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Hagerstown siblings make their mark at Hopkins

April 21, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Siblings Leslie and Vincent Schoeck graduated a few years apart as salutatorians of their classes at North Hagerstown High School.

Since then, the duo has left its academic mark at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Leslie, 22, will graduate in May sporting a 3.5 grade-point average with a major in German and romance languages, and a minor in entrepreneurship and management.

In the meantime, Vincent is on the fast track to earning his master's degree. Only a sophomore, Vincent has been accepted into the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins campus in Washington, D.C.

Vincent, 20, said the program admits only six students a year and will allow him to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in five years instead of six.

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"That's what makes the program special," he said. "I'm just very honored to have this opportunity to pursue. It will open a lot of doors."

Leslie is about to open some doors of her own.

She said she has been selected to participate in Teach for America, a highly selective program in which college graduates are placed as teachers in urban classrooms. Of the 20,000 or so people who apply, only 2,000 are chosen, she said.

Having tutored children before, Leslie said Teach for America won't be a completely new endeavor. She said she is to start teaching second-graders in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13.

Leslie said she entered the program for two main reasons, the first being to help improve the quality of education for inner-city youth.

"I realize there is an achievement gap between higher- and lower-income kids," she said. "That gap doesn't need to exist. They all have the same capacity."

Leslie said the second reason is a little more self-serving. After her commitment with Teach for America is finished in two years, she plans to use her experience to get into graduate or law school.

"Obviously, you don't get into it for that reason ... But if you pass (Teach for America's) rigorous selection process, it impresses at the next level," she said. "They respect the skills members have to get in the program."

Vincent said Leslie played an integral part in his decision to attend The Johns Hopkins University.

He attributed a good bit of his and Leslie's academic success to their parents, Ted and Teresa Schoeck.

"Our parents have instilled in us when we were young the importance of academics," Vincent said. "We just continued the same work ethic in college. It just paid off."

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