County's top students praised

November 18, 1999

Student AwardsBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Exceptional academic records earned 119 Washington County high school seniors praise, applause and awards from Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. during the annual Celebration of Excellence banquet Thursday night.

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Calling them "the best of the best," Bartlett said the students scored the highest marks ever.

"I'm so very, very proud of you," he said. "The most outstanding group that's ever gone through Washington County schools."

To be invited to the banquet at Sheraton Four Points Hotel, a senior had to have a 3.7 grade point average by June of last year, but many had a higher average.

Nicholas Sapp ended his junior year with a 4.09, thanks to advanced placement courses and his dedication. The 17-year-old Williamsport High School student took AP biology last year and is taking AP calculus this year.


"I try my hardest in academics," said Sapp, who gave credit to his parents, Edward Sapp and Janice Crowell. "I think they helped to push me and they always support me and my grades," he said.

But his mother said all the credit goes to Nicholas. "It's totally him," she said. "He really studies hard, and he's really dedicated ... he's got that (drive) inside of him. He enjoys excelling, I guess."

Jennie Wade, also a Williamsport student, attributed her success to perseverance. She ended her junior year with a 3.987 grade point average after taking pre-calculus and trigonometry. She is now taking AP biology and calculus.

"I really want to do well in life and I know doing well in high school is the way to get there," she said. "I work hard, study and do my best."

Wade got a Maryland Distinguished Scholar honorable mention and a "Who's Who in Academics" award. But she downplayed her success. "I'm not necessarily brilliant. I have to work for what I get," she said.

Wade, 17, thanked her parents, Susan and David Wade, for their support. Susan Wade summed up her daughter's achievement in two words: "Hard work."

University of Maryland Director of Environmental Science and Policy Bruce James was the keynote speaker. He told the students their challenge is to keep communication personal in an age of ever-expanding technology.

In a speech titled, "Shaping the Synergism of Silicon and Socrates," James said computers are transforming education and asked whether they will have a negative effect.

"Will computers make us social misfits?" he asked. "I think not ... There will always be a connection with people."

He said Socrates caused a "human revolution" by the way he thought, taught and communicated in person. He advised students to keep the Greek philosopher's teaching style in mind.

"If you eat breakfast, use computers and think Socrates in college, you will win big," James concluded.

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