La Plata HS alumni celebrate former teacher, donate to needy
Honors former teacher with donation to help homeless
La Plata High School’s Class of 1982 came together Saturday to show some love to a former teacher, as well as support a nonprofit organization benefitting the homeless.
Mae Green, one of the event’s organizers, said the “Unity Day” celebra- tion started last year as a way to honor former La Plata teacher Cynthia Warren Baker, a pastor of Shebach Evangelistic Ministries in Waldorf.
Baker and her church have been involved in hosting Safe Nights, a program which provides overnight shelter to the homeless during the winter, and Green said she wanted to do something both to honor Baker and to support the homeless.
Baker’s class teamed up with local Walmart stores and other businesses to raise thousands of dollars worth of supplies, such as socks, underwear and more for the homeless, which were donated to LifeStyles Inc. of Southern Maryland, a nonprof- it organization that works with the homeless in Charles County.
The Unity Day event, held Saturday at the school and featuring performances by the La Plata High School Show Troupe and Chamber Choir, recognized Baker on behalf of the Class of 1982.
The occasion also happened to be Baker’s 65th birthday.
“What an honor, I don’t even know what to say,” Baker told attendees. “Thank you for today, thank you for yesterday, thank you from the bot- tom of my heart.”
Baker was introduced by Maureen Bunyan, an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist from WUSA-TV and WJLA-TV.
“All of you have a won- derful reason to be here today, and that is to celebrate someone who has had such an impact on all of you,” Bunyan said. “Her life has affected hundreds of people.”
Sandy Washington, CEO of LifeStyles, said she was very grateful for the donations to benefit the homeless.
“The first day they showed up, with the first load of items for folks, it was amazing,” Washington said, adding that LifeStyles serves approximately 1,100 homeless individuals in Charles County, including approximately 500 children. “So when somebody gets it, when somebody decides that they want to give back … it makes a big dif- ference.”
Green said one of the goals was to bring together the skills of the mem- bers of the Class of 1982 for a cause they could all rally around.
“We wanted to come together and show unity, with all of this media, this racial divide,” Green said. “We wanted to show unity and support for someone who continues to make a difference in our community.”
Green said the class plans to continue raising funds and supplies throughout the year, and plans for more Unity Day celebrations in the future.
Lisa Shipley, La Plata High Class of 1982, center, performs “Love’s in Need” with the school’s Show Troupe and Chamber Choir for the Rev. Cynthia Warren Baker, the honoree of the class’s Unity Day celebration Saturday.
The La Plata High School Show Troupe and Chamber Choir perform during the Class of 1982’s Unity Day Saturday.
Broadcast journalist Maureen Bunyan presents honoree the Rev. Cynthia Warren Baker, former La Plata High School teacher, during the Class of 1982’s Unity Day celebration.
La Plata High School Principal Douglass Dolan reads a plaque presented to the Rev. Cynthia Warren-Baker, the honoree at the Class of 1982’s Unity Day celebration Saturday.