Local Students Honored With ACE Awards
Greenbelt’s Advisory Committee on Education honors 13 college-bound kids with 17th annual ACE awards.
The Greenbelt Advisory Committee on Education (ACE) honored 13 standout students during last night’s city council meeting, prompting no shortage of applause from proud parents, principals and teachers in attendance.
“The purpose of tonight’s awards is to recognize Greenbelt students who honor its traditions of citizenship, maturity, and academic achievement,” said Jon Gardner, chairman of ACE.
Established in 1996, ACE has been described as a “liaison between the community and city council,” all the while organizing various clubs, school grants and events throughout the year.
Gardner, who moderated the event, summarized the awardees’ triumphs before turning each student over to a lineup of city council members and other officials offering words of encouragement, handshakes and certificates of commendation.
“I finally get a chance to meet the president,” Councilman Konrad Herling said of one Fatima Kargbo, an honor roll student who, Gardner earlier explained, is no stranger to student body politics and “now president in the sixth grade” at Magnolia Elementary School.
Other well-wishers in attendance included Maryland Delegates Tawanna Gaines, Justin Ross and Anne Healey, as well as Board of Education member Peggy Higgins (Dist. 2), who could be found congratulating each ACE awardee before, during and after the event.
Beyond the approval and applause, each student received local, county and state certificates of recognition and T-shirts for their efforts. Two college-bound kids from Eleanor Roosevelt High School also received scholarships totaling $2,000 each.
Jordan Cathleen Washington, a 12th-grader singled out for her 3.5 GPA, active role in student government and volunteer efforts, said she plans on applying that $2,000 to either Drexel or Temple University in Pennsylvania. She awaits a career and her own company doing public relations in the fashion world.
Meantime, Tekang Ndi Check, a 12th-grader recognized for his 3.933 GPA and several community-involvement efforts, will focus his scholarship on either Howard University or a community college, where he said he plans to pursue pre-med or computer engineering.
Check, who grew up in Cameroon before moving to the United States at the age of 10, attributed much of his success to his parents. “It’s a great honor and privilege,” he said, his father, Cletus, sitting beside him and smiling.
Other ACE awardees included fifth-graders William Soriano and Victoria Lemus, from Springhill Lake Elementary; sixth-graders Ahmed Ashkar and Jaylynn Battle, from Greenbelt Elementary School; sixth-grader Darryl Warren, from Magnolia Elementary; seventh-graders Dante’ Legette and Zuha Sadeed, from Turning Point Academy; and Greenbelt Middle School’s own Mohammad Omer Wasim and Diane Hope Lamidi.
Twelfth-grader Rebeca Diaz-Reyes was also singled out last night by Delegate Healey, who awarded Diaz-Reyes with a $500 college scholarship for her 4.041 GPA, local volunteer efforts and straight As in several Advanced Placement courses at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.