THE HUB - Feature Article

  • Broadneck, Chesapeake Marching Bands Capture State Championships

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 10/31/2019

    Broadneck and Chesapeake high schools have marched right into the history books by capturing championships in the Maryland Marching Band Association’s first-ever state marching band competition.

    Broadneck High School, under the direction of Matt Heist and drum majors Cecilia Skorupa, Maddie Hamilton, and Aidan Myers, was the best of six teams in the Class 3A division and was the largest marching band to compete in the state. Chesapeake High School, under the direction of Clay Michalec and horn sergeant Skye Farley, beat nine other teams to take first place in the Class 1A division.

    “The dedication and efforts that our students consistently display make me proud every single day,” Heist said. “Their pursuit of excellence is a true testament to their character.”

    The win marked a continuation of transformation for the Chesapeake High School Marching Band, which has doubled in size over the last 10 years. The group now has 36 members.

    “Everyone involved in our band program has worked so hard for so long to make this happen, and I am absolutely thrilled for all of them,” Michalec said. “Our musicians, parents, staff, boosters, and our entire school have embraced the incredible possibilities of this program. Each of them shares a piece of this championship. This is truly one of the most beautiful moments of my teaching career and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. ”

    Additionally, Old Mill High School won for the best percussion unit in the Class 2A division.

    At the competition, held on the campus of Towson University, bands were judged on their performance in the areas of Music Performance, Visual Performance, Overall Effect, Percussion, and Color Guard.

    The Maryland Marching Band Association offers a performance outlet to marching bands of all types, including a Festival component, as well as competitions in a variety of divisions. The group also provides meaningful feedback from highly qualified clinicians and adjudicators to marching bands across the state.

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  • George Arlotto: Unity Day is a call to action against hate

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 10/24/2019

    Earlier this week in every one of our schools and offices, students and staff alike will be outfitted in orange as we, for the second consecutive year, make a powerful — and colorful — statement against hate, bigotry and bullying by taking part in Unity Day.

    The day is set aside by the National Bullying Prevention Center as the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month. It is a day where participants wear orange as a sign of their commitment to practice and encourage kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

    Ending bullying — an action borne in large part out of bias, hate, intolerance, and bigotry — is a job not just for our school system, but for our entire community. One needs only to glance at the recent local, state, and national headlines to see that the scourge of hate, bias, intolerance, and bigotry is not diminishing. In fact, it is increasing.

    If that anecdotal glance isn’t convincing, the State of Maryland 2018 Hate Bias Report should drill home the magnitude of our sobering task. Of the 375 hate bias reports the report documents, Anne Arundel County owns the dubious distinction of being ranked first with 78 — nearly 21 percent of the total.
     
    We have a problem, and it is growing. The number of hate bias reports in our county has nearly doubled in the last 10 years, and after a year or two of decline, we have seen four straight years of increases. Anne Arundel is one of just three jurisdictions in Maryland on that troublesome trajectory.

    The problem is one we, as a school system, are trying to do our part to tackle through events such as Unity Day, through ongoing professional development of equitable practices for all employees, through curriculum such as the now-required Global Community Citizenship high school course, and through the fostering of partnerships that showcase the rich diversity of our school system and county. The goal of each of these initiatives is to enhance the opportunities for and the abilities of our children and adults alike to engage in civil discourse that will result in more enlightened citizens who, quite simply, are better at getting along.

    We are just one cog in this engine, however. The problem is one we simply can’t solve in the 33 hours or so we have with our children each week. To reverse the trend, we need to all – and all must mean all – be involved not just in the conversation, but in the concerted and intentional effort. Doing nothing is not an option, and hope is not a strategy. If we are to create a better world for our children tomorrow, we must be the role models they look up to today.

    We encouraged County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley to help us turn Anne Arundel County orange on Wednesday not because we want to see new fashion statements, but because we want to join with them in a powerful statement and in leading a crusade to eradicate the infestation of hate by investing first and foremost in our children. Please join us in that effort.

    In a letter to county employees last week, Mr. Pittman wrote this: “I can’t legislate civility and respect, but with your help, and the help of the good people from every political affiliation in this county, we can see the beauty in our diversity and rediscover our shared values.”

    I could not agree more. We will not get where we want to go tomorrow. But if we don’t start today – and if we don’t travel this journey together — we will never get there at all.

    George Arlotto is the superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Contact him at superintendent@aacps.org.

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  • Superintendent Challenges County Executive, Mayor to 'Turn Anne Arundel Orange' on October 23

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 10/17/2019

    Superintendent George Arlotto today challenged County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley to “Turn Anne Arundel County Orange” on Wednesday, October 23, in a powerful and colorful statement for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

    For the second straight year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools will take an active part in Unity Day, an initiative of the National Bullying Prevention Center. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Unity Day is designed to visibly show commitments to fostering acceptance and inclusion and eliminate hate and bullying. As part of Unity Day, students and staff across the county will wear orange and take part in a variety of activities planned to reinforce the message of unity.

    “Our school system made an incredibly powerful statement in 2018 in our first year being involved in this effort,” Dr. Arlotto said. “We want to make an even more powerful statement this year, and we want everyone in the county and city of Annapolis to join us. Our children are products of our communities as well as our schools, and we all need to join together to convey the message of kindness and acceptance to them loudly and clearly.”

    The day is just the first of several occasions on which AACPS will specifically address anti-bullying issues this year. As part of Project Unity, AACPS students and staff will wear orange and participate in additional activities on December 5, February 12, and March 24. Staff professional development on those dates will also be aligned with these initiatives.

    More information about the National Bullying Prevention Center can be found at www.pacer.org/bullying.

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  • Class of 2020 to be 1st to Graduate from New Event Center at Live! Casino & Hotel at Arundel Mills

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 10/10/2019

    Members of the Class of 2020 at 11 county high schools will break new ground this spring when they become the first to receive their diplomas at the new Live! Event Center at Arundel Mills.

    The ceremonies are part of a partnership between Anne Arundel County Schools and Live! Casino & Hotel, which provides the 4,000-seat venue free of charge. Ceremonies will be held from June 1 through 4 at the Event Center.

    “This is just an outstanding arrangement for us to be able to bring such a milestone moment in the lives of our graduates home to our county,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Live! has been a phenomenal partner as we have worked through the many logistics involved with this transition, and I think our graduates and our parents are going to be absolutely thrilled.”

    Meade High School will be the first class to walk across the Live! stage, with that school’s ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 1. Annapolis High School will cap things off with a 5 p.m. ceremony on Thursday, June 4.

    “We are pleased to provide the Live! Event Center as a home for Anne Arundel County graduates and their families, who for so long had to travel far outside the county to hold their ceremonies,” said Anthony Faranca, General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel. “Community and family are at the core of our corporate culture, and I can’t think of a better way to showcase our commitment than through sharing these special moments with our neighbors.”

    The schedule of graduations at the Live! Event Center is as follows:

    • Monday, June 1: Meade High School, 9 a.m.; Severna Park High School, 1 p.m.; and South River High School, 5 p.m.
    • Tuesday, June 2: Arundel High School, 9 a.m.; Chesapeake High School, 1 p.m.; and Broadneck High School, 5 p.m.
    • Wednesday, June 3: North County High School, 9 a.m.; and Southern High School, 1 p.m.
    • Thursday, June 4: Old Mill High School, 9 a.m.; Glen Burnie High School, 1 p.m.; and Annapolis High School, 5 p.m.

    Other graduation dates are:

    • Northeast High School, 9 a.m. on Friday, May 29, in the school stadium.
    • Phoenix Academy, 10 a.m. on Friday, May 29, at the school.
    • Chesapeake Science Point, 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29, in the auditorium at Severna Park High School.
    • Evening High School, 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, in the auditorium at Severna Park High School.
    • Central Special School, 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the school.
    • Ruth Parker Eason School, 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the school.
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