Somers teacher hon­ored by former stu­dent, UMD

Band teacher to re­ceive schol­ar­ship in his name

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

A Mil­ton M. Somers Mid­dle School teacher left a last­ing im­pres­sion on a former stu­dent who was re­cently named a 2017-18 Philip Mer­rill Pres­i­den­tial Scholar at the Univer­sity of Mary­land.

Band teacher Richard Hood is the ed­u­ca­tor who had the great­est im­pact on Kate­lyn Turner’s aca­demic achieve­ment, the Mau­rice J. McDonough High School grad­u­ate said in a press re­lease.

The Mer­rill scholar pro­gram rec­og­nizes aca­demic ac­com­plish­ments and the im­por­tant role teach­ers have as men­tors. To rec­og­nize the con­tri­bu­tions of kin­der­garten to 12th grade teach­ers, the Univer­sity of Mary­land and the Mer­rill fam­ily is of­fer­ing a $1,000 schol­ar­ship in Hood’s name to an in­com­ing first-year stu­dent from a Charles County high school in Fall 2018.

Hood said he is ex­tremely proud of Turner’s ac­com­plish­ments. “She is truly a neat young lady,” he said. “And I can’t be­lieve she picked me for this. I’m in­cred­i­bly hum­bled.”

“Mr. Hood is a very per­cep­tive man, and his at­ten­tive­ness is ap­par­ent in his teach­ing style,” said Turner, a se­nior in Mary­land’s Col­lege of Arts and Hu­man­i­ties. “I don’t think I ever con­sid­ered Mr. Hood just a band teacher. He al­ways em­bod­ied the spirit of a men­tor, and proved him­self as such by con­nect­ing with stu­dents out­side of mu­sic. He al­ways tried his best to un­der­stand us as peo­ple first and stu­dents sec­ond.”

“Ms. Turner was very fo­cused,” said Hood re­mem­ber­ing his former stu­dent. “I was im­pressed that she could syn­the­size in­for­ma­tion from many planes — aca­demic ex­pe­ri­ence to life ex­pe­ri­ence to­gether with mu­sic. She un­der­stood things at a depth you don’t see in many mid­dle school stu­dents.”

It was Hood who en­cour­aged Turner to take up the bas­soon in the sixth grade. At first, she was con­fused. He wanted her — an African-Amer­i­can girl who at the time was shorter than the bas­soon — to play an in­stru­ment that was pre­dom­i­nately taken up by white males. “Why me,” she re­mem­bered think­ing. By the time she was in eighth grade, it dawned on her. “I un­der­stood what Mr. Hood re­al­ized years be­fore — I was more than ca­pa­ble,” Turner said. “I was tal­ented. And I was fo­cused. Mr. Hood saw that and be­lieved in me, and in turn I be­gan to be­lieve in my­self.”

The in­stru­ment was the per­fect fit for a stu­dent like Turner. “I look for a cer­tain mind­set in a stu­dent to play the bas­soon,” Hood said. “You have to be adept at math, you need to have a cer­tain phys­i­cal co­or­di­na­tion … these are peo­ple that if you give them a puz­zle, they will not put it down un­til it’s fin­ished.”

Dur­ing his 27-year teach­ing ca­reer, Hood has taught a lot of kids. There are those who are com­fort­able be­ing among the crowd, and stay­ing there. “Some like to hide in the herd,” he said. Bas­soon­ists tend to stand out. “They’re not some­one who’s afraid to be the only one do­ing some­thing. They want to do some­thing on their own, but still be part of a group,” Hood said.

Hood is among a group of ed­u­ca­tors who made an im­pact on Turner’s life. “I can­not earnestly re­flect on the im­pact my ed­u­ca­tors have had on me with­out thank­ing the count­less oth­ers who have shaped who I am,” Turner said, point­ing out her former teach­ers Su­san Stein­metz, Su­san Eck­erle, Ashley Hafera, Karen Rowledge, Leah Faris and Stephanie Wa­lent.

“Never doubt the im­pact you have on your stu­dents,” she said to Charles County Pub­lic Schools teach­ers. “Con­tinue to em­power them, es­pe­cially your stu­dents of color, since you are the dif­fer­ence be­tween their per­ceived lim­i­ta­tions and their ac­tu­al­ized po­ten­tial.”

Turner en­tered the Honors Col­lege at Mary­land in 2014. She is a dou­ble ma­jor study­ing gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics and phi­los­o­phy. She mi­nors in mu­sic per­for­mance and is a bas­soon­ist in en­sem­bles at the school. This year, she stud­ied abroad in Chile and at­tended the Univer­sity of Ox­ford’s Ex­eter Col­lege sum­mer pro­gram. Turner is a re­search as­sis­tant for the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s So­cial Jus­tice Lab, is an honors in­tern for the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice and was a field or­ga­nizer for Van Hollen for U.S. Se­nate.

Turner is a stand­out per­son who will leave her mark on the world, Hood said.

“This is a young lady on the move,” he added. “She is so well rounded, well spo­ken, well thought. Which­ever di­rec­tion she de­cides to go; we will be see­ing her name; it will have great rel­e­vance.”


Kate­lyn Turner, a se­nior at the Univer­sity of Mary­land, was re­cently named a Philip Mer­rill Pres­i­den­tial Scholar. She named her band teacher, Richard Hood of Mil­ton M. Somers Mid­dle School, as a teacher who made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on her aca­demic...

Kate­lyn Turner, a se­nior at the Univer­sity of Mary­land, spent time over the sum­mer study­ing at Univer­sity of Ox­ford’s Ex­eter Col­lege.

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