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Students' diligence pays off

November 15, 2000

Students' diligence pays off



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Even in elementary school, Micah Socks of Clear Spring was committed to studying hard and learning.

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He grew even more serious about studying in middle and high schools, pushing himself to get good grades.

He carried a 4.0 grade point average after three years at Clear Spring High School, and does not expect it to drop in his senior year.

"It takes hard work," he said.

Socks was one of 128 students honored for their exceptional academic records Wednesday during the annual Celebration of Excellence banquet at the Sheraton Four Points hotel.

The group was the largest to be honored during the four years he has attended the event, Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett, Jr. said. He attributed the increase to "the concern for education, generally."

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In order to be recognized at the banquet a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.75.

Socks' suggestion to all students is to do what he did - set priorities and remain committed to them.

Socks didn't have to avoid television and parties to keep up his good grades.

"I still have a life," he said.

He has not chosen a college but is thinking of majoring in teaching or computer science.

"He has been such an easy child to raise," said his mother, Sue Socks.

Lindsay Smith of Hagerstown said she had a 3.7 GPA during her freshman year. She began working harder and by spring of last year she had a 3.92 GPA.

Asked what advice she had for students who want to get better grades, she said, "Discipline yourself and prioritize."

Matt Cline of Hancock had a 3.75 GPA after three years at Clear Spring High School. After graduating this spring he hopes to major in math at Western Maryland University, he said.

While some good students may make getting high grades seem easy, it's not as simple as it looks, he said.

"Nothing ever comes easy to me," Cline said.

For students seeking advice, "I'd encourage them to do the best they could do," he said.

"He has been such a good kid," his mother, Becky said. "He has just been a real pleasure."

His friend, Travis Bennett, had a GPA of 3.93.

Bennett has great respect for his father, so when his dad told him to study, Travis did so.

When his father offered to give him a Mustang if he got all A's in his junior year, he got the A's and the car, he said.

He expects his GPA to drop during his senior year now that he's working part time at KMart as a layaway technician and enjoying his own car, he said.

Bennett said he had to miss some extracurricular activities in order to study, but it helped that his friends also emphasized the importance of studying and getting good grades.

"It takes a lot of work," he said. "A lot."

He plans to major in business management at Salisbury State.

During his comments, Bartlett said it's amazing that while the district is raising its standards, the number of students with outstanding academic records keeps increasing.

"You are the best of our best," Bartlett said. "You have actually achieved everything we asked of you."

The keynote speaker was Mitesh Kothari, who grew up in Washington County and graduated from Boonsboro High School in 1987.

When he left the area after graduation he said he decided he would never return.

He made that decision after facing a close-minded and intolerant community that treated him poorly because he was not white, he said. He did not want to raise a family in that environment, he said.

But after spending four years in the Washington, D.C., area, and eight years in the Baltimore area, he changed his mind. During his absence the community had grown more appealing to him.

He returned and has had a private medical practice in Hagerstown for more than a year, he said.

He suggested others do as he did and "Bring your many talents back to Hagerstown."

At his urging, the crowd honored with applause two important groups of people in every student's life: Teachers and administrators, and parents, whom he described as "your biggest fans."

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