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Soup cookoff to raise funds

The Dr. James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center will host its annual soup cookoff on Monday, Jan. 14, in the school’s kitchen. The contest has two age groups, a junior division for students and a senior division for adults. Cooking begins at 3 p.m.; doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m. with tasting and judging of the junior division starting at 6 p.m. followed by the senior division.

The public is invited to sample the soups and be part of the event. Soups will be grouped in six categories and will be judged by chefs, local celebrities and community leaders. A people’s choice award will also be chosen by the public.

House soups will be provided by the Forrest center’s culinary arts program, so visitors can make a meal of the event. The public can purchase tickets for the contest and house soup sampling, priced at $6 for adults, $3 for students, and children younger than 4 are free.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Forrest center’s programs and SkillsUSA student organization. For more information on registration or sponsorship, contact Chef Amanda Granados at 301-475-0242 or

Middle school student honored

Arhum Shah, an eighth-grade STEM Academy student at Spring Ridge Middle School, was honored in October at a national medal ceremony sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. The center honored Shah for his performance as a middle school student on the SAT.

From among the 40,800 participants in the 2012 CTY Talent Search, Arhum was in the top 900 U.S. and international middle school students invited to the medal ceremony to be recognized for his exceptionally high scores. These scores placed Arhum within the top .5 percent academically of all same-grade students worldwide.

STEM expo to be held

The annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Expo will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center. The STEM Expo is an opportunity for parents, students, community members and others interested in St. Mary’s public schools’ STEM Academy to ask question and talk with current STEM students and teachers. Student work samples and exhibits will be on display during the expo.

Next year’s STEM Academy will include students in grades 4 to 12. For more information on the STEM Academy, visit or contact Tracey Heibel, supervisor of instruction, science/STEM, at 301-475-5511, ext. 135.

Charter school accepting applications

Chesapeake Public Charter School is accepting applications for the upcoming school year. The open application period for the 2013-2014 school year closes Jan. 31. Applications are available on the website as well from the school, which is located on 20945 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park. The kindergarten through eighth-grade public charter school, which is free for students selected through a lottery process, will conduct two prospective student Information sessions and tours on Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the school at 301-863-9585, ext. 1.

Spelling bee set for March 5

The 35th annual St. Mary’s County Middle School Spelling Bee will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at Leonardtown High School. Students from public and private middle schools will compete for the opportunity to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee later in the spring. The St. Mary’s County Middle School Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Enterprise, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Chaney Enterprises and the College of Southern Maryland, is open to the public. For more information, contact Michelle Gallant-Wall, supervisor of instruction for English/language arts, at 301-475-5511, ext. 119.

BECA scholarships available

The Business, Education and Community Alliance’s 2013 Common Scholarship Application will be posted at and applications will be due March 15. Three dozen different scholarship offers will be available, several with multiple awards.

Last school year BECA awarded 23 graduating high school seniors with scholarships totaling $26,000. Including all scholarship participants on the common application, close to 100 local scholarships were awarded worth as much as $250,000.

The common application allows scholarship providers to reach more than 200 applicants. BECA serves as a clearinghouse to ensure all applications are received and distributed properly. Businesses or groups that provide local scholarships and would like to include them on the common application can contact BECA by Dec. 3. For more information, contact Mark Smith, BECA secretary/treasurer, at or 301-475-0242, ext. 110, or the college counselor or College Access Program adviser at a local high school.