Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Middle School (TMS)"

Lis Ruppel

The Thurmont Middle School (TMS) LEOs have been very busy the past couple of months. During October and November, TMS LEOs held a coat drive in conjunction with the Thurmont Lions Club Coat Drive for Make a Difference Day. The LEOs collected multiple bags of coats, which were combined with the other coats collected by Lion Marci Veronie and sent to be dry cleaned. Some of the coats were then distributed to kids and families in the TMS community in need, with the help of TMS Community Outreach Coordinator Kelly Pizza.

For Halloween, the TMS LEOs held a Costume Contest fundraiser. For a small fee, students could wear their costumes to school on Halloween. A contest was held at lunchtime, with judging by the lunch staff. An Amazon gift card was given for the best costume from each grade level. The TMS LEOs voted to use some of the money raised to buy a Thanksgiving dinner for a family in need at TMS.

Teacher Melanie Ware spoke with both Food Lion and Weis. With their generous assistance, she was able to put together baskets with food for Thanksgiving dinner for two families. Kelly Pizza distributed the baskets. In December, the LEOs assisted the Language Arts Department at TMS with its Food Drive by collecting the donated food and loading it into Ms. Ware’s car for delivery to the food bank. They also voted to fund several Christmas dinner baskets the same way they had done for the Thanksgiving baskets.

On the final day of school before the winter break, TMS LEOs held a “Holiday Hat” fundraiser, where students could wear a festive holiday hat to school for a small fee. After school let out, the LEOs met at Thurmont Regional Library for a Holiday Party and Secret Santa gift exchange. TMS LEOs are looking forward to an exciting 2020, filled with fun and service!

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the Thurmont Lions Club honored two students at its Education Night program. Each year, the club presents a Lion Award to a Catoctin High School (CHS) student and a Junior Lion Award to a Thurmont Middle School (TMS) student who has volunteered the most hours.  Each student is presented with a certificate and a check.

The Junior Lion Award was presented to a Thurmont Middle School eighth grader, Morgan “Mo” Baker, who earned his service learning hours at the 4-H Shooting Sports Club. He volunteered throughout middle school on a regular basis, recruiting and educating the public about 4-H shooting sports and gun safety. He has sold raffle tickets, participated in clean up days, and sold food at events.

When asked about his service learning, Mo indicated it gave him something good to do with his time. He also learned some construction skills while volunteering. During his years in middle school, he earned a total of 258 hours of service, which is the highest number of hours for any eighth grader.

The Lion Award was presented to Catoctin High School senior, Noah Barth.  During his four years at Catoctin High School, he has accumulated a very impressive 1,075.5 hours of service. Noah has served as a camp counselor at Camp Round Top for the Your Farmers Safety Camp for the past four years.   In addition, Noah has served in a variety of service roles with Catoctin’s award-winning FFA organization, led by Amy Jo Poffenberger; as a volunteer at the Frederick County soup kitchen; and as the manager of the CHS football team for the past three years. Noah has also helped with the CHS unified tennis team for the past two years, under the direction of Coach Charmane Nesbit, and has been a member of the CHS varsity tennis team for the past four years, under the direction of Coach David Gadra. 

Pictured from left are Lion George Bolling, Noah Barth, TLC President Julie El-Taher.

Michael Metz (pictured above), a sixth grader at Thurmont Middle School (TMS), was one of the top 10 sixth grade finalists at the Baltimore Regional History Bee Competition, held on March 30, 2019.

As a finalist, he qualified to attend the National History Bee Championships in Chicago in June, as well as the biennial International History Olympiad to be held in July 2020. Michael has been passionate about history from a very young age and studied a great deal to qualify for this competition. History Bee is an extracurricular club at Thurmont Middle School. Participating students met once a week from the beginning of the school year, and qualified to attend the Baltimore Regional Competition by taking an online exam over the winter.

The students were assisted by TMS Advanced Academic Specialist Candace Desonier, and supported by TMS principal Daniel Enck.

Theresa Dardanell

Seven Thurmont Middle School (TMS) students recently attended the Maryland Association of Student Councils convention in Ocean City.  This event gives the TMS Student Government Association (SGA) members the opportunity to improve their leadership skills. They listened to a motivational speaker, attended leadership workshops, and met with other student leaders from across the state.

The SGA members at TMS  are chosen based on their grades, their attendance at afterschool meetings, and their participation in school and evening events. They meet once a week during the school day to brainstorm ways to improve school spirit and to make their school a comfortable place for students.  They visit classrooms and lead discussions with students; concerns and ideas are then forwarded to the administration by Student Government Advisor Angela Knapp.

The SGA members also plan, organize, and run events like the game days, the afterschool open gym, and the evening candy bingos. Knapp said, “They are great. I’ve definitely seen them grow.  They really like being leaders and just being able to help others and increase the school spirit.”

I met with the students who attended the conference and was impressed with their confidence and genuine concern for their fellow students.

SGA President Sean Whitworth said that he joined the organization so that students know they have somebody looking out for them.

Natalie Dodson is looking forward to being a community leader to help other people.

The other students who attended the conference were: John Gidcumb, Charlotte Bradley, Cheyenne Van Echo, Morgan Ridenour, and Peyton Moxley.

Other SGA members are Maddie Ring, Skyler Payne, Traci Stine, Peyton Davis, Kayleigh Frantz, Natalie Hoty, Nikita Burris, Randall Hall, and Samantha Davis.

Pictured are John Gidcumb, Charlotte Bradley, Cheyenne Van Echo, Morgan Ridenour, Sean Whitworth, Natalie Dodson, and Peyton Moxley.

Theresa Dardanell

The Thurmont Spirit Show Choir (TSSC) is a performing arts group of Thurmont Middle School (TMS) sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students, who participate in local and regional competitions. They also sing and dance during the annual talent show, as well as in the winter and spring programs at TMS.

The performances have themes, such as broadway songs, contemporary music, popular music, or love songs. To commemorate the eighteen years that Berna LaForce, TMS music and theater arts director, has been directing the TSSC, the group will be performing many of LaForce’s favorite songs and dances during the “Stroll Down Memory Lane” shows at the Middle School, as well as in competitions.

This year, there are forty students in the TSSC. These students must demonstrate good character, keep up good grades, and be willing to work hard during the weekly practices.

LaForce said that she is impressed with the talent of these students.  Carrie Payne, one of the presidents of the TSSC booster organization, said that, “Berna Laforce goes above and beyond all the time for these children. She spends so many hours to help these kids bring their talent out.”


Berna LaForce and Thurmont Spirit Show Choir.

Theresa Dardanell

Because first impressions are important, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) encourages all schools to demonstrate “curb appeal”—a clean, well-maintained and welcoming appearance.

This year, Thurmont Elementary School (TES) and Thurmont Middle School (TMS) earned an award for “Outstanding Curb Appeal.”  Although maintenance of the interior of the buildings is just as important, the focus of this award is the exterior: what students and parents see when they first arrive at school.

Award criteria included maintenance of grass, trees, bushes and flowerbeds; condition of the building, fences, walkways, curbs, and parking lots; playgrounds that are ready for the students; and signs updated with current information.  Vince Bentz, lead custodian at TMS, and Brenda Martins, lead custodian at TES, both said that teamwork is essential and that everyone on their crew works well together.  They work very hard, not just during the summer, but all year long.

John Carnahan, FCPS custodial services manager, said “…TES and TMS are examples of the awesome things that our teams do each and every day in support of students, staff, and their communities.”

Thurmont Middle School

Pictured from left: Paul Lebo (FCPS Central Office), John Carnahan (FCPS Central Office), Mike Frushour (Custodian), Cindy Frock (Custodian), Richard White (Custodian), Gayle Smith (Custodian), Vince Bentz (Lead Custodian), Anita Shank (Assistant Principal), and Daniel Enck (Principal). Missing from photo: Robert Welsh (Assistant Lead Custodian) and Dan VanFossen (Custodian).

Courtesy Photo

Thurmont Elementary School

Pictured from left: Custodian Matt Claggett, Principal Christina McKeever, Custodian Susie Cool, Lead Custodian Brenda Martins, and Custodian Wanda Frye.

Photo by Theresa Dardanell


Mayor John Kinnaird

This past week, I have had the pleasure of participating in the Thurmont Middle School (TMS) Kindness Week Challenge. As students arrive for their day, I have been greeting them and wishing them a good day. I am happy to report that every one of the young people I have spoken to are excited to be at school and are, themselves, very polite and considerate of others. The goal of Kindness Week is to encourage an atmosphere of kindness and consideration among all students. It is obvious to me that these goals are being meet by all students and staff at TMS! My thanks to all of the students and staff for allowing me to play a small part in their day.

On January 21, Karen and I had the pleasure of attending the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Awards Banquet, held in the newly completed Thurmont Ambulance Event Complex. The new building located off Lawyer’s Lane on Strafford Drive is a real gem of a facility. The main room is massive and can seat well over six hundred comfortably, with room for a dance floor. There is a large stage for presentations and concerts, as well as several drop-down video screens. The kitchen is a spacious room, with ample capacity for large banquets, weddings, or meetings. We would encourage anyone looking to rent a large venue to give the Event Complex a look! The banquet was prepared and served by members of the Rocky Ridge 4-H, and it was delicious. The Ambulance Company thanked the Scouts of Troop 270 and the Venturing Crew for installing the stone work on the exterior of the building and for planting over a hundred trees on the property. The Thurmont Ambulance ran a total of 1,258 calls in 2016; although I hope no one requires an ambulance, I can tell you from personal experience that you could not find better qualified, courteous, or professional ambulance personnel anywhere. I want to thank all the members of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service for their hard work in getting this building built, and for their continued service to the residents of Thurmont and our neighbors in Frederick County.

Although we are still not through the worst part of winter, I want to mention a local project that will be worth visiting time and again once the weather warms up. Frederick County is currently making big improvements to the Roddy Road Park. These changes include moving the road away from Owens Creek in order to make pedestrian access to the stream much easier. There are new benches, picnic tables, walkways, dedicated parking, an infant playground, and even a new composting toilet. There are plans to develop a walking trail on the south side of Owens Creek that will wind along the embankment and up across the palisade. Of course, I can’t mention the park without saying something about the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. As everyone knows, the bridge was damaged twice in the last year and suffered major damages during the last incident. I am happy to say that Frederick County has stepped up and is repairing the bridge to a like-new condition. Many of the main frame timbers were damaged and have been replaced with identical woodwork. There are dozens of original supports being incorporated in the sides in the rebuilt bridge, and new steel beams will carry the weight of traffic under the wooden deck. The final touch will be a new metal roof and board siding. As I said, the County has stepped up on this project and it is obvious that they are intent on keeping the beloved Roddy Road Bridge in service. This landmark is a destination for many tourists and local residents, and the improvements will be a welcome addition. I want to also thank Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction for the fine craftsmanship they are investing in the rebuilding of the bridge.

As we get into February, I want to remind everyone that we will probably be seeing snow sometime this month and next. The Thurmont Police Department recently started a project called the Snow Team. Code Enforcement Officer Christy Wood has developed this project as a way to assist elderly and disabled residents with the removal of snow and ice from their sidewalks. The Snow Team is looking for teenage and adult volunteers to sign up to help clear snow for residents that are unable to do so themselves. Student volunteers can use the volunteer time as part of their community service requirements. Please stop by the Town Office or the Police Department to find out how you can help in this effort.

As always, I hope everyone has a safe and healthy month!



 Mayor Don Briggs

With the new year came the 133rd Vigilant Hose Company Banquet, an annual event Lib and I are always honored to attend. Over the course of the evening, I could not help but notice the parallel state of readiness and preparedness of the volunteer fire company and the teams that would compete in the upcoming College National Football Championship game. Both Clemson and Alabama and our fireman go through hours upon hours of rigorous training in preparation for yet unknown events and outcomes. Framing the comparison is not difficult. To no surprise, before a big football game, there is an elevated pitch in the locker room. Monday night players will go through a predictable series of steps in preparing for the game. Go to the stadium, tape up, suit up, loosen up, get a pre-game talk, and then go out on the field and play in the game. Looking across the Mother Seton auditorium, I knew that in a blink of an eye, the room could be emptied if a call came in and fire personnel were needed. Every firefighter and company support member would be gone. Gone to the fire house to suit up, but, unlike football, there would be no tape ups, loosening up or pre-game talk before going on to their “field”—on a call with no level field or fixed boundaries. A “field” of unknowns. If asked what it is like to be a volunteer fireman, knowing every day and every night that a call could come in, is only met with a shrug of the shoulders and a smile. Amazing people.

So what is the circle of care in Emmitsburg? One example is the first level of care: The volunteer Vigilant Hose Company responded to a call at a residence on East Main Street, where a fire would soon be extinguished, with limited damage and no personal injuries; but as a result, the family is now displaced. Hearing this, Sharon Hane and another concerned resident contacted Pastor John Greenstone, who manages the Emmitsburg Council of Churches fire fund, and told him of the family’s situation. The good Pastor concurred with the need and wrote a check. To accommodate the father’s schedule, one evening before Christmas, I gave him the check at the Community Center, where he was waiting to pick up his child from the town-sponsored after-school program. Volunteer Fire Company to concerned citizens to charitable resources and to town-sponsored childcare program is one way of how the circle of care works.

More “Green.” During the current drought conditions, predictably, the water levels at Rainbow Lake dropped. Unpredictably, though, was a natural consequence of algae levels that rose quickly, in part with more exposure to sunlight. Currently, the increased algae level necessitates more backwashing, which is expensive and exacerbates the water shortage by using and wasting water in the process. The town administration has proposed to the town council installing a solar powered “Advanced Ultrasonic Algae Control System.”

Soon there could be charging infrastructure for electric vehicles coming to Emmitsburg. From Shannon Moore, director of the Office of Sustainability: “As part of a settlement with the federal government, Volkswagen (VW) committed $2 billion over ten years to help advance the Electric Vehicle/Plug-In Electric Vehicle infrastructure in the United States. As a part of this settlement, VW is soliciting applications, due by January 16, 2017, from those interested in helping advance said infrastructure.  The COG (Washington Council of Governments) team is seeking project partners to receive the financial assistance to install chargers at host sites, either public or private. The team also is seeking partners to assist with education and outreach as well as vocational training.” To keep things moving, the town has expressed an interest in becoming a partner and possibly installing two charger stations. More to come on this.