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About MSDE > Pride MD Public Schools > Applause

2006 - 2007 Recipients




Viveka Advani

Nikitia Datta

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Nikitia Datta and Viveka Advani won the 2009 Middle School National Debate Championship. Nikitia, a seventh-grade student at Lime Kiln Middle School, and Viveka, who just completed the eighth-grade at Burleigh Manor Middle School, became the first Howard County students to win the competition in its 10-year existence. Nikitia plans to defend her title next year.


Sophie Amberger

Jack Morgan

Cromwell Valley Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Two fifth grade students, Sophie Amberger and Jack Morgan were student panelists at the Speak Up National Research Project Congressional Briefing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The briefing was organized by Project Tomorrow to coincide with the release of the Speak Up 2009 “National Findings from K-12 Students and Parents.” Speak Up is a national survey that gathers input from students, parents, teachers, and administrators regarding the use of technology at school and at home. The findings are used extensively by government and corporations as they make plans for producing and funding instructional technologies for the K-12 school community. The students were invited to serve on this year’s panel because of their school’s high level of participation.


Luke Andraka

North County High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- The “Genius Scholarship” Award was recently given to Luke Andraka at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Luke also placed fourth in a nationwide contest while at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School and later won a $96,000 scholarship. To top it all off, he had an asteroid named after him!


Katherine Bobby

South River High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Katherine Bobby, a sophomore at South River High School, was named the grand prize winner of the Maryland Art Education Association Youth Art Award. As the winner of the grand prize, her artwork was made into a flag that was flown at the Postal Museum building in Washington, D.C. It was then sent to Minneapolis to be flown at the National Art Education Association convention. In addition, Katherine won an all-expense paid trip to New York City.  On her upcoming trip to New York City, Katherine’s hoping to go to some museums, to see a Broadway play and pick up her award at the breakfast banquet honoring the winning artists.


Samantha Chappell

Glen Burnie High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by Cabrini Kriewald, Glen Burnie High School


- A senior, Samantha Chappell, has never missed a day of school since 1st grade. Having graduated in May 2008, the past years of school for Samantha have been a steady commitment to avoiding absence and tardiness. MSDE looks forward to hearing about her continued dedication for academic success.


Julia Chartove

Richard Montgomery High School


Tarun Kakumanu

Rockville High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Julia Chartove, a student at Richard Montgomery High School and Tarun Kakumanu, a student at Rockville High School put their knowledge of neuroscience to the test and took top honors in the 2009 Brain Bee in Washington, D.C.  Julia won first place honors and Tarun placed second in February 2009. Twenty-three students from 14 high schools in Maryland and Washington, D.C., competed for the chance to move on to the U.S. National Brain Bee. Twenty-five students from across the country will take part in the competition and the winner will go on to represent the U.S. at the 11th annual International Brain Bee in Toronto. The Maryland State Department of Education is extremely proud of their dedication towards academic excellence.


Ndidi Chimah

Malacai Davis

Pleasant Plains Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Ndidi Chimah and Malacai Davis, second-graders at Pleasant Plains Elementary School, found out that it pays to write about bugs after the books they wrote were purchased by the American Reading Company, which had sponsored a Reading Research Lab program at their school. Ndidi and Malacai are the only two students, among the 649 county classrooms with about 3,200 county students, participating in the program. During a school assembly in March, the students handed their respective books, “All about Lady Bugs” and “All about Bees,” to a representative from the American Reading Company, who awarded them each a $50 check for the purchase of the titles. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to read more and improve the level of difficulty at which they read.  In the 100 Book Challenge, students are encouraged to read for 30 minutes at school and 30 minutes at home each day, while parents and teachers record students’ progress and improvement. The students hand-write their books, and their teacher types and pastes the text into the books.


Joshua Coyne

Winston Churchill High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by Gail V. Tucker, MSDE


- Joshua Coyne, a 10th-grade student at Winston Churchill High School, is an accomplished violinist. Joshua’s performance at the Maryland Teacher of the Year 18th Annual Awards Gala at Martin’s West in October 2008, earned him a standing ovation for each selection. Joshua’s musical talent, as well as his personal story of triumph, is remarkable. Joshua Coyne is a shining example of the great things that are happening in Maryland public schools. Joshua, unequivocally, has already made Maryland proud!


Nick DeMichele

Noah DeMichele

Students at Mountain Ridge High School and Westernport Elementary School

Allegany County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


-For the second year in a row, brothers Nick DeMichele and Noah DeMichele have both received the prestigious Carson Scholar Award. Nick, a freshman at Mountain Ridge High School, is a straight-A honor student and is a member of the MRHS Mock Trial Team, the Drama Club Tech Crew, the Spanish Club, and the Debate Team. Noah, a fifth-grader at Westernport Elementary School, is involved in the Acceleration and Enrichment Program and plays football for the Westernport Giants and baseball for the Westernport Pirates. They were invited to attend the Carson Scholar’s Fund 14th Annual Awards Banquet, where they met Dr. Ben Carson and football legend Tony Dungy.


Peter DeMuth

Graduate, Loch Raven High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Graduate UMD at College Park

Nominated by Mary Thurlow (MSDE)


- Peter DeMuth is this year’s recipient of the University of Maryland’s University Medal for most outstanding graduate. Peter has a 4.0 in his double major, is an active member in the Navigators Christian Fellowship, and volunteers in Jacob’s Well in Baltimore. His wide-ranging variety of interests are further reflected by his career at Loch Raven High School where he was Captain of the state semi-finalist varsity soccer team in his senior year. Peter will be pursuing a Ph.D. in bioengineering at MIT in the fall.


James Dougan

Nordstrom College Scholarship

Chesapeake High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Chesapeake High School senior James Dougan was one of five people in the region to receive a $10,000 college scholarship given out by Nordstrom. He excels academically and is also a leader within the school.


Eon Duzant

W.E.B. DuBois High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Eon Duzant’s research, titled “The Vex Robotics Challenge for Engineering and Mechanical Design for Applied Robotics Technology,” explored ways to prevent automobiles from tipping over and aircraft from spiraling out of control. He won at the Morgan State University Regional Science Fair, and at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He has also earned himself a $50,000, four-year scholarship. Eon is also a part of the school’s varsity debate, chess, and tennis teams.


Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Students of Maryland High Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Students and chapters from the State of Maryland receive national recognition at the 2009 FBLA Awards of Excellence Program in Anaheim, California.


Jonathan Hill, Allegany High School, Allegany County Public Schools

Steven Klupt, Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Baltimore County Public Schools

Chase Montgomery, Catonsville High School, Baltimore County Public Schools

Jillian Aranda, Julie Benish, and Rachel Davidson, Northern High School, Calvert

     County Public Schools

Karthik Krishnan, River Hill High School, Howard County Public Schools

Bethany Hart, Justin Nicholson, and Courtney Wathen, Chopticon High School,

     St. Mary’s County Public Schools

Maryland FBLA State Chapter


Sikandar Porter-Gill

Gaithersburg High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Sikandar Porter-Gill, a senior at Gaithersburg High School, is a 2008 Davidson Fellow Laureate and $50K scholarship recipient. In his science project, “The Production of Methane in a Two-Chamber Bio-Catalyzed Microbial Fuel Cell Utilizing Methanosarcina barkeri,” Sikandar developed a novel process to clean wastewater and produce methane for use as an alternative form of energy. Sikandar’s research is a promising step toward pursuing a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly energy source.


William Hardin

Williamsport High School

Washington County Public Schools

Nominated by Laura Funk, Williamsport High School


- William Hardin is a student in the Washington County Public School District. He is currently in his senior year at Williamsport High School. In August 2008, Joey fell in an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He subsequently had two brain surgeries. Prior to his accident, Joey was an honor roll student and played junior varsity soccer for Williamsport High. Over the past year, Joey has returned to school and is back on the honor roll and is on the varsity soccer team.


Kyle Hutzler

Huntingtown High School

Calvert County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Kyle Hutzler, a junior at Huntingtown High School, is a 2008 Davidson Fellow and $10K scholarship recipient. In his Outside the Box – Education Policy project, “Kansas: American Education,” Kyle created a substantial policy paper incorporating analysis and editorials to serve as the groundwork for education reform. Kyle’s work articulates a vision for restructuring with specific proposals ranging from classroom organization and curriculum, to funding and teacher pay.


Robert Keating

Severna Park High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Robert Keating, a senior at Severna Park High School, was named Teenager of the Year at the Severna Park Kiwanis Club Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Keating is a top scholar athlete and captain of the cross-country track team, involved with the Woods work Mission Trips; treasurer of the National Honor Society; and, is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Additionally, he is an Eagle Scout who volunteers with local Boy Scouts, Giving Back Inc., and Habitat for Humanity. He also works on many church-related projects. This distinguished Maryland scholar continues to make a wide array of contributions throughout his community making them proud.


Anita Kulluri

Irene Lu

Madhu Vemulakonda

Hammond Elementary School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- A three-member team from Hammond Elementary School took first-place in the statewide Black Saga Competition, the highest finish ever for a Howard County school in that division. A second team from Hammond Elementary placed third in the elementary division. In all, 175 Howard County students representing 10 middle and 12 elementary schools participated in the competition. The state competition was sponsored by Dr. Charles Christian, a professor at Coppin State University, who invented the competition in 1992. The state competition is based on Christian’s 608-page book, “Black Saga: The African American Experience: A Chronology.” The students love to challenge themselves, and have a true interest in learning about African Americans, and their experience throughout the ages - each of the students were awarded $300 and a plaque.


Jonece Layne

Glenarden Woods Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Cecelia Jones-Bowlding, PGCPS


- Jonece Layne has always been a student of excellence. Jonece maintains a 4.0 GPA and is poised to complete four high school courses while attending middle school. One morning each week, Jonece returns to Glenarden Woods Elementary School to tutor students in reading and math. She is an accomplished pianist, plays the clarinet, dances, plays chess, and has volunteered more than 600 hours at the Erickson’s Riderwood Retirement Home. In addition, Jonece is a Dr. Ben Carson Scholar and a middle school winner of the 2007 “Women of Tomorrow Award” for the State of Maryland. Jonece has created a journey thus far that travels the roadway to success – the special aspect of her journey for success is that Jonece stops and helps others as she travels on.


Stephanie Leonard

Reginald F. Lewis High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Patricia Waters, BCPSS 


- Stephanie Leonard, a 12th grade student, ranks 2nd in the Class of 2008. Stephanie has been on the Principal’s List or Honor Roll since the 10th grade.  Stephanie tutors elementary school students at Morgan State University.  Stephanie is currently interning with the National Labor Relations Board. In addition, Stephanie was nominated as “Scholar of the Week” for the week in January 2008, and recognized for her accomplishments on TV Channel 54.


Jesse Leszczynski

Senior, Arundel High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Jesse Leszczynski has never missed a day of school since kindergarten. Having graduated on May 30th, the past years of school for Jesse have been a steady commitment to avoiding absence, lateness, and even early departure from school. With high hopes and his strong work ethic, Jesse looks forward to success at Shepherd University in West Virginia the fall of 2008.


Nicole D. Lewis

Crossland High School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Nicole D. Lewis, a junior at Crossland High School, was selected to attend the 2008 Presidential Youth Leadership Conference (PYLC), sponsored by LeadAmerica at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008. Nicole joined other Presidential Scholars from across the United States for a 6-day conference. The students attending were each selected on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence, extracurricular involvement and strong leadership potential. The PYLC also offers a Presidential Inaugural Conference that will take place in Washington, D.C. during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration which Nicole has also been invited to attend. Nicole’s career aspiration includes becoming an attorney who focuses on child advocacy and special education.


Richard Li

River Hill High School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


-Richard Li’s demonstrations of exemplary leadership and excellence have earned him the title of “2010 Presidential Scholar.” This award recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary leadership and excellence in a variety of areas from academic achievement and leadership, to service to their community.


Indigo Mcmillian

Christin Morris

LaKeisha Johnson

The Baltimore Talent Development High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Marcie Taylor-Thoma, MSDE


- Indigo Mcmillian, Christin Morris, and LaKeisha Johnson participated in the “O” Ambassadors Program, a joint project of Oprah’s Angel Network and Free the Children, by traveling to India to take part in a three-week international volunteer program. During their international education journey the girls learned about the culture of India, helped to build a school in a rural town there, and taught games to children. These students are making a tangible difference in the lives of their peers in the developing world, by working to find solutions to global challenges through active learning.


Bradley Natarian

Old Mill High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


-Bradley Natarian, a junior at Old Mill High School, claimed top honors at the county’s annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Bradley won for his study of light beam communications. He will go on to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, with all expenses paid for as part of his winnings. Bradley took home several awards from this year’s fair, including the grand prize.


Anand Oza

Montgomery Blair High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Anand Oza, a North Potomac resident, earned a perfect score – 2,400 – on his SAT Reasoning Test, placing him in the top 2 percent of all students who took the exam. Anand, a junior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, competes on Blair’s math, physics, and computer science teams.


Rachel Carson Scholars Award Winners

Nominated by MSDE


- Sponsored by the Newton Marasco Foundation, the 2008 Maryland Rachel Carson Scholars have been announced. The winners include:


First Place:

Olivia Smith

The Key School

Annapolis, Maryland


Second Place:

Katie Dell

Liberty High School

Carroll County Public Schools


Third Place:

Michael Chamberlain

Poolesville High School

Montgomery County Public Schools


Thomas James Reeder

Rosemont Elementary/Middle School

Coppin State University’s Charter School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Thomas Reed, a 5th-grade student at Rosemont Elementary/Middle School, received the award for Academic Excellence for the 2008/2009 school year, during a ceremony at Coppin State University. Thomas had overcome some challenges since attending the school in 2008 and proceeded to amaze his teachers and administrators. Thomas proudly displayed the award at the Division of Library Development and Services at MSDE, where his mom is employed. Thomas reaffirms Rosemont’s belief that ‘Excellence is Expected and Failure is Not an Option’. The award itself is a beautiful wreath sculpture, which he says he treasures.


Tommy Scott

Patuxent High School

Calvert County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Tommy Scott, a student at Patuxent High School, is Maryland's 2008 Trig-Star Champion! His honorable achievement speaks volumes about his dedication to learning mathematics and indicates a bright future in both the academic community and beyond. Tommy earned a perfect score of 100 in 19.5 minutes and now proceeds to the National Championship Competition.   


Cheyenne Snyder

Allegany High School

Allegany County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Cheyenne Snyder, a senior at Allegany High School, has completed 12 years of school without missing a day. According to her mother, Cheyenne has always had a get-up-and-go personality. Cheyenne is a cheerleader and tennis player at Allegany – she plans to attend Frostburg State University to study biology, and later work as a forensic biologist.


Steel Foxes Steel Drum Band

Ring Factory Elementary

Harford County Public Schools

Nominated by Sara Egner


- Having received positive reviews from musicians and educators, the Steel Foxes of Ring Factory Elementary are the first steel drum band in Harford County. Students auditioned for the group and were specially selected to participate in this extracurricular performance-based program. Nine fifth-graders and 10 fourth-graders meet twice a week to rehearse pieces that they perform across Harford County. Their success has inspired others to start steel drum bands at other schools.


Former Students of Glenelg High School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Gail Tucker, MSDE


- Recent graduates, A. J. Rosenthal and Evan Sanna, combined their love of athletics and working with students with special-needs, by creating a three-week camp at Glenelg High School. “Camp Inclusion” is available to special-needs students enrolled in high school. A.J. and Evan, both 18, wrote a proposal early in the school year, and received support from the school administration and the booster club to offset some of the camp expenses, to include insurance, supplies, and payroll.


Students of Civitas Middle/High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- A group of students from Civitas Middle/High School are being lauded for their dedication and leadership demonstrated during the “Building Communities: Bringing Our Schools Together Project.” The PRIDE-worthy recipients include: Aalyiah Taylor; Santez Hines; Jared Bobbit; Taylor Irving; Kendrea Farrare; Rodney Rogers; Quwan Smith; Cameron Chin; Amanda Goffigan; Chaz Calliett; and Kendall Faulkner.


Students of Maryland School for the Deaf

Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Andrew Biskupiak, Todd Bonheyo, Christy Hediger, Asher Kirschbaum, and Ethan Sonnenstrahl - students from the Academic Bowl Team from the Maryland School for the Deaf - were named the “2010 National Academic Bowl Champions” out of a total of 76 schools nationwide. Special kudos to their coaches, Edna Johnston and Patrick Rosenberg, who led them to victory.


Students of Maryland SkillsUSA

Maryland Career and Technology Education (CTE)

Nominated by MSDE


- Maryland CTE students representing 20 counties and Baltimore City competed at the 2009 Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Maryland’s SkillsUSA delegation brought home 23 medals from the recent conference in Kansas City, MO in June. The Maryland State Department of Education, in cooperation with business, industry, and education partners, coordinates two annual statewide conferences to prepare students for the rigorous national competition.


Gold Medalists:

Spencer Crockett; Parkside High School CTE

Megan Evely, Emily Meagher, and Ikea Wilson; Frederick County Career & Technology Center

Brandon Coleman; James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center


Silver Medalists:

James Cornett, Meagan Turner, Issac Weems, Ashley Mattingly, and Michael Shepherd; Calvert Career Center

Matthew Gourley and Cassidy O’Brian; Frederick County Career & Technology Center

Virginia Harris; Worcester County Career & Technology Center

Jung An; Parkside High School CTE

Jason Tauber; Center of Applied Technology North


Bronze Medalists:

Edward Klein, Eric Foltz, and David Cobb; Harford Technical High School

Christine Kantner; Washington County Technical High School

Philippa Hatch; Frederick County Career & Technology Center

Daniel Chance, Matt Fletcher, and John Winn; Parkside High School CTE


Students of Randallstown High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Marcie Taylor-Thoma, MSDE


- A team of 12 Randallstown High School students joined forces in civic education to win the state competition and move on to the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” National Finals. The students honored for their exemplary work include: Egochi Achinonu; Ashley Ball; Nicole Bhatia; Adrian Collins; Melanie Cooper; Erica Holmes; Parminder Kaur; Roland Rubin; Rachel Santos; Alexis Smith; Rodney Wardlaw; and Yonas Woldu.


Students of Walter Johnson High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- High School Senior Tianhui Shen, High School Sophomore Daichi Ueda, High School Junior Aki Onda, and High School Sophomore Andi Shahu recently won the “It’s Academic” Superbowl, which tests academic knowledge of high school students in the Washington, Baltimore and Virginia areas.


Students at Washington County Technical High School

Washington County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Pre-engineering students at Washington County Technical High School designed an energy-independent portable classroom that, among, other green features, would have a wall of grass. The ideas came from research and a field trip to the Ecobuild Conference in Washington, D.C. – an annual conference on sustainable building. Washington County Technical High School is the first school in the nation for students to design and construct classroom portables with photovoltaic solar panels and geothermal heating.


The Technowarriors

Woodlawn High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Patricia Turner, MSDE


- Team 768, The Technowarriors from Woodlawn High School, won the highest award given - the Chairman’s Award - for their work for best representing a model for other teams to emulate. Team 768 is an inspiration to not only the school, but the community that surrounds it. The Woodlawn Robotics Club is a group of intelligent, motivated students who create robots in an annual competition held nationwide, known as the FRC (F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition).  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1992 as a way of getting high school students involved in and excited about science and technology. The program involves teams of mentors and high school students that collaborate to design and build a robot in six weeks. In March 2008, The Technowarriors attended the FIRST Robotics Chesapeake Regional Competition at the United States Naval Academy.


Teneika Williams

Arundel High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by Gail V. Tucker, MSDE


- Teneika Williams is known as a leader at Arundel High School. Teneika is captain of Arundel High’s Step Squad, and co-founder of “Pearls of Wisdom” – a group to help female students value themselves, their education, and their community. With her diligence to succeed, and strong leadership skills, Teneika Williams is not only an outstanding student, but she is a promising leader. Teneika is also active with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and a member of The Diversity Club, whose members encourage students to learn about other cultures, and sit with unknown classmates during lunch. In October 2008, Teneika Williams was hailed “Teen of the Week” in The Capital Newspaper.


Stefanie Zaner

Northwest High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Stefanie Zaner, called Iron Kid of Darnestown, is closing in on her 2,340th straight day of public school. Stefanie, a senior at Northwest High School, has not only had 13 years of perfect attendance, she is also a straight-A student. Stefanie seems to draw her motivation from within, although her mother is a former PTA president known for working through daily task lists, as well. Stefanie will attend the University of Maryland in its honors program. 

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Contact Information
Gail V. Tucker, Pride Liaison
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0482
Fax:  410-333-2275
Email:  gtucker@msde.state.md.us
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