Competition to laud youths whose efforts go unnoticed

`Unsung Heroes' seeking `students with heart'

March 28, 2003|By Deitrich Curry | Deitrich Curry,SUN STAFF

It is not uncommon to see the best athlete, the valedictorian or the class president recognized for his or her many achievements. But the student who inspires other youth, overcomes great obstacles or goes beyond expectation frequently goes unnoticed and unrecognized.

Now a new competition recognizing "Unsung Heroes" is being started in Howard County to spotlight the talents and efforts of students whose achievements have previously not been acknowledged. This award will recognized 12 "Unsung Heroes" from grades six through 12 in the county schools.

Creig Northrop & the Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. is sponsoring the contest.

"I'm looking for those students with heart. It's not that there is anything wrong with the valedictorian and student athletes, but our community already respects them. I'm looking for those students who no one knows about. There's a lot of winners that go unnoticed every day," said Creig Northrop.

When interviewing juniors as part of an educational partnership with the county schools, Northrop said, he found that he was more impressed with students who visited nursing homes after school rather than those who made straight A's.

His organization will honor the 12 "unsung heroes" at a small reception where the grand prize winner will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship and trophy. Second- and third-place runners-up will be presented with a plaque and a check for $100 while the remaining nine students will be presented with $100 checks.

"It's incredible," said Cate Barry, a drama teacher at Long Reach High School. "It's always a good thing to recognize students who are not the stars but are just as dedicated," she said. Barry is thinking about nominating one of the students who does stage work for her.

Lee Stevens, band director at Atholton High School, is considering nominating five students. "It's a wonderful opportunity for kids to be honored who would probably never get to be honored in a competition like this again," he said. "You have those students who are the first best, second best and third best, but then there is a sea of kids who work very hard and are just as valuable," he said.

A 12-page publication highlighting the 12 winners will be distributed to schools and county library branches in September.

Nominations must be in by 5 p.m. April 9. Parents, employers, coaches and Howard County school faculty and staff members are invited to nominate students. Applications are available in school guidance offices.

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