1993 class president reports he reached his dream


October 08, 2001|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HOW MANY TIMES have you flipped through an old yearbook, glanced at the vaguely familiar faces and thought, "I wonder what this person is doing now?"

Did the "Most Likely to Succeed" really succeed? Did the "Class Clown" keep her sense of humor? Is the "Best-looking Couple" still looking their best, or did they even stay in touch?

In Westminster High School's Class of 1993, an enthusiastic class president named Jon Leiberman interned at the local cable station and inched his way toward one of his childhood dreams - to be a broadcast journalist.

His coverage of wildfires that threatened Los Alamos earned an Emmy last year when he was working for an ABC news affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M. Now, as an investigative reporter for WBFF Fox 45 and WNUV WB 54, Leiberman is fulfilling his dream.

Minutes after the hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, Leiberman was there to report the story.

Since then, covering stories related to the terrorist attacks and the tornado that ripped through the University of Maryland, College Park community, has put him the middle of big stories and into many long nights.

He often thinks about Carroll County - family members here, former teachers and old friends.

"All the experiences over the last few weeks have made me so grateful to the people - family, teachers, and friends - who molded who I am and how I view things," Leiberman said. "Carroll County was a great place to grow up."

Leiberman is the kind of person who always needed an audience, said his mother, Shelley Sarsfield of Westminster.

That need was met as early as third grade at William Winchester Elementary School.

"The principal let him get on the intercom and give the news and weather," Sarsfield said. "You know, Jon needed a quick start on life because he only weighed 2 pounds when he was born, and after that quick start, he hasn't sat down since."

In his daily rush to meet deadlines and get information to the public, Leiberman acknowledges he hasn't had time to fully understand what the tragedies mean to this country.

"I do know that this is history in the making, and life for everyone has changed," he said.

Another thing he knows for sure: He appreciates Carroll County, and lately when he thinks about the good old days, he remembers people such as Westminster High School teachers Janet Kelly and Tom McHugh.

"They were the class advisers and we spent a lot of time talking about things other than school-related things," Leiberman said. "They had unique perspectives, and they taught me how to think critically."

Anyone flipping through Westminster High School's 1993 yearbook and perhaps wondering what happened to the senior class president, pass the word: He's thinking a lot about home and he's doing fine.

Gateway students think big

Next week, art students at the Gateway School hope to put the finishing touches on their 6-foot-long papier-machM-i American flag blimp. Plans for the project began last year and have continued under the direction of teacher Mat DeMunbrun.

No one knew that the art project would be a positive and constructive way to deal with feelings associated with tragedy.

"The blimp will be dedicated to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks," said Principal Bob Cullison. "It will be displayed at Bullock's Airport Inn Restaurant, and when people see it, they will be amazed by the amount of work and detail that went into it."

The papier-machM-i flag is made with Carroll County Times newspapers, and it was built in sections around a wooden frame. DeMunbrun estimates that students used 50 to 60 full papers to cover the piece and logged six months of their time.

"Their commitment to it is amazing," said DeMunbrun. "Their engineering abilities have been great. From figuring out how the structure will hold its own weight, to how to seal it and how to hang it from the ceiling, they have figured out the right details."

By the end of last week, students were painting stars on the nosepiece.

Students dedicated to this art project are Luke Abel, Jeff Porter, Chris Schriener and Melanie Sherfie.

Living treasure honored

West Middle School pupil Caitlin Boob honors Westminster resident Lexi Schafer as her living treasure because she "helps many people in her daily life."

"She works two jobs that involve helping people around her," Caitlin said. "Her Best Wishes business congratulates people on their accomplishments, and she volunteers at Carroll Lutheran Village and at Shepherd's Staff. Even with this busy schedule, she still finds time to spend many hours with her daughter and husband."

Living Treasures in Carroll County are featured at the end of this column each week. Send a few lines honoring someone who has made a difference in your life.

Their gesture of kindness might be big or small. What matters is that it made a positive difference.

Send to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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