LA PLATA, Md. – The Board of Education at its April 12 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 Alison Marroquin-Corzo of Arthur Middleton Elementary School; Keely Pham of Mary H. Matula Elementary School; Austin Polhemus of Gale-Bailey Elementary School; Eleanora Jones of Milton M. Somers Middle School; and Eileen Browning of Maurice J. McDonough High School.
Marroquin-Corzo is a fifth-grade student at Middleton and was recognized for career readiness. Looking at what career readiness means; it is important to consider the groundwork students do in elementary school and the drive and motivation an individual student has.
Marroquin-Corzo is exceptionally motivated, going above and beyond daily to extend her learning, lead groups, collaborate with others, and she is always purposeful with her actions, Middleton Principal Benjamin Harrington said. If she has a project to complete, she will not only give the project 110 percent, but she will also complete extra research to find out more, Harrington said. This hunger to learn was recently demonstrated in a Black History Month project she did.
Marroquin-Corzo selected politician Shirley Chisholm as a subject and dove right into researching because she thought it was “cool that she became the first African-American Congresswoman,” Marroquin-Corzo said. Her favorite subject in school is math and she wants to be an architect when she grows up. In school, Marroquin-Corzo participates in the Middleton Buddies Club that supports students with disabilities and she is learning sign language. Outside of school she stays busy spending time with friends and playing games.
Pham is a fifth-grade student at Matula who was recognized for academic achievement. A gifted learner, Pham has attended Matula since kindergarten and has earned Principals’ Honor Roll each quarter since third grade. This year, she was nominated and selected as an awardee of the Outstanding Student Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award, which is sponsored by the Maryland Gifted and Talented Advisory Council.
When Pham is not hitting the books, she can be found on the soccer field. She has been playing for seven years and currently plays defense on the Comets travel soccer team. Pham also enjoys reading, and her favorite author is John Grisham. When the weather is nice, she likes to take walks in the neighborhood with her family. After high school, Pham’s parents have high hopes that she will attend Harvard University. Her father is an engineer, and Pham is interested in pursuing a career in a similar field.
Polhemus is a fifth-grade student at Gale-Bailey and was recognized for personal responsibility. At Gale-Bailey, students ROAR — they are expected to be Responsible, Organized, Attentive and Respectful. Polhemus takes responsibility for his actions and leads his peers to do the right thing. He is a walking example of personal responsibility, Gale-Bailey Principal Tangie Scales said. He is a straight-A student, a member of the MESA team and a tutor to second-grade students. “Austin knows what the expectation is in my classroom, and he always lives up to that expectation,” his teacher, Christopher Hawkins, said. The trait Hawkins admires the most about Polhemus is that if he makes a mistake, he always owns up to it. He is easy to talk to and gives others advice when they ask. “He is interesting, funny and tells stories by reenacting them,” Scales said. Outside of school, Polhemus is an active member of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses and takes his religion seriously. He enjoys wood carving and making coffee for his parents and himself.
Jones is an eighth-grade student at Somers and was recognized for academic achievement. “Her academic profile is one to be quite proud of,” Somers Principal Sandra Taylor said. Jones maintains a spot on the Principal’s Honor Roll while taking all enrichment classes including Algebra I and Spanish I, which count for high school credits. She currently has a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and meets the criteria to be on the CCPS Scholars Course of Study track. In school, Jones is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, the school band and the VEX Robotics team. Outside of school, Jones spends more than 30 hours a week as a competitive dancer and assists young dancers. Her teachers describe her as being a positive role model, friendly and hardworking, Taylor said.
Browning is a senior at McDonough and was recognized for academic achievement. She has a 4.6 GPA, is currently ranked third in the Class of 2022 at McDonough and is in the top 5 percent of her class. Browning is the senior class president and is highly regarded by her classmates and by staff members, McDonough Principal Darnell Russell said. In school, Browning is extremely involved in extracurricular activities including Envirothon, the National Honor Society and the Ram Pride executive board. Browning is also a member of the Student Government Association, marching band, varsity swim team and is currently captain of the tennis team. Outside of school, she is a Girl Scout and a lifeguard at the Hawthorne Country Club and for Charles County Parks and Recreation.