River Hill High School's business students going for 3rd state title in a row



About 70 members of River Hill High School's Future Business Leaders of America chapter will put their skills to the test Friday when the team competes for a third consecutive state title.

The three-day competition, at the Clarion Hotel in Hagerstown, will attract more than 700 of the brightest business students in the state. Students will compete in 50 events ranging from written tests on business law and accounting to oral presentations.

River Hill has won the state title four out of the past five years.

Sagar Gupta, 18, a senior at River Hill and state president of the Future Business Leaders of America, will compete in the future business leader event, which involves a interview and comprehensive written test covering business law and accounting.

"It's an extremely fun event," Gupta said. "Kids get a lot out of it. We hang out with friends at a great hotel."

Blue Ribbon School

Clarksville Middle School has received the award; now it is time to celebrate.

The school, named a 2005 Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, will be host tomorrow to state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and Howard Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin. They will be treated to vocal performances, a selection by the school's jazz band and students performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet.

"It's an honor and a privilege," said Principal JoAnn Hutchens. "It is great that they [students, teachers and parents] are recognized for their hard work."

Clarksville was one of six schools in the state selected by the State Department of Education in November to represent Maryland in the national competition, results of which will be announced later in the year.

Schools were selected based on the 2005 Maryland School Assessment. Winning schools also had to score in the top 10 percent of all Maryland schools on the state standardized tests or serve economically disadvantaged communities whose test scores have improved for at least three years.

Teens at job fair

More than 500 students got a lesson on working in the real world and some got jobs last weekend during the fourth Teen Job and Opportunities Fair at Long Reach High School.

Students from all 12 county high schools attended and met with representatives from 40 businesses in the Long Reach High School cafeteria. In addition, 300 parents accompanied their children.

"It was really an awesome experience to have so many teens there," said Laura Smit, executive director of HC DrugFree, the nonprofit Howard group that sponsored the event.

The job fair began in 2001 to provide summer jobs and has evolved to offer internships and jobs during the school year in the private and nonprofit sectors, according to Smit.

"We wanted to give teens things to do and things that will keep them away from drugs and alcohol," Smit said.

Each job fair attendee last weekend was given a folder with job tips ranging from resumes to proper workplace attire. Those who attended also could participate in workshops on resumes and interviewing techniques. There was a fashion show that showed proper workplace attire.

Smit said the one complaint that she heard from the teenagers was the lack of technology-based companies at the fair.

HC DrugFree sponsored the event with the help of the Columbia Association, Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, Howard County Connections, Howard County Library, Columbia Workforce Center and the Long Reach High School PTSA.

"We're definitely doing it again," Smit said. "Everyone is looking forward to next year."

Basketball nerves

Teresa Waters, head girls varsity basketball coach at River Hill High School, spent much of Tuesday evening nervously watching the St. John's University-University of Maryland women's basketball game on television.

The coach also fielded phone calls from co-workers and members of her state championship basketball team about one of the star players of the game -- Greeba Barlow.

Barlow, a senior at St. John's and a River Hill graduate, was playing her final college game against the Terrapins, and Waters -- Barlow's high school coach -- loved every minute of it.

When Waters learned that Barlow's team was about to face Maryland she tracked down Barlow's cell phone number and left her a motivational message. "I told her that Howard County would be watching her and cheering for her," Waters said.

Although Maryland won the game, 81-74, Barlow -- Howard County's Player of the Year in her junior and senior seasons -- scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds.

"She seemed to be in good spirits," said Waters, who talked afterward with Barlow. "Hopefully, some other goals will open for Greeba."


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