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B. Marie Byers meets last time, passes her torch

November 29, 2000

B. Marie Byers meets last time, passes her torch



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


Washington County Board of Education member B. Marie Byers passed the torch to the newly elected board members Tuesday, concluding her 30-year tenure in office.

Byers attended her last meeting of the School Board, which she first joined on July 1, 1970.

Her last meeting brought several awards and recognition for her service.

The Maryland School Counselor's Association named her Advocate of the Year for her support of school guidance counselors.

"You have publicly expressed your belief for school counselors," said Phyllis Walsh, a retired counselor who presented Byers with the award. "You have always encouraged professional development of school counselors ... and for placement of counselors in alternative education sites. It saddens me to see you leave this board."

The School Board also recognized Byers for her service.

"You've seen a lot and you have most definitely helped move this system," Board Vice President Doris Nipps said. "We're all very grateful that you've been here. You've dedicated your life to the children and the people in the community ... I probably can say that you're probably not finished serving."

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Gov. Parris N. Glendening gave Byers a Governor's Citation, which Nipps read. Board member Mary Wilfong read a poem that was written in honor of Byers.

Former School Board member Barbara Stansberry approached the board and thanked Byers for her service. She and Byers spent eight years on the board together.

"She has worked with the Congress of the United States and worked with the federal Department of Education," she said. "She has garnered respect for Washington County.

Board member J. Herbert Hardin recalled a School Board trip to San Francisco, when Byers introduced him to governors, senators and other officials from across the nation.

"She holds a great deal of prestige among her colleagues," he said. "We'll miss her."

Byers went through the list of School Board members with whom she had served and then made three requests.

One was a suggestion the board start a Friends of Education Award. The second was that the board hang a plaque at the Fairview Outdoor School in honor of former Schools Superintendent Claude Kitchens, who endorsed the creation of the school.

The third request was to gather artifacts that former Schools Superintendent William M. Brish collected while in Nigeria and donate them to the William Brish Library at Hagerstown Community College.

She presented recently elected board member Edward Forrest with a Norman Rockwell print depicting Freedom of Speech. She told him hang it on a wall in the board auditorium and told him to keep the meaning in mind when conducting business.

"To all friends and children: Freedom of Speech," she wrote on the back of the print.

"The torch has been passed," she said.

"Well, Mrs. Byers, you will be missed," Nipps said.

"Oh, I will be around," Byers said.

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