WESTMINSTER — Maryland's 1992 Assistant Principal of the Year was nearly too hoarse to say thank you on Thursday when he heard he won the award.
Kent W. Kreamer walked onto the stage at Westminster High, ready to dismiss one group of students and usher in another for the last event in the daylong drug symposium, which he had organized for the 2,000 or so students at the school.
The event, which included films, guest speakers and awareness lessons, had been months in planning. By 2 p.m., the 41-year-old assistant principal already had put in a nine-hour day, rising before 5 a.m.at his Taneytown home to make sure inclement weather wouldn't force the cancellation of the program.
"I often lose my voice after an exhausting day," said Kreamer, preparing to introduce the final segment.
Before he could dismiss the students, Principal Sherri-Le W. Bream "surprised" him with his selection as the state winner of the annual award, created in 1990 by McDonald's Corp. and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
"Assistant principals are often the unsung heroes of our schools," said Edward Rensi, president of McDonald's USA, in a news release discussing the award. "They interact with students every day."
Bream said it was fitting Kreamer heard the news at the assembly.
"It's you he does all this work for," she said to the approximately 800 students in the auditorium. "We wanted you to be in on the honor."
Jeff O'Lear, of MagicTouch Entertainment, a group that performs an anti-drug message, echoed those sentiments.
"Mr. Kreamer cared so much that we were here today to make it special for you," he said. "He goes way beyond what is normally expected."
Bream nominated Kreamer, a 14-year faculty member at Westminster, the last seven as assistant principal.
"I can't thinkof anybody who deserves recognition more," said Bream. "He is an excellent, detailed person, who really cares about kids."
While listing his qualifications for the award, Kreamer said he concentrated on the drug and alcohol awareness programs he has conducted the past three years.
Kreamer, the father of two teen-aged children at Westminster, said he thinks drug education has a positive effect.
"These programs are only a piece of the larger commitment to keep students away from drugs," he said. "All efforts combined are keeping the number of offenders down."
In addition to organizing those programs, heis responsible for the 550-member junior class and several student organizations.
As the state winner, Kreamer will represent Marylandat a "Leadership Forum for the 21st Century" in Illinois next month.