Currently viewing the tag: "thurmont elementary school"

Members of the Thurmont Grange  No. 409 recently presented dictionaries to all Northern Frederick County third-grade students. This is a community service project called “Words for Thirds,” and all of the third-grade students in the Catoctin feeder system received dictionaries (Sabillasville Environmental School, Lewistown, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg Elementary Schools).

The Grange is an agricultural organization which is deeply rooted in the community. Many of its members are farmers, businessmen and women, and its focus is on community service, legislation, education, and agriculture. Many of our local members hold local, county, and state offices to promote the Grange.

Every year, the Grange helps at events such as the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, the Frederick Fair (where they put in an exhibit at the Farm and Garden Building), the Catoctin Colorfest, and the annual Cookie Walk in December, to name a few. The Grange holds a Veterans’ Appreciation Night, and has also donated funds and items to the Thurmont Food Bank, Catoctin FFA, Boy Scouts, Catoctin Safe & Sane, and so forth. 

The dictionary has many features, such as the history of the Presidents of the United States, the solar system, sign language, and also the longest word in the United States.

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Pictured from left: (back row) Grange members, Carolyn Wiles, Robert Wiles, and Paulette Mathis; (front row) third-grade students, Jack Wivell, Dylan Ridinger, Telsa Moore, and Kelsie Merriman.

Members of the Thurmont Grange #409 recently presented dictionaries to all Northern Frederick County third-grade students. This is a community service project called “Words for Thirds,” and all of the third-grade students in the Catoctin feeder system received dictionaries (Sabillasville Environmental School, Lewistown, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg Elementary Schools).

The Grange is an agricultural organization, which is deeply rooted in the community. Many of its members are farmers, businessmen and women, and its focus is on community service, legislation, education, and agriculture. Many of our local members hold local, county, and state offices to promote the Grange.

Every year, the Grange helps at events such as the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, the Frederick Fair (where they put in an exhibit at the Farm and Garden Building), the Catoctin Colorfest, and the annual Cookie Walk in December, to name a few. The Grange holds a Veterans’ Appreciation Night, and has also donated funds and items to the Thurmont Food Bank, Catoctin FFA, Boy Scouts, Catoctin Safe & Sane, and so forth. 

The dictionary has many features, such as the history of the Presidents of the United States, the solar system, sign language, and also the longest word in the United States.

Sabillasville Environmental School

Pictured from left: (back row) SES Principal Dawn Getzandanner, Grange members Rodman Myers, Helen Troxell, and Jim Royer; (front row) third grade students Emma Beil, Garret Troxell, Parker Hahn, and Grange member Jane Savage.

Thurmont Elementary School

Pictured from left: (back row) Grange members Cathy Little, Sue Keilholtz, Jody Eyler, Sidney Moser, and Russell Moser, and Principal Karl Williams; (front row) third graders, Taylor Zais, Damien Miller, Jayce Oden, Lily Tankerlsey, and Kiley Little.

The Lewistown Girl Scout Troops got together and planted flower gardens at Lewistown Elementary School on May 6. This allowed Scouts to complete a Journey and earn badges and to give back to their community. Most importantly, it helps support our ecosystem, giving pollinators a place to graze.

Pictured are Members of Daisy Troop 81224, Brownie Troop 81449, Junior Troop 37173, and Cadette Troop 37014.  All Troops currently meet at Lewistown Elementary School for their meetings.

The National Grange, founded in 1867, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. The Grange is part of more than 2,100 hometowns across the United States. The Thurmont Grange serves our Catoctin region. One of the programs administered annually by the Grange is Words for Thirds, where every third-grade student in the local area is given a dictionary to keep.

Thurmont Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Russell Moser, Sidney Moser, Rodman Myers, Third Grade Teacher Connie Reynolds, Jody Eyler, Sue Keilholtz, and Carol Long; (front row) Aaron Mosiychuk, Chloe Glass, Chloe Shultz, Braelynn Keilholtz, and Ayden Merritt.

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Thurmont Grange volunteers, Paulette Mathias, Carolyn Wiles, Cliff Stewart, Sue Keilgoltz, and Bob Wiles; (front row) Leah French, Addison Tingler, Colt Atwell, and Cole Merriman.

Sabillasville Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Becky and Jim Royer, Third Grade Teacher Marnie Tootill-Mortenson, Principal Kate Krietz, SES and Thurmont Grange Secretary Jane Savage; (front row) Grayson Lawler, Josie Harbaugh, Avery Harbaugh, Brynn Eyler, Hope Rice, and Noah Bradbury.

Lewistown Elementary School

Lewistown Elementary School students in classes of Ms. Jozwiak and Ms. Graybill (third grade teachers) and Ms. Acevedo (EL Teacher) are presented dictionaries by Cheryl Lenhart on November 19 during American Education Week.

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.

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.  

Hayden Hahn of Thurmont (pictured above) has earned the National Junior Angus Association’s (NJAA) Bronze and Silver awards, according to Jaclyn Upperman, education and events director of the American Angus Association® in Saint Joseph, Missouri.

Hahn is the ten-year-old daughter of Chad and Nikki Hahn. She attends Thurmont Elementary School and is a member of the NJAA and the Maryland Junior Angus Association.

She has participated in local, state, regional, and national shows and showmanship contests. At the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), Hahn participated in the photography, livestock judging, skillathon, quiz bowl, and poster contests. She also participated in the mentoring program in 2016.

She has submitted weight data to the Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR®) and consigned cattle at the Maryland Angus Event.

The Bronze and Silver awards are the first two levels of the NJAA Recognition Program that began in 1972. Junior Angus breeders must apply for the awards, then meet point requirements in many areas of participation before receiving the honors. Applicants are evaluated in areas of junior Angus association activities and leadership, participation in showmanship, contests and shows, using performance testing to improve their herd, and their progress in producing and merchandising Angus cattle.

The NJAA promotes the involvement of young people in raising Angus cattle, while also providing leadership and self-development opportunities for the nearly 6,000 active members nationwide.

Theresa Dardanell

Two hundred and seventy-eight students at Thurmont Elementary School joined people from all over the world for the 7th Annual WorldWide Dance for Kindness. Groups in over 120 cities around the globe all perform the same dance to the same song on the same day to unite the world with kindness. This event is sponsored by Life Vest Inside, with the purpose of looking beyond ourselves to realize that we are “all citizens of the world and that kindness is the common thread that unites us all.” 

Before the dance began, Principal Debra O’Donnell told the students that they do this dance to remind them, “how important it is to be kind and it starts with you.”

Students Tristan Lease, Tyler McCallion, Dary Carson, and Claire Daly enthusiastically agreed that the dance brings people together and helps to spread kindness throughout the world.

Guidance Counselor Tammy Brotman said, “Kindness starts with one kind word, one kind act, one person at a time.” She shared this story with me: “This past week, I asked my students if they knew anyone who was a champion, fully expecting them to mention famous sports players. One boy mentioned a girl in his class from last year. He said she was a champion because she wrote kind notes to everyone in his class all year long. He still has his at home in a special box. When I told her that others were saying she was a champion, her response was “I had no idea.” Sometimes we don’t know the impact that sending the message of kindness is having, but it warmed my heart to know that it’s happening and students are taking note.”

Thurmont Elementary School students perform the Kindness Dance.

Photo by Theresa Dardanell

Theresa Dardanell

See someone alone. Reach out and help. Start With Hello! In September, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) participated in the third annual Sandy Hook Promise Start With Hello Week. This national anti-violence campaign encourages students to reduce social isolation with acts of kindness that starts with just saying hello. Schools created activities to promote a welcoming and inclusive place for all students.

Catoctin High School

Catoctin High School (CHS) students started the week by decorating outside the cafeteria with slogans to promote the Sandy Hook Promise Campaign. On “Hey Day Thursday,” students and staff were given name tags and the challenge was to greet new people. Representatives from the Mental Health Association distributed information, and students were given the opportunity to sign up for the Out of the Darkness Walk. A team will represent CHS during this walk at Baker Park. On “Green Out Friday,” students and staff wore green in support of the campaign, and a group picture was taken of students spelling out “Hello” on the baseball field. School Social Worker Debbie Wivell said, “It was wonderful to see many students and staff participate in the Hey Day. This early in the year, teachers and students are still getting to know each other and this is important. Green Out day was also a success.”

Thurmont Middle School

Students at Thurmont Middle School (TMS) had lots of opportunities to connect with each other. On “Hey Day Monday,” they started by saying hello to new people. The challenge on Tuesday was to make sure no one sat alone at lunch. TMS student Charlotte Bradley said, “I really liked the lunch activity of not sitting alone, where we sat with students based on our interests. The lunch activity seemed to really encourage inclusiveness and connectedness with students that we don’t normally talk to.” School Counselors Becky Krauss and Sherry Bueso agreed that Wednesday’s activity was also very successful. They said, “We are thinking that the positive post-it-notes were the most successful because most of our students participated in their classes. Students left positive, encouraging messages on their desks to be received by the next student sitting there.” The challenge on Friday was to perform a random act of kindness for a teacher or student. Principal Daniel Enck said, “The various activities that our students, staff, and community members participated in throughout the week helped bring our school community closer together. Additionally, the activities allowed students to see the benefits of reaching out to other students who they may not typically interact with. I can’t thank our students, staff, and community members enough for all of their efforts in making Start with Hello week such a success.”

Thurmont Elementary School

Students at Thurmont Elementary School especially enjoyed having community members greet them in the mornings during the week.  Special guests included directors from the FCPS central office; Mayor John Kinnaird; Keyote, the Frederick Keys mascot; athletes and cheerleaders from Catoctin High School; members of the Thurmont Police Department; Boy Scout Leaders; and employees of the local Kountry Kitchen restaurant. Activities during the week were geared toward making all students feel welcome. They had daily ice breakers during lunch and courtesy lessons on how to introduce yourself to a new person. Darby Carson said, “It helps people and makes them feel like they matter. I think we should keep doing it and let that legacy live on.” Claire Daly said, “It is helpful for those kids who don’t have a lot of friends. They won’t be so lonely.” Tyler McCallion said, “Once you get to know people more, you realize you could be really good friends.” Shalina Weitzel said, “Start With Hello Week makes us feel inspired to help other kids.” School Counselor Tammy Brotman said, “I think this is a really important message to give our students.  Having Start with Hello Week gives students both the opportunity but most of all the courage to try reaching out to others.  We are trying to build a culture of kindness, and this is a great way to continue to support that goal and really make it a genuine part of what we’re about at TES.”

Sabillasville Elementary School

Sabillasville Elementary School (SES) students started the week with one important word: Hello. On Tuesday, they wore clothing that displayed something about themselves so that they could learn about each other. School Counselor Niki Kayser said, “The students and staff really enjoyed sharing why they chose the shirt they did. It encouraged them to learn a little more about their peers’ interests.” Students performed random acts of kindness on Wednesday and participated in special activities on Thursday and Friday.  Kayser said that she received positive feedback from staff and students and heard the comment, “It’s important to be kind all the time!” many times during the week. She also said, “I feel this message is wonderful! It’s a simple way to help create a more connected and inclusive school community. This message reminds us to encourage and support one another on a daily basis, and to understand how important it is to help students learn how to be accepting of others and to see that all it takes to make a difference is just a few simple words.”

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Emmitsburg Elementary School (EES) will be incorporating the idea of friendship throughout the school year to support the Leader In Me Positive Behavior Intervention System. Activities for the week included wearing green on Monday, signing a school banner on Tuesday, breakfast buddies on Wednesday, sharing stickers on Thursday, and making posters on Friendship Friday. School Counselor Sarah Fawley said, “The students really enjoyed working with other students in making their posters. They enjoyed the morning greeters in the front lobby, who greeted students with ‘hello’ and passed out stickers and pencils.” She said that students were more aware of others; they invited other students to sit with them at lunch.

Fawley also said, “This message is very important. There is so much power in five little letters (Hello) that can impact someone’s day or life forever.”

Starting the Day by saying “Hello” at Thurmont Elementary School: Dr. Keith Harris, FCPS executive director of Accelerating Achievement & Equity; Debra O’Donnell, TES principal; students, Adania Kreitz, Darby Carson, Carolyn Mercer, Claire Daly, Tyler McCallion, Chase Jackson, Summer Bostic, Tristan Lease, Shalini Weitzel, Warren Schafer; and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

Photo by Theresa Dardanell

It is time to recognize the special teacher who has made an impact on your child’s life and on your school community. Do you know a teacher who goes beyond what is expected? You can let this teacher know how important he/she has been to you by nominating him/her for the Thurmont Lions’ Teacher of the Year award. Anyone can nominate a teacher—parents, students, fellow teachers, and administrators.

This award is open to Pre-K through Grade 12, full-time teachers, in the Catoctin feeder school system: Catoctin High School, Thurmont Middle School, Thurmont Primary School, Thurmont Elementary School, Lewistown Elementary School, Emmitsburg Elementary School, Sabillasville Elementary School, and Mother Seton School.

All nominees will be recognized at a reception to be held on May 1, 2017, at the Thurmont Elementary School. The Teacher of the Year will be selected from these finalists by a committee of community leaders and will be announced at the Thurmont Lions’ Education Night on May 10, 2017.

Nomination forms are available at and at the Thurmont Regional Library. You may also pick up a form at your child’s school. Nomination forms (which include all the information necessary for submitting) are due no later than April 7, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Lion Joyce Anthony at or 240-288-8748.

Whether it’s the Weis Pharmacy robbery, the rebuilding of Roddy Creek Covered Bridge, or the deterioration of the Creeger House, they have all caught the attention of Thurmont’s newest newsman, Warren Schaefer.

Warren brings a new perspective to local news: a kid’s perspective. The Thurmont Elementary School third-grader has started a YouTube channel called Thurmont News – a kid’s perspective. The first episode was posted on January 23 and a second episode was posted on February 6, with more on the way.

“After the first one, I had a giant positive response,” Warren said.

The idea for Thurmont News was born out of Warren’s early efforts of filming himself broadcasting weather reports whenever a major weather event hit the area, according to Warren’s father, Steve Schaefer.

Warren wants to be a news reporter, so this was a natural extension of that idea.

Warren comes up with the stories that he wants to write about and then researches them using newspaper and online resources.

“I also ask the mayor (John Kinnaird) if anything is going on,” Warren said.

Warren then goes out with his father to take pictures and interview people. Once he has all of his information, he writes the script, which he said is “pretty hard.” His parents then review it to tighten it up and make sure it reads well.

Then it’s into the spare bedroom in his house, which has been set up as a studio. Steve Schaefer films Warren reading his script until they are satisfied with the result. Steve then edits in photos and the beginning credits.

“It is fun and challenging,” said Warren. “Sometimes we have to film takes over and over, and it gets frustrating.”

“I love being able to work with him and help him explore his passion and ideas,” expressed Steve.

The response to Thurmont News – a kid’s perspective has not only encouraged Warren to continue, but he has expansion plans. He announced in his second episode that his next episode will have a new segment called “Have You Noticed.” Warren plans on going out and finding things in town that adults tend not to notice. He may also expand the length of the shows, which are under five minutes currently.

“I’d like to have my friends on as guest stars and do the weather,” Warren said.

You can find his program by searching for Thurmont News – a kid’s perspective on or visit

Young broadcaster, Warren Schaefer, is shown in his home studio.

Theresa Dardanell

On November 18, 2016, Mother Nature gave Thurmont Elementary students a perfect autumn day to hold their ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new playground and to share a message of kindness. All of the students and staff were joined by parents, PTA members, and a large group of visitors. The playground was funded by Frederick County Public Schools and installed by Playground Specialists, Inc.

Principal Christina McKeever began the ceremony by introducing some of the guests who played a role in making this playground possible. Frederick County Public Schools representatives included: Dr. Alban, Superintendent; Dr. Markoe, Deputy Superintendent; Ray Barnes, Chief Operating Officer; James Hitchner, Curriculum Specialist; Mark Pritts, Director.  Also present were: PTA members, Traci Tatum, Kristen Daly, Jan Jones, Tina Rippeon, and Sherri Eichelberger; Wes Hamrick, Thurmont Commissioner; Theresa Dardanell, The Catoctin Banner; former Guidance Counselor Elizabeth Myers; and representatives from Playground Specialists, Inc.  “Thank you” banners made by the students were presented to the guests. The visitors joined together to cut the ceremonial ribbon, and the playground was officially ready to be enjoyed.

Singing and dancing were a big part of the occasion. In addition to singing the school song, the students enthusiastically performed the Dance for Kindness. The organization, Life Vest Inside, provided the song “Keys to the World” and the choreography for the dance, which promotes acts of kindness.


Thurmont Elementary students, along with Superintendent Dr. Alban, on the new playground. In addition to the slides, there are many other pieces for climbing, spinning and balancing.

Theresa Dardanell

The Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) program at Thurmont Elementary School kicked off a new year with a pizza party on September 28, 2016. Lots of dads with their children attended the event to learn about the program, to enjoy some time together, and, of course, to eat pizza!

Watch D.O.G.S. is a national program with the goal of providing positive male role models for students in schools, in addition to also providing extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying. Dads, grandfathers, uncles, step-dads, and adult brothers are invited to volunteer for at least one day a year in their child’s school, but many of the men sign up for more days. They enjoy spending time with their children and recognize the need for the program.

Rich Tatum, coordinator of the program at Thurmont Elementary, has the title “TOP DOG”. He works with the school administration to provide schedules for the volunteers.  A typical day for a WatchDOG starts with assisting students arriving at school.  Mornings and afternoons are usually spent working with students in different classes. This might include working with flashcards or educational games, reading with students, working with small groups, or just helping the teacher. Watch D.O.G.S. volunteers help in the cafeteria and get to eat lunch with the students. Recess on the playground or in the gym is probably the most fun.

Mike Miller, a WatchDOG dad, said that he enjoyed spending time with his daughter and that the program helps students feel safer.

Maddi Tatum, who is now a student at Thurmont Middle School, said that her father was a WatchDOG dad while she was at Thurmont Elementary. She and her dad had fun at recess, and she liked being able to eat lunch with him. She was proud to tell her friends all about her father.

The Watch D.O.G.S. program at Thurmont Elementary Schools is sponsored by the PTA, in cooperation with the school. According to Rich Tatum, there are three winners because of Watch D.O.G.S.: the school, the students, and the dads! If you would like to be a WatchDOG dad, call Thurmont Elementary School at 240-236-0900.

For more information about starting a Watch D.O.G.S. program at your child’s school, visit the website


Pictured from left are Christina McKeever, Thurmont Elementary School principal; Mike Miller, WatchDOG dad; Erin Miller; Emily Tatum; and Rich Tatum, TOPDOG.

Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) Basketball is comprised of Kindergarten through U16 boys and girls teams. All tryout/evaluation dates and times and player fees are listed on the CYA Basketball website. You can register online at:
In person registration for Instructional Clinic and In-house Rec teams will be held this coming October 11 and October 13 at Thurmont Elementary School’s lobby, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Coaches wanted! If you are interested in coaching a boys or girls Rec Travel, In-house Rec, or Clinic teams, please contact Jason Smith at Curriculum provided.

It’s about that time again. Local retailers have marked down bathing suits, bubble-blowers, and backyard games, to make way for brand new back-to-school merchandise. Along with new crayons, pencils, and notebooks, comes the promise of new beginnings and new adventures. On August 22, 2016, Frederick County’s public schools welcomed back nearly 41,000 students throughout the county. As parents, we want our children to have a wonderful and exciting new year, but how can we help our younger and perhaps more nervous children to not only succeed but to flourish in the coming year?

In order to offer some concrete suggestions for parents, I sat down with Thurmont Primary School Principal Karen Locke and Thurmont Elementary School Principal Christina McKeever. Both principals—Locke, having been in the field of education for thirty-two years, and McKeever, embarking upon her third year as principal—offered many helpful strategies.

Establish a routine. Young children thrive on routine: a homework regime, a bedtime schedule, a morning plan. Institute a routine, and then practice it. For example, if your child is a bus rider, have him/her ride the bus right from the beginning. Give him that time to become acclimated to things. Once you establish a routine, try to keep changes to a minimum. So, for example, if grandma is planning to pick up your child from school on a particular day, ask her to pick him up from the bus stop, instead of having her come to the school to pick him up. This consistency helps children to be self-assured and reduces anxiety and stress. Make arriving on time a priority. A key element of a working, consistent routine is ensuring students arrive on time. Locke adds, “As grown-ups, we know how we feel when we are running late, but it is hard for them, as children, to adjust and catch up when they are late.”

Model an Optimistic and Encouraging Outlook. When unsure, children look to their parents and watch their responses to events. McKeever stresses the importance of a positive attitude. When parents model a positive outlook, children strive to emulate them. This will give them the confidence they need to succeed.

Prepare and Organize. Prepare as much as possible for the coming school day the night before. Have all of your child’s school supplies on hand and ready to go. Help your child decide on shoes and clothes, and place them out. Prepare lunches and backpacks the night before as well. Have organized locations for your student: a place where they will always place their shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school supplies, so they always know where to put them and where to find them. Label everything, all coats, backpacks, sweaters, etc. Because the Lost and Found tends to grow as the year proceeds, this will allow children to quickly locate their belongings.

Help your Child Make Practical, Healthy Decisions for their School Day. In the beginning, children may ask for large lunches, complete with lots of chips and treats; however, as parents, we know this is not best for them. Students’ lunch periods are limited and, understandably, they like to use this time to socialize. Often students do not finish what is in their lunch; for the first week, students will be sent home with what they aren’t able to finish, in an effort to help parents save time and money in the future. You know your child’s nutritional needs best. Work with your child to help him/her learn to make healthy choices. For example, a lunch full of carbs may not be conducive to helping them get right back to work after the lunch period, and may instead leave them feeling sluggish and sleepy. Also, help them make practical decisions with regards to dress. Although flip flops may be a more comfortable shoe choice, they are not advantageous in running and climbing. By helping children make good choices, parents equip their children with invaluable decision-making skills.

Encourage Reading. Reading is vital to a child’s success. By reading out loud to your children, reading along with them, or having them read to themselves, parents help their children to succeed. Additionally, when parents model this behavior by reading themselves, they inspire their children to become avid readers.

Establish a Partnership with your Child’s Teacher. Communication is give-and-take and vital to a successful year. Communication tools such as student agendas, reminders, or folders will be sent home with pertinent information for parents. Parents and teachers are encouraged to keep the lines of communication open. If a problem or concern does arise, do not hesitate to talk with your child’s teacher. Resist the temptation to take your concerns to social media. Work together to problem-solve. Your child’s teacher should be your first point of contact for any questions or concerns. If talking with your child’s teacher is not an option, contact the guidance counselor or principal, depending on the issue. With regards to getting a swift response, Locke adds, “Email is the easiest way to ask a question and get a quick response.” McKeever agrees with the importance of communication and adds, “Parents should always feel comfortable reaching out; we are always here to listen.”

Stay Informed. Register your family with FindOutFirst (FOF), Frederick County Public School’s communication service. Emergency messages, weather-related closures, and other important messages will be sent out via FOF. Other modes of communication include: the FCPS website (; FCPS social media (FCPS on Twitter and FCPS on Facebook); FCPS TV (Comcast Channel 18 in the Frederick area); and the FCPS mobile app (FCPS), which is free via Google play or the App store. Additionally, parent newsletters will contain pertinent information, such as messages from the principal, event dates and times, counselor messages, and teacher information, and will be distributed via FOF or email distribution lists.

Demonstrate Interest. Parents can take an active part in their child’s education and keep their child accountable. McKeever suggests, “Ask them about their day, not just by asking them how their day was, but by asking specific questions like, ‘What was one good thing that happened today? or What one thing did you learn in math class?’”
Get Involved. Parents are encouraged to get involved by joining the PTA, volunteering, and attending school functions, such as the Back to School Picnic on September 1 (from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Thurmont Community Park). Parental participation fosters the parent-student-school partnership; allows you to become involved, and demonstrates to your child that you value their education.

Above all, Locke gently reminds her parents, “It’s okay. We will take care of them. Trust us. It is okay to say goodbye and go home and cry…or dance…but know everything is going to be okay.” Of her staff, she adds, “This staff is unbelievable. They are magic makers. I am a richer person because of what they do every day. The people are powered by their hearts, and no decision is made without keeping the kids in mind.” With regards to the coming year, McKeever is enthusiastic and encouraging stating, “This is an amazing place to learn and grow, with the best staff in the county. I am excited about the new year and new possibilities. We believe in each and every one of our students and look forward to the vision of proudly excelling together.”

Gage Stup heads to his second-grade class with Mrs. Grimm on the first day of school at Emmitsburg Elementary School.

Thurmont was recognized as a Banner City/Town by the Maryland Municipal League (MML) during the convention on June 28, 2016. MML Director of Member Relations Paula Chase Hyman notified Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick of the news on May 31, 2016.
The Banner City/Town accreditation is awarded to towns and cities that meet stringent goals and objectives, including staff training, participation in Municipal Government Works Month activities, community outreach, and elected officials’ support and participation in MML activities. In the notification, Chase Hyman stated, “Each of you represents an ambassadorship which spreads the word on League resources specially designed to help you be the most effective local leader that you can be. We salute you!”
Thurmont hosted several events and activities during the past year, including a Municipal Open House with equipment on display from the Public Works Department and the Thurmont Police Department. Mayor John Kinnaird also visited the Thurmont Elementary School and spoke about local government with the students.

Catoctin High School Leo Club Collects Jeans for National “Teens for Jeans” Campaign

The Catoctin High School (CHS) Leo Club is collecting jeans for Teens for Jeans, a national campaign from, one of the largest global not-for-profit organizations for young people and social change. Teens for Jeans encourages young people across the country to run a jean drive in their school or community to help provide clothing for youth experiencing homelessness.

Over a million young people experience homelessness in the United States every year, and one of the most requested items that young people in homeless shelters ask for is a pair of jeans. In the past eight years, young people across the country have collected over five million pairs of jeans through Teens for Jeans. This year, the top collecting school will win a $3,000 grant, the school that comes in second place will win a $2,000 grant, and the school that comes in third place will win a $1,000 grant.

Members of the community can support the CHS Leo Club’s drive by dropping off their gently used denim at Catoctin High School, located on 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, until February 29, 2016.

For more information, please visit You can contact the CHS Leo Club at catoctinleoclub@gmail to arrange drop off/pick-up.

Visit CHS Leo Club at, @catoctinleoclub on Twitter, and

If you are involved with any organization in this area helping our homeless teens, please contact Wendy Candela at 301-717-7813 and leave a message.


Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association Donates a Piece of History to Emmitsburg Library

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association has donated a copy of the school’s history to the Emmitsburg Library. The library is housed in the original building of the old high school. The library area today is housed on the floors that once housed grades one through six. The building has been renovated for multiple uses for the town and community.

The five-hundred-page history was compiled by the organization’s historian, Joyce Bruchey, with contributions from the school’s alumni and the local community. The basic book was printed in 2013, and a supplement was added in 2015.

A time line of public education in Emmitsburg—one-room school houses in the area and articles and photos from the Emmitsburg Historical Society—tell the early history of the school. Mementoes, class photos, and articles cover classes from 1923 to 1968, when the high school closed. The earliest memento is a souvenir program from the class of 1910’s graduation. A copy of the school’s first yearbook from 1928 contains information of the upper classes, sports teams, and clubs.

Photos and articles of the staff from 1898 to 1972 are included. The high school joined Thurmont High School in 1969 to create the new Catoctin High School. The building then became the home of grades kindergarten through eighth, and class photos of the elementary students during those years are included. The alumni organization has reached out to members of the 1969-1972 classes of Catoctin High to join the organization since they were a part of the Emmitsburg School for most of their education years.

The history is divided by decades, with supplements of the news, events, popular culture, and cost of living prices. Following class photos are memorabilia of the class. Graduation class photos cover most of the years from 1928 to 1968. The organization is asking the community’s help in locating class photos from the following years: 1898-1922; 1924; 1927; 1933; 1938; and 1939. An attempt has been made to list graduates from the years without photos.

An original copy of the school’s newspaper, The Tattler, dates back to June 1925. Later it was called E-Hi Times, and the earliest copy in EHSAA possession is December 1944. The association is seeking copies of the old school newspapers. Early articles from The Emmitsburg Chronicle and The Frederick News-Post are included, as well as photos of the school’s growth. The Class of 1964 issued a yearbook after a nearly forty-year hiatus, and the following years’ books add depth to the high school’s last years.

A brief history of the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association, its scholarship winners, past officers, and reunion photos are found in the last chapter. The book includes excerpts from an antique copy of The Service Record Book of Men and Women of the Emmitsburg, Maryland and Community, sponsored by Francis X. Elder Post 14 American Legion and Emmitsburg Businessmen. It lists honor roll and photos of those who served in WWI and WWII. Statistical data of Emmitsburg in 2009-2011, and the United States economy during the years of Emmitsburg High School’s existence, concludes the book.

The Alumni Association continues to search for items related to its school’s history. Material can be sent to Joyce Bruchey, EHSAA historian at 6444 Middleburg Road, Keymar, MD 21757. Copies of the book may be obtained by contacting her at 410-775-7921 or The original book with the supplement is $35.00 plus $5.00 shipping. A supplement alone for those who earlier purchased the history book costs $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping.


Joyce Bruchey (left) presents copy of the Emmitsburg High School Memory Book to staff members at the Emmitsburg Library.


Thurmont Middle School Science Olympiad Team Brings Home the Medals

The Thurmont Middle School Science Olympiad team competed in January in the Frederick County Science Olympiad tournament. They earned two gold medals, two silver medals, one 4th place, four 5th places, and one 6th place! The results were as follows: Air Trajectory—2nd place; Bio Process Lab—5th place; Crime Busters—1st place; Disease Detectives—1st place; Elastic Launched Glider—5th place; Invasive Species—4th place; Picture This—2nd place; Road Scholar—5th place; Scrambler—5th place; Wind Power—5th place; Write it Do it—6th place.

Thurmont Middle School is so proud of their team! Their next tournament will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at the University of Maryland. There is no doubt that they will do a super job! A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Mize, the team’s coach, as well as to all the parents who support all of the students’ efforts.


Thurmont American Legion Offers Scholarships and Government Experience to Catoctin High School Students

For those of you who aren’t aware, there is money available for College from the Thurmont American Legion. Post 168 in Thurmont offers four Scholarships each year for qualifying Catoctin High School (CHS) seniors. They also hold an Oratorical Contest each year, with a monetary prize for the top three places. The applications for the scholarships are at the CHS Guidance Office.

The Applications for Boys State will soon be at CHS for high school juniors. Boys State is a week-long stay, where the boys set up a mock government similar to our State government; they have all the offices and make important decisions. For your information, one of the questions on all the applications for Military Academies is: Are you an Eagle Scout or have you attended Boys State.

Last year, they had only one applicant from Catoctin High School for the Boys State. Of the four scholarships, only two were applied for. The Oratorical contest was to be held in January, but no student was interested in competing, so no contest was held.


New Club Starts at Thurmont Elementary

A Good News Club started this January at Thurmont Elementary School for children in grades three through five. The club, sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship, is a non-denominational club that features games, music, snacks, and Bible stories. The club meets after school in the school cafeteria, from 3:45-4:45 p.m. every Tuesday (unless school is closed). Children must have a signed registration form, as well as a note to the school to attend. All children are dismissed to the cafeteria at dismissal time at 3:10 p.m. Supervised recreation is led by staff members until the club officially starts at 3:45 p.m. Parents meet their children at the cafeteria doors at the end of the club. Outreach projects are planned to help the community. Children who do not attend a specific church will be encouraged to attend a local church with their families.

The Child Evangelism Fellowship is an international organization that sponsors clubs all over the world, including over eighty-four clubs in Maryland. Good News Clubs are in six schools in Frederick County, including Thurmont Elementary. The club is open to all children from kindergarten to fifth grade, but is designed for upper elementary-aged children. The club gives the children the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and enjoy fellowship with other children. The team leaders are all trained and have been background checked. Parents are welcome to attend any club meeting and to participate.

For more information or to register, contact any of the Thurmont Team Leaders: Sherri Eichelberger at, Davada Irons at, Kari Tuttle (, or Jan Jones (


Thurmont Middle School Students Answer Christmas Wish

Thurmont Middle School students were inspired by one of their fellow students to answer the Christmas wish of a young arson survivor to collect Christmas cards. Safyre Terry is an eight-year-old girl from Schenectady, New York, who suffered burns on seventy-five percent of her body and lost her family due to an arson fire two years ago. Safyre was the only one of four children to survive, found under the debris protected only by her father’s body.

Over the next year, Safyre endured many surgeries and lost her right hand and left foot. This year, in anticipation of the holiday season, she and her custodial aunt bought a Christmas card holder from a secondhand store. Safyre couldn’t wait to fill it up with Christmas cards. Her aunt, however, told Safyre that she didn’t think they would get more than ten cards to put on the tree that could hold close to one hundred. Safyre wasn’t discouraged, and she was so excited when she received her first card that her aunt took a picture to share with friends and family. When a friend of the family saw the picture, he posted it to Facebook, asking a few friends if they could send a card. Within days, the picture and Safyre’s story had gone viral. When Logan Riley of Thurmont heard Safyre’s story and her wish, he immediately asked his mom if he could send a card. However, after thinking for a few moments about what type of card to send, he realized that he wanted to do more than just send a normal card, he wanted to share her story and wish. The next morning, Logan went directly to the principal’s office at school; he wanted to share Safyre’s story and wish and ask the principal if they could invite fellow students to participate. The school principal said they would love to help him share the story and to invite his fellow sixth grade students to make Safyre’s wish come true.

Over the next few days, a plan was made to have Logan share Safyre’s story and allow the students to make and write cards to be sent to Safyre. Logan continued to share the story with other classmates and students, as well as with the after school club he attended. Logan was so focused and motivated to make sure Safyre’s wish came true that he forgot to send his own letter to Santa this year. When asked what he was going to ask for from Santa this year, he paused for a moment, and then stated, “How many signatures do you think we can fit on each card?”

On December 16 and 17, 2015, Thurmont Middle School sixth grade students created and composed cards to be sent to Safyre, using their extra class time and lunch/recess time. In addition, students from sixth through eighth grade, who attended the after school club, also created and signed cards for Safyre. The cards were then mailed to Safyre’s hometown post office in New York in time to make sure she had them for Christmas. Since Safyre’s wish went viral the first week of December, the story has reached people all over the world. So many were touched by her innocent wish and heart-wrenching story that she received hundreds of thousands of cards, so many that her local post office was overwhelmed. Logan and his fellow students and friends at Thurmont Middle School remind us all that even the smallest acts of kindness and consideration can make a difference in the lives of others.

Thurmont Elementary School and Catoctin High School were two of eight schools in Maryland, and the only schools in Frederick County, to recently be recognized as Maryland Schools of Character.

The awards are given annually by, a national advocate for character development. In Maryland, the program is sponsored by the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University. The awards are based on how well the schools fulfill eleven aspects of character education, including that the school regularly assesses its culture and climate and the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.

“It’s a nice honor to receive to recognize the hard work that we’ve done over the year with character education,” said Beth Myers, Thurmont Elementary guidance counselor.

Schools had to submit a comprehensive application package that showed statistics and anecdotal evidence of how well they were meeting the different aspects of character education.

“It was a lot of work to prove that we have a solid program built on the eleven principles of character education,” said Dana Brashear, Catoctin High guidance counselor.

According to the website, the principles are as follows:

  • The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good


  • The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
  • The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development.
  • The school creates a caring community.
  • The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.
  • The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.
  • The school fosters students’ self-motivation.
  • The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.
  • The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative.
  • The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.

The Maryland School of Character Award is a three-year award that can be reapplied for. Once the schools received the state award, they were automatically eligible to receive national recognition. A national team visited the schools last year, and met with personnel who were responsible for each of the character principles.

“Their feedback was invaluable,” stated Myers. “It gave us an awareness and focus on how we can continue to strive to do better.”

Although neither school received national recognition, it is an award that can be applied for annually. Brashear said that she is planning on having the Catoctin character teams make improvements so that she can submit an application at the end of this year.

Myers said that the effect of the award can be seen in how the students act, noting that they are recognizing more that they are responsible for their own behavior and working more collectively with the teachers.

Brashear agreed, adding that when things like that happen, it creates a culture in the school.

“I feel like we are raising good kids,” Brashear said. “They come out of here with good traits and skills.”

Words For Thirds

The National Grange, founded in 1867, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. With strong history in grassroots activism, family values, and community service, the Grange is part of more than 2,100 hometowns across the United States. The Thurmont Grange serves our Catoctin region. One of the programs administered annually by the Grange is Words for Thirds, where every third grade student in the local area is given a dictionary to keep.

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Ebg Dictionaries

Pictured from left are: (front row) Dillan Ecker, Austin Morris, Fallon Wolfe, Darrin Frey; (second row) Alayna Kelly, Lauren Kelly, Alyssa Costa, Katie Topper; (back row) Mike Brown, Emmitsburg Elementary School third grade teacher; and Thurmont Grange members, Bob Whiles and Cliff Stewart.

Thurmont Elementary School

TES dictionaries

Pictured from left are Carol and Bob Long, Thurmont Grange; Susan Crone and Kate Gray, TES third grade teachers; Christina McKeever, TES Principal; Sandy and Jim Moser, Thurmont Grange; (front row) third grade students: Gabe Fussa, Brady Wehage, Maura Eyler, Jackson Savage, and Erin Miller.

Sabillasville Elementary School

Sabillasville dictionaries (1)

Pictured from left are: (first row) third grade students Kylie Putman, Mason Newcomer, and Hannah Wolfe; (back row) Kate Krietz, SES Principal; Rodman Myers, Jim Royer; and Robert McAfee of the Thurmont Grange; Marnie Mortenson, third grade teacher; and Jane Savage, Thurmont Grange and SES administrative specialist.

Show Your Cougar Spirit

The Catoctin High School Sports Boosters will be selling Cougar clothing (sweatpants, sweatshirts, and T-shirts), blankets, stadium seats, hats, and other miscellaneous Cougar items at the following home sporting events: Tuesday, December 8—Girls Basketball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 11—Girls Basketball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Monday, December 14—Boys Basketball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, December 16—Wrestling, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 18—Boys Basketball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Items will be available on the above dates in the hallway between the gymnasiums. Payment may be made by cash, check, or credit card. Do some shopping for Christmas!

Catoctin High School Class of 2016 Safe and Sane Events

Tickets are on sale for the Dance and Silent Auction at the Thurmont American Legion on December 12, 2015, for $15.00 per person and $25.00 per couple. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. They are in need of items for the silent auction. To donate an item/basket or to purchase/sell tickets, please contact Barb Sellers at or Tracy Barbour at

At the dance, they will be drawing the winning ticket for the iPad Air II. Tickets are still available for $5.00 each. Contact Dawn Shugars at 240-357-8121 to purchase or sell.

Wing Night/Football Bash is gearing up as well, featuring all-you-can-eat wings! The date is set for January 15, 2016. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Superbowl squares! Tickets on sale for $25.00. Please contact Dawn Shugars at 240-357-8121 to purchase or sell tickets.

Camper raffle is on-going. Tickets are $10.00. Please contact Tracy Barbour at

All events benefit Catoctin High School’s Class of 2016 Safe and Sane event following graduation.

Scholarships Available

The Frederick Business & Professional Women’s Club is now accepting scholarship applications. Scholarships will be awarded to women currently enrolled in and attending a college-level course study. Requirements include that women must be a resident of Frederick County, Maryland, and must show financial need. Graduating high school seniors and those who have already earned at least a bachelor’s degree are not eligible for this scholarship.

Applications and other documents must be postmarked by January 31, 2016. For applications and information email

Mother Seton School Students Recognized for Citizenship

The Christian Character Trait program is once again active at Mother Seton School. Each month, teachers nominate those students they feel best demonstrate the featured trait for that month. For September, the following students were recognized for exemplifying the Christian Character Trait of Citizenship: Quinn Alley (Grade 8); Matthias Buchheister (Grade 7); Mia Ferraro and Raphaela Smaldone (Grade 6); Joseph Torborg (Grade 5); Luke Iferd and Timothy McCarthy (Grade 4); Brady Koenig (Grade 3); Camila Canadas-Fraga and Anthony Rosato (Grade 2); William Adams and Jacob Marron (Grade 1); Grady Abruzzese and Francis Rosato (Kindergarten); Greyson Jurchak and Anna Long (Pre-K).

Pictured from left are: (front row) Brady Koenig (Grade 3), Anthony Rosato (Grade 2), Camila Canadas-Fraga (Grade 2), Jacob Marron (Grade 1), William Adams (Grade 1), Francis Rosato (Kindergarten), Grady Abruzzese (Kindergarten), Anna Long (Pre-K); (back row) Quinn Alley (Grade 8), Matthias Buchheister (Grade 7), Mia Ferraro (Grade 6), Emma Wivell (Grade 6), Joseph Torborg (Grade 5), Luke Iferd (Grade 4), Timothy McCarthy (Grade 4). Not pictured: Greyson Jurchak (Pre-K).

Sabillasville Elementary School Holds 1st Annual 5K/1-Mile Fun Run

Sabillasville Elementary School (SES) hosted it’s 1st Annual Sabillasville Scenic 5K/1-Mile Fun Run on November 15, 2015. The event was organized by the SES-Parent Group. The proceeds will provide cultural arts programs and field trips for the students of SES. Event coordinators had both families and single runners sign up to fully enjoy the scenic route, cheered on by students and spectators. They look forward to hosting it again next year!

Participants begin their run/walk with enthusiasm out front of Sabillasville Elementary School during the 1st Annual Sabillasville Scenic 5K/1-Mile Fun Run on November 15, 2015.