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St. Mary's College to host annual MLK prayer breakfast

Young and old can celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and participate in a day of service event next Monday during the 16th annual Southern Maryland Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The Jan. 20 breakfast will begin at 6:30 a.m. and costs $10, payable at the door. The program will begin at 8 a.m. at no cost, featuring a keynote address by Jason Johnson, a professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University. The program, held in the J. Frank Raley Great Room in the Campus Center, will also feature performances by the St. Peter Claver Gospel Choir, a dance group from St. Mary’s Ryken High School and the perennial favorite, the Spring Ridge Middle School Rhythm Club.

“The purpose is to take time as a full community to pay homage to the life and legacy of Dr. King,” Leonard Brown, the college’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said Monday. “All are welcome,” to attend, he said, adding that the program also aims to help the community “think about our responsibility moving forward based on all that work” of King and other civil rights advocates.

Johnson, the keynote speaker, is a political contributor at MSNBC, host on Sirius XM, politics editor at TheRoot.com and a professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University. He is also the author of the book “Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell.”

He has worked for Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Internationally, he worked on the London mayoral election, advised the Independent Electoral Commission in Johannesburg, South Africa, served as an election observer in the last three contested elections in Mexico and delivered several invited talks on American politics to the Australian Embassy. Over the last two presidential cycles, Johnson delivered lecture tours throughout Europe on internet strategy in American presidential campaigns.

Following the program, beginning at 10 a.m., the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Nu Zeta Omega Chapter will host a “Day of Service,” providing services and activities for students of all ages and adults, held within the Campus Center and nearby Aldom Lounge. With the theme “Advocacy and the Arts,” activities will include blood pressure screening, a nonperishable food drive, and a new or gently worn shoes and eyeglasses drive.

The annual prayer breakfast draws community attendance, including local government officials, religious leaders and business persons. The event is sponsored by St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s County Human Relations Commission, St. Mary’s public schools, the College of Southern Maryland and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Nu Zeta Omega Chapter. For more information, contact events@smcm.edu or call 240-895-4310.

Family being sought for Habitat house project

Habitat for Humanity will host an application orientation workshop on Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at the ReStore in Lexington Park. The group is looking for the next St. Mary’s family to be part of the group’s upcoming house build. Qualifications include residing in St. Mary’s for at least the past year, a yearly family income of between $38,000 and $50,000, a commitment to pay a reasonable monthly mortgage payment and willingness to help build the home. Reservations are required by calling 301-863-6227, ext. 16, or emailing laurie@patuxenthabitat.org. For more information, visit the website www.patuxenthabitat.org.

Student activists to lobby for gun control

Student activists and volunteers from both March For Our Lives and Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence will hold a student-led lobby day tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 16, in Annapolis. The groups will start the day at 9:15 a.m. in the Lowe House Office Building in Room 142, with some words from Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery), March For Our Lives State Director Jaxon O’Mara, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence President Liz Banach and lobbyist Alice Wilkerson. Throughout the day students will be leading meetings with state senators and delegates to present their legislative priorities.

Submit designs now for 2020 county fair catalog

St. Mary’s elementary and middle school students are invited to submit a cover design for the 2020 St. Mary’s County Fair catalog of classes. The contest information was sent to county art teachers last month. Entries should be a black line drawing on an 8½-by-11-inch sheet and should be mailed to Ann Richards, catalog cover chairperson, at 20370 White Point Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. The deadline for entries is Jan. 30.

The winning cover designer will be awarded a $100 check on opening night at the fair. The second-prize designer receives $50, and their artwork will appear on the daily program handed out at the fair. Honorable mention designs are printed in the catalog.

The winning student also can create a large plywood version of their design to be used as a roadside sign during September or decoration at the fairgrounds. The design will also be printed on T-shirts that are given to volunteers and sold to fair visitors.

The drawing should depict some event, symbol, item or animal that reminds everyone of the St. Mary’s County Fair. For more information, check in with a school art teacher or visit www.smcfair.somd.com.

Get help with grieving process at free program

The grief program “The Elephant in the Room — How to Help Someone Who Is Grieving,” will be held on Friday, Jan. 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 28095 Three Notch Road, Suite 2C, in Mechanicsville. Facilitated by Melinda Ruppert, this is a free program to learn how to help a family member or friend who is grieving. Registration is required at www.melindaruppertlcpc.com or 240-298-2442 or melinda@melindaruppert.com.

Wrestling bout set for Saturday at firehouse

A wrestling match, the Extreme Winter Blast, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hollywood firehouse. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a meet and greet. Tickets are $20 to $40, with family packages available. For more, call 443-356-6175 or visit www.mcwprowrestling.com/extreme-winter-blast-hollywood.

BECA scholarship fair coming next week

The St. Mary’s County Business, Education and Community Alliance, known as BECA, acts as a type of clearinghouse to link scholarship providers with college-bound students.

The group’s annual scholarship fair is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown, where many of the scholarship providers will be in attendance to chat with and assist students and their families. Other colleges and organizations will also have representatives available, and there will be workshops on completing the common application and the financial aid process.

Scholarship included in the 2020 Common Scholarship Application are posted at smcbeca.org. Completed applications will be due Feb. 18. Contact Bob Schaller and Mark Smith at smcbeca@gmail.com or 240-257-2322.

Survivors honored

The John Lancaster & W. Cecil Short Charity Foundation held its third annual Cancer Survivor Masquerade Ball at Middleton Hall Event Center in late October. Attended by more than 300 guests, the evening’s honorees included five courageous women who have fought and overcome breast cancer: Deborah Patrick, Nyema Taylor, Alexis Henson, Michelle Decanay and Batesha Bouler,

Kaleth O. Wright, chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, gave words of encouragement, comfort and inspiration to overcome adversity. Thanks to attendees, sponsors, generous donors and a silent auction, over $10,000 was raised with the proceeds being used to support organizations that provide support and treatment for cancer patients.

Reserve a room for a party at the library

Anyone looking for a room to hold a private party, such as a birthday, bridal, wedding or baby shower, luncheon, or bridge group, can now reserve a meeting rooms from one of the three St. Mary’s County Library branches.

There is a fee for private parties of $50/hour for one meeting room (use of both meeting rooms combined at Lexington Park is considered two meeting rooms) plus a $100 refundable security deposit for each reservation.

For more information on reserving a meeting room for your private party, visit www.stmalib.org/library-services/meeting-rooms.

Volunteers sought for St. Mary’s County Reads

St. Mary’s County Reads, a community collaboration between the St. Mary’s NAACP, the Department of Social Services, the St. Mary’s County Library and the Judy Center, is a literacy program designed to encourage children to develop an interest, habit and desire for reading and help children be ready to learn to read when they start kindergarten.

Volunteers read to young children who have come with their parents to the Lexington Park branch of DSS office for service on Mondays and Wednesdays. Each volunteer will read for 1½-hour intervals between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Janice Walthour of the NAACP at 301-862-2296 or lwalthour@md.metrocast.net; or Kerry Miciotto at 240-725-5755.

Free student counseling offered

The Evening Counseling Center provides free counseling services by appointment to all students and parents of students enrolled in St. Mary’s public schools. The ECC is open Wednesday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. and is located in the Great Mills High School counseling department. To schedule an appointment, contact Audra Bishop, school counselor, at 301-863-4001, ext. 18122, or abbishop@smcps.org; or Gary O’Neill, school psychologist, at 301-475-5511, ext. 32204 or gsoneill@smcps.org; or Amanda Knobel, school counselor, at 301-475-0240, ext. 43120 or ajknobel@smcps.org.

Twitter: @JesseEntNews

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