Several Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students competed in the Maryland History Day virtual event held earlier this month after placing at the local event. Three students received special awards for their project entries.  

Lauren Compton, an eighth-grader at Piccowaxen Middle School, received the George Washington Leadership Award by Mount Vernon for her project, “The Culper Spy Ring.” Compton advanced to the state virtual event after earning first place in the junior division of the individual website category at the Charles County virtual event.  

North Point High School juniors Blythe McCammon and Kelsey Njembu received the Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award for the Best Use of Primary Sources. They advanced to the state event after receiving a first-place county-level award for their project, “Ida B. Wells – Setting the Red Record Straight,” in the senior group documentary category.  

Mattawoman Middle School teacher Melissa James was also honored as the 2021 Charles County History Day Teacher of the Year. James has been teaching with CCPS since 2009. She began teaching language arts at General Smallwood Middle School and moved to Mattawoman in 2013. She taught language arts at Mattawoman for one year before moving to a social studies position.  

James said she moved from language arts to social studies position because she has a love of history. Her love of history is evident in her lessons, assignments, and the passion she has when teaching different historical units and events. She is known among her colleagues as a master teacher who is dedicated to her students.  

A county committee selects the History Day Teacher of the Year annually. James was chosen for her ability to teach social studies with passion and excitement. She takes the time to ensure her students are mastering concepts in the classroom. History is alive in her classroom as James strives to teach in a way that will gain and keep the attention of her students. James also strives to be a leader among her peers. She has served in leadership roles such as department chair, team leader, and PBIS committee chairperson. Additionally, James was the 2021 CCPS Teacher of the Year award nominee from Mattawoman.  

More information about History Day is posted at  

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