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Hello Hornets:

Here are some items that may be of interest:

1. JENNIE DENISON BAYNE SCHOLARSHIP FUND ESTABLISHED.  Thanks to the generosity of her granddaughter Ayla Dickey, a new Foundation scholarship fund has been established in memory of Surratts grad Jennie Denison Bayne.  The Jennie Denison Bayne Memorial Scholarship will be presented annually to a graduating senior who represents the joy for life, commitment to family and desire to make a difference in the life of others that was so characteristic of Jennie Denison Bayne.

Jennie graduated from Surrattsville around 1929.  Many of Jennies 10 brothers and sisters in Clinton attended Surratts from the early 1900s through the 1930s.  Her eldest brother Irvin Dennison, born in 1894, attended Surratts in the very early days before leaving to enter the military where he died in the flu epidemic at Ft. Meade.  Jennie passed away in February 2007 at the age of 94.  She was always very proud of her roots in Clinton and the fact that she graduated from high school, which was not always common for children of farmers during that era as many had to commit their time to helping support the family and the farm.

Ayla, who has worked in the education arena for the past 20 years, especially recognizes the value of a college education and how difficult it has become for many students to afford, particularly in today's difficult economic times.  She felt that the best way to honor her grandmother's memory would be to establish this new scholarship fund for deserving Surratts grads who exhibits some of Jennie's fine qualities.

We are grateful for Ayla's generosity, and delighted to establish this new scholarship fund in memory of a very special Surratts alumna!

2.  2008 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN CONTINUES.  The Foundation's 2008 Annual Campaign is continuing.  This is the informal campaign we undertake each year to refresh the Foundation's treasury so it can grant the annual scholarships and fund the other on-going activities of the Foundation.  Remember: the Foundation has no overhead, so every dollar contributed goes directly toward the support of a Foundation activity.  And no contribution is too small (or too large) to make a positive difference.

Please consider showing your support for the Foundation by joining those generous donors listed below who already have contributed to this year's campaign.  (A donor form is reprinted below, and is available on the Foundation's web site at

3.  INSPIRATIONAL TEACHERS, CON'T.  In our continuing feature about inspiration Surratts teachers and staff, we received this great email:

"Dear Henry:  Your recent article about Dave Decenzo and how many of us were inspired by the teachers at SHS brought back some fun memories!  One of my favorite memories from the late 60's took place at SJHS in 9th grade.  The school's various departments came together to put on a program ("The Age of Aquarius") which included the Music Department, the Band and others.  The Home Ec department made the costumes. I remember making a costume with neon spray paint on it to wear for a tango dance under black strobe lights with Dave. How fun!  It was one of many collaborative activities the students participated in.

That wonderful staff  (Mrs. Becker, Mrs. Sarmiento, Mrs. Leahy) inspired me with activities like the one mentioned above to become a teacher. They stayed after school to help us get our activities arranged and spent lots of time mentoring us. Being a teacher is truly a calling and I love it. My middle school in suburban Knoxville, TN reminds me very much of SJHS and SHS right down to the horses that get loose from a farm nearby and come up to look at my students and I through the windows! We didn't have horses at SHS, but I seem to remember cows getting out and wandering near SHS one day.    Terri Gibson Kaiser (73)"

4.  HORNET WORKS WITH TEEN ENTREPRENEURS.  Former faculty member and Foundation Board member reports that Shonika Proctor, one of her former students at Surratts, has left her thriving consulting business to work with teen entrepreneurs full time, and that she has written a book which encourages other teens to do the same.  Information about Shonika's books can be found at, and Shonika can be reached at

[Ed note:  Wouldn't it be interesting if Shonika helped a current Surratts student who is a budding entrepreneur start his or her first business.]

5. ... AND SPEAKING OF YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS.  The extremely active Surratts PTSA is now sponsoring a free Young Entrepreneurship Program, called "Building Character, Integrity & Morals" for students between the age 15 to 21.  The Program meets every third Saturday from 10 to Noon until June 2009.  For information, call 301-877-0822 or 240-626-8572.

[Ed Note: You may recall that we reported on the PTSA's innovative "Men of Surratts" program in the last e-Notice.  Congratulations to the Surratts PTSA on its many innovative programs to benefit the great kids at Surratts!]

6.  SEEKING FORMER FACULTY MEMBER.  Dave Romerstein (84) and some of his classmates and friends from 84 and 85 are seeking contact information for former faculty member Jim Anderson.  Please contact Dave at if you have any information.

7.  SURRATTS PRINCIPAL FEATURED IN GAZETTE ARTICLE.  Surratts Principal Alice Swift Howard was recently featured in this very nice article by Megan McKeever in The Gazette:

"Surrattsville High School Principal Alice Swift Howard:  In her relatively short tenure at Surrattsville High School, principal Alice Swift Howard has improved the academic atmosphere, helping students pass state assessments and apply for college, at a school that the state was in need of academic improvement just three years ago. But she takes a humble approach to her success. "There's no mystery to who I am ...and certainly not to my job," Howard said.  Yet, parents and community members may be surprised to know the hours Howard devotes to her job, faculty members at the Clinton school say.  "It is certainly not a 9-to-5 job," said Surrattsville High School parent liaison Barbara Wright. "She is sometimes here till 10." After work, Howard commutes an hour to her home in Edgewater to spend any remaining time with her husband and 7-year-old son, Jordan.

"I may get five hours of rest, and then I'm back it again," said Howard, 43. She wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. to arrive at school before 6 a.m. and prepare to greet students as the school buses begin to roll in a half-hour later.  It is important to give the students one-on-one attention, she said, adding that she believes it reassures students in their worth and can set the tone for their day.  In her three years as principal at the school, Howard has focused her energy on pushing students to excel in academics and increasing individual self-esteem by celebrating students' smallest victories with parents.

When Howard came to Surrattsville High School in September 2005, the school, in need of academic improvement, had not met the Adequate Yearly Progress standards, a benchmark of student success, on the Maryland School Assessments the previous school year. With a strong emphasis on mutual responsibility, Howard encouraged teachers, students and parents to achieve the academic goal of passing AYP by focusing on the state's curriculum.  Howard assesses teachers often and encourages parents to shadow students for the day to see what and how their child is learning.  The school has met AYP standards during the last two years, and Howard is confident her students will do so again.

Howard understands curriculum very well and wanted to achieve those needs first, Ross said. Howard said she also pushes Advanced Placement classes, hoping to motivate students to go on to college.  Howard, Wright and PTSA president Bob Ross work as a united front, staying in constant communication and holding several weekly meetings, an approach each agrees has helped to shape the parental involvement within the school.  "She is the meat to our sandwich," Howard said, referring to Wright being the bridge between the principal and the PTSA president.

For the last two years, Howard has focused on academics, and it is now time to reach out to parents and the community and get everyone more involved, Ross said.  "It's taken three years to build, and now we can see if we can reap the rewards," he said.  To gain community participation, Howard and Ross are planning an event in the spring to showcase the talent of Clinton-area elementary, middle and high school students.  "We need to be more a part of our children's lives," Ross said. "And if so, we will get a better product."

Tentatively called Spring Fling, the event will allow the public to watch students of all ages perform at an outside venue on a Saturday afternoon.  Howard plans to contact other area school principals to build support and submit her plan for the event to the Prince George's County school board today. Pending approval, the event will be held in March or April, she said.  It's important to find creative ways to get students involved, Ross said, adding that an event like this should increase interest in the school system.

Wright and Howard said during the last few years they have seen an increase in the level of interest parents have in their children's school lives, citing the many parents who visited the school Tuesday for parent-teacher conferences.  Howard said she would like to see more parents take advantage of the school's open door policy and would like all guardians to know that their concerns won't be ignored. Parents can come into the school at any time and talk with administrators or sit in on their children's classes, she said.

"I often think 'how will my decision impact someone's child?,'" she said, adding that she tries to treat each student the way she would want any faculty member to treat her son.  Although Jordan is her only child, she considers all the students at Surrattsville High School to be a part of her family.  "I have 1,010 kids. Right, wrong or indifferent...they are all your kids," Howard said. "That's the biggest reward."

8.  100 YEARS OF SURRATTS HISTORY (Con't).  Here's the latest installment in our continuing celebration of the 100th birthday of the School.  It is a continuation of the absolutely fascinating, undated, unsigned document from the Surratts House archives (written by a Surratts grad from either the late nineteen teens or early 1920s who returned to Surratts to teach after college).

"... I can recall few of Supt. Frederick Sasscer's visits to our classroom.  In those days the superintendent was required to visit each school and assess the situation personally.  He always consulted with our teacher, asked a few general questions of the class, and heard some of us read.  We tried to do our best for him.  When Mr. Burroughs became superintendent, Miss Blanche Ogle visited our school in his stead, as she did other elementary schools in the area.

Miss N. Eva Turner came to Surrattsville as a beginning teacher when I was ready for the intermediate grades.  She was young, energetic, with a keen sense of humor, and a good disciplinarian.  She put us through our penmanship drill, saw that we knew our multiplication tables, and introduced us to history and geography.  We were seated separately now and had to pass a few notes in order to communicate.  In general, we were kept too busy to get into any mischief.

When I moved into the upper grades I had my first male teacher, Mr. J. A. Carrico.  We were in the large assembly room now and were "called up" to sit on a bench and recite our lessons.  If a person ahead of us on the bench missed his turn by giving the wrong answer, or by not having an answer, the next one in line had to go above him.  This motivated some of us to try to get to "the head of the class".  When the one at the head missed an answer he was sent to "the foot" to work his way up again.  Once in a while I had the exciting experience of being head of the class, for a brief period.  We held different positions for different classes and had to remember our place.

It was at this point that we included some civics and health in our weekly schedule.  Our physical education took the form of "recess," when we "choose up sides" and play games.  Dodge ball was one of our favorites.  Any music was handled as part of our preparation for a program we were to present.  I can't recall an art lesson as such, but we were introduced to the works of the great artists through the pictures in "The Instructor" magazine.

I remained in the same building throughout my seven years of elementary school and four years of high school.  The more advanced pupils were always upstairs on the second floor.  They moved about from room to room as the bell rang periodically.  At first this was a gong in the downstairs hall.  The principal would pull the cord and sound the gong, or send someone to do it.  This was also our fire alarm.

When I advanced up to high school Miss Eva Turner was my homeroom teacher.  She had moved up from the elementary division and taken a schedule in English and Math.  Mrs. Louise Blandford Burroughs taught Home Economics; Mrs. Catherine Gardiner was my French teacher and my science teacher.  Our music teacher served more than one school and came to our building once or twice a week.  Miss Turner also coached the girls' teams in volley ball and end ball.  At that time the Public Athletic League held meets in the counties each spring and then a statewide meet for the local winners (usually at Johns Hopkins Field in Baltimore).  I earned my bronze, silver, and gold medals for individual events and several bronze and silver bars for team events.  I wear the silver and gold medallions on my charm bracelets today.  Representing your school in the meet was enough motivation to keep us practicing all year through.

(... to be continued ...)

[Ed Note: It sounds like the School was somewhat more progressive in mid-century than it was when I attended from 1968-1971.  We had no girls sports teams, but it sounds like they had at least two!]

9.  POSSIBLE 2010 EVENTS.  As previously noted, the Foundation Board is considering whether to hold any form of "All Classes/Faculty/Staff" events in 2010, either similar to those held in 2000 and 2005, or different in scope.  If you would like to volunteer to work on a committee to consider this question, please send me an email at

10.  FASHIONABLE ALUMNI BUMPER STICKERS/WINDOW DECALS AVAILABLE.  As previously noted, the Foundation is now making "Surrattsville Alumni" bumper sticker/window decals available.  (A sample is found at    Note that the actual size is 4" x 4" rather than the size shown on the web site, and they have a white background and green lettering.)

These stickers/decals are of the "static peel-off" variety, so they have "repositional adhesive backing," and attach, and detach, easily from bumpers and windows with no muss or fuss.  The suggested donation for the decals is $2.50.  If you'd like to show your Hornet pride by displaying one on your vehicle, please send your donation and your mailing address to Henry Smith at 815 Stoneleigh Road, Baltimore, MD 21212, and we'll mail a decal to you.

11.  CLASS OF 64 PLANS REUNION.  The Class of 64 is planning a 45th reunion in February 2009, in the form of a three night cruise to the Bahamas!  The Class reports that "all are welcome to join us."  For details, contact Jaime Seaman (64) at or 954-316-7498. 

12.  CLASS OF 59 PLANS REUNION.  The Class of 59 is beginning its planning for its 50 year reunion on June 6 and 7, 2009.  Please contact Laura Owens at if you have any information on 59 grads or members of their families.

13.  CLASS OF 84 CONSIDERING REUNION.  Class of 84 grads that are interested in working on, and/or attending, a 25 year reunion are asked to contact Gary Stallings at

14.  GET WELL WISHES.  We want to send our warmest get well wishes to Surrattstock I and II performer, and great Foundation supporter, Wayne Tatum (74), who will have a kidney transplant at Washington Hospital Center on the morning of December 3.  (And special get well wishes also go out to Wayne's extraordinarily generous live donor.) Get well Wayne!

I hope this e-Notice finds you well and enjoying the start to the holiday season!

All the best, Henry Smith (71),


Steve Profilet (71)
Chuck Teubner (64)
Pat Becker Oles (71)
Janet Goddard Sullivan (54)
Vivian Bounds Edelen (Former Faculty; 1938-1942)
Linda Dorsey Blum (66)
Vicky Simontacchi Young (57)
Sally Weingarten (77)
Bill Harris (71)
Ellen Talbert-Miller (61 and Former Faculty), In Memory of Harrison (Bo) Waite (70)
Denise Hope (72), In Memory of Robin Danielson (72)
Nancy Miller (67), In Memory of Virginia Mitchel McLaughlin (64)
Bob Marr (71)
Deborah Cox Marr (72)
Donna Rae Sturtevant Smith (70)
Henry Smith (71)
Judy Gordon Mentlik (65), To Celebrate the Marriages of Nancy Oursler Maynard (65) and Larry Schillings (65), and Marion Thompson (65) and John Restifo (65)
Helen Bovbjerg Niedung (54)
Jeanine Carroll Maclary (73), In Memory of James R. Carroll, Jr.
Chris and Merry Chovan Romine (65), To Celebrate the 98th Birthday of Laura Chovan (Former Faculty)
Paul Monaghan (59)
Nancy Oursler Schillings (65), to honor Best Friends in the Class of 65
Tom Travis (72)
Sally Travis (72)
Coach Lew Jenkins (Former Faculty)
Carrie Jessee Loftus (69), In Memory of Robert "Bobby" Jessee (71)
Dave Weber (65)
Millie Biedenkapp (Former Principal)
Joan Penn Revis (61)
Homer Revis (56)
Brenda Karnes (Former Faculty), In Memory of Lillian Holland
Anne Noyes (Former Faculty), In Memory of Lillian Holland
Reynaud Smith (72)
Mike Gifford (84)
Dan Bayne (71)




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