- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
At his June 25 town hall meeting, in the presence of a reporter and about 15 citizens, Charles County Commissioner Reuben Collins made an offhand and very negative statement regarding one of our Charles County schools Mattawoman Middle School.
Not only was this an insensitive gesture toward the dedicated teachers, administrators, support staff, students and parents who make up the Mattawoman Middle School community it was also completely unwarranted. Even a cursory inquiry would have revealed many wonderful things happening at Mattawoman Middle School just this year, including:
Mattawoman’s MathCounts team won first place in the tri-county MathCounts competition this year, beating out 20 other Southern Maryland teams.
A Mattawoman student was named Maryland’s middle school recipient of the 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, a nationwide program that honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Only one middle school student and one high school student per state receive the award, and Maryland’s is right here at Mattawoman.
For four years in a row, Mattawoman has had a student place in the spelling bee championship.
Mattawoman had a seventh-grade team compete in the U.S. Navy Save the Bay Robotics Challenge against more experienced teams from the region, and they brought home not one but four trophies, including the overall award for middle schools. It was the first time in the history of the U.S. Navy competition that Charles County was able to take home the overall award for middle schools, and Mattawoman was the school to bring it home.
This past year, Mattawoman’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra was one of only two middle school orchestras in the county to make it to the State Orchestra Festival. The sixth-grade orchestra and band performed at a Southern Maryland Blue Crabs game.
These are just some representative examples of the excellence that is a daily reality at Mattawoman Middle School.
In fact, when Mr. Collins’ public bashing of Mattawoman became known to the staff, there was an outpouring of indignation from the devoted educators there, all of whom had great things to say about their school and their students. It is true that the school has a large student population, but whose fault is that? Isn’t it the county commissioners who manage growth? It’s certainly not the teachers.
If Mr. Collins had gone to the school and spoken to the staff, instead of making public statements about “what he’d heard” about Mattawoman, he would have no doubt been as impressed and proud of that school as every teacher, student, parent and citizen of Charles County should be.
Meg MacDonald, La Plata
The writer is the UniServ director for the Education Association of Charles County and the Maryland State Education Association.