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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.

I have been on the job as the Principal of Catoctin High School for just under six months. In this short time, I have quickly come to appreciate how special the Northern Frederick County community is. There do not seem to be many places left where the school is such an integral part of the community; that is the case here at Catoctin, and that connection makes us all stronger.

The recent State Championship win by our football team has served as a very positive event around which our community has rallied. The support shown to our team and our school was incredible. The donations of food and other items for the players, the huge crowd at the game, the local showing of the game at the Ambulance Complex, and the reception for the team upon their return to town (including the ambulance and fire truck escorts) was nothing short of amazing. I was incredibly proud of our team, but I am also proud to be a part of this great community.

I have also been impressed with the amount of service that our students provide to our community. Catoctin students welcome opportunities to serve our community; they do so happily and frequently and with great benefit to those they are serving.

Catoctin High School has a 50-year history of great things. There are, however, many opportunities for us to build on that history and tradition to forge an even brighter future. I am confident we will do that with the service of our students and the support of our community as the foundation of that work.

As the principal of Catoctin High School and on behalf of our school, I want to say thank you to our community for your past and future support. We are committed to reciprocating that support as we also do the important work of educating and preparing the future of our community.

Mark your calendars for the Catoctin High School Talent Show on Wednesday, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. Many talented and creative students and staff will be performing, and the audience gets to decide the winners! Tickets are $5.00 each and will be sold at the door.

Editor’s note: The Catoctin Banner, in cooperation with Dave Ammenheuser, wrote this story.     

It has been almost 40 years since John Campbell, Duane Gigeous, Dennis Grandstaff, Larry Martinez, and Mark Williard stood together on the Catoctin High School basketball court. 

They were members of the 1979-80 Catoctin boys’ basketball team that finished with a 14-8 record, which snapped a streak of several losing seasons. A year later, the 1980-81 Cougars posted a school-best 20-3 record and became the only Catoctin boys’ basketball team to advance to the state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House. The Cougars lost to Mount Hebron in overtime. 

In January 2020, those five, plus many of their 1979-80 and 1980-81 teammates, coaches, cheerleaders, and statisticians plan to reunite at the school for the first time in almost four decades.

“We grew up in a special place at a special time,” said Williard, who now lives in Irving, Texas. “The community really rallied around us, and I believe that support helped to drive our success. I attended Catoctin’s homecoming football game this year and am glad to see that the strong support remains. I’m really looking forward to getting the gang back together.”

Williard and Dave Ammenheuser, the statistician of the 1979-80 team, are coordinating the January 24-25 reunion.

“It’s been 40 years since we’ve all been together,” said Ammenheuser, now the sports editor of USA TODAY. “For several years, Mark and I have casually talked through social media about putting a reunion together. It’s great that it is going to happen.”

Ammenheuser is working with Catoctin Athletic Director Keith Bruck to make the reunion special. Catoctin hosts Williamsport on January 24. Starting at 5:30 p.m., there will be a reception during the junior varsity game. The 1979-80 and 1980-81 teams will then be introduced at halftime of the varsity game.

On January 25, there will be an alumni game for all former Cougars who played in the 1980s.

“We’re also planning a special outing on Friday night after the game,” said Williard, who is eyeing a post-game reunion/celebration at The Ott House Pub in Emmitsburg.

Williard and Ammenheuser have been busy tracking down former teammates and classmates. Social media has helped with that task. However, they are still attempting to locate two former teammates: Jim Hamilla, who played on the 1979-80 team, and Mark Hall, who played on the 1980-81 team. If anyone knows how to reach them, please reach out to Williard (mfwilliard@hotmail.com) or Ammenheuser (DaveAmmenheuser@gmail.com).

Catoctin scores against Walkersville during the 1979-80 season.

With the exception of Hamilla and Hall and Paul Cisar (1979-80), who has a family event scheduled outside of the country, other teammates are expected to attend. They include Carroll Brown, M.J. Golibart, Ed Graff, Bob Gray, Michael Hill, George Kuhn, Duane Snyder, Mike Valentine, Campbell, Gigeous, Grandstaff, Martinez and Williard. Mike Stitely, a member of the 1980-81 team, died in December 1995. He will be represented by his son, Matt Stitely.

Former head coach Steve Lengkeek, who left Catoctin after the 1980-81 season and moved to Wilmington, Delaware, is looking forward to the reunion. Although he’s stayed in touch with some of his former players, he has not seen all of them in four decades.

“My wife, Carol, and I are really looking forward to seeing many athletes, students, and former staff who filled our lives during our time at Catoctin and left us with an abundance of lifelong memories,” said Lengkeek, who has officiated basketball games in the Wilmington area for 25 years. “It makes us very proud to see that so many have gone on to their own journey to excel and to leave so many positive marks on their own stories and that of others.”

He and Keith Delauter (Catoctin Class of 1976) have volunteered to officiate the alumni game on January 25.

Williard and Ammenheuser encourage former classmates, parents, school staff members, and the community to come out to the event.

The Thurmont Lion’s Club will be collecting new and gently used coats (children and adult), beginning October 26 through November. Drop-off sites are: Thurmont Food Lion, Catoctin High School, and Thurmont Middle School, or you can call Marci at 301-748-1665 for pickup.

Sara Wastler Lambert (pictured right) was inducted into the Hood College Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 28, 2019. She is a 2005 graduate of Catoctin High School and a 2009 graduate of Hood College.

Sara was a two-sport athlete for all four of her Hood years, as a member of the softball and women’s basketball programs. She was named All-Region in softball in 2006, and helped lead the team to back-to-back Atlantic Women’s Colleges Conference Championships and appearances in the NCAA Regional. She holds Hood’s all-time record for hits, runs scored, stolen bases, and doubles. She ranks among the Blazers’ all-time leaders in batting average, slugging, on-base percentage, games played, at bats, triples, home runs, and runs batted in.

On the basketball court, she helped Hood win the 2006 AWCC Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. In basketball, she holds the Blazers’ career record for three-point percentage and free-throw percentage. Sara is among the all-time leaders in three-pointers made and assists.

She was the assistant girl’s basketball coach at Catoctin High School for seven years, and the head varsity softball coach at Middletown for two years.

Sara is in her eighth year of teaching, and in her fourth year of teaching physical education at Rockland Woods Elementary School in Washington County.

Catoctin High School’s Mike Franklin is one of seven finalists for the 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year, announced by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS). This most recent accomplishment is one of many honors that Franklin has earned throughout his career. These honors include: 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.

Franklin, who is a physical education teacher and baseball coach at Catoctin High School, was named Frederick County’s Teacher of the Year at the end of April. He has served as a champion and advocate for students throughout his 23 years teaching with FCPS.

Bernie Quesada, former Catoctin High School principal and now Middletown High School principal, echoes this sentiment, “Mike Franklin’s most endearing quality, and one that I personally admire, is that he has the uncanny ability to make any educational situation, no matter how difficult, much better with his positive and unwavering faith in children. That is a rare, innate quality that should be celebrated and emulated in teaching.”

Jennifer Clements, current principal at Catoctin High School, expressed her excitement surrounding Franklin’s accomplishment and stated, “Mike Franklin has been an asset to Catoctin High School for over 20 years, during which time he has taught, inspired, mentored, and supported thousands of students and colleagues. He is an excellent teacher and coach, but, most importantly, he is an amazing person who works each day to bring a smile to those around him and to ‘catch them being good.’ We are proud of Mike’s well-deserved recognition as FCPS Teacher of the Year and finalist for Maryland’s Teacher of the Year.”

Franklin recognizes the value of providing students with positive reinforcement: “I believe in celebrating successes daily. I’ve seen the power of a compliment or a simple positive phone call home to let the parents know their child is awesome.”

Finalists are selected by a panel of judges from a number of key Maryland education organizations, representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents, and higher education. The selection process is based on a rigorous set of state and national criteria that include knowledge of teacher pedagogy, community engagement, and expertise in general education topics and issues. The finalists were selected from a group of 24 local teachers of the year that represent the 24 Maryland school systems.

The 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced at the October 25, 2019, gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore.

Catoctin High School (CHS) and Frederick County Public Schools celebrate CHS’s own Mike Franklin, selected as a finalist for the 2019-2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year award.

Theresa Dardanell

Catoctin High School welcomes Jennifer Clements, Principal; Kelly Welty, Administrative Secretary; Olivia Aungst, English Teacher; Brian Brotherton, Science Teacher; Derrick Kaas, Math Teacher; Shawn Lees-Carr, English Teacher; Christopher Maze, Latin Teacher; Kaitlyn Masotta, Spanish Teacher; Stephanie Felmet, User Support Specialist.

Thurmont Middle School welcomes Rebecca Hunter, Language Arts Teacher; Todd Zinn, Career Technology Teacher; Brianne Green, History Teacher; Robert Almovodar, World Language Teacher; Aimee Watkins, Math Teacher; Krystal McKenzie, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

Thurmont Elementary School welcomes Sandy Smith, Media Specialist; Harry Hanna, Fifth Grade Teacher; Tammy Ferrell, Third Grade Teacher; Aaron Johnson, Physical Education Teacher; Kathryn Zumbrun, Music Teacher; Tammy Cody, User Support Specialist; Amanda Chapman, Beth Cochran, and Donna Smith, Special Education Instructional Assistants.

Thurmont Primary School welcomes Dr. Michele Baisey, Principal.

Lewistown Elementary School welcomes Ryan Hench, Art Teacher; Ashley Hood, Special Education Teacher; Allyson Gwinn, Fourth Grade Teacher; Emma Jozwiak, Third Grade Teacher; Todd Cutsail and Leslie Carbaugh, Pyramid Teachers.

Sabillasville Elementary School welcomes Jill Dutrow, Art Teacher; Gary Burgess, Physical Education Teacher; Carrie Trax, Music Teacher; Christine Ortiz, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

Thanks to the generosity of the supporters of the James H. Mackley Golf Day event for the past years, the Guardian Hose Company Inc. has awarded over $10,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Catoctin High School.

The scholarship was awarded to Caitlyn Naff this past year. The Guardian Hose Company will be renewing scholarships for Lauren Ames again this year. In the spring, the Guardian Hose Company will be once again presenting a local graduating student a scholarship in honor of James H. Mackley’s name to a student that wants to continue with an education in the public safety field (Fire, EMS, Police, etc).

Pictured are Terry Frushour and Caitlyn Naff.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School, 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 6-8, 2019. 

On September 7,  the annual Pet Show’s registration begins at 10:00 a.m. on the front lawn of the school. The Pet Show will begin at 10:30 a.m. Entries will be accepted from any person in the Catoctin High School feeder area. All pets must be handled by their owners. 

New this year will be the addition of premium money for winners in each class: 1st —$5.00; 2nd—$4.50 ; 3rd—$4.00. Premium checks will be mailed to exhibitors by November 15. Champion and Reserve Champion awards will be selected from the first-place winners of all 12 classes. There is only one entry per person in each class, and you may enter as many classes as you wish. 

Pet Show Classes: Class 1—Cat with Prettiest Eyes; Class 2—Cat with Longest Whiskers; Class 3—Cutest Cat; Class 4—Best Trained Pet; Class 5—Dog with Waggiest Tail; Class 6—Prettiest Dog (25 lbs. and under); Class 7—Prettiest Dog (26 lbs. and over); Class 8—Best Costumed Pet; Class 9—Pet with Most Spots; Class 10—Largest Pet (by height); Class 11—Most Unusual Pet; Class 12—Smallest Pet.

Additional Important Pet Show Information: An ant is not a pet, animals are not allowed in the school, and please bring your own lawn chairs to enjoy watching the Pet Show.   

Before the Pet Show begins, Thurmont Police Department’s Cpl. Tim Duhan will give a K-9 demonstration with the department’s police dog, Majo.

The Community Show’s admission and parking are free. Please stop by the hospitality booth at the high school’s entrance and sign up for door prizes, which will be drawn each evening. Also, a silver offering will be received to benefit the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks.  

The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC) has kicked into high gear this summer in its effort to educate the public about the dangers of addiction and to sponsor activities that promote awareness and healthy living.

At the end of May, a showing of the documentary Heroin’s Grip was held at Catoctin High School to a large audience and featured a guest panel discussion.  In June, TAC presented an Overdose Response Training workshop at the Thurmont Library, which also provided instruction to administer Narcan. 

The FUSE Teen Center recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and what a busy year it’s been. A handful of FUSE’rs traveled to Washington D.C. for a guided tour of the White House. In addition, a FUSE Fun Day took place on June 8 for area teenagers, with a great response from local establishments. 

On July 16, TAC hosted a “Hands on Addictions Advocacy Workshop” in the back room of the Kountry Kitchen in Thurmont. This event was free and open to the community. On July 24, FUSE hosted the ‘Kick-IT for FUSE Kickball Tournament,” in conjunction with Potter Baseball Tour, at the Thurmont Little League field. The event was open to all ages. There was also a movie shown on the baseball field that evening.

Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, will be a day of volleyball fun and good times at the “Spike for a Cause” Volleyball Tournament. This event will be held at Libertytown Park. If you are an adult and interested in joining a team, contact Mike Schilling at 301-305-5529.

On August 31, from 7:00-8:00 p.m., there will be an Overdose Awareness Luminary and Program at Mechanicsburg Park in Thurmont. This event is open to the public.

Momentum is building to turn Frederick County Purple in September for National Recovery Month, to bring awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and to celebrate those living in recovery.  More information can be found at www.frederickcountygoespurple.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/frederickcountygoespurple. There are many opportunities for the public to get involved. We encourage you to get involved and help Turning Frederick County Purple!

TAC is always looking for volunteers or individuals that want to help combat addiction in our communities. Those interested may email ThurmontTAC@gmail.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ThurmontAddictionCommission/.

Respected CHS Shop Teacher Survived Korea and TB

by Priscilla Rall

Michael Massett immigrated from Italy with only a first grade education. He went to work in the coal mines of West Virginia living in Fairmont where he married Catherine Colorusso. Their first child, Dominick, was born in 1928 just as the Great Depression began its grip on our country. This was a time when the miners were striking for better wages and conditions. They were paid in script which was only good at the company store. Dominick went with his father to many of the strikes. Some of the workers became scabs or “yellow dogs” and helped hired thugs armed with rifles to break up the strikes. There were many accidents in the mines, and the Massett family lost several family members in them. In fact, his uncle was killed in one in the 1960’s.  Dominic felt like he was always going to funerals, either for men killed in the mines or for those who died from the effects of the coal dust. Times were tough for the families of the coal miners, and finally Michael was forced to go and ask for “relief.” The government worker there told him, “Go back to Italy and let Mussolini take care of you.” Michael resolved then and there never to ask for any assistance, and the family survived by raising a hog and a large garden. Dominick remembers being called “a hot-headed dago” many times. It was in great part due to the effort of Eleanor Roosevelt that conditions improved in the hills and hollows of West Virginia. Nearby CCC Camps employed many who were struggling to survive. Dominick started work when he was five, delivering newspapers and later at a bowling alley. Every penny he earned he gave to his mother. He also did a lot of hunting and fishing, furnishing the family with carp, suckers, groundhogs, rabbit and squirrel.

Dominick never saw his mother asleep. She was awake when he went to bed and awake when he woke up. First she worked at a restaurant, and then at Westinghouse. Theirs was a typical hardworking immigrant family. When his father finally became an American citizen he told his children, “Now we are Americans. We will no longer speak Italian.”

During WWII, Dominick’s uncle Tony, a medic, was listed as MIA, but he had been captured at the Battle of the Bulge and weighed only 96 lbs. when he was finally freed.  Dominick was determined to join the army, but at only 14, this just wasn’t possible.

At his high school graduation, the school charged $10 in fees to be allowed to cross the stage and receive your diploma. A friend learned that he did not have the necessary money and her father paid his fee allowing his proud parents to see their son graduate high school, the first in their family to do so.

After working a few different jobs, Dominick was drafted on December 7, 1950. Just days after finishing boot camp, his father died from a combination of black lung and heart failure. The Red Cross refused his request for a 10-day compassionate leave, finally giving him only three days. Then he shipped out to Japan and then to Korea, landing at Inchon. First he was assigned to a supply unit, trucking supplies north, then he joined a tank company, eventually becoming tank commander. The only training he had on tanks was from a WWII veteran tanker, “Arkie” (he was from Arkansas) who had served under Patton, but that was enough. Dominick named his tank for his sister, Antoinette. His tank company was detached and was sent to wherever they were most needed…Pusan, Taegu, Seoul, Chosen, the Kumwah Valley in the Iron Triangle and others. At one destroyed village, they found a number of small children huddled in an abandoned school house, most probably orphans. The tankers found five nuns to care and teach them, and would periodically send money to help.

Dominick was called “Biggun” due to his size and strength. Once a young lieutenant in a jeep pulled up to Biggun’s tank and ordered that he remove the small American flag flying from his tank’s antenna. He refused, and finally his captain radioed him to find out what was the hold up. When Biggun told him, the captain said, “Shoot the S.O.B. and pull out.”

Massett often saw wounded evacuated by helicopters to MASH units, tied into baskets on the sides of the chopper. Sgt. Wendell Murphy from Mt. Airy took a ride like that.

Finally, Dominick’s tour was up and he was discharged. He began working for the railroad. But one day, things went terribly wrong. Without any warning, he began bleeding profusely from his mouth and nose. He was eventually diagnosed as having TB, which should have shown up in the x-ray taken before his discharge. He spent two years in VA hospitals, going from 226 lbs. to 167 lbs. Rated as 100 percent disabled, he decided to continue his education, first at Fairmont College and then at WVA University with the goal of helping others in rehabilitation and PT. During this time, he married Janet, and in 1958, he landed a job teaching industrial arts at Thurmont High School. During his time at THS and then Catoctin HS, he worked with Ned Kerns (also a Korean vet), Bill Baker and Carlos Engler (both WWII vets). Dominick built the family a home in Thurmont on Radio Lane and the family increased with five children; Sabrina, Elisa, Myra, Robert and Matthew. Janet worked as a nurse for Dr. Morningstar in Emmitsburg.

Dominick now has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and rarely follows his doctor’s advice to take it easy. After a long life of service to his country and community, he has certainly earned the right to do as he pleases. We in Frederick County, salute you and honor you as a true hometown hero.

Courtesy Photo of Michael Massett

Ski Liberty/McKee’s Tavern, located at 78 Country Club Trail in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania, is booked for August 10, 2019, from 5:00-9:00 p.m., for the Catoctin High School Class of 1994 reunion. A buffet and cash bar will be included in the ticket cost of $40.00 per person. Please send money by July 10 to confirm your spot!

Check out the Facebook page: CHS Class of 94 or email paulas12@comcast.net for more information.

Part 1: Taking Flight

“The Anger of Innocence” is a six-part original serial set in the Graceham area during 1973. Serialized fiction is something that older newspapers often did as an additional way to entertain their readers. We thought it was about time for serial to make a comeback. Let us know what you think.

Story Written by James Rada, Jr.

The blackbird fell out of the sky, diving so close to Christine Weber’s head that the blonde 13-year-old had to duck to keep the bird from tangling in her hair. She flapped her arms over her head trying to drive it off. When it didn’t land in her hair or claw at her, Christine straightened up and looked around.

The blackbird stood on the side of the road about six feet in front of her. It stared at her with unblinking dark eyes.

“Shoo!” Christine said, waving her hands toward the bird.

It didn’t fly away or even hop around. It might as well have been a statue.

She thought of swinging her book bag at the bird, but she didn’t want to anger it so that it would fly at her.

Christine walked around the blackbird giving it a wide berth. It turned to watch her as she walked.

She traveled the quarter mile between her home on Graceham Road and the bus stop twice a day during the school year. She’d seen plenty of birds during that time; crows, robins, cardinals, once even a hummingbird had zipped by her, but she had never seen a bird act as odd as this one. Occasionally, a bird would fly near her and even land on the street, but it always flew off if she got too close. She didn’t intimidate this bird at all.

She kept walking down the road. She couldn’t let a stupid bird delay her.

Christine thought about the homework she had to do tonight. Her teachers at Thurmont Middle School had no shortage of papers and projects to assign her, but she was an eighth grader. Next year, in the fall of 1974, she’d be a freshman at Catoctin High School, and she had to be ready. Tonight’s assignments would take at least an hour to do, and her mother would set her down at the kitchen table with a glass of Kool-Aid and expect her to get to work when she got home. She hoped she could finish quickly enough to have time to go over to Marci Robertson’s house and listen to the new Kool and the Gang, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and Jackson albums that Marci had gotten for her birthday. Christine especially enjoyed grooving to “Dancing Machine” by the Jackson Five.

She paused when she saw the pair of blackbirds standing on the side of the road staring at her. They stood there in the grass, not moving. Christine stopped and turned back. The bird that had dive-bombed her still stood on the edge of the road not doing anything but staring at her.

Odd.

When she turned around to start walking, a cowbird stood in front of her, so close she could have easily kicked it. She was tempted to do so, but it didn’t seem right. Like the other birds, this one didn’t hop around or peck at the ground. It just watched her. It wasn’t doing her any harm or even annoying her. It was just…weird.

She stepped around the bird and kept walking, although now she walked faster than she had been. She wanted to be inside her house. She wouldn’t have to see these odd birds there or feel their eyes upon her.

A half a dozen starlings landed on a power line that ran above the road. That was nothing unusual except that they also stared at her.

Christine shook her head. She had to be imagining this. One bird might stare at her but not every bird she saw.

She hurried down the road until she saw the flock of blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds, and starlings sitting on the road. There must have been hundreds of them. They formed a thick line, not only blocking the road, but stretching a yard or more to either side of the road.

Christine stopped. She couldn’t walk through the birds, although she might kick her way through them. She was beginning to doubt that though, as all these birds stood unmoving and staring at her. She wished for a car to drive up, so she could hitch a ride. At this point, she didn’t even care who was driving. Let the car drive right through this line of birds. They would either fly away or be flattened.

She hurried onto the field next to the road, planning to go around the line of birds, but they all turned in unison and hopped to stay in front of her. Christine ran in the other direction, thinking she could move faster than the birds and get around them. They took flight to move quickly to block her path.

Christine couldn’t be sure, but it seemed there were more birds now than before their short flight.

Then, even as she watched, a flock of birds flew in from the direction of Thurmont. They swirled around overhead and landed in a circle around the young girl. Thousands of birds formed a solid circle around her that was six-feet wide.

Christine turned looking for a way through the line. It was too broad for her to jump over. She swung her book bag at the birds. They didn’t move, and she knocked them over like bowling pins. The fallen birds flapped their wings until they could get their feet under them again.

Christine suddenly realized what made her so uneasy about the birds, in addition to their staring. The birds that had fallen over hadn’t made a sound, not when the book bag had toppled them and not when they had struggled to stand up. If Christine had been hit with a book bag, she would have yelled, and she was a lot bigger than a bird.

“Help!” she shouted, hoping someone in a nearby house would come out to help her.

Someone had to be nearby. She wasn’t so sure what anyone could do to help her. If the birds wouldn’t move for her, they wouldn’t move for anyone else. Christine would feel easier, though, if she wasn’t so badly outnumbered. Not that 5,000 birds to two people was much better than 5,000 birds against just her.

“Help! Somebody, help me!”

No one came, and no one was in sight. She was on her own.

Christine suddenly yelled and ran toward the outside of the line. She kicked at the birds and judging by the crunch she heard, she stepped on at least one of them. And still none of them made a sound.

She had only taken a few steps into the birds when they took flight and flew in a circle around her. Christine stood in the center of it all, afraid to try and push through the swirling wall of birds in front of her.

“Help!”

She doubted anyone could hear her. She could barely hear herself among the beating of wings. Christine looked up at the sky in time to see the swirling birds close the gap of sunlight.

***

Sarah Adelsberger stepped out from behind the blue spruce tree so she could see things better. The swirling flock of birds numbered at least 10,000, probably more. They spun in a tight circle as large as a house.

Even as she watched, the circle tightened and grew denser so that no flashes of daylight could be seen through the column. Then the birds shot off in all directions in a wild flurry.

Sarah walked across the field and crossed the street. She came to a stop where the column of birds had been. She saw a few spots of blood on the grass and a quarter-size piece of canvas from Christine’s book bag, but that was all.

Sarah picked up the piece of canvas and put it in her pocket. Then she looked into the sky at the birds, most of which were specks against the sky as they flew off.

Somehow, she knew they wouldn’t go too far. They had come for a purpose.

To be continued…

Old Glory

Poem by Francis Smith

Yes, Sir! I can see

Old Glory proudly perched

Upon her battered staff.

            And yes, at five a.m.;

            In the glorious light of dawn,

            Old Glory holds her own

            Above the sturdy ramparts

            Of old Baltimore’s

            Fort McHenry.

As you may know,

A famous old church tune

Kept surging in the soul

Of that wakened spirit

Of Francis Scott Key.

            As the patriotic hymn

            Kept Francis humming

            Its age-old tune,

            The dawn also broke

            In his fertile brain.

To his delight, his thoughts

Of war and peace

Burst into the solemn melody;

The words for the tune

And so was born

Our ‘Star Spangled Banner’

In “dawn’s early light.”   

Happiness

Poem by Amanda Sweeney

I know my soul,  my courage,  my life, I have tested myself to change out of the old soul,  I poisoned with tragic misery of not how I can explain from the torture I went through  with no passion,  now I seek and found my passion with my beast,  my beast helps keeps me controlled with the right soul I found with him, I begin to now find love with more than ever, the happiness finds me gratitudes I yet have not never seen all yet, but it will never end with my beast, to keep find the right and blessed eternity of great pleasures we keep in our souls make one of the soulmates we are meant to be, through pain, suffering, aches,  headaches of all kinds, love, sadness, happiness is the most of all to not complain, we just want to be the turtle doves, the angels that GOD keeps in his nature to live a full long life, to not complain at all!   

Focus

On Catoctin

Photo by Debbie Wivell

The photo shows the Roddy Road covered bridge, just north of Thurmont, off of US 15, where Roddy Creek Road meets Roddy Road at Owens Creek.

Debbie Wivell took this beautiful photo of the historic bridge on Saturday morning, June 1, 2019.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge, built in 1856, is a small, one-lane Kingpost design wooden covered bridge. It crosses Owen’s Creek near Thurmont. It is 40 feet long, 16 feet wide, with a 12 foot-8 inch clearance.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is the smallest of the county’s covered bridges. There are two more covered bridges close by; the Loy’s Station Covered Bridge and the Utica Covered Bridge.

Explore the natural beauty of this park and bridge, go fishing, or relax with a picnic.

Catoctin High School physical education teacher Mike Franklin was named the Frederick County Public Schools 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year during Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban’s “Prize Patrol” visit to his school. The school system’s most prestigious award recognizes outstanding representatives of the teaching profession. In addition to teaching physical education, Franklin chairs the department at his school. He also teaches Fitness for Life through the FCPS Virtual School, coaches baseball, coordinates the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge, and chairs his school’s ROAR Club. He has earned numerous awards including 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and was named 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.

“We had 70 outstanding Teacher of the Year nominees,” said Alban. “Mr. Franklin’s emphasis on positivity and service to others makes him an excellent representative of quality teaching in Frederick County.”

“There is no more powerful tool than praise,” Franklin says and explains that he believes in the “catch ‘em being good” philosophy of encouraging students to succeed.

“I believe in celebrating successes daily. I’ve seen the power of a compliment or even a simple phone call home to let the parents know their child is awesome.”

One challenge we face in education, he adds, is that “we must make sure that students are ready to learn. We have hungry students, homeless students, students who are battling through family issues.” Teachers can help them develop abilities to manage emotions. “I want my classroom to be a 90-minute vacation from whatever challenges the students are facing in life,” Franklin explains.

As a coach, he asks players to fist-bump a statue as they prepare for athletics practice to signify, “I’m changing attitudes.” He advises scholar-athletes that when they make an error they can take their hat off to signify they let go of their frustrations and put it back on when they “have their minds right” to move forward. Likewise, during the school day, teachers help when they meet students at the door with a positive greeting and help them to do something to identify that they have figuratively “changed hats” and are ready to learn. The most powerful tool we have is our minds, says Franklin: “A compliment can make a kid feel like a million dollars when he’s broke.” 

Principal Bernie Quesada shares this wholehearted endorsement: “Mr. Franklin has made a difference for thousands of children in Frederick County in his coaching, mentoring, teaching, and, most importantly, the example he sets for all those who are in his class or work with him. His involvement with the community and the impact he has had on our area are remarkable. Just this past holiday season, he organized a food drive and came to work early every morning to stand outside as the buses arrived and collect items for the local food pantry. That is one of hundreds of examples of selfless actions he has shared as a teacher and colleague. You will not find a more influential teacher leader in FCPS.”

FCPS will celebrate Franklin and each school-selected Teacher of the Year at a special event Friday, May 10 from 4-6 p.m. at Tuscarora High School. The Board of Education will honor Franklin at their meeting on Wednesday, September 11. He and other Maryland district Teachers of the Year will receive honors at a state-wide gala on October 25. Of the 24 local Teachers of the Year, one will be selected the Maryland Teacher of the Year and go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Franklin was grateful to receive gifts from community organizations supporting the FCPS Teacher of the Year. Signifying the year 2019, Stauffer Funeral Home donated $2,019, FERKO donated $500, Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre donated tickets valued at $100, and Fountain Rock Restaurant Group donated a $150 gift certificate.

2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Michael Franklin with (left to right) his children Haylee Bentley, Kaylee Franklin and Kathan Franklin, and his wife Kristie Franklin

Tara Wilhide (pictured above), a Catoctin High School senior, was homeless for three years. In April, she received a $2,000 scholarship and recognition from School House Connection, a national  organization that assists students experiencing homelessness. She was one of the 11 students from around the country to receive this award at a ceremony in Florida. 

Wilhide was chosen for this honor based on her essay on the impact of her experience as a homeless high school student and her determination to succeed despite her situation.

The journey from homeless student to national scholarship recipient began when Wilhide moved out of her home when she was 14 years old.

“Both my parents suffer from substance abuse, and they have since I was five,” said Wilhide.

She was determined to stay in school and get an education, so she found temporary places to stay with friends or other family members, sometimes slept in the park, and worked three jobs to support herself.

When she was 15, Wilhide joined SHIP (Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership) of Frederick County, a non-profit organization that, according to their website, “seeks to lift up Frederick County’s homeless youth so that they can realize their best potential, complete their education, and be poised to break the cycle of poverty they find themselves in.” 

Wilhide’s success and confidence earned her a place on the Youth Advisory Council. Ashley Bennett, SHIP Counselor, said, “As a leader of our SHIP Youth Advisory Council, she has also joined our staff members in attending the 1st Maryland Symposium in Youth Homelessness in May 1-2, 2019. She was invited as a presenter in a youth leadership panel, highlighting the  challenges and barriers youth have in accessing community support services.”

Wilhide has advice for students who are in this situation: “I know it is scary and a lot of them think ‘I don’t have it that bad.’ When I was told that I was homeless, I thought that I was not homeless. I have a place to live. I’m staying somewhere. But if you are not living with your parents, and you are working jobs to support yourself and are struggling in school because you don’t have someone to help you out with things, more than likely you need help. It’s okay to ask for help, and the people who are here to help you aren’t here to make your life harder.  They are here to make your life easier, and they are going to try their best to do that for you.”