Some of Calvert County’s finest students were recognized during a Youth Appreciation Week banquet Monday night at St. John Vianney Church in Prince Frederick.
The 50th annual event, which is sponsored by the Calvert-Prince Frederick & Solomons Optimist Clubs, honored 40 students, 10 from each public high school.
“It’s kind of a wonderful opportunity and outlook onto the community, and I find it very inspiring to be more optimistic,” said senior Aaliyah Roach of Northern High School, who is leaning toward majoring in history or classical music while at college. “I was really surprised. I didn’t even know what the optimist club was.”
As part of Youth Appreciation Week, the students took part in a field trip Oct. 29, which included stops at the courthouse, and Maryland state and Calvert County police stations, and a visit with the county commissioners.
“I think they enjoyed it,” said Youth Appreciation Week chair Ed Dorsey. “One of the comments I heard was that they really enjoyed meeting with the commissioners. They hear about them all the time, but they’ve never ever seen them. They probably would never get a chance to do that, so it works out well for them, and we’re happy to do it. And it’s an educational process.”
“It was definitely a great experience to be able to have lunch with Ed and learn about the police environment and the courts,” said Huntingtown senior Brandi Bohrer, who has a GPA of 3.4 and has made the honor roll each year. “The experience was great, and I’m planning on continuing with the optimist club.”
The students were nominated by their respective guidance counselors — Billy Jo Aris at Calvert, Zelma Mark at Huntingtown, LeTea Perry at Northern and Karin Ryon of Patuxent — and on Monday each was individually recognized and presented with a certificate.
“My counselor told me about it, and it was a nice surprise,” said Patuxent High School’s Janiya Lancaster, who has a GPA of 3.31 and is leaning toward majoring in psychology in college. “It was really special so I brought my mom, Nakisha, so she could see my accomplishment, and she was really proud of me, and I was really proud of myself because I rarely get chosen a lot, so when I do it’s special. I was jittery walking up there, and everyone was watching me, but it felt great.”
“It’s really great,” said Courtney Anderson of Northern High, who is holding down a GPA of 3.4 and plans to attend the University of Maryland and major in library science. “I feel like sometimes youth aren’t exactly appreciated and looked down upon so it feels really nice to feel appreciated for everything we do because we do a whole lot.”
Angel Gingras, who occasionally writes stories for The Calvert Recorder as part of a Young Journalists Program, said the recognition validates her four years of high school.
“It means a lot to get this award because I feel it sums up everything I’ve done through my high school career,” said Gingras, who has a GPA of 4.11 and will major in journalism at Elon University in North Carolina. “In the program [handed out at the banquet] it mentioned all the specific awards we’ve earned, and I feel really honored that it really highlights all of us. It’s not just about me, it’s about my friends, too, and I’m really happy I was able to share this moment with them and be recognized because so many people deserve it.”
The following students were honored by the Calvert-Prince Frederick & Solomons Optimists at the Outstanding Youth of Calvert County banquet:
Calvert High School: Noah Breske, Michael Deffinbaugh, Kayla Dehetre, Angelique Gingras, Johnathan Gomez, Andrew Mason, Sydney Serena, Emily Shrieves, Vincent Sullens, Megan Williams.
Huntingtown High School: Jackson Blackburn, Brandi Bohrer, Margaret Boley, Sarah Fox, Suzanne Fox, Abbey Galdieri, Blake Lehan, Akhil Patel, Dylan Pearman, Samuel Parrish.
Northern High School: Courtney Anderson, Lauren Butz, Michela Dorsett, Justin Evans, Diamond Lewis, Tia Jackson, Abigail Nguyen, Aaliyah Roach, Tiffany Taylor, Tyler Will.
Patuxent High School: Brianna Corbin, Mike Costas, Jacob Goedeke, Aidan Iberg, Camille Izdepski, Janiya Lancaster, Marissa Moseley, Kouassi Pone, Rachel Saenz, Garrett Witte.