Forest Pact Celebration

At 1 p.m. today at Chapman Forest, please join the community in celebrating a historic agreement between the Charles County commissioners and the Chapman Forest Foundation.

A conflict lasting 15 years has been resolved. The county commissioners and the foundation have endorsed the mutual goal of protecting Chapman Forest, with its natural and historical treasures, intact and unspoiled. This will benefit the people of Charles County, of Maryland and of the nation in perpetuity.

A brief formal celebration at 1 p.m. will be followed by a variety of opportunities to enjoy Chapman Forest, including refreshments, music by Greentree (Grace Griffith's new conservation-oriented group consisting of four Washington area musicians), a history talk by Elmer Biles and a nature walk. The event will end at 5.

For more information, visit To get to the celebration, turn onto Chapmans Landing Road, which is off Route 210 a few miles north of Indian Head, and enter through the Mount Aventine gate. The event is being hosted by Friends of Chapman State Park and the Chapman Forest Foundation.

Bonnie Bick

Oxon Hill

Parents Back Bolo Move

The parent leadership of Maurice J. McDonough High School is unanimous in our support of the recent decision by the school's administration to enforce the graduation ceremony dress code.

Graduation is the most formal ceremony of the school year, and the administration made its expectations clear to all seniors. The students knew they would have to come to school the next day to get their diplomas if they violated the dress code at the ceremony.

We are proud of our school, especially this year. The Washington Post Magazine named McDonough among the top 10 public high schools in the Washington region, and Newsweek listed it among the top 1,000 high schools in the country, which places McDonough in the top 5 percent. Our performing arts and JROTC programs have received tremendous accolades in the region and state. This year our athletic program boasted Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championships in boys' varsity basketball and girls' track.

We expect rules to be established and enforced at our high schools, and because they are, McDonough students have thrived in academics, the arts, sports and other extracurricular activities.

Teresa Sandy

President, Parent-Teacher-Student Organization

Shelly Bledsoe

President, Athletic Boosters

Mike Hamilton

President, Band Boosters

Embarrassment to School

While we watched the "Today Show" on June 13, La Plata became a household name at our home. We joined viewers across America who were embarrassed by the school administration's egotistical behavior in not giving Thomas Benya, who would not wear a traditional necktie, his diploma with the rest of the graduates.

Graduation is for the students. This would have been deemed an embarrassment to the school only by a nitpicking busybody. Good grief, save the exaggerated outrage for a class graduation in which all the students are wearing only their underwear under their gowns (the legs of the young men would make terrible photos for the scrapbooks).

We nominate the McDonough school administration for the "2005 Very Bad Judgment Award," and we expect to hear an apology to the young man and to residents for this embarrassment.

Changes need to be made in human values, in how we relate to people around us, especially young people. Across America, our hometowns need to encourage our citizens to practice caring, compassion and respect for all people and to promote a dignified pride in each person's value.

Good luck, La Plata.

Peggy Christensen

Bellevue, Wash.

Staff Supports Leaders

We are writing to publicly stand up for our school and to stand by our administration in regard to the incident involving a recent McDonough graduate. We also find it necessary to state that we do not discourage cultural diversity; we welcome it. As a public school, we welcome all cultures on a daily basis. We do not feel, however, that a formal graduation ceremony is the place to celebrate one's heritage.

We would also like to remind the community that the student was told by the administration what the expectations would be concerning attire for the formal graduation ceremony and what the consequences would be for failure to adhere to those expectations. The standards were made clear to him, and even though this student violated these standards, he was permitted to participate in the ceremony. Because of his choice to ignore the standards, he was told to come to school the next day to pick up his diploma.

We support our administration in this decision and are proud to serve as part of the Maurice J. McDonough High School community.

Signed by 94 members of the Maurice j. McDonough Faculty and Staff


A Successful Fundraiser

On behalf of the 3,500 children and families we serve each year, the Center for Children would like to extend a sincere thank-you to our generous donors for their support of our 15th annual golf tournament at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club on June 17.

It was an enjoyable day for the golfers and a successful event for the center, which raised more than $25,000 to benefit our counseling, advocacy and family support services and crisis intervention and mentoring programs for children and families in Leonardtown and La Plata.

We especially want to thank our presenting sponsors, Natelco Corp., Capital Lighting and Supply, and Outback Steakhouse, and their employees in Waldorf and St. Mary's.

Corporate sponsors and major donors included Southern Maryland Newspapers, Bretco Inc., Civista Health, Dianna E. Abney, Mutual of America, W.E. Bowers Inc., AirTran Airways, W.M. Davis Inc., Pediatric After Hours, Southern Maryland Business Center, Bozick Distributors, KNC Marketing, Ken Dixon Automotive, Coca-Cola North America, Chick-fil-A Waldorf and Giant Food/Super G.

Our tee sign sponsors included Aflac-Beverly Thomas, ALM American Construction, Apple Spice Junction, Robert S. Berger, Boeing, Bolton & Associates, Captain Billy's Crab House, Center for Children's board of directors, Charles County commissioners, Charles County Office Furniture, Clinton Fence Co., Jeff and Cindy Cohen, David A. Dunwiddie, Edward L. Sanders Insurance Agency, Flooring Central, Foote Title, James Gorney, JB's Bar-B-Q, Hearing Specialty Group, Image Automotive Volvo and Toyota, Joseph Johnson, Kelly Generator & Equipment, Lakes & Co., Legg Mason (Rosenfield-Knight Group of Waldorf), Marrick Properties, Maryland Bank and Trust Co., John Meyers, Supporters of Thomas "Mac" Middleton, Al Policicchio and Shelley Kay, Professional Network Solutions, Jim Richmond, Ritchie Tire and Auto (Bill and Ann Kans, owners),, and Tuckman-Barbee Construction Co.

Jim Blanche

Tournament Chairman

Catherine Meyers

Center for Children

La Plata