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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 www.jkcf.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Evan & Stephanie Felmet, CHS Music/Drama Directors

Over the weekend of April 8 and 9, 2022, Catoctin High School’s (CHS) drama program put on three shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, State Fair. The three shows were attended by over 600 people from across the Catoctin community and beyond.

Part of the draw was the involvement of more than 40 cast and crew members in the show. There were also live animals, provided by FFA students, that were carried across the stage during the musical number “Our State Fair.”

Students performed in front of a beautiful six-piece background, depicting the fair that had been painstakingly painted over many months by art teacher, Laura Day, and her students.

Before each show, the drama students partnered with students in Catoctin’s thriving FFA program to put on a carnival in and around the school’s cafeteria.

In the weeks leading up to the show, students from the Catoctin feeder elementary schools had received flyers in their take-home folders, letting them know about the event, and families turned up in droves during each carnival. Ring toss, petting zoo, dime toss, bingo, pony rides, face painting, and a fortune telling booth were only a few of the exciting attractions offered to visiting families. One particularly popular spot was the flush tank, where CHS staff members were soaked with ice-cold water if their students could hit the target. Some of those staff included Principal Clements, Assistant Principal Lininger, Drama Director Evan Felmet, and English Teacher Olivia Aungst. Many high school students spent their tickets ensuring their favorite staff members were drenched multiple times, leaving them shivering but smiling.

Overall, the venture was a great success for both the drama program and the FFA, raising much-needed funds for next year’s endeavors.

Photos by Mike Miller

(above) The cast welcomes the audience with the song, “Our State Fair.”

(above) The hard working crew members of State Fair.

(above The directors pose during the carnival with CHS alumni (and former thespians) Addi Eyler, Sophia DeGennaro, and Joe Hawkins.

(Above) Justin Clair jumps clear over Amelia Phillips as the cast performs “All I Owe Ioway.”

(above) Drama Director Evan Felmet gets soaked in the flush tank.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show committee met recently to begin planning the 66th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. The show will be held at Catoctin High School, 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 9-11. Officers elected at the meeting were: President—Rodman Myers, Vice President—Cheryl Lenhart, Secretary—Karen Myers. Committee members, representing the sponsoring organizations of the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, and the Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters are: Bob Valentine, Sue Keilholtz, Robert Wiles, David Harman, Niki Eyler, Ray Martin, Carol Long, Cathy Little, Chip Long, Bobby Myers, Denise Valentine, Amanda Dennis, Helen Troxell, Nancy Wine, Patty Johnston, Jim Barth, Kay Barth, Andrea Mannix, Amy Jo Poffenberger, Barry Burch, Daniel Myers, Dallas Hassel, Danny Whetzel, Eric Troxell, Jennifer Martin, Kolton Whetzel, Matthew Dellinger, and Tyler Wolf.  

Entry of exhibits will take place in the new gymnasium and agriculture department area on Thursday evening, September 8, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (note the new start and end time), and on Friday, September 9, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Commercial exhibits may be set up on Friday, September 9, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show opens to the public at 6:00 p.m.  

This year, the Friday night Opening Ceremonies Program will begin at 6:30 p.m. (note the new start time for program), with the community organizations flag ceremony, followed by the 2022-2023 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador announcement. The annual Baked Goods Auction will begin immediately following the program at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Grand Champion and Reserve Champion cakes, pies and breads will be sold at 8:00 p.m. 

On Saturday, September 10, the show is open from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.   Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep & Swine Fitting and Showing Contest, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the agriculture center area. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside at the front of the school, and prize money will be mailed to the winners by November 15, 2022. 

Entertainment events on Saturday, September 10, at both 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the auxiliary gym, will include a martial arts demonstration by the Thurmont Academy of Self Defense; at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium, the Linda Elower Studio of Dance will have a performance; and at 6:00 p.m., Richard Troxell, Thurmont native and tenor soloist, will have a musical performance in the auditorium. All entertainment and events throughout the weekend are free.

The 48th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters Market Goat, Beef, Sheep & Swine Sale will be held on Saturday night, September 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the agriculture center area. All buyers are welcome to attend and purchase animals at the sale, which are exhibited by 4-H and FFA members.  

On both Saturday and Sunday, the petting zoo will be held in the agriculture area, and there will also be face painting and pony rides.

On Sunday, September 11, activities begin in the agriculture center area at 9:00 a.m. with the Dairy Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Cattle Show.   The Decorated Animal Contest will begin at 11:00 a.m., with prize money to be awarded to participants.

The 37th Annual Log Sawing Contest will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the agriculture center area, with categories consisting of two-person women’s team, men’s team, men and women’s team, and a children’s division.  

A Pedal Tractor Contest (for children ages 5-10) will be held at 12:00 p.m. in the agriculture center area tent. At 1:00 p.m. will be the 41st Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest near the softball field.

Additional activities throughout the weekend include food trucks and food stands, the Thurmont Regional Public Library’s annual book sale, Quilt & Afghan Show, and Thurmont area historical photos by John Kinnaird.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 11, from 3:00-5:30 p.m. (note the new deadline to pick up items). Winning exhibitor’s prize money will be mailed by November 15, 2022. 

If you would like to be a new advertiser in the Community Show’s booklet, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 to obtain advertising information. Past advertisers should have recently received letters for this year’s advertisements, with a May 17, 2022 deadline. By early August, the Community Show booklets will be available in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses. New and all residents of our community are urged to enter exhibits (no entry fee) and be a part of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, the largest community show in the State of Maryland. Departments include: Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department, and Youth Department.  Please visit their website for updated information at www.thurmontemmitsburgcommunityshow.webs.com.

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

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

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

The 66th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 9-11, 2022, at Catoctin High School, located at 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont.  

 Entry of exhibits is on the evening of Thursday, September 8, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and on the morning of Friday, September 9, from 8:30-11:30 a.m.   

On Friday evening, September 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium, the Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador Program, Community Organizations Flag Ceremony, and Baked Goods Auction will be held.   

The Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters’ Market Goat, Beef, Sheep & Swine Show will be held in the school’s Agriculture Area on Saturday, September 10, starting at 9:00 a.m. On Saturday evening in the Agriculture Area, the Market Goat, Beef, Sheep & Swine Sale will begin at 6:30 p.m. for the awards ceremony; the sale will begin at 6:45 p.m. Buyers are welcome!

Further information regarding activities and times will be forthcoming, once finalized. Some activities planned include pony rides, log sawing, pedal tractor pull, petting zoo, pet show, decorated animal contest, and horseshoe pitching contests.

Letters regarding advertisements to area businesses will be mailed out shortly for inclusion in the 2022 Community Show book. If you are a new business or would like to advertise this year and have not received a letter, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 for further information. 

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters, Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board.

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the advertisement on page 46.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jayden Myers

When I entered high school, I never expected to be a part of Unified Sports. As a matter of fact, I never even knew it was a thing.

I became acquainted with Unified Sports through my teacher, Ms. Kelle. One day, I walked into the library for my lunch shift where the Unified Sports Club was meeting. At the time, I didn’t know what they were meeting for. Ms. Kelle stopped me and asked, “Hey, Jayden, do you want to join our club?”

Not knowing what I was about to join, I agreed. I’m truthfully glad I did.

For background, Unified Sports was created to promote meaningful inclusion by bringing people, with and without intellectual disabilities, together. It is based on the belief that this cannot happen without youth leaders. This club is part of many schools around the country.

For those of you who don’t know, bocce, also known as bocce ball and bocci, is an Italian lawn-bowling game. You start with a pallina (a small ball), which is thrown first. Then, the teams roll out four larger bocce balls. The teams earn points based on whose bocce ball is closer to the pallina. The points also depend on if the bocce balls are in a certain range; thus, while in a game, you’ll notice they measure to see how far a bocce is from the pallina. 

I joined Unified Sports and ended up loving it. I played alongside Logan Dukich, MaKenzie Lewis, Carli Mazaleski, Dominic McKenny, Lucas Phelan, Siddah Robbins, Oliver Vasquez, and Jonny Wastler. Plus, our wonderful coaches, Ms. Kelle Brumley and Mrs. Charmane Nesbitt.

Without Ms. Kelle and Mrs. Nesbitt, none of this would have been possible. They create a great environment for the students and make sure that everything is taken care of. I’m glad to call them my coaches.

With Unified Sports joining part of the regular sports program, hopefully kids, now and in the future, will have an avenue to socialize and be a part of a fun and competitive environment, without some of the physical strains of traditional sports.

This team has become more like a family over the last few months, and this adventure has been a phenomenal one to embark on.

Team members: (from left) Carli Mazaleski, Kenzie Lewis, Siddah Robbins, Logan Dukich, Jayden Myers, Dominic McKenney, and Oliver Vasquez. Not present for photo: Lucas Phelan and Jonny Wastler.

Courtesy Photo

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.