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The Emmitsburg High School (EHS) 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, community college, or technical school). No GPA is required for full-time technical 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, 2023.

Thurmont Grange #409 is offering two scholarships to any 2023 Catoctin High School graduating seniors who will be attending a technical or trade school, community college, or four-year college.

Applicants are required to submit one letter of recommendation, an essay about how furthering your education will have a positive impact on your community, and your official high school transcript.

Scholarships will be awarded on May 31, 2023. Applications may be obtained by emailing or contacting the Catoctin High School Guidance Department at 240-236-8100.

All applications must be received by April 30, 2023.

The Distinguished Graduate Committee at Catoctin High School is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Distinguished Graduate Awards. 

Nominations for this year must be submitted by May 1. For information regarding the Distinguished Graduate program and nomination forms, visit the Catoctin High School website at call Catoctin High School at 240-236-8100.

Ed and Helen Reaver (pictured sitting on the right) pose with their family, Mother Seton School Principal Dr. Kathleen J. Kilty (fourth row, far left), and Mother Seton School Librarian Teri Monacelli (third row, far left) after the blessing and dedication of the newly constructed Ed and Helen Reaver Family Media Center.

A longtime goal for the Mother Seton School community was to integrate the existing library, built in 1965, as part of the original building, with the computer lab to create a modern, versatile media center. Thanks to the generosity and hard work of our students, families, and benefactors, as well as grants from The Knott Foundation and The Delaplaine Foundation, we are pleased to announce the official opening of the new Ed and Helen Reaver Family Media Center on February 3, 2023.

“Our old computer lab was outdated, small, and closed off from the rest of the school,” said Kathleen Kilty, Ph.D., principal of Mother Seton School. “The new media center is at the heart of Mother Seton and has breathed new life into how we are able to integrate technology into learning.”

The original space was expanded by over 220 square feet to create a nearly 1,500-square-foot space. It is centrally located and now has two separate entrances/exits to facilitate ease of movement between classes.

The Ed and Helen Reaver Family Media Center is staffed full-time and houses a library of 11,000 books and 30 audiobooks; digital resources for student learning, such as devices for 1:1 computational learning; technology for presentations and screenings, including a state-of-the-art Promethean Board; and five high-powered computers for activities to develop digital citizenship. For example, the Cyberpatriots Cyber Security Club meets in the media center and students use the resources there for robotics, coding, and 3D printing.

Danielle Jackson

2023 FFA Butchering Day

Held February 10 at Catoctin High School

Photos by Danielle Jackson

The scent of wood burning under kettles, the sound of fire crackling, and the sharpening of knives permeated the early morning air at the annual Catoctin FFA chapter, and alumni Hog Butchering Day. The traditional event took place this year on Friday, February 10, at Catoctin High School. The FFA butchering day is something that families and community members in and around the Thurmont area know and celebrate. They use this time to further strengthen the bonds within this tight-knit community that is nestled within the Appalachian Mountains. Although the event of a family butchering is fading into something that you don’t commonly see anymore, the Catoctin High School FFA and Alumni Chapters are committed to preserving the tradition and teaching the next generation the importance of knowing where their food comes from.

This is estimated to be the 35th year that the school has held this event. Generations, young and old, come to help and participate (myself included, once as a Chapter member and now as an Alumni member). Approximately 100 Chapter, Alumni, and community members participated in this year’s butchering.

This event is held as a fundraiser for the Catoctin FFA Chapter, and the proceeds go toward the Chapter and Alumni banquet that is held in May. This year, the Chapter and Alumni processed 23 whole hogs, with an additional 340 lbs. of ribs, 850 lbs. of pork butts, 660 lbs. of boneless loins, and 560 lbs. of bone-in loins (pork chops) to fill presold meat orders. The hogs and extra meat are purchased from nearby businesses within the community. The hogs are killed, scalded, cleaned, and halved at a USDA-approved facility and then brought to the school. The Chapter, Alumni, and community members take care of the rest. Alumni and Chapter members began setting up grinders, saws, kettles, and tables the night before, and then they were back at the school before the sun rose the next day to get started.

The annual event is also an educational experience that ties in to other areas of the school curriculum as well, such as math, science, photography, social studies, and history. Throughout the day, Catoctin High School teachers, staff, students, and classes visited the butchering to observe and learn how this process is done from start to finish. Some teachers even made assignments for their classes about the butchering. This also lets students see all of the hard work that goes into a butchering and how food is put on their own tables. And it also gives other students at the school a new and better appreciation for agriculture.

Lunch was provided by Alumni members who brought crockpots full of delicious food to share. One of the main lunch options was our very own sausage from the butchering. Chapter members brought the loose sausage directly from the grinder to the skillet that day, a true farm-to-table process. Alumni members were frying up sausage patties for sandwiches.

There are so many people that come together to make this day happen. One of those people is Amy Jo Poffenberger, a teacher and FFA Advisor at Catoctin High School. This is her 13th year teaching agriculture studies at Catoctin High. She is also a former Maryland State FFA officer, and a Catoctin FFA Alumni member. Her favorite aspect of butchering day is that “It is more than a butchering. The involvement from the community and the entire school makes this an educational experience for all.”

Senior Abby Moreland, Catoctin FFA Chapter president, says that “Butchering Day is definitely a unique experience, and you always learn a lot.” She enjoys meeting new people every year and employing the organizational skills it takes to make it successful.

The annual FFA butchering is something that continues to grow with new generations, but it is also something that brings back former FFA members. I spoke with Daniel Myers, who is the head of the FFA Alumni Butchering Committee, a Catoctin FFA Alumni member, a past Catoctin FFA Chapter president, and a former Maryland State FFA officer, and asked him: “What is it like to plan such a large event for the school and community?”

Daniel responded, “Exhausting but rewarding to be able to help educate the kids on how pork is processed. This is such a big event, and it takes a team to pull it off. You also must be adaptable to be able to resolve any issues throughout the day.”

I also had the chance to speak with Kendall Abruzzesse, a past Catoctin FFA Chapter president, and now the current Maryland State FFA president. I asked Kendall what it was like to come back to her home chapter and help this year. She said, “It’s fun! There is a huge sense of pride coming back to this school!” She also brought along her officer teammate Teagan Flaherty, the Maryland State FFA secretary, who had never seen an in-person butchering before.

Orders and profits continue to grow every year for this fundraiser, but it wouldn’t be possible without the chapter, alumni, school, and community working together, communicating, adapting, and working as a team. Catoctin FFA is the only FFA Chapter in Maryland that has an annual hog butchering, and the Chapter and Alumni hope to keep this tradition going for many years to come.

Mother Seton School announces the winners of the Knights of Columbus-Brute Council 1860 “Keep Christ in Christmas” Poster Contest (from left): (front row) Brooks Eberle (First place, Grade 2), Amelia Nevius (Second place, Grade 2), Piper Seiss (Third place, Grade 2), Gemma Common (Third place, Grade 3); (back row) Sydney Bowser (First place, Grade 6), Jemina Nana (First place, Grade 5), William Wisniewski (Second place, Grade 3), Peyton Faller (Third place, Grade 8), Abigail Shriner (Second place, Grade 6).

Nine students from Mother Seton School (MSS) received awards from the Knights of Columbus Brute Council 1860 for their entries in the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” Poster Contest. The Knights of Columbus introduced the “Keep Christ in Christmas” Poster Contest to encourage young people to use their creative talents to express the true, spiritual meaning of Christmas.

In Category 1 (K-Grade 2), the following students placed first, second, and third, respectively: Brooks Eberle, Amelia Nevius, and Piper Seiss. In Category 2 (Grades 3-5), the following students placed first, second, and third, respectively: Jemina Nana, William Wisniewski, and Gemma Common. In Category 3 (Grades 6-8), the following students placed first, second, and third, respectively: Sydney Bowser, Abigail Shriner, and Peyton Faller.

Members of Catoctin High School National Art Honor Society have spent countless hours working to perfect a painting that will be hung in the FCPS Learning Leadership Center in Walkersville. Each high school was given the challenge to create a painting that represents their school community. The artwork will be displayed at the center in the designated rooms named after each high school.

Under the direction of art teacher, Laura Day, the four seniors who worked on the piece—Skylar Caballero, Natalie Savage, Abigayle Bowley, and Abigail May—wanted to make sure that the majority of the school’s population was represented. Nestled in the heart of the Catoctin Mountains, it’s a place where everyone fits in, from the athletes to the artists, the FFA kids to the skateboarders. Tight-knit friendships and school pride are what bring us all together.

Pictured from left are Skylar Caballero, Abigayle Bowley, Abigail May, and Natalie Savage.

42nd Annual Event Begins in March

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is excited to announce the return of the Elementary and Secondary Science Fair and the Elementary Social Studies Fair. Both will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Tuscarora High School.

Elementary science and social studies events will occur from 9:30 a.m. until noon. Elementary school students have the option to participate in both the Science and Social Studies Fairs. The secondary science fair judging takes place from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

A free STEM Showcase, with hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities is also open to the public during the Elementary Science Fair. The STEM Showcase is open to students of all grade levels.

Registration is now open. It closes for the Secondary Science Fair on March 9. It closes for the Elementary Science and Social Studies fairs on March 20.

Register for the Elementary Science Fair: Register for the Elementary Social Studies Fair: Register for the Secondary Science Fair:

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont Middle School Administrative Secretary Christine Newman was going through the long-unused cabinets in the old records room of the school when she came across a time capsule of sorts.

The cabinets contained books of middle school class photos from the 1969-1970 school year (its first year as Thurmont Middle School), graduation announcements, newspaper clippings about the building, and the student ledger with who attended Thurmont School in the building in early decades of the 20th century. The student ledger is essentially the school record of each student, showing their personal information, classes taken, and grades.

Newman also found three battered loving cups that had been awarded to students for various achievements.

Parts of the current Thurmont Middle School building were constructed in 1915 when the building served 11 grades. The gym and cafeteria were added in 1949 along Summit Avenue. The building has since undergone renovations and rebuilds and has served the community at the middle school since Catoctin High School opened in 1969.

Newman showed the items to Principal Janine Smith. She realized what they were and realized these pieces of local history belonged with the Thurmont Historical Society.

Newman and Smith presented the items to Ronald Pearcey, Thurmont Historical Society treasurer, last month at the school.

The items are available for research and viewing at the Thurmont Historical Society.

Thurmont Middle School Principal Janine Smith, Administrative Secretary Christine Newman, and Thurmont Historical Society Treasurer Ronald Pearcey look over the historical documents that were recently found at the school.

Sabillasville Environmental School – A Classical Charter School (SES) will open its lottery for the 2023-2024 school year starting in January. Those wishing to enter their child’s name for grades K-12 can enter online by going to The lottery drawing will take place on March 22 for any open seats that are available.

For those interested in learning more about the school and taking a tour, please attend the Open House set for January 17 at 6:00 p.m.

SES is a public charter school that is free to all Frederick County residents. The school offers a classical curriculum with a focus on agriculture and environmental science.

For questions, please email or call the school at 240-236-6000.

Three middle school students from Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg received the top awards in the 2022-2023 Patriot Pen Essay Contest, sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 6658 (Emmitsburg) and 467 (Molleville Farm Westminster). Writing on the theme of “My Pledge to Our Veterans,” Emma Simmons (grade 8, pictured on right) earned first place for VFW Post 6658, while Olivia Jaeger (grade 8, pictured on left) took home third-place honors. Eva Doll (grade 7, pictured middle) earned first place for VFW Post 467. First-place winners’ essays will advance to the District Level to compete.

“There are so many things I could have my pledge as. I could do service work for retired Veterans. I could volunteer at a soup kitchen,” wrote Eva Doll in her essay. “Instead of choosing to do one of those I chose to remember what all Veterans did for our country and all they lost while doing it.”

Emma Simmons expressed a similar sentiment in her essay. “My pledge is to follow their example and stand up for what I believe is right. I pledge to remember all Veterans in my prayers.” Meanwhile, Olivia Jaeger addressed the issues facing many Veterans in her essay. She wrote, “My pledge’s main idea is that (Veterans) need to be seen. They need to be helped…They also need to be assisted in the sense that many Veterans struggle with PTSD, depression, and homelessness.”

Mother Seton School students are celebrating the completion of a task they have been working on since September. Middle school students have been working hard to fold 1,000 origami cranes. Their work is inspired by a Japanese legend that states, “A person that folds one thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods.” Students wished for “Peace.”

This activity was part of a Kindergarten through eighth grade collaborative unit in art class. Karolyne Myers, the art teacher, facilitated discussions about promoting peace in our community and the world at large, including learning about the life and practices of St. Francis, peace symbols around the world, and acts of kindness.

The folded cranes hang from the ceiling (shown above) to greet visitors “like crane chandeliers,” according to sixth-grader Tyler Marshall. Many middle schoolers took on the additional challenge of folding the smallest crane they could. These are also on display.

The origami activity with middle school included a study of the short life of a 12-year-old Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki, who succumbed to leukemia from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Sadako was an ambassador for world peace while she was alive. She attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes before her death but was unsuccessful.

“Her story was tragic, but it was also inspiring,” said Moira Tayler, a seventh grader who participated in folding the cranes. “I hope our wish for peace will be granted.”

The Catoctin High School Safe and Sane Committee is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Dance on Saturday, March 18, 2023, at the American Legion in Thurmont, with music by the band, Vinyl Fever. Tickets are $15.00 a person.

Catoctin High School Safe and Sane provides a safe and alcohol/drug-free event for the graduating class. It is a time for graduates to celebrate their successes, say their good-byes, and pass on their well wishes to their fellow classmates—all in a fun, safe environment.

Catoctin High School Committee for a Safe and Sane Graduating, Inc. is sponsored by the parents and community within the Catoctin area.

For more information, please find them on Facebook: Catoctin Safe and Sane.

The Thurmont Grange #409 recently presented dictionaries to all northern Frederick County third-grade students. This is a community-service project called “Words for Thirds,” and all of the third-grade students in the Catoctin feeder system 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, businessmen 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 they 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, and has also donated funds and items to the Thurmont Food Bank, Catoctin FFA, Boy Scouts, Catoctin Safe & 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.

Emmitsburg Elementary School (from left): (front row) Patrick Morgan, Payton Fritz, Clary Walker, Vivian Satterlee; (back row) Paulette Mathias, Robert Wiles, and Carolyn Wiles.

Sabillasville Environmental School (from left): David Savage, Michele Heerema, Emma Santos, Blake Wagaman, Mattee Lambert, Catherine Riggs, Ryan Balsley, and Jane Savage.

Thurmont Elementary School (from left): Jody Eyler, Caythee Ruby, Jennifer Reynolds, Carol Long, Nancy Wine, John Wine, Charlotte Donnelly, Carli Savage, Kaylee Hoff, Braden Weber, Aaron Oden, Caroline Stevens, McKinnly Glotfelty, Ryan Vorndran, Harper Strobel, Kam Dal, and Lukas Bromwell.

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 7th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 22.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience the program “celebrates what makes this school and this community so special.”

The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

This year’s alumni were honored for achievements in business and academics.

The ceremony also recognizes former Catoctin High staff who have had a significant impact on students.

Besides the honorees and their guests, the Catoctin freshman and senior classes were in attendance.

Jason Polansky, Class of 2014, was recognized for his business achievement. He has worked for Microsoft, Whole Foods, and Recruit Ability. He told the students that they can never know what life will throw at them, so they need faith, perseverance, and problem-solving skills, to “make the best decisions to continue to succeed.”

Kenneth Getzandanner, Class of 2006, was inducted for his academic achievement. He works with the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Navigation and Mission Design Branch. In 2020, he led the navigation team that landed a spacecraft on a meteor to collect samples to analyze. The spacecraft should return to earth next year.

He told the students that Catoctin High had helped him find something he was passionate about and offered him opportunities to explore it. He said that the students needed to surround themselves with people who support and encourage them, as his family and the staff at Catoctin High had.

Jason Stoner, Class of 1996, was another business inductee. Stoner is a full-time chainsaw-carving artist. He echoed Getzandanner’s sentiments, saying that the students needed to surround themselves with good friends who would support them in their goals.

Vickie Stroh spent 36 years of her teaching career as a library media specialist at Catoctin High. She encouraged the students to do three things that would help them have a great life. “Whatever your future brings to you, I hope it includes: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.”

Deborah Clark was another former Catoctin staff inductee. She taught Sociology and AP World History, served as the National Honor Society advisor, helped initiate Rho Kappa, and served as department chair.

“None of us get where we’re going without the influence of others,” she said. The others can be friends, family, teachers, and strangers. She encouraged the students to thank them for their positive influence.

Inductees received a Distinguished Graduate Award, a Catoctin High School print, and a Catoctin High School stadium blanket.

Pictured from left are CHS Principal Jennifer Clements with the 2022 Catoctin High Distinguished Graduate inductees, Vickie Stroh, Jason Stoner, Jason Polansky, Kenneth Getzandanner, and Deborah Clarke.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

The National FFA convention is held every year and attracts FFA members from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. The 95th National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from October 26-October 29. While at the convention, 18 Catoctin FFA members joined over 60,700 other FFA members and guests from across our nation. The National FFA Convention and Expo is one of the largest student conventions in the world, with a mission to develop, educate, and inspire. Throughout the week, members were able to participate in sessions, contests, workshops, and a career expo.

The chapter made several industry stops on the way to Indianapolis. They visited the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY; Niagara Falls in NY; the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, OH; United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH; and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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 Issues, Agricultural Sales, Livestock Evaluation, Marketing Plan teams advanced to nationals. We also had a member participate in the Extemporaneous Speaking LDE. Two teams had to complete a portion of their contest virtually before going to Indianapolis.

A special thanks to the chaperones: Mary Ellen Clark, Ann Costa, Matt Dellinger, Robert and Stephanie (Moreland) Hahn, Michael Poffenberger, and Carrie Wolf.

Five chapters in Maryland were recognized at this year’s convention. This is based on an application the chapter completes to showcase some of their activities throughout the year. To qualify for the award, your chapter must complete at least 15 activities—one for each of the five quality standards in each of the three divisions. Catoctin was one of five eligible chapters from Maryland and was recognized nationally as a 2-star chapter.

Less than one percent of FFA members receive the prestigious American FFA 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: Abby Kinnaird and Sierra Weatherly.

Catoctin FFA would like to thank everyone for all of the support in helping them to participate in the 95th National FFA Convention. The students have gained skills and memories that will last a lifetime.

Twin sisters Emma Simmons and Sarah Simmons both won awards at the Society for Science’s Broadcom MASTERS STEM competition held in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center on November 1, 2022.

Emma was the recipient of an Engineering Award, and Sarah was given the “Rising Star” Award for Science and Engineering. Emma and Sarah are 13 years old and in eighth grade at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg.

The twin sisters engineered the “Portable Bronchodilator System for Equine Respiratory Disease,” a portable method to dispense asthma medication to horses.

The Simmons twins were the sole representatives from Maryland at the national STEM competition.

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!