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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 28, 2010

Thumbs up to Washington County Public Schools and many of its students. The number of students taking advanced placement and International Baccalaureate courses has continued to increase, from 400 in 2001 to 1,930 in 2010. That's a significant increase in the number of students preparing themselves for college, vastly improving their chances for post-high school success. A very encouraging trend for our community.

Thumbs up to Ladetra Robinson, who runs the Blossom School of Etiquette. Young people are taught about etiquette and manners, which culminated in a Cotillion Ball on Aug. 21 at Fountain Head Country Club. In a world where rudeness and crude behavior often is the rule and not the exception, it's encouraging to see a group that still values manners, decorum and class.

Thumbs up to the Hagerstown Lions Club, which awarded six $1,000 scholarships to local students to further their education. Since 1988, the Massey H. Roe Youth Foundation has given out more than $144,000 to deserving students. That's quite a commitment to our community.

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Thumbs up to local Little League umpire Denny Hockensmith, who volunteered his time and paid his own travel and lodging expenses to work the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Hockensmith, who umpires at South Mountain Little League in Boonsboro, has umpired in Washington County for 40 years.

Thumbs up to officials with Roach Energy, owners of 16 ROCS convenience stores in the Eastern Panhandle. Last Saturday's winning $79 million Powerball ticket was sold at one of the company's Martinsburg stores, netting the company a $100,000 bonus. The company plans to donate the entire bonus to various charitable and civic organizations in the Eastern Panhandle. Now that's giving back to the community.

Thumbs up to Gary Robert Harding, who set an unofficial Guinness World Record last weekend for the longest nose wheelie on a full-size motocross bike at Mason-Dixon Dragway. Shortly after setting the record, he proposed to his girlfriend, who accepted. Quite a memorable few minutes for the native of Hedgesville, W.Va.

Thumbs up to Patrick Hare and Chris Carrier, 2001 graduates of Williamsport High School, who played critical roles in the making of the National Geographic Channel's "Explorer: 24 Hours After Hiroshima." Hare was associate producer of the documentary, while Carrier portrayed Lt. Morris Jeppson, who armed the atomic bomb on the Enola Gay as it approached Hiroshima.

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