Message from the Principal April

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 12:41pm

Dear Parents & Guardians:

Happy Friday!  I hope you are enjoying this wonderful weather pattern; I know the students have been enjoying the sun by eating lunch outside on the patio and attending games in the afternoons.  They have been involved in many activities as our students prepare for mandated tests, State and National level competitions, Championship Games, and MRHS Concerts. 

At this time, many of our students are preparing for and registering for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests.  Please join me in congratulating our AP teachers for doing a magnificent job with our students.  The US News & World Report School Rankings came out the other day.  Marriotts Ridge is number 2 in our county and number 9 in the State of Maryland.  Of the 67% of our students who tested, 61% passed; that is an excellent pass rate and ranks us quite high as one of the Best High Schools in the nation.  Thank you to our teachers, students, and parents who worked hard to ensure that our students were prepared academically and emotionally for these high stakes tests.

Over the course of this week, over 200 students purchased tickets for After Prom.  I encourage EVERY parent to send his/her child to After Prom.  All seniors are invited regardless of whether they are attending the Prom.  As you know, we spent the last couple of weeks educating our students on the dangers of distracted driving.  Distracted driving often occurs as a result of poor decisions and judgments students make.  Unfortunately, our students are most vulnerable at this particular time of year.  Therefore,I am asking parents NOT to host an after prom party.  We would love to hear that our community supports our After Prom event 100%.  We are very fortunate to live in a community where so many community members, businesses, and parents volunteer their time and money to this very worthy cause.  Please encourage all seniors and those underclassmen who are attending prom, to attend After Prom.  It is a fun and safe way to spend the evening and enjoy a wonderful occasion and celebration.  For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, please go to  Volunteers are needed and this is a worthy cause!  Parents and students can follow After Prom news on twitter @MRHSKaleido2016.   Please join me in thanking our wonderful parent, Mrs. Jane Jones who continues to spearhead After Prom.  This is a huge undertaking; we thank Jane for her hard work and dedication.

This afternoon, Mrs. Senisi and I attended the first Social Studies Honor Society Induction Ceremony.  Thank you to Mr. Malt, sponsor, and the students for making the very first ceremony special.  In sharing the pledge for honor society membership, the students agreed to uphold the values of their honor society and provide service to society.  Congratulations to our new inductees!

Last night, I had the opportunity to see the art work of seniors from around the county.  I was proud to hear MRHS student, Sophia Kim’s speech about her art and the impact our art and photography teachers have had on our school’s program and students.  Join me in thanking Mrs. Miers-Bond and Mr. Sinn for a job very well done.  Congratulations to the following seniors whose art was chosen for the Senior Art Show over at Central Office: Devin Durant, Sophia Kim, Sofia Pagan, Katie Park, Cara Remondini, and Angela Zhu.  And, congratulations to Mindy Kang who won an award for Junior Portfolio Prep in fine arts, Devin Durant who won for Senior Portfolio Prep in Photo, and Sophia Pagan who won for Senior Portfolio Prep in Fine Arts.  We are proud of everyone!

On Wednesday, I had the honor and privilege of attending the Watershed Presentations which were done by some of our biology students; it took place at the Howard County Conservancy.  Thanks to Mr. Hong, Biology Teacher, for facilitating instruction, experiments, data analysis, findings, and conclusions from the research.  Congratulations to the following students who participated:  Dhatri Saamak, Aarom Chiu, Kailey Albright, Andrew Choi, Sasvi Kulasinghe, Lucy Hebner, Acadia Noll, Eileen Liu, Eric Zhu, Anvesha Mukherjee, Varsha Pudi,and Renee Paulraj.  And, I enjoyed hearing Anvesha and Varhsa present the research and findings to the other students and VIP guests. 

I was very active on Twitter this week.  If you are following me, you will join me in thanking Mrs. Smallwood and Mr. Richter, teachers, and our ALS students who used their work study time to help with many of the clerical tasks necessary for testing.  Mrs. Senisi and Mrs. Derwart are very appreciative, and they could not have organized materials so well without the aid of these fine young men and women.

You would also see a tweet about the students who participated in the National Clean-Up Day.  As Mrs. Kol, Environmental Club sponsor wrote, Marriotts Ridge High School participated in a clean-up on Wednesday April 20. Five of the club members collected 4 large bags of trash and recyclables from the school grounds. Happy Earth Day!

Congratulations to the following staff members:

Congratulations to Mrs. Roberts, English teacher, who celebrated her recognition as the Class of 2016 Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Roberts participated in a celebratory breakfast; she was accompanied by Mrs. Franklin, Mrs. Adams, and several SGA students.  We are proud of our seniors for selecting Mrs. Roberts; she is a dedicated and truly inspirational teacher.  We look forward to hearing her speech at graduation.

Congratulations to Mr. Storr who recently received the Silver Mustang from Mrs. Shearer.  Mrs. Shearer wrote: I am happy to pass along the Silver Mustang to Don Storr.  Mr. Storr has been incredibly supportive and patient with me this year and does it all with a great sense of humor.  When I ask my students what their favorite class is, without hesitation they tell me "math but ONLY because of Mr. Storr."  Thanks for all your help this year and congratulations!

Congratulations to Mrs. Kol (science teacher), who will receive a Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee (SECAC) Award next week.  As one parent wrote, Each day, the staff at Marriotts Ridge High School provides many new and creative opportunities for my son to increase his independence in the classroom, around the school building, and in his everyday life. Whether it is teaching him employment skills in the classroom, front office, and school store; expanding his social and self-help skills; or providing opportunities to participate in general education classes alongside his peers, the team has created innovative ways to promote his abilities and independence.  My son’s participation in science has particularly astounded all of us! With a general education teacher who is welcoming and encouraging, and who made an effort early in the school year to connect with my son, he has participated in science labs I never imagined possible. His science teacher, Mrs. Kol, presumed he could do it and then set out to prove he could--all he needed was the opportunity. I am grateful to this team for keeping their expectations of my son so high. They are always willing to try new things to encourage his independence, and they have never said “no” to something without giving it a fair shot. When we discussed opportunities for my son to work around the school building to gain employment skills, the team—with Dr. Kaufman’s support—surveyed teachers and the Boosters to find out what he and his classmates could help with, and where real work opportunities existed. I consider them true partners in working with me through my son’s transition years from school to adulthood.

Congratulations to Mrs. Armanas (speech pathologist) and Mr. Smith (special education teacher) who will also receive a SECAC Award next week.  A parent wrote, We are so grateful to Donna Armanas and Coach Doug Smith for the circle of support they provide for our child as he works hard to reach his goals in high school and beyond. They have each had an impact on encouraging our child toward honor, confidence and excellence in the classroom, with athletics, on the stage and in scouts…His team helps him strike a healthy balance and provides appropriate support, as needed.  Ms. Armanas is, in our child’s words, “enthusiastic, encouraging, high-spirited, punctual, and kind.” Speech interventions have taught him strategies to organize his thoughts, and use cues, controlled breathing and gestures while speaking. Speech therapy has given him the confidence to challenge himself and encouragement from his teachers, other coaches, scout leaders, brothers, parents and extended  family. 

Congratulations to Mrs. Smallwood and Mrs. Miser, special educators, who will also receive SECAC awards next week. The parent who nominated them wrote, Ms. Smallwood and Ms. Miser both use inclusive practices that fall under more than one category.  For example, they both encourage our child to actively participate in daily activities at the school by using a laptop…Both Ms. Smallwood and Ms. Miser also promote independence by modeling independent behavior themselves…The staff enabled our child to make great strides in her independence, by assisting her with the following challenge.  One of our daughter’s peers always asked her about her family pet whenever she saw her, so Ms. Smallwood saw the need for our daughter to respond to this question independently.  She recorded the answer…so she could give the answer to her peer herself without having someone else answer for her.  As special educators, they are also very committed to promoting parent/staff partnerships by being very professional and communicating our daughter’s progress and needs…regularly.  We have a great relationship with Ms. Smallwood and we love that she cares; she is genuinely concerned that the skills our daughter uses at school can be carried through at home as well.  We know our daughter is in excellent hands in Ms. Smallwood’s class, and we are fortunate to have her as a teacher.  We are also very fortunate to have someone as caring as Ms. Miser also working with her. 


Music Department News

Congratulations to our Music Department; they received the following Awards at the Fiesta-Val in Myrtle Beach last weekend.  I had the distinct honor of attending their performances; they made us proud!  Our orchestras, bands, and choirs competed against students in other high schools from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  We swept the competition!


Outstanding Accompanist – Jimin Kim and Sarah Yang, Piano Duet, Women’s Ensemble

Outstanding Soloist – Katie Roth, Flute, Men’s Choir

Abbey Starks – Vocal Solo, Madrigals

Band/ Orchestra

Katie Roth – Flute, Symphonic Winds

Alex Chen – Harp, Orchestra

Cello Section – 5th period Orchestra


Daniel Degenford – Trombone Solo, Big Band

Outstanding Rhythm Section – Big Band

Champion awards for each competitive division

Champion – Orchestra division

Champion – Concert Band/Wind Ensemble division

Champion – Men’s Choir division

Champion – Chamber Choir division

Champion – Mixed Choir division

Grand Champion awards for highest overall combined scores

Grand Champion – Choral Division, Madrigals and Mustang Chorale

Grand Champion – Instrumental Division, GT Orchestra and Symphonic Winds

Awards of Distinction for a Notable Contribution to Music Excellence

Mr, Scott AuCoin, Director of Choirs

Mr. Nick Ellis, Director of Bands,

Ms Rosemary Lather, Director of Orchestras


GT Student Learning Conference

Good luck to the following students who will participate in the 23rd Annual GT Student Learning Conference on Monday at the Johns Hopkins APL Kossiakoff Center:Kailey Albright, Olivia Amaral, Sabrina Amaral, Hammad Baqai, Molly Bingham, Tyler Bohan, Mabel Chang, Tyler Colburn, Evan Cone, Joshua Cooksey, Jake Dinoto, Anne-Marie Feinkeng, Caitlin Fildebrandt, Brad Filgenzi, Manny Guillen, Isuru Herath, Samuel Juneja, Eileen Liu, Thomas Miller, Dwarkish Pate, Pooja Shah, and Rebecca Younts.  Join me in congratulating Taharat Sheikh who is on the Student Executive Board and welcoming the students at the opening session and Ilsa Mir who will present her work, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: Detecting Lies in Sexual Assault Allegations.  Also presenting are Daniel Klawson, Planetary Physics: The Hypervelocity Impact Flash; and Key Whiting: Immersion Techniques in Virtual Reality.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  If you have a chance to speak with your children, I ask that you remind them of the dress code.  Many of our students have grown over the course of the year; therefore, some of their clothing is a bit short or tight.  Students can hopefully go shopping and purchase some school appropriate shorts and tops; that would be great!  As always, I thank you for your support and dedication to MRHS. 


Addie Kaufman, Principal