North Hagerstown High earns top honors for computer use

July 23, 1997


Staff Writer

George Cassutto's use of computers at North Hagerstown High School earned him recognition from members of Congress and others Wednesday.

Cassutto, along with North Hagerstown High student Tom Dean, were recognized along with representatives of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Va., for their use of computers in the classroom.

About 50 members of Congress, computer firms and educators gave the Ed View Award for Outstanding Use of the Internet in Education to the two schools, officials said.

The awards were presented during a ceremony at the Reserve Officers Association on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.

North Hagerstown was recognized for its Web site and a special Web project produced last year by students in observance of black history month.


Eighty ninth-grade students researched black history issues and compiled the information online to create "The Civil Rights Movement: A Black History Celebration."

Students also designed a trivia game for the site and submitted poetry and artwork relating to racial issues and minority leaders.

Dean, 16, who will be a junior at North Hagerstown High this fall, has worked on computer projects outside the school, such as development of a Web site for Hagerstown Business College.

"I think it speaks to the superior education system we have in Western Maryland," said U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., one of a number of congressmen who attended the ceremony.

"This is, indeed, a proud moment for North Hagerstown and the state of Maryland," U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., wrote in a letter to Cassutto Wednesday.

Ed View is a Minneapolis-based company that has created a "Safety Net" software program that allows teachers to use the Internet without fear of pupils discovering inappropriate material. Safety Net provides access to only educational sites, according to Cassutto.

Although he has not used Safety Net, Cassutto said he thinks the concept has potential for education.

Cassutto said, however, he would prefer the system to give teachers the ability to switch off Safety Net off so they could have greater control over how they use the Internet.

Cassutto said the Internet has received bad publicity over the types of material available and how it is used, and he is concerned about how the resource is being affected.

"I think the debate is healthy, but I think we should also keep focusing on how it can help our kids," Cassutto said.

Cassutto was named 1996 Teacher of the Year by Technology and Learning Magazine for his computer work at North Hagerstown High. Last year he was selected by the Public Broadcasting System to design a computer lesson plan for teachers who were discussing President Clinton's second inauguration in their classrooms.

The Herald-Mail Articles