Nine Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students were recognized Feb. 5 by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education for their accomplishments in gifted education. Each received a Student Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award.
- Kaylee Alvey, eighth grade, General Smallwood Middle School;
- Anthony Cave, fifth grade, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School;
- Eliza Freundel, fifth grade, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School;
- Edwin Hall, eighth grade, Smallwood;
- Camryn Halloran, fifth grade, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy;
- Leland Kirk, fifth grade, Dr. James Craik Elementary School;
- Ethan Phanthasy, fourth grade, Craik;
- Neala Rooney, fifth grade, Higdon; and
- Athena Sapp, fifth grade, Malcolm Elementary School.
Students were nominated by the learning resource teachers at their schools, who work with students enrolled in enrichment courses. Student criteria for recognition includes academic performance at a high level, being a current recipient of a school system, state or national award, and participation in a gifted education program.
All award recipients were honored in a ceremony held Feb. 5 to honor the governor’s proclamation of February as Gifted and Talented Education Month. The ceremony was sponsored by MSDE and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education.
Alvey, an eighth grader, has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout middle school and earned a 5 on the language arts portion of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) for the past two years, placing her in the top 10 percent of students in Charles County. In the math portion of PARCC, Alvey is in the top 5 percent of county students. In sixth grade, her MESA team won first place in the prosthetic arm competition of regionals. A member of Smallwood’s Destination Imagination (DI) team, Alvey’s seventh-grade DI team placed first in the regional competition. In addition to the MESA and DI teams, she is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the Math Counts team. Alvey is enrolled in high-school level algebra I and Spanish, and is in the Gateway to Technology program.
Cave is a fifth grader who demonstrates advanced comprehension in reading and math and is quick to pick up skill knowledge. He scored in the top 5 percent of the math and language arts portions of PARCC. His Scratch team placed third in the county’s MESA competition last year and tied for first place when Cave was in third grade. He is on the principal’s honor roll, earning a 4.0 GPA and was recognized by the Board of Education of Charles County in December 2018 for being an exemplary student in the area of career readiness. Cave takes part in several extracurricular activities including MESA, math team, Higdon’s news team and VEX Robotics. He plays trumpet in the school band and is a soccer player. He also volunteers for community events hosted at the Newburg Volunteer Fire Department.
Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy fifth grader Freundel has been in the school’s gifted program for the past five years. She exceeds all grade-level expectations in the PARCC assessment and is a member of the school’s news team and orchestra. She has a strong sense of community service, initiating a request for a Rotary Club Little Library at Mt. Hope, and volunteers with the Humane Society of Charles County, Harvest for the Hungry, Appalachia Service Project and with disabled veterans. Freundel has received many awards including second place in DI regionals, third place at the county-level of the MESA competition, first place in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) stamp competition and the award for most original art in a county art show. She was a member of the Superintendent’s Elementary School Advisory Council. A voracious reader, Freundel has won many accelerated reader awards at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and receives guided reading instruction on sixth-grade Common Core Standards. She in is accelerated fifth-grade math learning on a sixth-grade level and is on the school’s math team.
With his 4.0 GPA, Hall has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll throughout middle school. The eighth grader performed in the top 5 percent on PARCC assessments in both the math and language arts portions in his seventh-grade year and was in the top 10 percent in sixth grade. He earned the Distinguished Scholars Award and first place in the school’s poetry contest. He has earned Smallwood’s TERK Award which celebrates Tolerance, Effort, Rigor and Kindness. Hall was a DI state finalist when he was in fifth grade and has participated in MESA and the Kings Club. First identified as gifted in second grade, Hall is currently in accelerated math enrolled in high-school level algebra I and Spanish. He is a member of Smallwood’s math team and its track team. Hall was a USA-JA Track regional finalist. He gives back to the community as a member of the Kids Council, a group that organizes neighborhood events for the school.
Halloran, a Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy fifth grader, exceeds all grade-level expectations on PARCC testing and county-level assessments. She is a member of the school’s news team, band and chorus. She is a mentor for a first-grade student and helps in the school’s library. Extroverted and with a quick smile, Halloran was a natural to emcee Mt. Hope’s Thanksgiving dinner and program for the county’s senior citizens. She has earned awards for her work in DI and MESA competitions, and was a member of the Superintendent’s Elementary School Advisory Council.
Halloran reads at an advanced level and receives guided reading instruction on sixth-grade Common Core standards. A member of the math team, Halloran is a top student in the accelerated fifth-grade math class getting instruction on a sixth-grade level.
Kirk is a student who sees the whole picture, grasping higher level questioning and is able to support his thinking with reason. As a second grader, Kirk scored in the 99 percent on the verbal portion of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and a 99 percent on the quantitative section. In third grade, he scored a perfect 850 on the math portion of the PARCC assessment and a near perfect 849 on the reading section. He repeated the scores the following year. Now a fifth grader, Kirk has participated in the DAR essay contest, is on the principal’s honor roll and reads on a seventh-grade level.
Phanthasy is a fourth-grade student at Craik who works on material far above his grade level. He scored a perfect 850 in reading on a PARCC assessment and an 849 on the math portion. He is on the principal’s honor roll and participates in several extracurricular activities including the science fair, art contests and chess club. He has received accolades for his entries in the DAR essay contest and reads on a sixth-grade level. Eager to participate in group conversations and activities, Phanthasy is a source of information for his peers.
A fifth grader at Higdon, Rooney exhibits advanced comprehension in reading and math and is quick to pick up new information. She exceeded expectations on PARCC assessments in both math and language arts, securing a spot in the top 5 percent. Her SCRATCH group placed third in the county’s MESA competition and she has consistently been on the principal’s honor roll with a current 4.0 GPA. As a fourth grader, Rooney earned an art award from the Community Bank of the Chesapeake. She participates in several extracurricular activities including MESA, Higdon’s math team, Husky Buddies and VEX Robotics. She plays the violin in the school band, is a member of the Swan Point Swim Team and plays soccer.
For the past two years Sapp has scored at a 5 on the PARCC assessment in both language arts and math. Her CogAT scores were above the 90th percentile rank on all three subtests and she consistently posts top scores on county language arts and math assessments. Sapp’s DI team placed first at the regional competition, second in states and 11th in the global contest. She was identified for gifted services in second grade and has received gifted services in math and language arts for the past three years. Sapp has participated in summer programs at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth for the past three years.
During the ceremony in which the students were honored, seven CCPS educators were recognized for their accomplishments in gifted education. To read more about the educators, go to https://tinyurl.com/y8qldce3.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 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 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.