Students to be honored for gifted education accomplishments

Students to be honored for gifted education accomplishments

Seven Charles County Public Schools students were recently selected for state recognition for their accomplishments in gifted education by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education. They are Ryann Brown, fifth grade, T.C. Martin Elementary School; Stephen Duranske, seventh grade, John Hanson Middle School; Abigail Gerstman, eighth grade, Theodore G. Davis Middle School; Evangeline Gilmer, fifth grade, Mary B. Neal Elementary School; Reines Maliksi, eighth grade, General Smallwood Middle School; Hannah McMillen, eighth grade, Davis; and Andrew Wright, eighth grade, Smallwood.

They were nominated for recognition by the gifted education resource teachers at their schools, and are seven of only 10 Maryland students selected for the honor this year. All students will be recognized as recipients of the student accomplishment in gifted and talented education award at a Feb. 27 state reception. Criteria for recognition of selected award winners include: student performs at a high level; is a current recipient of a school system, state or national award or competition winner; and participates in a gifted and talented program.

Brown is an honor roll student and has received gifted services in reading and mathematics for the past three school years. She is an exceptional student who excels in language arts, math, music and art. Her artwork is often selected for art shows and the Charles County Fair. Brown also launched a drink pouch recycling program at Martin and plays the trombone in the school band. She was recently honored by the Charles County Board of Education for her high achievements in the classroom.

Duranske consistently scores in the top five percent of students on both the reading and mathematics Maryland School Assessments (MSA). He is the only seventh grader at Hanson who is enrolled in Algebra II this year, and also takes gifted language arts and enrichment social studies and science classes. Duranske also participates in All-County Band, archery and is a member of the spelling bee team. He is also an active member of the Hanson Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) team, and contributed to their advancement to the 2013 MESA National Challenge. The team won a third place national award and was the 2013 first place Maryland MESA winner in the Prosthetic Arm challenge.

Gerstman scores among the top five percent of students on the mathematics portion of the MSA. She is currently enrolled in Algebra II and is a gifted education language arts student. She participates in Destination Imagination and is in her third year of a robotics program with her Girl Scout troop. This past year, Gerstman was part of a team that entered the International Submarine Races. Her team designed, built and raced a human-powered, non-propeller submarine that competed against international teams. For the past two summers, Gerstman was also selected to attend the Maryland Summer Center for Gifted and Talented Students.

Gilmer is an honor roll student and was identified for grade acceleration as a first grader. She is the top math student in the fifth-grade accelerated math class and also participates in gifted curriculum in reading. She is a top performer on the school math team and an accomplished musician, playing both the violin and piano at Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. Gilmer has received national writing awards from the Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest and serves as an ambassador for Neal.

Maliksi is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and maintains a 4.0 grade-point-average. She has been named to the principal’s honor roll since she was a third grader and consistently scores among the top five percent of students on the math MSA. She also passed the Algebra I High School Assessment (HSA) exam as a seventh grader. Maliksi is a member of the Smallwood Principal’s Advisory Committee, the VEX Robotics team, Future Educators of America, builders and environmental clubs, Destination Imagination and MESA.

McMillen is an accelerated math student and takes an honors geometry course at North Point High School. She is also enrolled in advanced language arts, social studies and science courses, and consistently scores among the top 10 percent of students on the math MSA. McMillen is active with Destination Imagination and has attended the global competition with her team three times since the fourth grade.

Wright has been participating in the gifted and talented program for the past six years and maintains a 3.8 grade-point-average. He is consistently on the principal’s honor roll and was inducted in to the National Junior Honor Society as a seventh grader. Wright is involved in several school-related clubs and activities including MESA, VEX Robotics, the Gateway to Technology program, the builders and environmental clubs, SeaPerch and the Principal’s Advisory Committee. He also participates in archery, volleyball, golf, and track and field, and has been recognized multiple times in the County First Art Show.

Along with these students, Milton M. Somers Middle School will be honored with the Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) award at the state reception, and two school system staff members – T.C. Martin Elementary School Principal Greg Miller and Aparna Joshi, a gifted education resource teacher at Somers – will be honored for their work in gifted education.

For more information on the EGATE program and gifted and talented education programs, visit the MSDE website at

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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