Tiarra McIlwain, a senior at Thomas Stone High School, was named the Career Research and Development (CRD) Student of the Year for 2016 at the annual employer/employee breakfast held April 22. McIlwain worked at Journeys, a shoe and clothing store in the St. Charles Towne Center.
McIlwain was selected for the award following three levels of competition both at the school and county levels. Committees composed of staff members, community members and business representatives interviewed students.
“I loved the experience, and I had fun as I learned a lot of skills,” McIlwain said following the announcement.
McIlwain’s supervisor at Journeys, Demetre Wells, said Tiarra excelled as a salesperson and consistently lived up to Journeys core value of driving sales with every action. Wells commended her for her work ethic and said she exceeded the maximum expectation for employees. “I loved to see her clock in for work and I am going to hate to see her leave,” Wells said.
Student nominees, all seniors, are selected by the high schools and forwarded to a school system committee for consideration. Nominees were Jordan Lancaster of Henry E. Lackey High School; Amayia Butler, Selena Thomas and Amber Vasquez of La Plata High School; Jason Thompson of Maurice J. McDonough High School; Autumn Cantor of St. Charles High School; Meagan Auth and Tiarra McIlwain of Thomas Stone High School; and Tayha Toppin of Westlake High School. The CRD Advisory Committee interviewed and selected three finalists: McIlwain, Auth and Toppin.
Employers and student employees gathered at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center for the annual breakfast. There were 82 students participating in the 2015-16 school year program and 62 different employers supervised the students. The CRD program was formerly known as the Cooperative Education Program, and provides a bridge from school to work, classroom instruction, work experience and on-the-job training related to a student’s career goals.
The Cooperative Education Program was launched in 1971 at La Plata and Lackey high schools, expanded to Thomas Stone in 1972 and then to McDonough in 1979. Westlake started offering the program in 1998. North Point launched the program in 2009 with its first senior class, and St. Charles High School added the program this school year. Students interested in the program can contact the CRD coordinator at their school.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.