THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2008-12 OF DECEMBER 1, 2008
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
[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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
(... 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
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
http://www.surrattsville.org/photos/index.shtml. 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
Steprepp@aol.com 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
email@example.com 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
All the best, Henry Smith (71),
MANY THANKS TO THESE DONORS TO THE FOUNDATION'S 2008 CAMPAIGN!
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)
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)