Seventeen-year-old Lisa Taschenberger, a senior at Bowie High School and the county's entry in the Maryland You Are Beautiful Program, was a finalist in the Bowie's Outstanding Citizen program. A story in the Nov. 26 weekly incorrectly reported that Taschenberger was named the city's outstanding citizen. (Published 12/10/87)
Lisa Taschenberger never thought of herself as an outstanding contributor to society.
The 17-year-old Bowie High School senior said she has been active in Girl Scout, church and school functions because she likes being active.
"I don't see how I'm that outstanding. I just do what I like doing," she said.
Officials in Prince George's County also like what Taschenberger has done. This week Prince George's County was among the first in the state to name its representative in the "Maryland Your Are Beautiful" program and county officials chose Taschenberger.
Taschenberger and a representative from each of the state's 22 other counties and Baltimore will be guests at reception in their honor at the governor's mansion in Annapolis on Jan. 7.
Susan Kaskie, the program coordinator, said the reception will culminate an effort on the part of Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who organized the program, because he felt out of touch with citizens who supported him outside of Baltimore.
"The governor wanted to feel a part of the entire state and he wanted to tie areas of the state closer together," Kaskie said.
Kaskie said citizens around the state tend to regionalize where they live. For example, people who live in Montgomery County identify with Washington while people who live in Howard County associate with Baltimore.
"And these people in fact don't live in these areas. We want to bring Maryland together and make people feel good about living here. We want to be seen as one state, not as 24 little states bordering Washington and Pennsylvania."
Kaskie said Schaefer's administration began notifying counties of the program last summer and asked them to establish their own criteria for selecting an outstanding citizen. Each jurisdiction was also asked to submit the names of their representatives to the state by Dec. 1.
Prince George's is among the first of the 24 jurisdictions to announce its representative. Montgomery County officials are expected to announce their representative on Dec. 1, according to Diane Lingel of the office of Economic Development.
Howard County spokeswoman Casey Willis said officials there are expected to name their representative on Dec. 8. She added that officials are looking for the person who has not been nominated or recognized for his or her accomplishments previously.
"We're looking for that person who is sort of the neighbor who quietly helps the neighbors," Willis said.
Michelle Tucker, director of Prince George's Office of Community and Ethnic Affairs, said officials decided to select a young person because of the county's on-going interest in education.
"There's no question what's going on here, and it's in keeping with that excitement that we named a young person as our most beautiful person in Lisa Taschenberger," said Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening.
Taschenberger was selected from among 32 young nominees, all of whom were singled out for their volunteer activities.
Taschenberger, president of her school's student government, also works part-time as a cashier and a lifeguard in the summer and served on her school's prom and homecoming committees. She has also held offices at Grace Lutheran Church, of which she is a member.
Coincidentally, Taschenberger was also named Bowie's Outstanding Citizen last Thursday.
Taschenberger said she is pleased the county selected her, although she admits she was cautious about the program because of its title and what it might imply.
"It's not a beauty contest even though it says beautiful in the title," said Taschenberger, who hopes to attend James Madison University in Virginia in September.
Taschenberger's parents Karl and Vera Taschenberger said their daughter's self-motivation led to her selection.
"We never pushed her into anything. She does it because she wants to. That's who she is," Vera Taschenberger said.
Charlene Brogan of the Order of the Eastern Star Masonic organization said she nominated Taschenberger for the honor because she represented just what the state was looking for.
"She loves life and is in love with the world. She's a natural leader," Brogan said.