, TMS 8th graders!

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association (EHSAA) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual EHSAA scholarship program. Four $1,000 scholarships were awarded this year. The scholarship applicants were judged on involvement in school and community activities, as well as their academic work. Honors and work experience were also considered.

The first three scholarship recipients were seniors at Catoctin High School (CHS). Rianna Chaney, daughter of Lee and Becky Chaney, is planning to attend Oklahoma State University in the fall. Sheridan Chaney, daughter of Lee and Becky Chaney, is planning to attend Butler Community College.  Wyatt Davis, son of James and Peggy Davis, is planning to attend Shippensburg University. 

The final recipient was a former graduate of Catoctin High School.  Attending West Virginia University, with the idea of becoming a Neurosurgeon, is Max Bingman, son of William and Jennifer Bingman.

All recipients will be recognized at the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association’s 98th Annual Banquet to be held October 15, 2022. They are all wished much success.

Pictured are Sheridan Chaney, Wyatt Davis, Rianna Chaney, and Vickie Frushour.

Team 686, Bovine Intervention, a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) high school level robotics program at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, competed at three FIRST Chesapeake Robotics Competition events.

The first two events were in March 2022 at the Old Banneker High School in Washington, D.C. Based on their performance, the team advanced to the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship event in April at the Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia. Out of 60 teams from Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia, competing at the championship event, Bovine Intervention ranked 12th and competed in the quarterfinal playoff matches.

Bovine Intervention is composed of students from various Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) High Schools. Students on the team are inspired and learn valuable STEM skills related to computer programming, CAD, and engineering principles for designing and building a competition robot. The team is growing and will continue in their training during the summer, with outreach and off-season events to participate in. Their activities are held at Catoctin High School and at a commercial building in the Thurmont area.

To learn more about Bovine Intervention and FIRST, for information and links to Facebook and Instagram sites, or if you would like to join the team, please visit the team website at

Thurmont Grange #409 is offering two scholarships to any 2022 Catoctin High School graduating senior attending a technical or trade school, community college, or four-year college. Applicants are required to submit one letter of recommendation and an essay of 250-500 words on one of three topics offered in the application. Scholarships will be awarded on June 15, 2022.

Applications may be obtained by emailing or contacting the Catoctin High School Guidance Department (Mike Marquez at or 240-236-8082). All applications must be received by May 31, 2022.

The Thurmont High School Alumni Association will hold its annual banquet on Saturday, June 11, at the Thurmont Event Complex, located at 13716 Stratford Drive in Thurmont. Frederick County COVID-19 rules will be followed. This year, we will recognize all basketball players (male and female) to stand at some point in the program. Social hour will begin at 4:00 p.m., with the meal served promptly at 5:00 p.m.

This year, the anniversary classes are those that end in 2 and 7. Several basket raffles and a 50/25/25 raffle will take place. Special scholarships will be awarded to graduating seniors, related to Thurmont High School alumni. The cost for the evening is $23.00 per person, which should be mailed to Viola Noffsinger, 131 Cody Drive #33, Thurmont, MD 21788 (before May 25). All alumnus of Thurmont High School and Catoctin High School classes (1969-1974) and friends are encouraged to attend. Visit the alumni Facebook page: Thurmont High School Alumni Association. 

In the spring of 2019, an idea sparked in the head of Stephanie Felmet, one of Catoctin High School’s theater directors. She immediately sought out Amy Poffenberger, the Catoctin FFA advisor, about a collaborative effort between the drama department and the FFA. Unfortunately for all involved, two short weeks before the culmination of the efforts were to debut, COVID-19 hit and all was canceled.

Now, years later, they’re trying again. The drama department will perform State Fair, a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, while the FFA will host a carnival preceding the show.

State Fair is about an Iowan farming family, the Frakes, who travel to the 1946 Iowa State Fair to have the father’s hog and the mother’s pickles and mincemeat judged. The journey the two Frake children take is one of self-discovery and growing up. They both have safe lives planned for them at home, but chance encounters at the fair make them question what they really want to achieve and accomplish. Can they be happy back on the farm, or are they yearning for something more?

State Fair, which features seniors Skyler Payne, Caleigh Sare, Raphaela Smaldone, and Justin Clair, and juniors Emily Burrier and Richie Coursey, was chosen as the show for a number of reasons. First, the rural setting was a wonderful match for the Thurmont area, with so many residents involved in and dedicated to agricultural pursuits. Second, it allowed for a perfect collaboration with the Catoctin FFA since any state or county fair would involve the work of students like Catoctin’s own. Lastly, director Evan Felmet starred in this show his senior year of high school, and it holds a special place in his heart.

Each showing of the spring musical, State Fair, will be preceded by a fun family carnival, with a petting zoo, flush tank, games, a bake sale, and more! Several FFA students will also be providing animals to participate in the musical itself. The carnival functions as a fundraiser for the drama department and the FFA, providing opportunities for both organizations to gain funding for their various endeavors.

Come see State Fair and the carnival on April 8-9 at Catoctin High School. The first opportunity will be April 8, with the carnival from 5:00-6:30 p.m., followed by the show at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 9, will have its first carnival from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., with a 1:00 p.m. show to follow; and the second carnival will run from 5:00-6:30 p.m., with the last show at 7:00 p.m. As they say in the show, “Don’t miss it! Don’t even be late!”

View the advertisement on page 46.

The Emmitsburg High School Association is accepting scholarship applications. Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded in May to deserving students. Any Catoctin High School senior or graduate who is enrolled in an institution of higher learning is eligible if he/she resides in the Emmitsburg School District. This includes Emmitsburg 21727, Rocky Ridge 21778, and Taneytown 21787 (Taneytown boundary is determined by Bridgeport on Rt. 140). Applicants may apply each year as long as they are enrolled in an institution of higher learning.

Selection is based on having a 3.0 or higher GPA, being a full-time student, presenting two letters of recommendation, and pursuing higher education (four-year college or community college). No GPA is required for full-time trade school.

Applications may be obtained by contacting the Guidance Department at Catoctin High School (Mike Marquez at 240-236-8082). All applications must be received by May 1, 2022.

In March 2022, the Catoctin High School (CHS) Mock Trial team closed out a fantastic undefeated season, winning the Frederick County Mock Trial championship and ending the season as quarter finalists in the state tournament.

Mock Trial is an academic competition where teams of high school students from different schools undertake the roles of legal teams and witnesses. Different students act as witnesses and attorneys to argue their side’s case in front of a real attorney. It is a mix of debate and theater.

Coach Stephen Cree said, “The kids had the first undefeated season in the last 25 years for CHS. They deserve recognition.”

Congratulations for the hard work and dedication of the team, their success shines a light on a rather unknown but incredibly interesting academic competition in Frederick County Public Schools.

This championship photo was taken directly after the CHS Mock Trial Team won the CMC championship match: (from left) Julia Wivell, Audrey Sare, Caleigh Sare, Brad Hofmann, Sean Whitworth, Nick Miller, Justin Clair, coach Stephen Cree, and Mia Ferraro.

Attention graduating seniors! Are you related to a graduate from Thurmont High School or Catoctin High School up through the class of 1974? Are you looking for a scholarship?

Check the Community Foundation of Frederick County website at for the scholarships offered by the Thurmont High School Alumni Association. Applications are being accepted from March 1 through March 31, 2022, only.

Seniors, remind your parents, grandparents, and their friends that the Thurmont High School Alumni banquet will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Thurmont Event Complex. Any questions, call 301-418-1760 or email

It is time to recognize that special teacher who has made an impact on your child’s life and on your school community. Each year, the Thurmont Lions Club honors the teachers of Catoctin High School and the feeder schools (Thurmont Primary, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Middle, Lewistown Elementary, Emmitsburg, Sabillasville, and Mother Seton). Anyone can nominate a teacher: parents, students, fellow teachers, and administrators. 

All nomination forms are due to Lion Stephanie Steinly no later than April 8. They can be mailed to Lion Stephanie Steinly, 24 Lombard Street, Thurmont, MD  21788. Please include “2022 Teacher of the Year” on the subject line if emailing.

Forms are available online at or by contacting Stephanie Steinly at

The Thurmont Lions Club 2022 Teacher of the Year will be selected from the finalists by a committee of community leaders and will be announced at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Education Night meeting on May 11, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Lion Stephanie Steinly at or 301-271-3268.

The dedication of the First Baptist Church of Thurmont’s portable classroom building was held on Sunday, January 30. Director Bruce Conley, Blue Ridge Baptist Association, and Pastor Jay Beard consecrated the building with a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving to God and pronounced it the Family Life Center. 

The building will house the First Baptist Church of Thurmont’s kids and youth ministries, as well as serve as a place for church gatherings and meetings. The church is located at 7 Sunny Way in Thurmont. 

For more information, visit the website at

This spotlight will continue for a few months until all who submit are published. Please email your student’s name and phone number to to be included.

Dylan Wangness

Dylan Wangness played in both the football and baseball state championship games. He also runs track, and, at the print of this edition of The Catoctin Banner, was at the state championships in Easton, Maryland, for track as a sprinter, running the 4×2 with Layne Stull, Brody Buffington, and Joshua Glass. This team had the best time for Class 1A schools going into the state competition.

Dylan’s favorite high school memory is the football state championship game because football has always been his main sport. He said, “When I was younger and would watch Catoctin play, I dreamed of playing on that field. Then, when I actually got there [to high school], I thought it would be so cool to win the state championships. I got the opportunity to, and we did it.”

In school, he stayed on the honor roll and participated in the ROAR Club, Outdoor Club, and Crazies Club. He logged service hours at Rocky’s, team breakfasts, and Glory Days serving food. Dylan works seasonally at Scenic View Orchard in Sabillasville.

While at Catoctin, he’s attended CTC for HVAC and plumbing. He’s hoping to have a job in HVAC and plumbing after graduation. In preparation, he’s going to job fairs and networking. He’s also going to state championship for Skills USA for HVAC and plumbing in April.

In his free time, Dylan spends time with friends, plays video games, rides four-wheelers, and enjoys fishing and hunting.

To the community, Dylan said, “Thanks for supporting all the opportunities through four years of high school that helped me become the man I am today.”

Layne Stull

Layne Stull feels his high school career accomplishments are winning the state championship in baseball, competing in state championships for track (despite not ever running track prior to his senior year and running the 4×2 relay), and maintaining good grades throughout high school, even in AP classes. He’s played football, baseball, and ran track for Catoctin.

He’s grateful for the little things in the high school experience like walking the halls with friends, sitting in the parking lot with friends, and just hanging out.

His hobbies are hunting, fishing, and playing paintball. He’s always worked on the farm, throwing straw and planting/picking crops.

After graduation, Layne plans to attend Hagerstown Community College, and eventually enter the police force with the ultimate goal of becoming a detective.

Layne’s message to the community is: “Tell everyone to keep on keeping on and never give up on whatever they want to do. Everything is achievable. I want to thank everyone in the community for being supportive to the school, me and my friends, and our athletic teams, of course.”

Wyatt Davis

Wyatt Davis is the Catoctin High School Class of 2022’s salutatorian. Wyatt’s dream was to play football at Penn State, and he was accepted academically, but an injury to his foot during his sophomore football season led to foot surgery and two screws in his foot.

That was a brief setback for a determined Wyatt. While also playing basketball, baseball, and throwing shot put in track, he started training during his junior year to become a better offensive lineman in football. He trained and attended camps and recruiting events for exposure to college recruiters. His training paid off. He has committed to Shippensburg University to play football for the next four years.

Wyatt has participated in school clubs. He’s not just in the National Honor Society, he’s in the Spanish, Math, and Science Honor Societies, also.

His favorite high school memory was winning the football state championship as a sophomore. He said, “The community support and school support through that was unreal.”

He works on his family’s small beef cattle farm in Emmitsburg. Between that, football, 4-H, and FFA, you could find him volunteering often. After training for football as a customer with Hawg Performance, Wyatt serves as a mentor to Hawg’s 4th-6th grade youngsters.

Wyatt said, “I would like to thank everybody for their support with our athletic teams and for always believing in us even though times were rough. Everyone still came out and supported us. Thanks to all the people who pushed me to be in the position I am today.” He added, “I would like to thank God for all of the Glory of this event. He’s the real reason I’m in this position.”

Wyatt Davis, Dylan Wangness, and Layne Stull

Photo of the three friends after their last high school football game

Close friends, Layne Stull, Wyatt Davis, and Dylan Wangness started out playing flag football together in elementary school and continued playing sports together through middle school and high school. Layne took two years off from football but came back this past season, so all three seniors could play together. Dylan and Wyatt played the CHS football state championship their sophomore year. All three participated in state championships during their high school careers, even achieving more than one state championship in that time in other sports, baseball and track.

After receiving the last and final approval from the Frederick County Board of Education in December 2021, Sabillasville Environmental School has been moving forward with plans to open it’s doors at the start of the 2022/23 school year at the current Sabillasville Elementary School building.

On January 23, 2022, the school opened up enrollment to all Frederick County residents in grades K-6 (7th and 8th grades will be added in the second and third years of operation).

The deadline to enroll is March 11, 2022. Seats will be filled through a lottery process being held on March 21.

For more information, visit

Since 1995, Thurmont Masons have awarded scholarships worth over $100,000 to area students! Scholarships are available to all graduating high school seniors from a Maryland State accredited public, private, and/or homeschool program who reside within the Catoctin High School district boundaries, as per the Frederick County Public School district map (see FCPS District Map at website:

Mary and Robert Remsberg Memorial Scholarship Award

The “Mary and Robert Remsberg Memorial Scholarship” is worth up to $5,000. Scholarship funds would be distributed at $1,000 per year, for up to four years of continued education with passing grades from an accredited college or university.

Bernhard “Bernie” Cohen Memorial Scholarship Award

The “Bernhard Cohen Memorial Scholarship” is worth $2,500. Applications will be judged upon the following criteria in order of importance:

1.   Participation and leadership roles in community and/or school


2.   Content of a personal resume.

3.   Academic record and/or special achievements.

4.   Need for financial assistance.

5.   Evaluation by school official and/or mentor.

6.   Organization, appearance, and completeness of the application.

Scholarship application forms are available at the Catoctin High School Guidance Office and the Thurmont Public Library. Interested students must complete an application and return it to the location where it was obtained on or before April 30, 2022.

The successful applicant and their family will be invited to Acacia Lodge’s annual Strawberry Festival in June for the presentation of the Scholarship.

Questions regarding the application should be directed to Acacia Masonic Lodge #155, attn: Scholarship Committee via the Lodge website at

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School (CHS) recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 6th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony in November 2021.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “Catoctin High School is a place of deep roots and strong traditions. Our history is so rich because of the incredible staff and students who have walked these halls, making a positive impact on our school and our community.”

It is that tradition and those people that the school celebrates with its Distinguished Graduate Program. The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization was formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

The 2021 program recognized alumni from the arts and humanities, academics, and public service sectors. It also recognized two former CHS staff members.

Former teacher, John Koepke, taught, coached, and advised students at CHS for 35 years. During the program, he passed on some advice from his father to the students in attendance. “Life is full of cool moments. Enjoy the cool moments.”

He also shared some advice from Dr. Jack Graham, a Texas pastor, and it was to PACE yourself through life. However, Koepke added his own words for the acronym.

Patience helps peace.

Acceptance helps attitude.

Confidence helps commitment.

Embrace encouragement.

Rebecca Chaney, Class of 1982, was the arts and entertainment inductee. She is an author, speaker, and livestock and dairy judging coach. Her twin daughters, Sheridan and Rianna Chaney, who are seniors at CHS introduced their mother.

“You need to remember to dream big,” Cheney told the students. “Never waver from your dream and goals. With hard work and determination, you can achieve incredible things in this life.”

Brian Haines, Class of 2000, was the academics inductee. He is currently an assistant principal scientist at Merck, working in regulatory affairs.

He told the students not to give up on their goals. However, you need to work to make them happen. “Dig in just a little harder and not give up after setting a goal,” Haines said.

Maria Smaldone, Class of 2010, was the public service inductee. Her professional career has been spent in social work, and she is currently the senior neighborhood resource coordinator at Neighborhood Housing Services in Baltimore. Her sister, Raphaela Smaldone, a CHS senior, introduced her.

She said, “My normal is probably not your normal…considering someone’s context (their normal) is critical to understanding their thoughts, their feelings, and their motivations.” She added that this understanding will help bridge “trust gaps” between people of different backgrounds. She urged the students to get to know someone with a different normal and listen to them and learn from them.

She also told students not to, “pigeonhole yourself too soon into what you think you’re good at or what you think is good for you. There are so many other things out there, and you are capable of so many other things than you can give yourself credit for.”

Curtis Howser, a former industrial arts teacher and school counselor for 44 years, was another former CHS staff inductee. He served as a counselor at CHS for 18 years.

He said. “Be part of the solution rather than someone who just talks about it.”

Pictured from left are: (standing) Curtis Howser, John Koepke, and Bryan Haines; (seated) Maria Smaldone and Rebecca Chaney.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Grange #409 recently presented dictionaries to all third-grade students at Lewistown Elementary School. This is a community service project called “Words for Thirds” and all of the third grade students in the Catoctin feeder system have also received dictionaries (Sabillasville, Lewistown, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg Elementary Schools).

The Grange is an agricultural organization, which is deeply rooted in the community. Many of its members are farmers, business men and women, and its focus is on community service, legislation, education, and agriculture.  Many of our members hold local, county, and state offices to promote the Grange.

Every year, the Grange helps at events such as the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, the Frederick Fair (where we put in an exhibit at the Farm and Garden Building), the Catoctin Colorfest, and the annual Cookie Walk in December, to name a few. The Grange holds a Veterans’ Appreciation Night in October, and has also donated funds and items to the Thurmont Food Bank, Catoctin FFA, Boy Scouts, Catoctin Safe and Sane, and so forth. 

The dictionary has many features, such as the history of the Presidents of the United States, the solar system, sign language, and also the longest word in the United States.

Lewistown Elementary—Shown presenting the dictionaries are: (back row) Cheryl Lenhart, Thurmont Grange member, and Principal Belinda Fockler; (front row) Mila Davis, Lauren Hunter, Mady French, Grace Cassella, Olive Rinker, and Brayden Lovejoy, all third-grade students at Lewistown Elementary School.

Thurmont Elementary—(front row) Thurmont Elementary School third-graders, Alayna Conrad, McKinnly Glotfelty, Connor McGrew, Owen Ott, and Jaiden Poole; (back row) Grange members, Jodi Eyler, Rodman Myers, Karl Williams (TES Principal), Carol Long, Sue Keilholtz, and Nancy Wine.

Emmitsburg Elementary— Robert Wiles, Shane Baker, Emily McMahan, Sophia Myers, Jaxon Reaver, and Amber Madigan (Principal).

James Rada Jr.

There will be a charter school in Sabillasville next year. When the Frederick County Board of Education approved the charter for the Sabillasville Elementary School in September, it came with two conditions: (1) It can show there are 161 students who will attend the new school by December 1; and (2) The new school can find a suitable site.

The enrollment has been the condition that has caused the most concern since it was the low enrollment at Sabillasville Elementary School that led to discussions about closing the school in the first place.

The enrollment target needs to be hit because funding is based on the school’s enrollment. That is the number of students needed to ensure enough funding for the school to operate properly.

The parents’ group that formed to develop the charter school has been soliciting commitment letters from county parents, stating that they will send their children to the new charter school.

“We have 164 as of right now, but more are coming in,” said Alisha Yocum, president of Sabillasville Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization and head of the citizens’ group. Interest in the new school has come from parents all over the county.

The higher the enrollment for the new school, the more per-pupil funding the school will receive. This can help the school meet its future enrollment targets and also have some surplus funds to use if issues arise during the school year. The citizen’s committee that put together the charter is also planning on applying for grants and running a fundraising campaign to help create more of a cushion in the finances.

The plan calls for the new environmentally-focused school to serve grades K-8, although it will serve only K-6 students next year. The three-year charter plan calls for additional grades to be phased in 2023 and 2024. Seventh grade will be added in the second year of the school’s operation, and eighth grade in the third year. The student:teacher ratio will be 23:1. This is where the first year target enrollment of 161 students comes from.

Enrollment will be something the charter school staff will have to watch each year.

“We will need to make sure we can fill the incoming kindergarten class with 23 students,” Yocum said. “And if anyone leaves or moves, we would hope to have a wait-list so those can be replaced as well.”

With the second condition, the Frederick County Board of Education first has to vote to close the elementary school. Once that is done, a process is started to decide what to do with the building. It is expected to be used for the charter school. Although the board of education could vote to do something else with the building, no other parties have expressed an interest in it.

National FFA convention is held every year and attracts FFA members from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. The 94th National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 26-31, 2021.  Eighteen Catoctin FFA members joined over 60,000 other FFA members and guests from across our nation. Members were able to participate in sessions, workshops, and a career expo.

Members competed in Career Development Events/Leadership Development Events, more often referred to as CDEs and LDEs. To complete a CDE/LDE, each team or individual contestant extensively learned their subject and rehearsed their task in preparation for state convention. Every state gets to send one winning team per CDE/LDE to advance to nationals. This year, Catoctin FFA’s Agricultural Sales, Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management, Horse Evaluation, and Milk Qualities and Products teams advanced to nationals. Each team had to complete a portion of their contest virtually before going to Indianapolis. 

Agriculture Sales had to research several different types of Merck Animal Health Products and sell one to a customer. The members on this team researched the features and benefits of each product, interacted with a customer, determined that customer’s wants and needs, and tried to sell the product to that particular customer. Catoctin’s team members were Ella Burrier, Caroline Clark, Abby Moreland, and Kolton Whetzel. Each member placed silver, individually, and the team was a silver team. The team was coached by Michael and Amy Jo Poffenberger.

Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management team develop skills in dairy cattle selection and herd management. Participants evaluate the cattle’s physical characteristics, explain their various classes, and analyze a herd record as a team.  Owen Cook earned a bronze placing, individually. Rianna Chaney, Sheridan Chaney, and Cadin Valentine earned a silver placing, individually. The team placed bronze. The team was coached by Becky Chaney and Patti Hubbard. 

The Horse Evaluation team judged different classes of horses and presented reasons as to why they placed the classes that they did. Working together, the team identified and problem-solved horse issues. The team earned a silver placing. Carly Ridenour earned a bronze placing, individually. Kendall Abruzzese and Corinn Gregory earned silver, individually, and Cheyenne Van Echo earned a gold placing. This team was coached by Dani Jackson.

Milk Qualities and Products:  Members in this CDE demonstrate their knowledge about the quality production, processing, distribution, promotion, and marketing of milk and dairy foods. Dallas Hassel placed bronze, individually. Syenna Biser, Abigail Christian, and Sierra Flanary placed silver, individually.  The team placed bronze. The team was coached by Shelby Green and Carrie Wivell Wolf.

American FFA Degree recipients: Less than 1 percent of FFA members receive this prestigious degree. To be eligible to receive the American FFA Degree, members must meet qualifications such as receiving a State FFA Degree, holding active membership for the past three years, completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program, and operating an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program. This year, Catoctin FFA had two members receive this highest honor: Robert Hahn and Hannah Hartness.

Catoctin FFA would like to thank everyone for all of the support in helping them to participate in the 94th National FFA Convention.  These students have gained skills and memories that will last a lifetime.