The Board of Education honored six students on Tuesday, Oct. 18 for excellence in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility. Honored were Zachary Berke, fifth grade, Berry Elementary School; Aurelie Hein, fifth grade, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School; Keeva Morgan, fifth grade, Eva Turner Elementary School; Caroline Edelen, eighth grade, Piccowaxen Middle School; Elizabeth Saoud, junior, Maurice J. McDonough High School; and Mikayla Cox, senior, La Plata High School.
Berke was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. He is always ready to learn, turns in all of his homework, listens attentively to directions and completes assignments at an exceptional level. He also is a leader in the classroom, regularly modeling dependability, a respectful attitude and a spirit of cooperation.
Hein was recognized in the area of academic achievement. Hein began her fifth-grade year with excitement and enthusiasm. Science is her favorite subject and she writes about one day becoming a biologist, looking for cures to disease. Hein is identified as gifted in the areas of reading and math, and her Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) scores have been at a Level 5 in both areas. Her county test scores are at the top of her class and she has consistently been named to the academic and personal responsibility honor rolls each year since coming to Dr. Higdon in third grade. Hein plays violin in the strings program, is a member of K-Kids, the math team, Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) team, the Higdon Help Squad and works to complete community projects around the school.
Morgan was recognized in the area of career readiness. Morgan is a true leader in and out of the classroom. She is patient, organized and efficient with her work, works well with other students and is always willing to help someone in need. She strives to push herself outside of her comfort zone and challenge herself within the classroom. Academically, Morgan is working above grade level in all areas. She consistently receives all A’s on her report card with advanced level work. She participates on the Destination Imagination team, chess team, is a school safety patrol and plays the viola in the strings program. When Morgan graduates from high school and college, she wants to become a doctor. It is clear she is on her way to fulfilling her dreams as she won second place in Turner’s science fair and second place in the county science fair.
Edelen was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. Since sixth grade, Edelen has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in a rigorous Scholars Course of Study. While excelling in her classes, she also participates in the National Junior Honor Society, Relay for Life Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and plays violin in the school’s orchestra. In addition to participating in several activities in school, Edelen further shows her personal responsibility by managing a busy activity schedule outside of school. She plays soccer and competes in horse riding competitions; this often requires her to practice twice a week. She excels in eventing — a combination of dressage, stadium jumping and cross country jumping. Edelen said her future career aspiration is to become a veterinarian due to her love of helping animals.
Saoud was recognized in the area of academic achievement. Saoud is a student who excels in all that she does. She is currently the highest ranked junior in the school with a GPA of 4.43. She has a full schedule of rigorous courses which includes five Advanced Placement (AP) classes including the highest math course offered in Charles County, Calculus BC. Saoud attended the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair after winning the grand prize award at the regional science fair her freshman year. Her leadership abilities can be seen through her position as vice president of Student Government Association (SGA) and as captain of the varsity soccer team. She received All County and Tri County honors for band in her freshman and sophomore years along with earning First Team All SMAC in soccer for 2015-16. She received several awards including a full scholarship to attend the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders, and second place in Maryland in the high school category for a Letters about Literature competition. Saoud demonstrates her drive and passion in all that she does to be successful at the highest level.
Cox was recognized in the area of academic achievement. Cox is an outstanding student having achieved an average GPA of 3.54 over the past three years. She continues to challenge herself academically as she is enrolled in four AP courses. She demonstrates unmatched leadership and initiative in her classes. As a junior, Cox served as the La Plata High School NJROTC supply officer, maintaining and administering a budget and inventory in excess of $100,000. As the current executive officer, she coordinates, trains and supervises the cadet staff. In March 2016, as captain of the La Plata Brain Brawl Team, she helped coordinate and run the Navy JROTC National Academic Brain Brawl Championships in Annapolis, earning special recognition from NJROTC National Headquarters. Cox also participates year-round in track and field. When Coach Richard Williams retired and La Plata was without a coach this summer, Cox set up practices for the cross country team to prepare for the fall season. After graduation, Cox hopes to earn an ROTC scholarship and gain admission to Rice University, Arizona State University or Jacksonville University, where she plans to major in kinesiology with a double minor in nutrition and military science.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 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 Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, 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.