Education briefs

September 26, 2014

Hilltop pupils get shoes

Nearly 300 children at Hilltop Elementary School in Glen Burnie have new shoes as the result of efforts by Leadership Anne Arundel Flagship program graduates.

A six-member group from the leadership-training organization launched a drive to buy footwear for the children after learning that some young students were wearing ill-fitting or inappropriate shoes to school. Principal Louise DeJesu and staff members measured children's feet, and the shoes were purchased and recently delivered.

"We found that teachers were buying shoes for some students who came to school with sandals in cold weather or didn't have sneakers for gym class," said Tracy Hall, vice president of Howard Bank and one of the project's organizers.

Hall, the bank's business banking relationship manager in Annapolis, along with fellow Leadership 2014 graduates Diane Sancillo of Hospice of the Chesapeake, Loise Novochadlo of Center of Help, Kelley McNey of McNey and Co., June Hoehl of Eagle Alliance and Leigh Rand of Fast Signs, worked on the project

Howard Bank employees chipped in to buy several dozen pairs of shoes, and organizers helped raise money from Leadership Anne Arundel graduates, friends and business associates to purchase the rest.

Leadership Anne Arundel is a program designed to train business and community leaders in local activism through education, resources and networking.

Hall is working to form a nonprofit, Walk a Mile in the Shoes of a Child, to receive funds so the project can continue. For details, email her at

National merit semifinalists

Ten students from five county public high schools have been selected as semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship competition.

Severna Park High led the list with five students: Beatrice Chaudoin, Tec Lee, Connor Meyers, Alexander Nolte and Claire Witting.

South River had two students, Cassandra Boyle and Caterina Wu. And three schools had one student each: Julia Saams of Arundel, Jeanne Luning Prak of Broadneck and Jamie Shade of Old Mill.

Anne Arundel Superintendent George Arlotto said the students selected show the "discipline, diligence and excellence it takes to achieve great things. They are clear examples of the talent that exists in all of our students."

Some 16,000 semifinalists in the competition, which is overseen by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., were selected from about 1.4 million juniors in nearly 22,000 U.S. high schools. About 90 percent of the semifinalists will advance to finalist status based on criteria such as academic record, recommendation by school principal, SAT performance, and participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Finalists, who compete for coveted National Merit Scholarships, will be in announced in February.

Teacher gets environmental award

Carlo Echiverri, an advanced-placement environmental science teacher at South River High School, has been named the winner of the 2014 Jan Hollmann Environmental Education Award.

Echiverri's students have won awards for their work, including a first-place finish in the environmental science category at the Intel International Science Fair this year. He has been teaching in Anne Arundel public schools for eight years, all at South River.

The award is named for the late Jan Hollmann, an environmental activist who created the first land trust in Maryland, now known as the Scenic Rivers Land Trust.

AACC class registration

Registration begins Oct. 1 for Anne Arundel Community College's winter noncredit classes. Information: The second eight-week fall credit session begins Oct. 20. To register, call 410-777-2222 or go to

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