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Board honors outstanding students at December meeting

The Board of Education at its Dec. 12 meeting recognized five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students for outstanding achievements in academics, personal responsibility and career readiness.

Honored were fifth graders James Harper of T.C. Martin, Fatou Njie of C. Paul Barnhart and Jamison Sturdifen of Dr. Gustavus Brown elementary schools, Le’asiah Savoy, an eighth-grade student at John Hanson Middle School, and Timothy Knight, a senior at Henry E. Lackey High School.

Harper was recognized for academic achievement. He scored a Level 4: Distinguished Learner status on spring Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) testing for English language arts and mathematics for fourth grade. Harper was identified for gifted services in reading and mathematics. On the fall i-Ready Reading diagnostic, he scored in the eighth-grade range. Harper is a math acceleration student, currently participating in a virtual sixth grade accelerated math class with other qualifying elementary students in the county. He was also on Principal’s honor roll for fourth quarter during fourth grade and consistently demonstrated all the indicators for personal responsibility. “James is a pleasure to have in class; shows interest and enthusiasm for learning and is an active participant in class,” Kaitlyn Roberson, Harper’s fourth-grade teacher, wrote in Harper’s fourth quarter report card last year.

At Barnhart, Njie is an outstanding student role model for others. Her teachers said she is respectful, helpful and gives her best effort every day. Njie, who was recognized for career readiness, has ambitions of a career in medicine or as a chef. “She is thinking about becoming a pediatrician because she likes to help others,” Brian King, Ed.D., Barnhart’s principal, said. “Becoming a chef is another possible career; specifically, she enjoys making cupcakes and seafood dishes.” Njie is quick to give thanks to her parents and siblings for their support and love. She said her father encourages her to pursue her goals and that he is a role model because he works hard for his family. Njie’s mother teaches her to be a leader, not a follower, at school and in life. Njie enjoys playing with her siblings and loves to help her younger sister with her schoolwork. Recently, Njie won Barnhart’s Veteran’s Day essay contest, reading the essay at Barnhart’s Veteran’s Day Appreciation Breakfast. Outside of school, she enjoys playing basketball, drawing and reading graphic novels.

Sturdifen is a fifth-grade student at Dr. Brown who embodies what it means to be a Dr. Brown Bulldog. “She is focused, attentive and willing to take on any challenge,” Principal Karen Lewis said. “Jamison is well liked by her peers and is respectful to all the adults she interacts with.” Sturdifen was recognized for academic achievement and is described as a delight in the classroom who excels in all academic areas. Sturdifen is brave when asking peers to clarify their thinking or disagreeing with a strategy used in class, Lewis said. She loves learning new strategies, seeking out various ways to complete a task and willingly shares her discoveries. Outside of the classroom, Sturdifen enjoys playing soccer with her travel team as well as drawing in her sketchbook. She has a talent for drawing and loves bringing characters to life on the page. Her love of drawing has her considering a career as a cartoonist and would like to attend Penn State or Howard University.

Recognized for personal responsibility, Savoy embodies respect and kindness; she works to help her classmates by keeping them on track and assisting them in areas where they struggle, Hanson Principal Ben Kohlhorst said. “Le’asiah’s teachers describe her as a bright, curious student and a leader amongst her peers,” he said. She is punctual, focused and enthusiastic to learn. Savoy demonstrates personal responsibility daily through her friendships, academics and overall behavior. She is a leader in school who participates, volunteering to work out problems in front of the class and leading small group work sessions. “She approaches her academics with a level of maturity that is impressive for an eighth grader,” Kohlhorst said. Savoy has a strong work ethic and often pitches in during class to help her classmates.

Knight arrived at Lackey from Virginia in his sophomore year with a 1.25 GPA. By the end of his 10th-grade year, Knight had a 3.57 GPA. His dedication to improving his grades moved several Lackey staff members to recommend him for Board recognition in academic achievement. “Tim has demonstrated tremendous academic growth as well as social-emotional growth during his time at Lackey,” Principal Cheryl K. Davis said. At Lackey, Knight received structured support that enabled him to focus and commit to academic success and mature emotionally. At the end of his junior year, Knight carried a 3.85 GPA into his senior year with his teachers describing him as a “fantastic student.” Knight often helps other students — particularly freshmen — who are struggling in the classroom. He shares his own journey to improve his grades and behavior. Knight has overcome a lot in life, Ebony Mason, school psychologist, said, but he is focused on his future with plans to join the U.S. military and eventually heading to college. Knight is a 2nd lieutenant and serves as a commander of his JROTC flight. He participated in the tri-county triathlon, drill team and Veteran’s Day parade. He also works as an office aide for Lackey’s counseling department.


About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 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 Kathy Kiessling, 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.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).