The University of Maryland’s top graduating seniors have piloted programs to feed hungry students, created animations about quantum physics, helped emergency room patients and analyzed hypersonic wind tunnels.
But before they could do any of that, they needed great teachers to guide and inspire them, whether it was help getting through calculus or encouragement in grade school to read at a higher level.
That’s why the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors not just a group of the University of Maryland’s most successful graduating seniors—six of whom are MCPS graduates—but also the teachers who helped mentor them. The late Philip Merrill, friend of the university and long-time Washington-area publisher, created the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program in 2004 to build a community of scholars, faculty members and K-12 teachers who recognize and celebrate the importance of teaching and mentoring the next generation. The program provides $1,000 scholarships, which are awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to another student from that school district who will attend the University of Maryland in the fall of 2020.
The event also allows K-12 teachers to collaborate with university faculty. A workshop about “design thinking” for the K-12 teacher mentors was provided. The experiential, discovery-based learning allowed participants to seek out, interview and observe real people in the field to gain insights.
The 2019–2020 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars from MCPS are:
Sasha Kahn, Architecture, Government and Politics
Teacher mentor: Stephen Miller, now-retired teacher, Walter Johnson High School
Julian Avenilla, American Studies
Teacher mentor: Alexia Friedberg, reading specialist, S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School
Paula Molina Acosta, Women’s Studies
Teacher mentor: Wendy Eagan, teacher, Walt Whitman High School
Doron Tadmor, Operations Management and Business Analytics, International Business
Teacher mentor: Shelley Jackson, resource teacher, Sherwood High School
Manuella Djomaleu, Physiology and Neurobiology
Teacher mentor: Terri Ravick, teacher, Walter Johnson High School
Shifali Mathews, Public Health Science
Teacher mentor: Ashley Schreckengost, resource teacher, Wheaton High School
Read more about them here.
Five Schools Honored by National Health Organization
Five MCPS schools have been recognized for winning the National Healthy Schools Bronze Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a top children’s health organization. They are: Harmony Hills and Arcola elementary schools, and E. Brooke Lee, Redland and Julius West middle schools.
The five are part of 355 U.S. schools—called America’s Healthiest Schools—that were honored with the distinction.
All of America’s Healthiest Schools:
- Meet or exceed federal nutrition standards for school meals and snacks
- Offer breakfast daily
- Incorporate physical activity before, during or after the school day
- Implement district wellness policies and update progress annually
- Involve parents and community members in decision-making
All of these schools participate in the Healthy Schools Program, one of the nation’s largest school-based childhood obesity prevention initiatives that fosters a comprehensive approach to health promotion driven by administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and the community. Research found that meaningful participation was linked to reductions in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among students.
“This recognition shows how schools have worked to create an environment where children learn and practice healthy behaviors that can last a lifetime,” says Holly Hunt, chief of the School Health Branch, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.