Smallwood student named county winner of Baysox design contest

Smallwood student named county winner of Baysox design contest

Jania Washington, a sixth-grade student at General Smallwood Middle School, was recently named the Charles County winner of the Bowie Baysox’s Read and Hit a Home Run poster design contest. Washington was notified of her win during a surprise announcement held at the school on Friday, Jan. 31. A special assembly was held for sixth graders, and members of the Bowie Baysox community programs staff coordinated a special poem to read to students to announce Washington as the winner. Also on hand was the Baysox mascot, Louie, who ran into the crowd of students to find Washington and bring her on stage in the school’s cafeteria.

During the assembly, Washington was announced as the chosen winner from more than 400 Charles County Public Schools students who entered the contest. Her design will be featured on posters used to highlight the reading program in participating Charles County schools. As the county winner, she also receives free tickets to a Bowie Baysox baseball game and will be invited on the field to throw out the first pitch at a game in April.

The Baysox, which is the minor league team affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles, launched the program to encourage literacy and excitement in reading. To participate, students are required to read at least four books and teachers use the supplied posters to track student progress. Each student who reads at least four books receives a free ticket to attend a special game dedicated to reading and participate in pre-game events to highlight their school’s accomplishments.

Currently, four Charles County public schools participate in the program – William A. Diggs, Indian Head and Arthur Middleton elementary schools, and Smallwood. Smallwood’s participation in the program was coordinated by Linda Forrest, the school’s reading resource teacher. Additionally, Washington’s participation was supported by her language arts teacher, Tara Cardano, and Jennifer Kelley, an instructional assistant.

The program is open to elementary and middle school students, and schools in Charles County have been active participants for more than 10 years. It was launched in Prince George’s County Public Schools in 1996, and now schools from nine other Maryland counties and Washington, D.C., participate. At the start of each school year, reading specialists receive registration information about the program and poster designs are due in November.

For more information on the program, visit and select the community tab located at the top of the home page.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 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 Connie W. Armstead, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, central office building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646. 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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