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Washington County fifth-graders honored with Principals' Citizenship Awards

May 23, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Last week, when Brandon Burkholder's fifth-grade class was learning about ratios, he noticed one of his classmates hadn't been able to finish his homework problems.

"I helped him, and the next day, he had finished his homework," said Brandon, 11, a student at Paramount Elementary School.

It was efforts such as these that earned Brandon and 75 other Washington County fifth-graders the honor of a Principals' Citizenship Award at a ceremony Thursday night at North Hagerstown High School.

Since 1987, Washington County elementary school principals have presented the awards each year to students who show pride and respect toward students and adults, show pride and respect for school rules and property, participate in class discussions and school activities, and demonstrate maximum effort to do well academically, said Scott Woods, chair of the Principals' Citizenship Committee.

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At Thursday's award ceremony, school officials congratulated the students on their accomplishments and encouraged them to continue to show good citizenship as they make the transition to middle school next year.

"You're going to face many decisions that you'll have to make in middle school," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told the students. "I think you can rely on your character; on knowing what's right and wrong; and knowing if it feels right to you. Listen to yourself. You'll know what decision to make."

Paramount Elementary School student Jake Clemmer, 11, said earning the award boosted his confidence about going to middle school.

"I'm a little bit nervous, but I think I'll be OK," he said, adding that he plans to continue helping others whenever he can.

Sharpsburg Elementary School fifth-grader Lindsey Shank, 11, said she was "surprised and happy" when her teacher pulled her aside to tell her she had been nominated for the award.

"I felt good that I was chosen," she said.

Washington County Board of Education Vice President Donna Brightman told students they were examples of what it means to be a contributing member of the community.

"You understand how your actions affect others, you have made sacrifices of your personal time for a greater cause, and you have reached out to others in need and offered your help," she said. "We thank you and your families for your selfless contribution to the betterment of your schools and your communities."

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