The following Southern Maryland individuals and organizations have been recognized recently for academic, professional or other achievements.

* Mary Kaye Roper, a physical education teacher at Hollywood Elementary School, received the Simon A. McNeely Honor Award at the annual convention of the Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance last month.

The award recognizes people who have been active in school and community affairs, in addition to outstanding teaching.

Roper has played a key role in the organization of special programs such as Jump Rope for Heart, fundraising for a horizontal traverse climbing wall, annual physical education programs and this year's Taking Steps to Aid the Victims of Hurricane Katrina.

* Emily Brownlee, a senior at Calvert High School, was recently awarded a plaque by Don Jacobs, the public education chairman of the Chesapeake Water Environment Association. The plaque recognized Brownlee as the Maryland winner in the 2005 Stockholm Junior Water Prize contest, an international competition for water science research projects organized to increase student awareness and interest in water-related issues. Brownlee's project was titled "The Use of Clay to Remove Algal Blooms From the Chesapeake Bay Waters."

* Molly Herring, a senior at Calvert High School, was recently named a Commended Student in the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Program. Roughly 34,000 students throughout the nation receive such recognition, which means they placed in the top 5 percent of the more than 1 million students who entered the 2006 competition by taking the 2004 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship test.

* A number of Charles County public school students were honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for their performance in the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Program. Bradley Spies of Lackey High School and Erica Hocking of La Plata High School, were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, placing them among the top 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.

In addition, the following students were recognized as Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship Program: Chelsea Coghan, Andrew Coombs, Kathleen Cornelsen and Joseph Jeffcott of McDonough High School; Kelly Lai of Lackey High School; Nasri Bousaba, Aparicio Davis and Christopher Prairie of Thomas Stone High School; and Monica Kahn of Westlake High School.

Semifinalists in the National Achievement Program, an academic competition for black high school students, include Aparicio Davis of Thomas Stone High School and Christopher McLeod of Westlake High School.

Outstanding participants in the National Achievement Program are Marcus Lopez of Lackey High School, and William Joyner and Lauren Williams of Thomas Stone High School.

Javon Townsend of McDonough High School was recognized with college referrals from the program.

More than 130,000 students nationwide entered the National Achievement Program. Finalists for the 700 scholarships, which are worth $2,500, in the National Achievement Program will be announced in the spring.

* The Charles County Retired Teachers Association recently honored five emerita members. Those recognized during a meeting in Waldorf were: Susie Berry, Gladys Coleman, Pearl Furey, Eleanor Jones and Emma Middleton. An emeritus member is one who has reached the age of 90.

Evelyn Dashiell, J. Cecelia Spinks, Jim Stine, association President Dale Cornette, President-elect Margaret Marshall and former president Carolyn Rogers received special recognition.

The honorees received corsages, pins, certificates and gifts from the association and from James Richmond, superintendent of Charles County public schools.

* Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis, with McGruff the Crime Dog and McGruff's nephew, Scruff, recently presented certificates and prizes to the 13 winners of the 2005 National Night Out coloring contest. The winners and their age category were: Eleni Christley, 4-year-olds; Kaylen Smith and Cristina Banks, 5-year-olds; Billy Tritt, 6-year-olds; Zack Smith and Laura Phillips, 7-year-olds; T.J. Windsor and Shaqia Whitfield, 8-year-olds; Morgan Mabry, 9-year-olds; Amber Rabie, 10-year-olds; Annabel Russell and Scott Wright, 11-year-olds; and Jackie Boling, 12-year-olds.

* The Indian Head Volunteer Fire Department recently received the Life Safety Achievement Award from the Residential Fire Safety Institute. The award recognized department fire prevention activities that contributed to reducing the number of lives lost in residential fires during 2004. The Indian Head department qualified for the award because it recorded zero fire deaths in structures in 2004.

-- MICHAEL TUNISON