Three students honored as 2018 Carson Scholars

Three students honored as 2018 Carson Scholars

Three Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students were recently named 2018 Carson Scholars, a national distinction that recognizes students for academic achievement, humanitarian qualities and community service.

This year’s new Carson Scholars are Emily Winkler, eighth grader at Milton M. Somers Middle School; James Sayers, a junior at La Plata High School; and Taylor Good, a junior at Henry E. Lackey High School. As new Carson Scholars, they each receive a $1,000 college scholarship. Students selected for the distinction are eligible for an annual renewal of the scholarship as long as they maintain high academic standards and a commitment to their communities.

Winkler is an honor roll student with a 4.0 GPA and leader among her classmates. She is one of the highest achieving eighth graders at Somers and is kind, compassionate and dedicated to serving her community. Winkler also is a top speller and was named champion of the 2018 Charles County Spelling Bee. She will represent Charles County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee next month.

As part of her Carson Scholars application, Winkler wrote about a time when she took a risk and auditioned for a local show. She is involved with the Port Tobacco Players theatre and auditioned for a role in “Annie.” “I was one of 108 girls who were there to audition for 11 parts. I was super nervous but excited,” Winkler said. She pushed through her fears and landed the part of Penny, a friend to Annie at the orphanage.

She loves performing arts, working with children and serving her community. Winkler is active in Girl Scouts, dance, takes piano lessons and participates in activities set up by her church youth group, such as food drives. At this point in her academic career, Winkler plans to study teaching after high school. “I love working with younger students. I have had so many amazing teachers. I would love to experience having a positive effect on a child,” she said.

Sayers is excelling in his junior year, both academically and in planning for his future. He is a third-year U.S. Navy JROTC cadet at La Plata and has logged more than 187 community service hours. His current GPA is 4.1 and he is busy completing scholarship applications. Sayers plans to either immediately enter the Navy after he graduates or first participate in ROTC in college and study language or political science. His top choices are the University of Pittsburgh and the Naval Academy, but Sayers has also researched Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Sayers said he has served the community by doing activities such as tutoring with the National English Honor Society and helping to clean up trash. He also participates in the Wreaths Across America program and visits residents at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center in La Plata. “I really enjoy talking with people there. Some do not have any family around and are lonely. I really enjoy talking with the veterans there and hearing about their experiences,” Sayers said.

Sayers plans to use the Carson Scholars scholarship to help pay for college needs such as room and boarding fees, and books. “Most scholarships don’t cover these things so I plan to use the Scholars Fund to help me with these costs,” Sayers said.

Good is active in both her school and neighborhood communities and loves doing things to support children. She is a member of the National Honor Society at Lackey, which hosts annual blood drives to support the American Red Cross. Her school schedule includes Advanced Placement (AP) classes and time to participate in the Lackey chapter of Educators Rising. Good also loves to sing and is in two a cappella groups at Lackey. She is the historian for the drama club, member of Mock Trial and is training to become a 4-H camp counselor.

Good plans to become an elementary school teacher after she finishes college and is already planning the steps to take after she graduates high school. One of her favorite community service activities is helping stuff Christmas stockings for children at her church.  “I really like working with children. I have a lot of cousins and it has been fun watching them grow up. I love to see kids grow,” Good said.

Good will get a jump-start on her college experience next year as a college waiver student at the College of Southern Maryland. She plans to take psychology and sociology classes and complete her studies at either Towson University of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Good, Sayers and Winkler join nearly 500 other new Carson Scholars selected for the program this year.

Nine other CCPS Carson Scholars received a scholarship renewal this year. They are Stephen Duranske, junior, St. Charles High School; Autumn Gray, junior, La Plata; Owen Butler, sophomore, La Plata; Madelyn Mudd, sophomore, La Plata; Alyssa Gerhart, freshman, North Point High School; Eileen Browning, eighth grade, Somers; Aaron Sellow, seventh grade, Mattawoman Middle School; Brady Freundel, sixth grade, General Smallwood Middle School; and Jolie Lombardi, sixth grade, Piccowaxen Middle School.

Scholars who are selected for renewal are recognized for maintaining high academic standards and a strong commitment to their communities. A total of 868 scholars were renewed for 2018. Each year, the Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to a select group of high achieving students in grades four through 12. These students demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and humanitarian qualities. Carson Scholars must also have a minimum GPA of 3.75.

The Carson Scholars Fund was founded in 1994 by world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson and his wife to motivate and reward academic excellence in young people. The Carson Scholars Fund has awarded more than 7,000 scholarships and has scholars in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Visit the Carson Scholars website at for more information.  

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 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, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 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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