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Volunteer Lampton enjoys seeing STARS

April 09, 2007

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Paula Lampton



Age: 57.

Occupation: Volunteer.

Hometown: Butler, Pa.

Where would you see Lampton? Paula Lampton has made a career out of community involvement. The mother of four grown children worked as a nurse, then traded that in to be a school volunteer, working with PTA and CAC at her children's schools.

Paula and Edward Lampton, a radiologist, built a house on Md. 66, choosing property so their children would attend Smithsburg schools. The couple were impressed with the athletic and band boosters at those schools, but felt there was little to recognize academic success.

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In 1990, the Lamptons started the STARS program - Success Through Academic Recognition - at Smithsburg High School. They chose to align the program with the business community, because they felt businesses benefited most from having well-educated students.

Over the years, the program has evolved from a monthly recognition to a twice a year celebration for each semester at Smithsburg High. Faculty members choose the students to be recognized, and 130 to 140 students will be recognized at a breakfast in May.

Students at Smithsburg High are chosen either as Shining Stars, who demonstrate high levels of academic success, or as Rising Stars, who have shown the most improvement in a certain area.

Paula Lampton beams with pride as she points to the STARS Wall of Fame at Smithsburg High with photos of STARS recipients.

"The exciting part is that it stretches the entire length of the wall now," she said.

STARS then was introduced to Smithsburg Middle School, then spread to other county middle and high schools. It is currently in nine middle and high schools, Lampton said.

At first, there was some resistance by students who didn't think it was cool to be recognized for academic success, Lampton said. Over time, though, that stigma has changed.

Each student chosen receives a T-shirt and certificate, provided by the business sponsor.

"The most satisfying thing for me is that students do want to be recognized for their academic achievements. I hope the pride we instill follows them into other areas of their lives," Lampton said. "It's a simple program, but it seems to make a difference."

Lampton has been involved with other community organizations, including the Hagerstown YMCA, Hagerstown Community College, Washington County Planning Commission, the Zoning Appeals Board and Leadership Washington County.

Hobbies: Lampton said reading and spending time with her four grandchildren are her favorite hobbies.

What does Lampton like best about Washington County? "I guess my favorite thing about Washington County is the people. I really enjoy the people," said Lampton, who has lived in Washington County 28 years.

"We feel very fortunate to have raised our children here. The STARS program is our way to give back to Washington County and the education program," Lampton said.

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