Pursuit of childhood dream leads to teaching award in first year


July 16, 1998|By Geri Hastings | Geri Hastings,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

KATHY PARRISH always dreamed of being a teacher. She remembers playing "school" as a child, and always choosing to be the teacher.

Growing up, she moved from Bushy Park Elementary to Glenwood Middle School to Glenelg High, and her dream persisted.

And when she graduated from college and signed a teaching contract with Howard County, her dream came true.

Parrish now teaches at Elkridge Landing Middle School in Elkridge. And what a teacher she has become.

At the end of her first year of teaching at Elkridge Landing, she was one of two Howard County teachers honored with the state Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award.

Parrish knew she had been nominated for the award by colleagues; she had to sign some of the many forms they had to submit on her behalf.

But, she said humbly, "I was really surprised that I won the award. I never thought I would get it. It was really an honor, but I was just doing my job."

Elkridge Landing Middle School Principal Kenneth Gill was not surprised at her achievement.

He has been impressed with Parrish's performance all along. Gill describes her as "an exceptional young teacher with excellent skills who impresses people with her character and integrity."

This energetic and enthusiastic teacher, Gill adds, "came well prepared for the job and works tirelessly to get the job done. She accepts any and all challenges that come her way."

A 1997 graduate of the University of Delaware, certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade, Parrish chose to teach eighth-grade math at Elkridge.

Her student-teaching experiences there influenced her decision to seek a permanent middle school position.

"What I like," says Parrish about teaching at the middle school level, "is the variety -- changing classes and seeing lots of different students during the day. I also find students have a foundation we can build on, and I can relate to them on a higher level."

Parrish likes the supportive staff at Elkridge Landing. She credits the eighth-grade team with mentoring her through her first year.

"I have benefited more from the experiences of other teachers than from any class or textbook," she said.

She is especially grateful to Anne Washinski-Kane, an eighth-grade math teacher at Elkridge Landing who was Parrish's cooperating teacher during her time as a student teacher, and as her mentor during her rookie year.

"Almost everything I learned, I learned from her," Parrish said. "She was always there for me."

This summer, Parrish -- a teacher in love with teaching -- is an instructor at Helping Hands, an academic enrichment camp for pupils in kindergarten through sixth grade.

She enjoys working at the camp because it gives her the opportunity to provide students with learning activities that cannot be scheduled during the regular school year.

The Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Awards honor the nation's outstanding elementary and secondary teachers for their performance during the challenging first year of teaching.

School system nominees are eligible to compete for the state Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award.

One winner will be chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, and America's overseas territories.

First Class Teacher Award winners on the state level will be selected by judges chosen by the American Association of School Administrators.

The nominees will be judged on their instructional skills, the quality of their interaction with students and their communication with faculty, staff, parents and community members.

Sallie Mae -- one of the nation's largest financial services companies and a subsidiary of SLM Holding Corp. -- will announce the winners in September.

Summer sports camps

Summer sports camps are popular with young athletes who want to improve their skills and keep in shape for next year's team play.

Beginning Monday, from 6 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m., Glenelg Country School will hold the first of its two one-week lacrosse camps for boys ages 7 to 17.

The camp, at 12793 Folly Quarter Road, Glenelg, provides instruction for players, who will be grouped according to age and level of skill.

Competitions, such as the fastest-shot contest, will be held each night, and prizes will be given to winners.

The cost for the session is $85. Players may rent equipment for $15.

Session II -- which begins July 27 -- will be a "face-off week" in which players will be assigned to a team, and practice will be in the form of games.

Players interested in this session need lacrosse experience, or to have attended Session I.

The emphasis will be on game strategy and scrimmage situations.

Director and head coach of the Glenelg Country School Lacrosse Camp is varsity lacrosse coach Kevin Bowland, who also heads the middle school program.

Bowland played lacrosse at the University of Maryland, and he was a member of the 1973 and 1975 NCAA national championship teams.

He has coached indoor and outdoor recreation and travel teams.

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