The Board of Education of Charles County honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students at its April 20 meeting. School principals annually select one student and staff member for Board recognition. Students are honored for accomplishments in the areas of academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility.

Safety guidelines changed student and staff recognitions at Board meetings this school year to a virtual format. The recognition ceremony featured pre-recorded introductions and recognitions from school principals.

Honored by the Board April 20 were Laila Johnson, Lily Oliver, Elysia Young, Darrell Jackson Jr., and Evangeline Gilmer.

Johnson was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. A fifth grader at J.C. Parks Elementary School, Johnson is known as a conscientious and hard-working student who dives into subjects, undaunted by demanding material. She is organized, prepared and thinks for herself, according to nomination materials. “She has proven to be a creative scholar,” Parks Principal Gregory Miller said. “Laila is exceptionally engaging, and an interested and warm person with a tremendous sense of character and integrity.”  

Recognized in the area of career readiness, Oliver, a fifth-grade student at Dr. James Craik Elementary School, has an interest in subjects that could lead her to two very different careers. She loves cooking and baking, and would like to be a chef. On the other hand, she is also interested in solving mysteries and is interested in pursuing a career in the FBI. “Whatever career path Lily chooses, her hard work, determination and being prepared will put her on a path of success,” Craik Principal Michelle Beckwith said. As a student, Oliver is focused on her grades and is a member of the math team and the MESA team. In her free time, she plays soccer and the flute.

Young is a fifth grader at Malcolm Elementary School where she has been a student since she was in second grade. She consistently lands on the Principal’s Honor Roll earning straight As each quarter leading to her recognition in the area of academic achievement. She receives gifted services in reading and takes accelerated math classes. Young was named an Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) student by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) this year, and last year she penned the winning Charles County entry for the Maryland Day essay contest. Young is an active student at Malcolm, participating on the math and MESA teams, is a member of Girls Who Code and plays the violin in the school orchestra. She hopes to become a doctor, lawyer or video game programmer when she grows up. “Her kindness, open mind and calm demeanor make her well loved by her peers, as well as those who have the pleasure of teaching her,” Malcolm Principal Mary Finneran said.

As an eighth grader at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Jackson exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Jackson was recognized in the area of academic achievement and his name is regularly among those on lists for High Honors and Principal’s Honors. Jackson is the recipient of an EGATE award and serves as his school’s National Junior Honor Society president. He is active at Stoddert participating in the school’s Living History Museum, band assemblies and Black History Month presentations. Outside of school, Jackson enjoys running track, attending Bible study and is interested in abbreviated cinematography. “What stands out the most about this young man is his humble heart and leadership qualities,” Stoddert Principal Erica Williams said. In the future, Jackson is interested in becoming a senior accounting manager and a track and field athlete.

Gilmer is currently ranked the third of 324 students in the senior class of St. Charles High School where she is a senior. She is recognized in the area of academic achievement and never earned less than an A in her first three years of high school with a cumulative GPA of 4.520. She earns Principal’s Honors and academic letters, and has been described by teachers as a “once in a lifetime student” and “a leader.” She is an accomplished musician, playing the piano, flute and violin. She has twice been selected to participate in the Junior All-State Band and has served as the Charles County Youth Orchestra concertmaster. She is a member of St. Charles’ We the People team, National Honor Society and the Red Cross Club. Outside of school, Gilmer volunteers in the community working with the Charles County Public Library to create learning activities for young children. At the University of Maryland, Charles Regional Medical Center, she maintains records and assists patients. Gilmer is one of 7,500 nationwide semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship. After receiving acceptance offers from many Ivy League schools, Gilmer will attend Harvard University with plans to major in neuroscience. “She has set the standard for her peers,” St. Charles Principal Richard Conley said.  


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