On Tuesday, May 29, members of the Thomas Stone Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution presented portraits of George Washington to Malcolm and Walter J. Mitchell elementary schools. Since 2011, the local chapter has been raising funds to purchase copies of the portrait, painted by the artist Rembrandt Peale, for elementary schools in Charles County.
Several community members and organizations have helped the chapter by contributing the $275 cost for the portrait project. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which maintains and helps preserve Washington's historic home at Mount Vernon, began a project in 2007 to return Washington's portraits to schools as part of a commemoration of the 275th anniversary of his birthday. So far, more than 7,000 portraits have been placed in schools across the country.
As part of the ceremony held at Mitchell, James and Mary Berry, whose granddaughter attends the school, presented the portrait, the cost of which they sponsored, to the school. At both the Mitchell and Malcolm ceremonies, students read essays about George Washington to celebrate the history of his life and accomplishments.
Additionally, during the ceremonies, members of the Color Guard dressed in costumes to represent their forefathers and students from kindergarten to fifth grade got the chance to ask members questions about their uniforms and what war was like hundreds of years ago. After a question and answer session, it was time to unveil the portrait for the students and staff. The children, who were sitting "criss-cross applesauce," quickly positioned themselves on their knees and oohed and aahed as the portrait was revealed.
On hand for both dedication ceremonies were Verniece Rorie and Wilhelmina Pugh, principals of the elementary school respectively, Charles County Board of Education Chairman Roberta Wise, Board members Pamela Pedersen and Patricia Bowie as well as members of the Thomas Stone Chapter Color Guard. Members of the Color Guard included Charles Boone, Ernest Irish, Cornelious Johnson, Ron Gibson, James Berry, vice-president of the chapter, Kirk Bowie, and Michael J. Mazzeo, Jr., chapter historian.
The Thomas Stone Chapter Sons of the American Revolution accepts donations for the project. For more information, visit http://thomas-stone.marylandsar.org/Index.htm.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Keith Hettel, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.