Larry Walker of Howard County has been named the first state-wide winner of the Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards program. State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and Comcast Regional Senior Vice President Scott Allison made the announcement this evening at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
Mr. Walker was selected from six semifinalists also announced at the award ceremony. Other semifinalists included Susana Barrios of Baltimore City, Kelli Nelson of Carroll County, Susan Rattman of Harford County, Annette Jackson-Jolly of Prince George's County, and Lynn Cullins of St. Mary's County. The semi-finalists were narrowed down from a list of 23 local winners announced last week.
"Larry Walker exemplifies the work of thousands of parents taking place in schools throughout our state," said Dr. Grasmick. "Parents, guardians and other volunteers have a clear impact on the success of our schools. We are excited to partner with Comcast to acknowledge the hard work of involved parents across Maryland."
Mr. Walker is an active parent committed to improving academic achievement at Mt. Hebron High School. As a member of the School Improvement Team, his focus is always on supporting academic success for all students. He has organized community building activities and educational field trips for students, and was instrumental in implementing a Saturday morning mentoring and homework session for African American males. While serving as president of the Parents of African American Students (PAAS), Mr. Walker reached out to the Asian and Hispanic parent populations and helped them form parent groups to work with the school's Parent Teacher Student Association.
The Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards is the nation's first state-wide award program of its kind. A collaboration between Comcast and the Maryland State Department of Education, the program recognizes parents and guardians for their exceptional support of public education. Parents were nominated for demonstrating significant, positive impact in their communities.
"Comcast is committed to building strong communities across the state of Maryland," Mr. Allison said. "By honoring these parents and their involvement in public education, we hope to encourage others to take an active role in contributing to their local schools."
The award program recognized parents who were nominated in five areas of parental involvement: Communication, Volunteering, Learning, Decision Making and Community Collaboration. The state-wide winner was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and the five semi-finalists each received $250 to further their efforts to improve their public schools.