June is typically a time for academic awards, and the Howard County public school system can boast of closing the 1992-1993 school year with a number of noteworthy honors:
* Eugene Streagle of Howard High School was named Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals. A veteran of 25 years in the Howard system, Mr. Streagle has spent the past nine years directing the daily operations of Howard High, a facility whose students, teachers and support personnel total nearly 1,500.
* A pair of first-year county teachers, Scott Conroy of Elkridge Elementary School and Jennifer Keller of Bollman Bridge Elementary in Jessup, won Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year Awards from the American Association of School Administrators. This September, Mr. Conroy and Ms. Keller will take part in a competition to determine the top 100 first-year teachers in the nation.
* Three men who taught black Howard students in the days of segregated schools -- Morris Woodson, Silas Craft and Elhart Flurry -- were paid homage recently during the first Appreciation Day of the county's NAACP Youth Council. They were recognized for their determined efforts decades ago to educate black students despite vexing shortages of materials and other inequities.
* Atholton High School became one of 10 schools in Maryland and 250 nationwide to earn a Blue Ribbon designation of excellence from the U.S. Department of Education. A Blue Ribbon school is rewarded for having first-rate teachers, a challenging curriculum, strong parental involvement and other commendable traits that judges deemed abundantly evident at Atholton.
Scott Pfeifer, the principal at Atholton, gave much of the credit for the school's award to the solid educational base provided by the county's public school system. Indeed, the Howard system is generally held to be among the best in Maryland. It should have no trouble maintaining that status, even with the recent budget trimming that had overanxious Board of Education members screaming foul.
There's no reason to believe Howard schools won't continue earning academic honors in coming years. Given the quality of the system, it would be viewed as an upset if they didn't.