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Lieutenant governor praised for visiting schools

April 01, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele earned her respect Wednesday by going to the "front lines," visiting and talking with students and employees in two schools.

Steele spent about an hour each at South Hagerstown High School and Antietam Academy, previously known as the Alternative Learning Center.

"I am impressed you came to the front lines. I am a convert," Morgan said.

Steele said he was impressed with what he saw Wednesday, especially with how passionate school system employees were about education.

Steele said he will visit schools in every Maryland county to learn about the quality of public education and to see for himself what changes are needed. He has visited schools in more than half of the state's counties so far, he said.

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Instead of merely talking to the students, Steele sat down next to some of them and asked them about their plans, their goals and other questions.

South High Principal Michael Shockey said he was jealous of Steele's ability to get a class to go quiet just by entering a room.

Steele joked with some students, especially while in a psychology class at South High.

Student Adam Hockensmith told Steele he was the student government president. Steele sat at the desk next to him and asked, "Mr. President, what's up?"

Later, Steele asked students what subjects they plan to major in.

When Hockensmith said he plans to major in political science and economics, Steele said he was not surprised.

After touring the two schools, Morgan and Steele stood outside the academy and discussed education and funding.

Some people think capital improvements are not needed, Steele said.

Morgan suggested Steele urge people to visit Washington County schools so they can see that some buildings constructed in 1957 still have the original carpeting.

If Maryland is to have businesses that use ground-breaking technology, it needs to have students educated in how to use that technology, Steele said. Morgan agreed.

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