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The Charles County Public Schools communications department recently received three top National School Public Relations Association awards in the 2013 Publications and Electronic Media Contest.

A video produced by communications staff, titled “Every 15 Minutes in Charles County Public Schools,” received an Award of Excellence, which is the highest award given by NSPRA. The video was selected from among 135 entries, and was one of only 15 selected for the Award of Excellence. The video features the national Every 15 Minutes program held at Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools, which teaches students about the dangers of driving under the influence and texting while driving.

Two other videos received awards. A video titled “Strike up the Band” received an Award of Merit, which is the second-highest award given in the contest. Forty-eight entries were selected for an Award of Merit. The video features performances from the Maurice J. McDonough High School Marching Band.

A video highlighting the school system’s breakfast program, titled “School Breakfast Program,” received an honorable mention award in the contest. The entry was one of 42 honorable mention awardees.

Each year, NSPRA sponsors a publications and electronic media contest. The videos were selected for awards from 894 contest entries. The department also received three publication awards last fall through the Chesapeake Chapter of the NSPRA’s annual publications contest, which covers Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

These awards included an Award of Excellence in the newsletter category for School News, the school system’s semimonthly staff newsletter; an Award of Merit for the 2011-12 Charles County Public Schools Parent Handbook/Calendar; and an honorable mention for a special events video featuring coverage of the Every 15 Minutes program at Stone.

The communications department is composed of Katie O’Malley-Simpson, director of communications; Kyle Graves, video production specialist; Kara Gross, communications multimedia assistant; Shelley Mackey, communications specialist; and Gary Nagel, Web developer.

Olsen, Perriello honored for community service

Rebecca Olsen, a senior at Thomas Stone High School, was recently named a local honoree in the 2013 Kohl’s Care Scholarship Program for community service. She was one of 45 Maryland local honorees recognized, and received a recognition certificate and $50 gift card to Kohl’s. Olsen is enrolled in the Project Lead the Way program at Stone and is a state-registered EMT with the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department.

Last school year, Olsen participated in the Air Force STEM 2020 Challenge essay contest and in the Fighter Pilot for a Day program.

Joseph Perriello, a freshman at North Point High School, was recently named a local honoree in the President’s Volunteer Service Award program. The award recognizes community service and is presented by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Perriello was honored for his work as a tutor with students in need of additional academic assistance at Berry Elementary School. As a student at Mattawoman Middle School, Perriello was president of the school’s National Junior Honor Society chapter and a member of the student government association. This school year, he serves as the second vice-president of the Charles County Association of Student Councils.

Piccowaxen staffer honored by Legion

Kerri Loyd, an administrative assistant at Piccowaxen Middle School, was recently awarded the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Maryland Crystal Apple Award for excellence in education. Loyd also serves as a chorus teacher at Piccowaxen and was nominated for recognition by school staff. She will be honored at the 92nd annual Maryland American Legion Auxiliary Convention in Ocean City later this month.