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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 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 or by contacting Lion Gayle DiSalvo at

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 or 301-271-5355.

Theresa Dardanell

Thurmont Primary

Open House and visitation for all students and parents will be on Thursday, August 29, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Please come to meet your teacher and tour the school. 

Kindergarten parent/guardian orientation will be held on Thursday, August 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for parents only (no children, please). 

Thurmont Elementary

Thurmont Elementary is excited to announce that they will once again have an opportunity for your child to meet his/her teacher before school starts. Last year, they had quite a successful turnout and students seemed excited to meet their teachers and classmates. On Thursday, August 29, from 3:40-4:40 p.m., the school will have “The Great Reveal” again, which will allow you to find your child’s classroom and hear about the new school year, as well as meet his/her teacher. “We’re so looking forward to opening a new school year with you and your children. Enjoy the remainder of the summer with your children. Be sure to mark your calendar!” —Debbie O’Donnell, Principal

Sabillasville Elementary

Back-to-School Night will be on Thursday, August 29, at 6:00 p.m.

Lewistown Elementary

Back to School Open House Night for all grade levels, pre-K through fifth grade, will be on Thursday, August 29, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The Open House begins in the cafeteria, with staff introductions and ice cream treats. Visit the classrooms and meet the teachers. Join the PTA and purchase spirit wear.

Thurmont Middle

Open House will be on August 21, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Pick up your schedule and take a self-guided tour. Chromebook payments can be made by cash or check. T-shirts will be available for sale (also cash or check only). Come and meet your teachers during Back-to-School Night on August 29, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Catoctin High

Back-to-School Night will be Thursday, August 29, from 6:00-7:45 p.m.  Pick up your schedules, learn about clubs, visit the classrooms, and meet the teachers. Also, meet Jennifer Clements, Catoctin High School’s new principal.  

Lewistown United Methodist Church

by Theresa Dardanell

For the members of the Lewistown United Methodist Church (LUMC), community outreach means more than supporting the needs in the immediate Lewistown area; their contributions reach all around the world. Several committees and groups work together for the benefit of the church, the local community, and the world.

The Community Outreach Committee is responsible for coordinating donations to support local needs. The church supports the Thurmont Food Bank, and the committee makes it fun by having a different theme each month. The theme for February was “Souper Bowl,” so lots of soup and noodles were donated. Of course, for St. Patrick’s Day in March, the theme is “Green,” so cans of peas and other green foods will be in the donation bins.

Donations of clothing are collected several times a year for the homeless. Lewistown Elementary School is also a beneficiary of their generosity. Principal Dana Austin said, “The Lewistown United Methodist Church has been a dedicated community partner with Lewistown Elementary for many years. On an annual basis, they have provided lunches for the pyramid summer school program, hosted a back to school lunch for staff, and donated school supplies and food for evening events. Recently, the church began supporting our weekend food program for needy families. They not only provided volunteers to bag the food, but also donated $500 for nonperishable food. Their service is a testament to their commitment to those in need, along with their commendable support of Frederick County Public Schools. TeamLES appreciates all that they do!”

The Missions Committee reaches a greater range of people who need assistance. At Christmas, they partnered with the Salvation Army to provide gifts for three families. In the winter, they partner with The Society of St. Andrew to help end hunger in the community with the Potato Drop. Forty thousand pounds of potatoes are donated by the agricultural community and distributed to food banks and churches for distribution. LUMC members help pack the potatoes in ten-pound bags at the Smithsburg distribution center and bring them back to be given to families in need.  The church also reaches out to several international organizations to provide assistance. Operation Christmas Child provides gift boxes to children in need around the world. LUMC volunteers packed and sent approximately thirty-two shoe boxes with toys, clothing, and personal care items. The children of the congregation collected money for the Heifer Project, and chose fish fingerlings to be given to a family in another country. Along with the fish, the family receives training in fish farming, so they can become self-reliant. They helped to fulfill the old saying, “Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.”

The United Methodist Women’s Group is responsible for social events and fundraising. They provide the lunch for the teachers at Lewistown Elementary, and treat the senior citizens of the community to a special dinner once a year. They coordinate the twice yearly pot pie dinner, which is the biggest fundraiser for the church; they are famous for their “Slippery Pot Pie,” which is made with homemade noodles instead of a top crust. Although the dinners are organized by the Women’s group, everyone in the church is involved in some way. Preparing to serve about six hundred dinners is a monumental task that begins before the actual day of the event. There are potatoes to peel, cole slaw to be made, desserts to be prepared, and, most important, chicken to cook. Then, there is the “chicken pickin,” which, of course, is when the meat is picked off the bones before it can be made into pot pie. On the day of the dinner, cooking begins about 5:00 a.m., and the work does not end until the cleaning is done, about 6:00 p.m. The volunteers consider this fundraiser  a “FUNraiser with camaraderie, fellowship, teamwork, and outreach/service to the community.” Mark your calendars for the March 21st  Slippery Pot Pie dinner. It will be held from noon-5:30 p.m. You can enjoy the all-you-can-eat family style meal at the church hall; takeout is also an option.

The Children’s Ministry Committee combines education and fun for the children. Along with Sunday School during the 9:00 a.m. service and vacation Bible school during the summer, there are many activities held throughout the year. On Scouting Sunday in February, all scouts are invited to wear their uniforms to church and participate in the service. The Easter activity includes an Easter egg hunt, egg coloring, crafts, games, and lunch.  “Trunk or treat” is an interesting alternative to “Trick or Treat” in October. Families gather together outside with their open car trunks, decorated for the season. The children go from one car to another, gathering the treats that are inside the car trunks and then enjoy games and activities together.

Social activities are not limited to the children. Families enjoy the summer church picnic, the annual Christmas party, and a Frederick Keys baseball game. Everyone I met agreed with the sentiment of one of the members, who said, “Anybody who wants to come is welcome to join our family. We love and care about each other.”

Pastor Linda Warehime leads the weekly 9:00 a.m. Sunday service.  Joyful news and prayer concerns are shared with the congregation, the choir leads everyone in song, and everyone is welcome to participate in Holy Communion.

New members are always welcome to join. The church is located at 11032 Hessong Bridge Road in Thurmont. For more information, call 301-898-7888 or e-mail Find them on Facebook at: Lewistown United Methodist Church – Thurmont.

Pastor Linda Warehime and several members of the Lewistown United Methodist Church on “Scouting Sunday.”

Photo by Theresa Dardanell

Theresa Dardanell

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  —Albert Einstein

Students enjoyed an extra-long summer vacation this year. When they return to school on September 5, they will meet some new teachers, administrators, and support staff.


Catoctin High School

Welcome: Shannon Stone, guidance counselor; Alyssa Burdette, math teacher; Evan Felmet, music/CTE teacher; Angie Gallik, social studies teacher; Rob Nutter, special education teacher; Shannon Snowman, instructional assistant; Alyssa Manninen, special education instructional assistant; Leeah Hawes, custodian.


Thurmont Middle School

Welcome: Anita Shank, assistant principal; Christine Newman, administrative secretary; Jessica Penn, science teacher; Eric Bokinsky, technical education teacher; Kelly Steele, physical education/health teacher; Suzanne Buxbaum, band teacher; Jennifer Thoma, special education teacher; Kelly Pizza, community liaison. Daniel Enck was promoted from assistant principal to principal.


Thurmont Elementary

Welcome: Amanda Giauque, fifth grade teacher; Andrew Piccolo, fifth grade teacher; Brooke Cipolla, fourth grade teacher; Jennifer Thoma, special education teacher.


Thurmont Primary

Welcome: Ellen Parkhurst and Lindsey Stracener, special education assistants.


Lewistown Elementary

Welcome: Heather Burgess, physical education teacher; Erica Gray-O’Leary and Madeline Hart, special education pyramid teachers; Jeanette Monteith, special education pre-K teacher; April Sprecher, special education coordinator; Dora King, music teacher; Eileen Knapp, Virginia Johnson, and Michele Routzahn, special education instructional assistants.


Sabillasville Elementary

Welcome: Karen McKenzie, special education teacher; Allen Cosner, user support specialist.

Theresa Dardanell

Staff and students at the Catoctin feeder schools joined together for a week in January to promote kindness.

Sabillasville Elementary

Students at Sabillasville Elementary watched a video that showed them how easy it is to be kind to others, and they received a copy of The Great Kindness Challenge, with suggestions for random acts of kindness that they could complete. Every class received a “Secret Mission” packet, along with a spy pen for keeping track of kind acts by students (secret agents!), who secretly served others by performing acts of kindness. Each day, when students arrived at school, they were invited with the help of peer mentors to complete a link for the “kindness chain.” According to School Counselor Stacy Bokinsky, the students enjoyed being kind to others.

Lewistown Elementary

Morning announcements during Kindness Week at Lewistown Elementary began with student peer ambassadors reading from the book, Kindness Counts by Bryan Smith. Students had “kindness coins” that they gave to classmates who performed kind acts. On Thursday, teachers were given a “kindness class button” that they wore. When they saw a considerate act performed by a student, they gave the button to that student. The buttons passed from one student to another during the day, as students showed kindness to one another.   On the first day, they took home a copy of The Great Kindness Challenge, so that they could continue their random acts of kindness at home.

Thurmont Elementary

The playground at Thurmont Elementary school was decorated with messages of kindness written in sidewalk chalk by the students. Students also participated in the “Kindness rocks project” by decorating rocks with caring messages and distributing them around the school and the community.   Students showed kindness beyond just their school; they read to children from a local daycare, visited the senior citizens at the center across the street from the school, made blankets to donate to a local charity, or wrote letters to students in other countries.

Emmitsburg Elementary

Students at Emmitsburg Elementary sent messages of caring and encouragement to members of the military and to children in hospitals, and wrote thank you letters to teachers and school staff. They showed that “kindness rocks” by decorating rocks with caring messages and then giving the rocks to someone. School Counselor Sarah Fawley said,  “The students were so excited about performing acts of kindness for others.”

Thurmont Middle

Students at Thurmont Middle were greeted each morning during Kindness Week by the Mayor and police officers from the town of Thurmont, along with the students in the Rachel’s Challenge group, the Leo Club, and the Art Club. School Counselor Rebecca Krauss said, “It was a lot of fun giving high-fives and starting the day on such a positive note.” Students created positive posters with the theme, “Kindness matters” and made gratitude cards for the custodians, secretaries, nurses and cafeteria staff.

Staff and students at Sabillasville Elementary wore “kind words” clothing one day during Kindness Week. Pictured with the kindness chain, created by students, are: (from left, front row) Lillian Coles, Hope Rice, Brynn Eyler; (middle row) Ava Clester, Katelyn Anderson, Isabelle Coles, Valerie Sexton; (back row) Mrs. Shari Austin, Zoey Green, Jersey Ryder, Elizabeth Hahn, Lilah Dorsey, and Ms. Konnar Miller.

Theresa Dardanell

Congratulations to Lewistown Elementary student Joanna Genemans, who will represent the school at the 2017 Frederick County Spelling Bee on March 11, 2017, at Frederick Community College. The winner of that competition will participate in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The Lewistown PTA sponsored an after-school Spelling Club for students in grades first through fifth. Jennifer Sunday and Julie Chappell worked with students weekly, from November until the Spelling Bee on January 18. They discussed strategies and played spelling games. Fourth-grade student Joanna Genemans was the overall winner; the winners from each grade level were: Emily Feaster (first grade); Kali Chappell (second grade); Lena Bussard (third grade); and Riley Robinson (fifth grade). Lena will attend the Frederick County competition as an alternate.

Lewistown spelling bee winners: Emily Feaster, Kali Chappell, Lena Bussard, Joanna Genemans, and Riley Robinson.

Theresa Dardanell

The Candy Cane Dash on December 3, 2016, at Baker Park was the exciting conclusion of the program “Girls on the Run” for a group of girls at Lewistown Elementary School. But this program is so much more than just running. “Girls on the Run” is a ten-week program that combines the physical training required for the run with lessons and games that promote friendships and teach life skills.  According to Coach Doug Wallick, the program teaches girls how to make good decisions, recognize bullying and find ways to prevent it, set goals and strive to meet them, and encourages them to make an impact in their community.

The sessions combine self-esteem building lessons and friendship building games with warm-up exercises, walking, and practice running. As the weeks progress, the focus shifts from the lessons to more running practice. Each girl has an adult running buddy to encourage them and help them during the weeks of preparation and during the 5K run. Coach Wallick said that the staff at Lewistown Elementary embraced the program and provided encouragement. Some of the staff even joined the girls during practice runs.

Community service is an important part of the program, and the girls were given the opportunity  to choose an organization to help.  They worked together as a team to create ten baby blankets, made from fleece, to be donated to a local women’s shelter.

After ten weeks, the girls were ready for the Candy Cane Dash.  The goal was not to win but to have fun and celebrate their individual accomplishments. Coach Kaitlyn Graybill said, “The run was great! It was great to see the girls’ excitement and smiles as they crossed the finish line.”

Several other schools in Frederick County participated in this program, which is open to girls in grades third through eighth. According to the website,, Girls on the Run of Frederick County is an Independent Council of Girls on the Run International. They provide information about the program and how to get involved.


Lewistown “Girls on the Run” (from left): (back row) Coach Kaitlyn Graybill, Aspen Stull, Brenna Deboer, Caitlyn Lewis, Rachel Herbst, Kayla Delcid, Assistant Coach Doug Wallick, Assistant Coach Cheyann Wallick: (front row) Ashlee Sunday, Abbey Shaffer, Jenna Conley, Emma Wallick.

Theresa Dardanell

Summer is not officially over, but students returned to school on Monday, August 22. They were greeted by many new staff members, who joined the teachers, administrators, and support staff at the local schools.

Lewistown Elementary welcomed Belinda Pippin, Assistant Principal; Julie Ferguson, Therapist; Erin Stup, Special Education Teacher; Molly Howser and Marsha Grosinger, Speech Pathologists; Lisa Caro, Laura McCaughey, and Karly Sites, Pyramid Teachers; Clay Waite, Lead Custodian; Kately Sword, School Support; and Tara Miller, Special Education Instructional Assistant. In addition, Dana Austin was promoted from assistant principal to principal.

Thurmont Middle welcomed Daniel Enck, Assistant Principal; William Gill, Counselor; Jenna Waybright, English-Language Arts Teacher; and Stephanie Strenko, Art/Career & Technology Education Teacher.

Catoctin High School welcomed Jason Lininger, Assistant Principal; Christy Wahl, Guidance; Ryan Lenhart, Math Teacher; Lisa Gadra, World Language Teacher; Scott Motter, English/Social Studies Teacher; Valerie Pickett, Art Teacher; Kenny Garvey, Math/Test Specialist; Linda Brainerd, Teacher Specialist; Travis Neil, Custodian; and Rachel Misner, Science Instructional Assistant.

Sabillasvile Elementary welcomed Stacy Bokinsky, School Counselor and Targeted Intervention teacher; Michael Pritt, Physical Education Teacher; and Julie Swope, Literacy Specialist.

Emmitsburg Elemetary welcomed Josie Greco, First Grade Teacher; and Lorraine Russo and Mary Lopez, Instructional Support.

Thurmont Elementary welcomed Caroline Pfrang, Third Grade Teacher; Rebecca Schimel, Becky Boughn, and Julie Morris, Special Education Instructional Assistants.

Thurmont Primary welcomed Kindergarten teacher, Jill Hood.