Jemia Butler, a Thomas Stone High School senior, was named the 2018 Career Research and Development (CRD) Student of the Year at the annual employer/employee breakfast held April 19. Butler works at the salon retail store Beauty 4U in Waldorf. Butler was surprised at the breakfast when her name was announced for the award.

“I have a lot of confidence, but knew there were a lot of good nominees. I am excited that I was chosen,” Butler said.

She has worked at Beauty 4U since October 2017 and spends a lot of her time helping on her family’s farm. As the CRD Student of the Year, Butler receives a $2,000 scholarship for use at college, trade school or on a certification class.

Butler already has plans for the scholarship. “I am attending the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the fall and plan to study agricultural business,” Butler said. “I want to own my own farm someday.”

Butler was selected for the award following three levels of competition both at the school and county levels. Committees composed of staff members, community members and business representatives interviewed students. Finalists for the award also were paired with a mentor to help them polish their interview skills. Butler was paired with Board of Education Chairman Barbara Palko, who described Butler as an amazing student.

“We talked about how she could tweak her interviewing skills and she was eager to know how she could better her skills. I had a great time getting to know and helping her. When she walked in to her first interview, Jemia said ‘I want to be the first African-American female to own a farm in the area.’ That set the tone for her interview,” Palko said.

Butler currently helps on her family’s farm and said they have goats, chickens and dogs. She said she sees herself owning a farm in the future. “In 10 years, I see myself done with college and having my own farm,” Butler added.

Runners-up for the award were Nate Vibar of La Plata High School and Jonathan Barrett of Maurice J. McDonough High School. They each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Student nominees, who are seniors in the CRD program, are selected by their high schools and forwarded to a school system committee for consideration. Other nominees included Catherine Best and McKenzie Davis of Henry E. Lackey High School; Kerstin Swann of La Plata; David McDowall of McDonough; Noel Butler of North Point High School; and Nakya Frazier and David Hughes Jr. of Westlake High School. The CRD Advisory Committee interviewed and selected the three finalists – Barrett, Butler and Vibar.

Employers and student employees gathered at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center for the annual breakfast. The CRD program was formerly known as the Cooperative Education Program, and provides a bridge from home to work, classroom instruction, work experience and on-the-job training related to a student’s career goals.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.