Check Out Some of Our Great Staff and Students
Burning Tree Educator Wins Shirley Lowrie Award
Marni Olesker, third grade teacher and team leader at Burning Tree Elementary School, has won this year’s Shirley J. Lowrie “Thank You for Teaching” Award.
A 31-year veteran of MCPS, 21 of them at Burning Tree, Olesker is a game changer for students.
Each year, she requests the students with the greatest needs and the most difficult IEPs or tough behavioral issues. And each year, she wins them over so skillfully that they make tremendous academic and emotional progress. She has a natural ability to connect with and push each student to reach excellence. She also gets results—during the pandemic, 100 percent of her students met proficiency on two or three Evidence of Learning goals in math, and 85 percent met all three Evidence of Learning goals in reading.
Olesker is beloved by colleagues, parents and students. Those who have worked with her call her a one-of-a-kind superstar teacher who changes lives. As students come into class every morning, Olesker greets each one with either a high five, tandem dance, other gestures or the Olesker Bear Hug. Every moment in her room is purposeful, engaging, student-focused and fun. She finds joy in building relationships and connections with her students. She is high energy, flexible and can “read the room” to assess how students are doing.
The annual “Thank You for Teaching” awards are made possible through the Shirley J. Lowrie Memorial Fund, established at the Community Foundation for Montgomery County. Lowrie taught for several years as a teacher and substitute teacher in California and Connecticut before relocating with her family to Potomac. Olesker received a $2,500 prize for being named the winner.
Rockville 8th Grader Competes in Scripps National Spelling Bee
Vikram Reddy, an eighth grader at Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, is one of 234 spellers that competed in the May 31 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He is the only speller from Montgomery County.
Two Asian American Students Win LEAAP Scholarships
Two high school seniors were recognized during the May 10 Board of Education meeting for receiving scholarships from the League of Educators for Asian American Progress (LEAAP). The students were honored for their level of scholarship and their interest in pursuing a career in education. They each received $2,000 scholarships.
The two and their high schools are:
Ying-Ying Shen and her father with Churchill High School principal John Taylor
Riko Mukoyama with Walter Johnson principal Jennifer Baker
African American Students Honored for Outstanding Achievement, Leadership
The Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators honored 28 graduating seniors during its annual Distinguished African-American Scholars and Community Leaders Awards Ceremony.
The seniors are graduating with close to 10,000 Student Service Learning hours and an average GPA of 4.00. Thanks to donations and fundraising, MCABSE raised about $10,000 in scholarship funding for these students.
Distinguished Scholars and Community Leaders are committed to leadership in their high schools and communities; are passionate and committed to their education and demonstrate a deliberate pursuit of academic excellence; and are talented, positive and motivated.
The 2022 honorees are:
- Frahanco Deressa, Bethesda-Chevy Chase
- Faris Diarra, Blair G. Ewing Center
- Benson Mwangachuchu, Montgomery Blair
- Sie Coulibaly, James Hubert Blake
- Queen Balina, Winston Churchill
- Mia Smith, Clarksburg
- Dorothy Nathan, Damascus
- Gardy Philogene, Thomas Edison
- Shelton Fantroy, Albert Einstein
- Clark Didavi, Gaithersburg
- Imanuel Harper, Walter Johnson
- Leinayiah Jex, John F. Kennedy
- Yohannes Gebrechirstos, Col. Zadok Magruder
- Elfreda Raven, Richard Montgomery
- Rebecca Williams, Northwest
- Elon Atlaw, Northwood
- Praise Alayode, Paint Branch
- Jessica Williamson, Poolesville
- Amina Cedeno, Quince Orchard
- Afsara Nowrin, RICA
- Naila Newman, Rockville
- Owen Kaayou, Seneca Valley
- Christopher Cannady, Sherwood
- Toluni Ghandi-Olaoye, Springbrook
- Khady Mbodj, Watkins Mill
- Hanna Wosenu, Wheaton
- Mboijana Austin, Walt Whitman
- Micah Fossett, Thomas S. Wootton
SERT Announces Watts Up? Poster Contest Winners
The School Energy and Recycling Team has announced the winners of the annual Watt’s Up? poster contest. The goal of this annual contest is to raise awareness about sustainability issues, such as conservation and recycling through creative artwork. Hundreds of students and staff participated in online judging to select the winning entries.
The winners and their artwork are:
Grades K-2: Harper M. Voltz, Flower Hill Elementary School
Grades 6-8: Zoila Mingli Zhou-Castro, Odessa Shannon Middle School
Grades 9-12: Gabby Mendelsohn, Richard Montgomery High School
The winning entries will be on display at the Rockville Memorial Library throughout June.
MCPS Students Win Congressional Art Contest
Emily Duan, a student at Richard Montgomery High School, took first place in U.S. Rep. David Trone’s Congressional Art Competition in Maryland’s 6th District. Her piece was titled “Reminiscence.” Duan’s work was chosen through public voting on social media.
Isabel Acuna Marin from Albert Einstein High School took top honors in Maryland’s 8th District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin. Her art piece was titled “Tia Mona.”
Both winning pieces will hang in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year, along with the winning artwork from every congressional district in the nation.
MCPS Students Win Top Awards in Annual Girl Power Contest
The winners of the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s (CFW) fifth annual Girl Power Contest have been selected. Contestants were asked to address the following questions, “What do you see as the three biggest accomplishments women have achieved over the last 50 years? What three accomplishments do you believe would make the biggest impact over the next 50 years?”
This year’s winners are:
- First Place: Arya Krishnan, 2nd grade, Jones Lane Elementary School
- First Place: Nubian Lloyd, 8th grade, Gaithersburg Middle School
- Honorable Mention: Sara Benachenhou, 8th grade, Julius West Middle School
- First Place: Nuha Nadeem, 10th grade, Col. Zadok Magruder High School
- Honorable Mention: Yoksha Muruganantham, 11th grade, Poolesville High School