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Maryland Tomorrow helps kids today

May 03, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Western Heights Middle School personnel called Traci Hodges so often last year about problems with her daughter, Terrika, that she sometimes felt like she was a student there herself.

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This year, Traci Hodges said, she hasn't been called once.

Mother and daughter attribute that change to her participation in the Maryland's Tomorrow program.

Terrika Hodges, 15, said the program has helped her improve her grades and her behavior.

Last year she was suspended about once a month and almost didn't get to move on to high school, she said. Now, at South Hagerstown High School, she has been in trouble only once and her grades are much better, she said.

Her case manager, Patty Felix, helped her a great deal, Terrika Hodges said.

Felix "is really nice and understanding," and has helped her fight the urge to be the class clown, she said.

"Terrika has really come around this year," Felix said.

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Hodges is one of about 130 students participating in the program designed to help students who are having trouble with attendance and grades. Some of the students were honored Wednesday at the annual Student Recognition Banquet at the Plaza Hotel.

"These are really great students," Felix said. "They work hard every day."

The goal of Maryland's Tomorrow program is to jump-start students' education, said Bob Beard, principal of alternative education programs for Washington County.

That's what Raiko Freeman, a junior at North Hagerstown High School, said it did for her.

Freeman said she joined the program when she was a freshman and having trouble concentrating in class. Through the program she got one-on-one help and, as a result, her grades have improved, she said.

"I went from C's and B's to A's and B's," she said. Later this year she will graduate from high school, she said.

"It has been a great help," she said.

The program is in its 12th year, Beard said.

Participants remain in the program through graduation.

Maryland's Tomorrow gives students academic assistance, individual attention, special presentations on goal-settings and teen issues.

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