Currently viewing the tag: "catoctin high school"

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.

Blair Garrett

After nearly two years without a consistent schedule, high school sports are officially back on track.

Catoctin High School athletes have had to navigate abridged seasons and restrictions, cutting down opportunities for student athletes to compete since the spring season of 2020. Some students have missed out on half of their high school athletic seasons due to the ongoing pandemic. And, with cold and flu season in full swing, the future remains uncertain.

For now, though, students finally have a consistent schedule to compete with other athletes around the region.

Regular seasons for popular winter sports like basketball, wrestling, and swimming have had fans itching to get back to normal. Even the playoff format once again follows the standard format from non-COVID years. 

“As of right now, everything is normal with regards to playoffs, Athletic Director Keith Bruck said. “It’s the same structure we’ve had pre-COVID with the region format and championship schedule, so hopefully that continues.”

Though students and fans have reason to be excited for winter sports, there are still regulations and precautions to be followed for everyone in attendance.

“This year for the fans, coaches, and everyone inside the gymnasium, they have to wear a mask,” Bruck said. “While the players are actively engaged in the sport, they don’t have to wear a mask.”

This is a big development from last season, where players for indoor sports like basketball were required to play masked throughout the duration of the game.

“When a kid is on the court for basketball, they don’t have to wear a mask, but when they come off the court, they’re expected to put a mask on,” Bruck said.

No matter how small the progress is to working toward normalcy, the goal is to keep taking the proper precautions seriously to allow students to continue pursuing athletics. Even if some of the rules are uncomfortable at times, it beats missing out on another season of high school sports.

The local support has been great through the first few weeks of winter sports, with fans making their voices heard from the stands. “Attendance has been about the same as it was in previous years,” Bruck said. “Folks are anxious to get back and see their favorite teams.”

With fans and players only getting to experience a glimpse of a normal season in 2020, this season’s athletes are excited for a chance to do it right. “We had a really short winter season last year, so I think folks want to get back to watching high school sports,” Bruck said.

Fans will have plenty of opportunities to catch Catoctin sports over the winter break, with wrestling and basketball tournaments highlighting the end of December. Both tournaments will allow students to showcase the hard work they have been putting in all year to prepare for their time to shine.

With the turning of the page into the new year, Track and Field and Swimming meets become a big deal for hundreds of athletes in the region. These events typically bring multiple schools together, so the continuation of group competitions is a hugely positive sign for the state of high school sports.

A particularly close-contact sport like wrestling having the green light to carry on is also encouraging. Prevention of COVID transmission between wrestlers seems almost impossible, but, fortunately, programs have had good luck this season avoiding any delays and shutdowns due to outbreaks.   

“We haven’t had to pause with any of our teams so far,” Bruck said. “We’ve had individual cases here and there, but we haven’t had to stop our teams from practicing or playing.”

It’s no secret that everyone wants the COVID nightmare behind us, and the athletes finally have something concrete to focus on as they push through their regular seasons toward playoffs. The opportunity to compete for a state title is something these athletes won’t take for granted.

You can catch Catoctin sports from the jump in 2022, with all games, meets, and matches listed on the Catoctin High School athletic calendar at www.fcps.org.

Deb Abraham Spalding

It was a beautiful day for the grand opening celebration of the new Thurmont Skatepark at the East End Park on East Main Street in Thurmont on Saturday, November 6, 2021. The day started off with the group of project-founding skaters gathering at the skatepark for a sunrise skate session. Their project had become a reality!

They skated for about an hour and a half, then other volunteers joined them to plant 30 trees around the skatepark. Soon, event attendees started filling up the space.

From sunup to sundown, the celebration continued as a solid slate of skaters on skateboards, on scooters, or wearing in-line skates, rolled around the smooth concrete contours of the facility. Paul Zelenka served as the event’s DJ mixing up 5 hours of fun tunes.

This project was initiated by local young residents who were looking for a safe place to skateboard. Sgt. Dave Armstrong, of the Thurmont Police Department, started having conversations with the kids instead of just telling them to stop skating when he saw them around town. He realized they needed a safe place to skate. He went with them to a Parks and Rec Committee meeting and gained roots-level support for a skatepark.

A group of 15 Catoctin High School sophomores attended an April 12, 2021 Town of Thurmont meeting with Patrick Dugan as their leader and presented their case, convincing the town to build a skatepark. Four main skaters spearheaded the project including Dugan, Maceo Zelenka, Alan Chimel, and Norman Montoya, by petitioning for support.

The teens didn’t attend that meeting unprepared. They had done research. They visited other towns with skateparks, and met with other organizers and planners who have designed and built skateparks. A visit with Brent at Embark Skate Shop for advice on building a skatepark led the teens to Joe Wallace who had done fundraising for Urbana Skate Park. He shared the name Matt Arment who built the Urbana Park. Within one day of contacting Arment, he had a skatepark design and a proposal drawn up. That project plan was presented to the town. Everything moved along well.

The mayor and commissioners gave the teens lots of positive feedback, as well as advice on how to help their project move along as quickly as possible. The Thurmont Board applied for, and received, a grant from Program Open Space, a program from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that provides counties with funds for public space projects.

Embark donated a skateboard for a raffle to raise funds. The teens had formed a committee and they were present at Thurmont’s Farmers Markets selling raffle tickets and t-shirts. This was a great way for the committee to tell people about the park.

The committee met every week. Josh Boyle, an active inline skater, joined the committee and contributed a wonderful point of view. Sgt. Armstrong stayed active with the committee and remained a great advocate.

Maceo Zelenka’s mother Stacie Zelenka and Patrick Dugan’s mother Kirsten Dugan became parent volunteers who helped lead the boys through the logistics of fundraising.

Commissioner Wayne Hooper, served as the liaison between the board and the committee. Matt Arment of Arment Concrete out of Dover, PA, was really close to the kids. He designed and built the park. Sponsorship was incredible! The teens wrote a letter and asked the community and businesses for support.

Stacie Zelenka said, “We said the first five $500 donations would have a banner at the park. Within 24 hours we had all five of them. Ninety percent of the people really supported the project because it was driven by teens. They can make a change!”

At the grand opening celebration, Embark Skate Shop hosted the best trick contest. People got to see pro skaters. Delegate Jesse Pippy did a kick flip to start off the best trick contest. That was cool to see, especially since he actually landed the stunt.

A proclamation was presented by Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird on behalf of the Governor of the State of Maryland to the Thurmont Skatepark Committee.

There are many individuals who deserve credit and acknowledgement for this true example of a “community” project. Harold Lawson, Thurmont’s Superintendent of Public Works and his crew are responsible for everything that makes up the skatepark’s finished look. Lori Kaas with the Town of Thurmont was the committee’s point of contact with the town office. She kept the committee organized and on track.

Jim Humerick, The Town of Thurmont’s CAO included the skateboard committee in the process every step of the way so they learned how government works. Jacob Williams designed the logo which has been a big hit on the hoodies and t-shirts. Mayor John Kinnaird was always supportive of the skatepark and Thurmont youth.

The skatepark isn’t completely finished. Eventually, there will be lights installed. Next spring, paved walking trails will be installed from the inclusive playground and from the Main Street sidewalk.

Stacie Zelenka said, “A lot of individuals donated to the project and realized that by giving kids and teens in the community a safe outdoor space for a sport just makes the community better.”

Kirsten Dugan sums it all up, “In less than seven months, this project went from a proposal by a group of teenagers into a reality.  This skatepark is a great asset to our town.  People have been out here enjoying the skatepark almost constantly since the concrete dried. To see it completed and to celebrate with the community that has given so much support is really incredible. The whole process has felt like a miracle.”

The official ribbon-cutting was held at the at the grand opening.

Ben Swauger of Waynesboro attended the Thurmont Skatepark Grand Opening on November 13, 2021.

Catoctin ninth-grader Cameron Santmier catches some air on his scooter.

During the 39-year history of the John A. Cliber Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Northwestern Frederick Country Civic Association of Sabillasville, 56 awards have been awarded to Catoctin High School graduating students from the Sabillasville Elementary-feeder school.

Two 2021 graduates have each received a $1,000 award for their continuing education. Both recipients, Rachel Pastor and Zander Sharpe, are enrolled for the fall semester at Frederick Community College, pursuing their goals of obtaining degrees in business.

Catoctin High School/Saint Joseph’s High School, Class of 1981, 40th reunion will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. Save the date; more details to follow. For more information, contact Jerry Free at 301-418-5351 or Mark Williard at 214-263-6613.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show announces its 2021 event cancellation. During the current pandemic situation, our concern is for the health and safety of our community, volunteers, attendees, exhibitors, and vendors, and all involved with our Community Show. An additional factor is the uncertainty of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) facilities usage, which includes Catoctin High School, by outside user groups.     

All events related to the Community Show are canceled, except for the Catoctin Area FFA Alumni & Supporters Livestock Show & Sale for market goat, beef, sheep, and swine. All activities will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at The Eyler Stables (managed by Wolfe Agricultural Auctions), located at 141 Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont. 

The livestock show will be held at 9:00 a.m., with awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. and the livestock sale beginning at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, September 12, the dairy goat and dairy cattle show will begin at 9:00 a.m., and the decorated animal contest will be held at noon. 

The log sawing contest will also be held on Sunday, September 12, at 1:00 p.m., which will have women’s, men’s and children’s divisions. 

For an application to exhibit animals—due by July 10—please email catoctinffaalumni@gmail.com. The application includes information about all the events for the weekend. 

The Community Show looks forward to seeing everyone at next year’s Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 9-11, 2022. Exhibits can include any item that has been made since the 2019 Community Show, except for baked products and any perishable items. 

“The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been bringing our Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities together since 1957.  Please continue to support our local agriculture and area businesses who have advertised in our past Community Show booklets. We thank these organizations who sponsor our annual Community Show: Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin Area FFA Alumni & Supporters, Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. Next year, we look forward to bringing back the largest Community Show in the State of Maryland. Until then, everyone please stay safe and be well.” –Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show President C. Rodman Myers.

Catoctin High School/Saint Joseph’s High School, Class of 1981, 40th reunion will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. Save the date; more details to follow. For more information, contact Jerry Free at 301-418-5351 or Mark Williard at 214-263-6613.

Blair Garrett

A close community has the power to do amazing things.

Communities find a way to lift people up in times of great struggle.

Colan Droneburg, a 17-year-old football player at Catoctin High School, took a seemingly innocuous hit to the head in a scrimmage on March 5.

Droneburg ran off the field dizzy and nauseous and fell unconscious on the sideline. Teammates surrounded him, and medical professionals rushed to his side. He was eventually flown via Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma.

Droneburg was temporarily placed into a medically induced coma due to his brain injuries. “He had bleeding on both sides of the brain, but more so on the right,” Wade Droneburg, Colan’s brother said. “He’s doing physical therapy for his balance, neck, and strength.”

Droneburg has had to see neurologists for headaches, trouble with his vision, and amnesia, but with time and continued therapy, the family is optimistic that his condition will improve.    

Colan’s cousin, Diane Bowers, set up a GoFundMe page for Colan’s recovery and upcoming medical expenses, with a $15,000 goal. The community smashed that goal in record time, donating $5,000 in the first hour, and beating the goal in just over a day.

To date, the total donations are over $27,000, with nearly 500 unique donors. “Thurmont is so wonderful, along with all of Frederick County,” Bowers said. “If you look at the donors, there are students from every school. It’s been a heartfelt experience.”

The Droneburg family has felt the love from the community following such a tough year. “It’s been amazing just to know that these people who we know and don’t know were willing to help us in any way possible,” Wade said. “We as a family really do appreciate it more than they realize.”

Times like these galvanize a community, and so many people coming together to help a family in a difficult situation shows the character of the people in Northern Frederick County. Something like this is bigger than football, and everyone’s efforts to support the Droneburg family has made a huge difference.

Despite a tragic end to his senior football season and a lot of challenges ahead for recovery, Droneburg has been making strides every day. “It’s coming along, and he’s getting memories back,” Wade said.

Brain injuries can be tremendously unpredictable, and the effects can be permanent depending on the severity of the injury. Fortunately for Droneburg, he has a great support system behind him, and a whole team of football players cheering him on.

Droneburg will be the team’s greatest source of inspiration throughout the rest of the adjusted season. Colan will be fighting right alongside the Cougars over the coming months.

“He’s got an appointment at the end of March for another scan, and in April he goes for a neurological evaluation and more going forward,” Wade said. “It’s going to be a long road.”

Between Droneburg’s physical therapy and hospital bills, the family could use all the help they can get. To donate, visit their GoFundMe page online at: www.gofundme.com/f/help-colan-recover-catoctin-football-injury.

Senior Colan Droneburg suits up for the Catoctin Cougars.

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, including trade schools, 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 Route 140). Applicants may apply each year as long as they are enrolled in an institution.

Selection is based on academics, being a full-time student, presenting two letters of recommendation, their community and school activities, and pursuing higher education (technical school, four-year college, or community college).

Applications may be obtained by calling Phyllis Kelly at 717-642-6963 or by email at kellyphy82547@gmail.com. All applications must be received by May 14, 2021. Applications are also available through the Catoctin High School Scholarship line and Counseling Department. 

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 the 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 Gayle DiSalvo no later than Sunday, April 18, 2021. They can be emailed to Rogadodi@aol.com or mailed to Lion Gayle DiSalvo, 142 E. Hammaker Street, Thurmont, MD  21788. Please include “2021 Teacher of the Year” on the subject line if emailing. Forms are available online at www.thurmontlionsclub.com or by contacting Lion Gayle DiSalvo at Rogadodi@aol.com.

The Thurmont Lions Club 2021 Teacher of the Year will be selected from the eight finalists by a committee of community leaders and will be announced at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Education Night meeting on May 12, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact Lion Gayle DiSalvo at Rogadodi@aol.com or 301-271-5355.

Masonic Charities of Maryland (MCM) awards $50,000 in scholarship funds annually to Maryland public high school graduating seniors who are pursuing a post-secondary education. One hundred finalists from public schools across the entire state will be selected. Each finalist will receive a $500 scholarship.

In conjunction with MCM, Acacia Lodge #155 in Thurmont will match this amount if an awardee is selected from the graduating class of Catoctin High School in Thurmont.

If selected, the total amount of the award will be $1,000! Closing date for all applications is March 31, 2021.

Applications will be judged upon the following criteria, in order of importance: (1) Participation and leadership roles in community and/or school activities; (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.

MCM Scholarship application forms can be downloaded from the Acacia Lodge website at www.thurmontmasons.com.

Interested students must complete an application and return it via U.S. Mail to the following address: Acacia Lodge #155 –“Scholarships,” 56 Water Street, Thurmont, MD 21788.

All applications must be postmarked on or before March 31, 2021.

Mr. Billy Hodge, Sr., former coach and teacher at Thurmont Middle and Catoctin High Schools, was honored at the Cascade American Legion on November 7, 2020, not only as an impactful teacher and coach, but also as a Korean War Veteran. The gathering focused on celebrating Mr. Hodge’s 90th birthday (November 8) and was also part of the Cascade American Legion’s Veteran Showcase, organized by member, Joan Fry.

His late wife, Helen, who taught fourth grade at Sabillasville Elementary School for many years, was honored as well.

Prior to the gathering, Facebook and The Catoctin Banner were used to communicate the occasion. On Facebook, Mr. Hodge was touted by Kim Miller Cromwell as a “Great teacher!”; by Helen Horton-Rice as, “A wonderful man.”; and by Evan Atkinson as, “A great teacher who was always very fair, honest, and very easy to respect.”

Visitors to the gathering brought birthday cards and gifts for Mr. Hodge and shared yearbooks and class photos for all to see. Several of Mr. Hodge’s peers attended, including former coach, teacher, and athletic director, Paul Nolan, and FCPS bus drivers Frank and Shirley Riffle, who traditionally drove CHS sports teams to away competitions.

Mr. Hodge is remembered fondly for teaching in a way that taught respect in a supportive way. He is notorious for asking pointedly blunt questions and assigning nicknames. The most widely-remembered is the assignment of “Bonehead” to a student when he or she was acting in an illogical way. Several of his children and grandchildren in attendance confirmed that he still uses that specific term of endearment. At the gathering, Mr. Hodge explained, “It just makes sense. I was teaching biology and science. The human skull is made of bone. We’re all boneheads.” Upon reflection, it seems that most of his students ended up using their boneheads to make sense of the task at hand, and they appreciated it.

Some of Mr. Hodge’s former students were impacted significantly by him. Beverly Hicks Little said, “He was the first teacher to tell me about Mitosis vs. Meiosis. He intrigued me to learn and do more. I am now a nurse… [in Florida] can someone please let him know how much he impacted me in fifth grade science class!”

Susan Clem Crone, former student and now educator at Thurmont Elementary said, “BONEHEAD! I still call people that!”

On Facebook, several children in the Lucey Family in Creagerstown chimed in. Kathaleen Lucey said, “I’ll reach out and send a card on behalf of my family…I hope he didn’t have to teach all seven of us. LOL.” Her sister Clare chimed in that she had him, and Kathaleen added, “He had six [of the seven Lucey children], I know that. I think of him whenever I call my kids dummy nuts.”

Cory Martin said, “I remember him calling me “Bonehead “ a few times. Lol,” and Jean Rippeon added, “He was one of my favorite teachers in the middle school. He used to call me ‘Elmer.’” I asked him, “Why do you call me Elmer?” He replied, “Because you are always coming to me saying I’m stuck!”

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hodge! Thank you for your service!

Thanks to all who attended this event. Stay tuned for upcoming events to honor our local Veterans at Cascade American Legion.

Courtesy Photos

Pictured from left, former CHS coach, teacher, and athletic director, Paul Nolan, looks at yearbooks with Mr. Billy Hodge, former Thurmont Elementary and Thurmont Middle School teacher and CHS coach, while Shirley and Frank Riffle, retired FCPS school bus drivers, look on.

Mr. Hodge’s 6th Grade Class, Thurmont Elementary School, 1973.

A special gathering is planned for Billy Hodge, Sr., former coach and teacher at Thurmont Middle and Catoctin High Schools. His late wife, Helen, who taught fourth grade at Sabillasville Elementary School for many years, will be honored as well.

Come and join friends and the Hodge Family at Cascade American Legion, 14418 McAfee Hill Road in Cascade, between 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Masks will be required to enter the building.

You are encouraged to bring a birthday card for Mr. Hodge to enjoy the following day, November 8, his 90th birthday.

If you’d like to mail a card, send a message to Joan Fry at jofry241@yahoo.com, requesting his mailing address.

Please tell all your friends who knew Coach/Mr. or Mrs. Hodge.

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Hodge’s daughter, Nikki Hodge Brooks

A recent photo of Mr. Hodge shows the Korean War Veteran offering a salute.

James Rada, Jr.

This year, all registered and eligible Maryland voters will receive a mail-in ballot application in the mail. You should have received your application in September.

You can complete the application and return it using the postage-paid envelope that was included. You can also put the application in the Frederick County Board of Elections drop box at 340A Montevue Lane in Frederick. The deadline for applications is October 20.

You will then be sent a mail-in ballot. Complete the ballot and return it using the postage-paid envelope by November 3. You can also drop the ballot off in one of the drop boxes located throughout the county. The drop box in our area is located at Catoctin High School.

Catoctin High School is also the nearest site for in-person early voting. Early in-person voting can be done from Monday, October 6, through Tuesday, November 3, daily from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners expressed disappointment that there wasn’t a drop box or in-person voting center in Emmitsburg. They worried about senior citizens having access to transportation to drive to a voting center.

Mayor Don Briggs said the town had originally been scheduled for a drop box, but Gov. Larry Hogan decided not to place one there.

For more information about where you can vote this year, call the board of elections office at 301-600-VOTE or e-mail them at electionboard@frederickcountymd.gov.

Catoctin High School has a new STEM educational experience for students in Northern Frederick County: FIRST Robotics Competition Team 686, Bovine Intervention. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to encourage and inspire students to pursue, and excel in, STEM-related careers.

Bovine Intervention comprises high school students from across Frederick County (currently Walkersville and Linganore high schools). It includes mentor support from high school alumni, parents, businesses, and Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) staff. Being new to Catoctin High School and Northern Frederick County, the team now invites students, as well as parents, businesses, and other mentors from these areas, to join their team.

Students will forge new friendships and learn valuable tradecraft skills in engineering, programming, project planning, business management, and decision-making processes, as well as compete against other FIRST teams in formal robotics competitions. The team also has opportunities for expanding leadership skills, video photography, newsletter writing, and communications.

Bovine Intervention primarily relies on community and corporate sponsors for funding to cover costs for materials, competition fees, and other resources. Students, family, and friends also support the team through their time and donations.

Operating within FCPS, Bovine Intervention now welcomes students to participate virtually and begin their STEM educational experience with training in engineering principles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and programming skills. The team looks forward to getting back together, in person, during the 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition season, and will also plan additional activities to inspire the youth and increase team awareness in the community.

To join or sponsor the team, or be placed on its email list, please contact them at firstteam686@gmail.com.

To learn more about Bovine Intervention and FIRST, or for information and links to Facebook and Instagram sites, please visit the team website at https://sites.google.com/view/firstteam686/.

Students routing wires on the robot.

The Guardian Hose Company, Inc. has decided to cancel the James H. Mackley Golf Day that was scheduled for September 26, 2020, at the Maple Run Golf Course. The event is held to raise funds for graduating seniors from Catoctin High School who plan to continue their education in the emergency services field. This would have been the 10th year for this event. But, with COVID-19 and cases beginning to rise again, it was decided not to hold the event this year for the safety of our first responders and also the public.

The Guardian Hose Company is pleased to announce that the scholarship was awarded to Emma Ford this past year, and they were also able to renew scholarships for Lauren Ames and Caitlyn Naff again this year.

The Guardian Hose Company thanks all the businesses that supported this fundraising event, and all of the golfers that always came out to make this a fun-filled day. They are looking forward to holding the James H. Mackley Golf Day next September 2021 and hope to see everyone then.

Emmitsburg Little League District II Champions – 1985

In a 1985 Frederick News-Post (FNP)article, FNP sports reporter, Dave Ammenheuser (1980 Catoctin High School graduate and present-day sports editor for USA Today) gave an interesting depiction about the talent of Emmitsburg Little League championship pitchers in the opening paragraph of his article, “Emmitsburg, NL, AL Win,” stating, “Emmitsburg Little League Manager Don Kaas has something Baltimore Orioles’ Manager Earl Weaver doesn’t. Pitching.”

The Emmitsburg Little League team that year was managed by Don Kaas, coached by Sam Topper, and the league president was Tom Ryan. AllStar players included Gene Valentine, Joel Grinder, Dwight Baumgardner, Chris Stahley, Tony Orndorff, Brian Dugan, Eddie Wantz, Brian Cool, Pat Valenti, Brian Hemler, Joe Andrew, Chris Wantz, Pat Topper, and Kevin Shorb. This team earned the first of title baseball wins for the Emmitsburg Little League. Emmitsburg first joined the National Little League program in 1957.

On the way to the championship, team pitchers, Gene Valentine and Joel Grinder, both pitched shutouts in games leading up to the championship contest. Along the way, Emmitsburg downed Westminster 14-0 in a game where FNP’s reporter Bill Cauley wrote, “Gene Valentine tossed a masterful one-hitter and came within two batters of fanning every batter he faced while his teammates hammered out 11 hits, including four home runs…”

Emmitsburg continued on the winning path to take Brunswick 3-0, where Joel Grinder became Emmitsburg’s second pitcher in two games to throw a shutout in the tournament.

This dynamically talented pitching duo was backed up by talented teammates.

In another FNP article, League President Tom Ryan said, “This is a low-keyed team. These players play sound, fundamental baseball. We may not hit the ball hard, but the players do what they have to do to win on the field.”

Team Manager Don Kaas added, “Everyone on this team makes a contribution. It takes the overall team effort to win, and that’s what we do.”

During the tournament championship game in Emmitsburg, there were so many spectators that Bob Saylor, a constant force within the league as former league president and concession-stand manager, ran out of ice for the snow cone machine. This had never happened before.

Emmitsburg beat the American Little League of Frederick 12-0 for the district tournament championship. After the win, it seemed every resident in town had come out for the game, celebration, and victory parade.

The Emmitsburg Little League District 2 AllStars in 1985 were Gene Valentine, Joel Grinder, Dwight Baumgardner, Chris Stahley, Tony Orndorff, Brian Dugan, Eddie Wantz, Brian Cool, Pat Valenti, Brian Hemler, Joe Andrew, Chris Wantz, Pat Topper, and Kevin Shorb. The League President was Tom Ryan, Team Manager Donnie Kaas, and Coach Sam Topper.

Cover Photos:

Catoctin High School Class of 2020 by Theresa Hutchinson;

Courtesy of John Kinnaird

Catoctin High School Graduation Plans

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) has announced that all high schools will have a virtual graduation ceremony this year. Staff members at Catoctin High School (CHS) are working hard to create a memorable virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020 that will air the week of June 8.

Catoctin High School also offered seniors the opportunity to wear their cap and gown and walk across the CHS auditorium stage. A photographer captured a picture of each senior on the stage, which will be included in Catoctin’s virtual graduation ceremony. The event took place on May 26-28. Seniors were limited to bring no more than four members of their immediate family to watch them walk the stage.

CHS Principal Jen Clements issued the following statement, “Seniors (and families of seniors) – I know that this school closure, at what would normally be a time of great celebration and anticipation, makes us all feel as if we are losing out on important milestones—I agree and feel the same way. As a principal, graduation is the day that brings me the greatest joy; and every day with students in the building is what gives me energy…those have both been missing during the past few months. However, I have challenged myself (and encourage all of you to do the same) to find the good and to make the best of what we cannot control. Whether we like it or not, this time in our lives will be memorable and will leave an unforgettable mark on the year 2020. This situation has also afforded us time to reflect and appreciate even the little things (I have heard this in my communication with many students, and think this mature perspective will serve you well as you venture into adulthood). I have also seen many examples of our community coming together (not physically together, but always together in spirit and purpose) to support each other and our students—this just serves to reiterate what is so special about our Catoctin community. So, as you feel the disappointment of what is different about your senior experience, I hope you can also be reflective about what you have gained through the last two months, but also throughout your time at Catoctin High School.

We now know that Graduation will be a virtual program to be aired during the week of June 8. I understand the feelings of disappointment and frustration that our current situation is affecting such an important and momentous event. While I share those same feelings, I also take great pride in the beautiful graduation program that we are producing to honor our seniors; the hundreds of hours that are being poured into creating an amazing and meaningful program is reflective of our goal to honor you in the best way we can right now. I look forward to the opportunities ahead to see you, to congratulate you, and to wish you well (from a distance!).

Thank you for your continued support of our community, our school, and, most especially, the beloved members of our CHS Class of 2020. Through our collaboration, support and communication we will come through this Cougar Strong!”

Honoring Catoctin High School Seniors

In honor of the Catoctin High School Class of 2020, signs celebrating each of the graduates were on display at Catoctin High School on Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22. The signs were provided through the courtesy of the Town of Thurmont, the Town of Emmitsburg, Catoctin High School, and Karen and John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird posted the following message on social media, “We are very proud of each end every one of the students from within the Catoctin High School feeder area, and we congratulate [our graduates] for achieving this goal in your journey through life. Your future holds an entire world of opportunity; make the most of it.”

In honor of the Catoctin High School Class of 2020, signs celebrating each of the graduates were on display at Catoctin High School on Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22. The signs were provided through the courtesy of the Town of Thurmont, the Town of Emmitsburg, Catoctin High School, and Karen and John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird posted the following message on social media, “We are very proud of each end every one of the students from within the Catoctin High School feeder area, and we congratulate [our graduates] for achieving this goal in your journey through life. Your future holds an entire world of opportunity; make the most of it.”

Isaac Dugan

On the night of April 5, 2019, the Catoctin High School (CHS) auditorium was filled with parents, students, and members of the community, anxiously awaiting the opening performance of Catoctin’s musical, The Pajama Game. It was a huge success. Even the principal of nine years, Bernie Quesada, remarked that it was one of the best productions he had ever seen at Catoctin High. With all this positive energy surrounding the drama department, it is shocking to think that just five years ago, Catoctin offered little to students interested in theater.

 In 2015, after the departure of long-time director Mrs. Stietly, the theater program fell on hard times. With little student interest, enrollment in theatre classes dropped, and it became hard to fill roles in musicals and plays. In the 2015-2016 school year, there was no play and no musical. In the years following, only small-scale productions were undertaken. Show attendance dropped, and sometimes there was only one showing of each production.

Finally, this past school year, Evan Felmet (CHS music teacher) and his wife, Stephanie Felmet (CHS technology specialist), took on the challenge of rebuilding the drama program. They started by directing a full-length Broadway-style musical. Due to their active recruiting and clever use of resources, there was a fantastic three-performance run of a classic 1950’s musical, The Pajama Game.

Great productions are just a part of Catoctin High’s revamped drama program. Mr. and Mrs. Felmet have also created much excitement by reviving a theater class that focuses on acting and stagecraft. This class helped to put on a fall production of the mystery play Murder by the Book. Students who are interested in theater may also join the International Thespian Society, an honor society for recognized and accomplished actors all over America. “They help with a lot of organization and community outreach for the drama program,’’ said Mr. Felmet. The drama department also hosts a talent show each year to fundraise and to allow additional students at CHS to showcase their talents.

But, even with a director, actors, and crew, a production just isn’t right without an audience. The community plays an essential role in the Catoctin High School theatre program.

Members of the community purchase ads in the program, hang posters in their shops, donate costumes and props, and attend various performances. Because Catoctin is one of the smallest schools in the county, it takes a community to be able to provide these opportunities for students. To donate to this wonderful theater program or if you are looking for opportunities to volunteer, please contact the director at evan.felmet@fcps.org.

This spring brings a wonderful opportunity to watch this talented group of kids perform the Rogers and Hammerstien’s musical State Fair on March 27 at 7:00 p.m., and on March 28 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

This growing theater program helps offer a variety of activities to students. “I’ve got a lot of very dramatic students in every sense of the word,” says Mr. Felmet, “and it’s a way for students who wouldn’t really have an outlet otherwise to find out what kind of person they are.’’

While some students find satisfaction on the athletic field and some find it in the classroom, many students are now finding fulfillment on the stage.

Catoctin High School’s production of Murder by the Book.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Miller Photography

Thurmont’s Masonic Lodge is offering two scholarship awards this year: Mary and Robert Remsberg Memorial Scholarship Award and Bernhard “Bernie” Cohen Memorial Scholarship Award.

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.

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, 2020.

The successful applicant and 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 www.thurmontmasons.com.

Miss Katie Gaffigan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Gaffigan of Woodsboro, Maryland, was named to the title of Miss Catoctin-Aires Queen, to begin the 2020 year. Miss Gaffigan was chosen by the peers in the twirling group as the best representative of the organization for the coming year. She will be featured in the group’s hometown parade in June. Gaffigan received her title from the outgoing queen, Elizabeth Floyd. First runner-up to the title was McKenzie Walker, with Stephanie Kennedy as court royalty.

The Catoctin-Ettes, inc. recently produced its annual holiday show at Catoctin High School. Group numbers, as well as solo numbers, were showcased in the 46th consecutive year-end show. The highlight of the production was the Christmas medley of “Frosty the Snowman,” performed by the Tiny Tot section of the corps; followed by “Jingle Bell Rock,” by the Complimentary Unit; and, finally, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” performed by the Juveniles, Juniors, and Senior sections.

Soloists were Caitlyn Purdum, Elizabeth Floyd, Katie Gaffigan, Lily Marquette, Madelynn Corns, and India Mitchell. Each soloist performed a dance-twirl style baton routine to their choice of music.

Following the entertainment part of the evening, the group presented year-end awards for work throughout the year. Members who were recognized with a plaque for finishing their very first year with the organization were Stephanie Kennedy and Madelynn Corns.

Those members who achieved accumulated perfect performance attendance were honored with jacket pins and plaques. McKenzie Walker received the pin for five years of accumulated attendance. The dozen-year plaque was presented to Rachel Bechler, representing 12 years of consecutive performance attendance. Pins were presented to Caitlyn Purdum and Kelly Reed for 16 years and 32 years of attendance, respectively, at performances to end the 2019 year.

Caitlyn Purdum was honored with a special pin to recognize her special efforts with the organization throughout the year as a substitute twirler within three sections of the twirling group. The group finished the evening with refreshments and closed its year for 2019. The organization began its new year on January 9, 2020. Anyone interested in joining the group may contact the director, Donna Landsperger, at 240-405-2604 or donito@aol.com.

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 5th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 26, 2019.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “During the past 50 years, the staff at Catoctin High School has always strived to foster learning, character, innovation, compassion, perseverance, and service. Today is a great opportunity for us to celebrate that with some special graduates, and hopefully, it’s an opportunity for us to challenge our current students to aspire to do great things.”

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 academics, public service, and arts and humanities.

According to Senior Isabel Rozo, the honorees “have made a difference in the state or nation.”

“Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, names from the class of 2020 and 2023 will join this honor group,” Rozo said.

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.

Former teacher Carol Forman taught mathematics classes at Catoctin for 30 years, from remedial to A.P. She gave the students some tips for getting through life successfully: (1) Don’t be afraid to change your goals; (2) When opportunities present themselves, don’t be afraid to try new things; (3) When the unexpected happens, do what you can in the situation and pray; (4) When things get overwhelming, consider prayer or at least find someone with whom to share your concerns; (5) It is never too late to do something you like to do in a different way; (6) Be bold, energetic, and stay true to yourself; and (7) Don’t ever give up.

Former teacher and coach George Kuhn was also recognized. He worked as a physical education teacher and athletic director at Catoctin, beginning in 1969. He also had tips for the students about how to live their lives. He also challenged the students to go home that evening, hug their parents, and tell them they loved them. “You’ll be surprised what that will do for your relationship with your mom and dad,” Kuhn said.

Dr. John Chatlos, Class of 1970, was the academics inductee. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His expertise is dealing with mental disorders and addiction in teens. He is the director of a community outpatient substance abuse treatment program at the university and the medical director for the Wei Ji Point outpatient detoxification program, Human Faith Project.

“I never would have had the confidence to tackle what I did if not for Catoctin High School,” Chatlos said.

Susan Favorite, Class of 1982, was the public service inductee. She has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations over the years and was named a 2011 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism. She has also received a number of Lions Club awards for her volunteer service.

Favorite encouraged the students to count their blessings every day. “Not only will this put you in a more positive frame of mind and make you happier with your life, but, as importantly, when you take a little time each day to count your blessings, you realize how much you truly have,” she said.

Kelly Quesinberry, Class of 2000, was the arts and humanities inductee. She is a journalist, currently working with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her reporting and stories has won her many awards, including two regional Emmy Awards.

Quesinberry thanked her family for encouraging and supporting her. “Learn the importance of asking questions and advocating for yourself,” she said. “Don’t wait on somebody to give you what you want in life. Go after it.”

Pictured arefrom left are Carol Forman, George Kuhn, Dr. John Chatlos, Susan Favorite, and Kelly Quesinberry.

Sparkles the Therapy Dog visited Catoctin High School in December and received a warm welcome from students.

Sparkles volunteers with Wags for Hope, which uses therapy dogs in a variety of programs, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), Hospice of Frederick County, Rock Creek School, and Frederick Memorial Hospital.

BOE Honors Literacy Specialist Pamela Adams-Campbell

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) announces the 2019 Veteran in Education Service Award winner, Catoctin High School Literacy Specialist Pamela Adams-Campbell. In its third year, the award was created to honor an FCPS employee who has served our nation in the armed forces and provided exemplary service to FCPS and the community.

A committee of FCPS staff, community members, and Veterans reviewed this year’s seven nominations and chose the award winner. Nominees were Veterans who demonstrate exemplary service to FCPS and the community by showing integrity and trustworthiness, perseverance in overcoming challenges, selflessness in helping others, and teamwork and loyalty. In addition to Adams-Campbell, nominees were Melanie Baldwin, Kevin Jaye, Paul Lebo, Perry C. Lewis, Lisa Martell, and Isaac Patterson.

Pamela Adams-Campbell served in the United States Marine Corps before becoming an educator. “I am certain that her commitment to her fellow Marines and to her work in that role was no less than one hundred percent, as that is what she gives to our school, students, and staff every day,” said Catoctin High School Principal Jennifer Clements. “When she identifies an area of need—for an individual student or for the entire school—she works furiously and collaboratively to identify a solution. She is the first to volunteer to do the work to effect positive change…she works hard every minute that she is here.”

Former Catoctin High School Principal Bernie Quesada agrees. He explained that Adams-Campbell “has taken the students—first as a special education teacher, then as literacy specialist—who have struggled the most academically, and never given up on them and their potential. She is an inspiration to her colleagues an example of selflessness and dedication. She is truly among the very best in FCPS and very worthy of this honor.”

Also supporting the nomination for Adams-Campbell, colleague Kate Mills described her as warm and caring, with unmatched devotion to students. Mills added that Adams-Campbell has a relationship with each department to promote literacy among all subject areas. “She checks in with teachers regularly to ensure that they understand how best to utilize reading strategies in their classrooms.”

The Board of Education recognized Adams-Campbell at their November 25, 2019, meeting, where she received an engraved plaque and gift sponsored by Woodsboro Bank. FCPS also honored Adams-Campbell at her school and in the school system’s Veterans Day celebrations and recognition ceremonies.

Pictured from left are Woodsboro Bank CEO Steven Heine, Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel John Fer, 2019 Veteran in Education Service Award winner Pamela Adams-Campbell, FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban, and BOE President Brad W. Young.