The Board of Education at its March 8 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students. 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.
Honored at the meeting were Arynn Brooks of Berry Elementary School; Timothy Brown of Eva Turner Elementary School; Drake Maloney of Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School; Jean Rodriguez-Perez of Piccowaxen Middle School; and Sabrina Hussein-Echaverria of La Plata High School.
Brooks is a fifth-grade student at Berry Elementary School and was recognized for personal responsibility. “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest,” Mark Twain was quoted as saying — “At Berry Elementary, our fifth-grade students are all challenged to demonstrate exemplary behavior for all the younger students in the building,” Berry Principal Louis D’Ambrosio said. “Arynn easily meets that challenge and can be counted on to always do right and it is very gratifying.” Brooks is a consummate honor roll student, regularly on the principal’s honor roll earning straight A’s. She is involved in her church and plays soccer outside of school. Brooks has a passion for art and wants to attend Towson University, where her parents met, and because she wants to be close to home to visit them a lot. Brooks said that her older brother, André, is a very positive influence and example for her. Brooks said responsibility means, “… To stay on top of everything and make sure I am doing the right thing.” Her strategies for responsibility include journaling and making lists. Brooks is driven to make the right choices by knowing the consequences of her actions and putting herself in other people’s shoes to try and help them out. Her teachers describe her as a quiet, creative thinker who thirsts for knowledge and leads by example every day. Brooks plans on being an artist someday and wants to emulate Bob Ross. “It is great to know that Arynn will end up adding happy little trees wherever she goes in the future,” D’Ambrosio said.
Brown is a fifth-grade student at Eva Turner Elementary School and was recognized for career readiness. Brown has attended Eva Turner since he was in the first grade. His teachers all report that he is an excellent student, but his second-quarter report card reads as follows: Reading — A, Writing — A, Maths — A, Social Studies — A, Science — A, P.E. — A, and Music — A. “If you weren’t following along, that is straight A’s; a feat many people never accomplish, including his current principal,” Eva Turner Principal Gary Lesko said. Brown is active outside of school, playing basketball, football, and swimming for organized teams. He can be seen engaging in the lost art of riding a skateboard, which is how he gets to and from school often. Brown was selected as Turner’s honoree for career readiness for many reasons, but one that separated him from his peers was a story that came to light after the snowstorm in January. This winter he helped his neighbors by clearing the snow off their driveways and sidewalks. Brown said that he did this to help his neighbors and to help his family earn extra money. Although he is not sure about his future career plans, Brown enjoys helping his neighbors and will continue to do so every winter. With his sights on attending Bowie State University just as his parents did, he is well on his way to making that goal a reality.
Maloney is a fifth-grade student at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School and was recognized for academic achievement. His stellar academic journey at Dr. Higdon began in prekindergarten. During his years at Dr. Higdon, Maloney has achieved not only academic success but has also demonstrated qualities that are critical for maintaining his achievements such as grit and perseverance. During times of virtual instruction, he faced obstacles due to limited internet connection. Commendably, Maloney persevered and did not give up. He reached out to his teacher explaining the situation and requested opportunities for further instruction to reinforce his understanding of a concept or skill. “He was courageous in expressing any confusion and sought extra help when needed,” Higdon Principal Shannon Finnegan, Ed.D., said. While returning to in-person instruction this year, Maloney continues to show tenacity as he works hard on obtaining a deep understanding of what he is taught. He is a committed student and willing “to do what it takes” to learn, Finnegan said. Maloney’s hard work and effort produce the desired outcomes as he continues to achieve the honor roll. Maloney is a safety patrol, participates in 4-H, and is a utility player on his baseball team. In his free time, Maloney enjoys throwing a fishing line in the water and relaxing. His plan for the future is to follow in his grandfather Pop’s footsteps to become a farmer and provide for the community.
Rodriguez-Perez is an eighth-grade student at Piccowaxen Middle School and was recognized for academic achievement. Rodriguez-Perez has demonstrated outstanding academic excellence and achievement since sixth grade by maintaining a 4.0-grade point average, Piccowaxen Principal Wualanda Thenstead said. A member of the Piccowaxen Spelling Bee and volleyball teams, Rodriguez-Perez loves school “most of the time,” he said, and his favorite subjects are math and science. He hopes to head his own IT company one day. Rodriguez-Perez also plays the saxophone in the Piccowaxen jazz band and this year he challenged himself by stepping up to learn how to play the tuba. This school year he earned first place in the fall chess tournament in the eighth-grade category. Rodriguez-Perez’s teachers agree that he is an exceptional student who consistently contributes to class discussions, makes connections within and between the content areas, and applies newly learned skills to real-world situations. Rodriguez-Perez is an enthusiastic learner who always goes above and beyond the original task. Outside of school, his hobbies include playing chess, soccer, and when weather permits, playing in the snow.
Hussein-Echaverria is a senior at La Plata High School and was recognized for academic achievement. She is completing the capstone course in the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Program. Hussein-Echaverria has impeccable attendance, and her outstanding work ethic and drive have helped her to achieve a 4.1 GPA, La Plata Principal Douglass Dolan said. Not only does she work hard in the classroom, but she has also volunteered at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home as a bingo assistant and has volunteered with Del. Debra Davis’s Lunch & Literacy program. Hussein-Echaverria is a member of the Student Government Association (SGA) and Key Club and is the president of the Minority Student Union. She is also a member of the English, Science, and National Technical honor societies. Hussein-Echaverria has applied to 22 colleges and universities, and is still deciding on where she wants to go, Dolan said. She will be a first-generation college student and hopes to pursue degrees in biology and African studies before continuing to medical school to study to become an obstetrician.