Currently viewing the tag: "thurmont primary school"

The Catoctin Area Civitan Club donated 30 bookbags,  filled with a folder, pencils, and crayons to our local schools. The Thurmont Primary School, Emmitsburg Elementary School, and Lewistown Elementary School each received 10 bags to distribute to children in need.

Stacy Bokinsky (Lewistown Elementary School Counselor), Daniel Genemans (Lewistown Elementary School Student), Ginger Malone, Mary Dal-Favero and Ann Malone.

As part of the Thurmont Lions Club Literacy Project for September (Literacy month), 648 books were delivered to the Thurmont Primary School and the Thurmont Elementary School. Literacy is one of the core missions of the club.

The books Paddington Sets Sail, Sleep Bear, and Amazing Dolphins were delivered to the Thurmont Primary School, and Flat Stanley and the Very Big Cookie, The Titanic, and The Truths and Myths about Weird Animals were delivered to the Thurmont Elementary School. 

Each book included a bookmark from Texas Roadhouse. If each child reads three books and has the bookmark signed by their parents, he/she will receive a free kid’s meal!

The principals were delighted and appreciative of the help they receive from the Thurmont Lions Club in supporting literacy in their schools.

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.

The Thurmont Lions Club held its Education Night on May 8, 2019, with Mark Pritts, Frederick County Public School’s instructional director as their guest speaker. The club recognized a teacher from Catoctin High School and the seven feeder schools. Of these eight teachers, a “Teacher of the Year” for the Thurmont Lions Club was honored. Each teacher received a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. The Teacher of the Year received a check for $250.

The 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year was Marisa Bruce, Thurmont Primary School. Fellow teachers nominated her. An excerpt from her nomination form reads: “She is a music teacher whose love and enthusiasm for music is contagious. Even the most timid student has found confidence and joy in her classroom. She has planned grade-level performances that involve every student this year. This is an amazing opportunity for our students to show and share what they have learned this year. She is a wonderful asset to our school.”

The club recognized Mike Franklin, a physical education teacher at Catoctin High School, who was named Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. He has been head coach of the CHS baseball team for 20 years. Franklin was unable to join the club for their Education Night celebration due to a previous commitment. However, Principal Bernard Quesada of Catoctin High School said a few heartfelt words about Franklin, regarding his outstanding contributions to the school and his outstanding commitments to the students in the physical education department. 

Pictured from left are 1st VP Lion Joyce Anthony; Marisa Bruce; Principal Kate Locke, Thurmont Primary School; President Julie El-Taher.

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.

by Theresa Dardanell

Graceham Volunteer Fire Company — An All-Volunteer Company

100% Volunteer Fire & EMS Corporation
Pictured from left are William Morgan, Amy Morgan, William Ott, Timothy Lott, Kenneth Simmers, Sterling Seiss, Michelle Powell, Louis Powell Jr, Brian Boller; (standing on 184) Julie Durgan and James Kilby.

Fighting Fires is their job, but preventing fires is their passion. The members of the Graceham Volunteer Fire Company (VFC #18) take every opportunity to educate the community about fire safety and fire prevention. Each year during Fire Prevention Week, they visit the students at Thurmont Primary School and distribute fire safety information packets. The children get to see and touch the firefighters’ gear so that they learn not to be afraid if they are ever involved in an emergency situation. To make it fun, the firefighters have a race to see who can be the first to put on their gear. Company members also distribute fire prevention literature for adults at many locations and events. During the fall, they set up a table at the Lawyer’s Farm corn maze. Graceham Moravian Church is another location where the members distribute information. In 1994, Kathleen Grady, one of the members, was named Miss Frederick County Fire Prevention Queen, and was later selected as Maryland State Fire Prevention Queen First Runner Up.

Although Graceham VFC #18 was actually incorporated in 1960, the original fire company joined the Frederick County Firemen’s Association in 1936. The station, still in its current location on Graceham Road, was built in 1963, and serves an area that includes Graceham, Creagerstown, and Thurmont Primary School.

The original building had two bays, but renovations added an additional bay. A 100-gallon hand-pulled Ajax tank was one of the first pieces of equipment used by the original fire company. Today, the company has several vehicles: Engine 183 with a 1000-gallon tank, Engine Tanker 184 with an 1800-gallon tank, and a brush truck. They also have two vehicles to provide EMS service.

The most impressive fact is that the department has paid off the mortgage on the station and does not currently owe any money for the apparatus. This is due to the hard work and dedication of the members, as well as the tremendous support from the community. However, the twenty-six-year-old pumper will need to be replaced in the near future. Fundraising is critical. The 25 Club, raffles, and turkey shoots provide the funds needed for new equipment and expenses. The 25 Club is held twice a year and gives the community an enjoyable event, as well as an opportunity to support the department. It includes a dinner and a chance to win cash prizes. Gun raffles are held twice a year and turkey shoots are monthly events. Event dates and times can be found on the Facebook page for Graceham VFC #18.

The department has responded to many different fires and emergency situations over the years. One incident recalled by the members was the 1991 Loys Station Bridge fire. A car on the bridge was set on fire, and Graceham VFC #18 was one of the many departments that responded to the call. The bridge was unfortunately destroyed but was later rebuilt.

The membership of the department includes Administrative Officers: Louis Powell, Jr.—President; William Morgan—Vice President; Hilary Blake—Secretary and Fire Prevention Chairperson; Julie Durgan—Assistant Secretary; Sterling Seiss—Treasurer; Brian Boller—Assistant Treasurer. Operational Officers are: James Kilby—Chief; Louis Powell, Jr.—Assistant Chief; Valaria Kilby—Captain. Board of Directors members are: Hilary Blake, Brian Boller, Kenny “Doc” Simmers Sr., Eugene “Sonny” Grimes, Sterling Seiss, and Amanda “Katie” Miller. Other members include fundraising staff, kitchen committee, and junior members.

More volunteers are always needed and welcome. Assistant Chief Louis Powell would be happy to talk with anyone who is interested in joining the group. If you are interested, you can contact him at

Theresa Dardanell

From high in the sky to deep in the ocean and everything in between. That’s what students at Thurmont Primary School had a chance to investigate during Family Science Night in November. A team from The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore provided students and their families an opportunity to explore science experiments and activities through a Title 1 Family Involvement Grant. This popular event brought fifty families to the school. Principal Karen Locke said that over eighty-six children participated.

As students arrived at the gym, they picked up an activity “passport” that guided them through eight stations: Cosmic Colors, Up In The Sky, Tiny Tech, Wild Eyes, Shore Thing, Mystery Liquids, Optical Illusions, and Let’s Roll. Pete Yacone, Senior Director of Education at the Maryland Science Center, and his team, provided hands-on activities. Students and their families had the chance to look at the world through the eyes of other animals, to discover why the sky is blue, and to learn how rocks become the sand on the beach. They worked with liquids to solve a mystery, and made predictions about objects rolling down a ramp. Mr. Yacone said that the members of his team enjoy working with children and families, and they adjust their presentations based on the age of the participants. The STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, math) organization at The Maryland Science Center develops programs that supplement the curriculum and supplies materials and equipment that may not be available at the schools.

The Literacy/Math Night at Thurmont Primary will be held in April 2017. Sign up for the FCPS “Find Out First” service to get information about all the events at the school.


Quintin and Joclyn Cassidy, Adalynn and Elliana Mucker, and Logyn Thomas are shown at the Mystery Liquids station with Diane from the Maryland Science Center.

School Bells are Ringing Across the County

James Rada, Jr.

Frederick County students headed back to school on Monday, August 24. Nearly every school saw new faces among the faculty and staff.

Thurmont Primary School

Thurmont Primary School is the only school in the area not seeing any staffing changes this year. All of the teachers and staff from last school year are returning.

Sabillasville Elementary School

Sabillasville Elementary School welcomes three new teachers this year: Jennifer Rutherford, special education teacher; Maureen Schildt, 5th grade teacher; and Chad Keller, physical education teacher.

Lewistown Elementary School

Lewistown Elementary School is welcoming nine new teachers and staff this year: Austin Seliga, kindergarten teacher; Dana Byard, media specialist; Jessica Flabbi, pyramid teacher; Kristina Sartwell, pyramid teacher; Aly Kaufman, pyramid teacher; Jeremy Kraeuter, user support specialist to help with technology needs; Tia Rode, special education assistant; Brenda Harrison, special education assistant; and Gayle Mosier, special education assistant.

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Emmitsburg Elementary School welcomes five new teachers and staff this year: Sara Bugler, pre-K teacher;           Stan Diehl, instructional support staff; Harry Fogle, instructional support staff; Kelli Landermann, instructional support staff; and Mary Neibecker, instructional support staff.

Also, targeted Intervention teacher Charlene Rippeon was awarded 2015 Thurmont Lions Club Teacher of the Year Award.

Thurmont Middle School

Thurmont Middle School Principal Jennifer Powell said, “We’ve had quite a few changes to our staff this year due to our decreasing enrollment and the increase in class size due to the FCPS budget.”

Current enrollment in the school is around 542, which is down from approximately seven years earlier when enrollment was over 700 students. This means fewer class periods need a teacher to cover them, which could eventually lead to fewer teachers at the school. Ten teachers and staff have left the school this year due to retirement, transfers to other schools, or other reasons.

New this year or in new positions are: Emily Kern, math/science teacher; Valerie Cousins, filling in for Bethany Webster on maternity leave;         and Tina Garst, science teacher instead of math.

“We still proudly have the FCPS Teacher of the Year Amanda Portner who is our Literacy Specialist,” Powell said. “We will find out in October if she is the Maryland Teacher of the Year.”

Catoctin High School

Catoctin High School welcomes five new teachers and staff this year: Luis Torrado, history teacher; Julie Bashin, math teacher; Katherine Mills, media specialist; and Doug Young, science and math teacher.

Mother Seton School

Mother Seton School is welcoming three new teachers this year: Kelsey Kuykendall, pre-k teacher; Amy Incaprera, middle school language arts and religion teacher; and Rhona Stocksdale, physical education teacher. The school now has central air conditioning throughout the entire building to maintain a comfortable learning environment for the students.

Patriot’s Pen Contest

Each year, the VFW Post 6658 Ladies Auxiliary sponsors “The Patriot’s Pen” contest, which is open to students in grades sixth through eighth.

Students are required to do a typed essay of 300-400 words based on the theme, “What Freedom Means To Me.” Monetary prizes are given to the winners on local, state, and national levels.

Judging is based on knowledge of theme, theme development, and clarity of ideas. If you are interested, please contact Gwen Topper at 717-359-0713 for an entry form.

Thurmont Elementary and Primary Schools to Host Back-to-School Picnic

On Thursday, September 10, 2015, the Thurmont Primary and Thurmont Elementary Schools will be hosting their annual Back-to-School Night Family Picnic at the Thurmont Town Park, located at 21 Frederick Road in Thurmont in the pavilions, from 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Students and their families are invited to come spend some informal and fun time with teachers and staff, with good food, enjoyable music, lots of useful information, and tons of fun on the agenda.

Many thanks go out to the local business community for all of their support of this collaborative event to kick off the 2015-2016 school year.

Catoctin Safe and Sane Class of 2016

The 2016 Catoctin High School (CHS) Safe and Sane Committee is selling $5.00 tickets for chances to win a bushel of steamed crabs. Winners will be drawn at 2:00 p.m. on September 13, 2015, at the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show.

Save the date for a fun night painting! Get your tickets for the Corks & Canvas Night on September 17, 2015, at the Carriage House Inn in JoAnn’s Ballroom in Emmitsburg. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The cost is $50.00 a ticket, which includes art supplies, appetizers, and complimentary wine.

Please contact Laura Imes at 301-788-6458 or Kim Moser at 240-285-1799 for tickets for these events.

Visit the Catoctin Safe and Sane Class of 2016 website for all upcoming and future events at