Grasonville center fete honors Goodwin, Pauls
GRASONVILLE — Grasonville Community Center held its annual appreciation banquet Saturday evening, Oct. 15, recognizing two leaders in the community — Queen Anne’s County Historian Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin and longtime educator Janet E. Pauls.
Deborah Lawrence served as mistress of ceremonies for the occasion. Following prayer to open the festivities, Lawrence called on Paulette Middleton to honor Goodwin and Pauls will a song. Middleton sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” a cappella, with the audience joining in for the last verse. Dinner was then served.
Following dinner, before the awards were presented, Bowie State University student Maya Robinson, a Queen Anne’s County High School graduate, performed a praise dance to the music, “Want to be Where You Are.” Then people offered words of praise about each honoree.
Kennard High School Association President Clayton Washington, who could not attend, addressed the honorees by a phone that was patched into the speaker system in the community center. Washington called both “champions of the community” for their service, Goodwin for her outstanding efforts in gathering historical information about the entire county and all its people and Pauls, who he described as “our homegrown role model in education.” Others followed adding similar compliments.
Each award recipient received a plaque from the community center, presented by Queen Anne’s County NAACP President L.C. Lawrence, a former school board member who was standing in for Community Center President Deondra Jones, who was not able to attend as she is recovering for an illness. L.C. Lawrence read the outstanding background of information about each honoree before their presentations.
Among the highlights for Goodwin, she moved to Centreville in 1988 following staggering athletic accomplishments as a long distance swimmer, setting records for women and Americans in long distance swimming and mega-distance runs. She became the first woman and American to do double swim the Straits
of Messina, so significant Time magazine did a story about it. She later ran 3,000 miles from India to Nepal and back to India, crossing the Himalayan Mountains, a world record. Prior to that, she also ran 2,000 miles across Japan in 62 days.
Before retiring, she served 13 years on the Staff of the Secretary of the Navy at the Pentagon. By 1999, Goodwin became fully involved in gathering facts about the histories of Centreville and Queen Anne’s County. She has made major contributions toward the celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and also gathering facts about the Civil War, including recognizing former slaves of Queen Anne’s County who served in the Unites States Colored Troops. Goodwin is currently assisting with the development of the Kennard Museum which will be located inside the former segregated Kennard High School in Centreville, which has been restored as a community and cultural center.
Pauls, a Queen Anne’s County native, attended Kennard Elementary School before integration. She graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School in 1973, going on to University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Maryland College Park and Salisbury State University, receiving degrees at each location. She began her teaching career in Queen Anne’s County in 1977 and was a classroom teacher for 18 years. Among her many recognitions, Pauls was named Queen Anne’s County Teacher of the Year, then Queen Anne’s County Schools Administrator of the Year, and she was a finalist for the Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year award,
Among many professional conferences she has attended, Pauls has been in the presence of Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell and Marva Collins.
She said she has two favorite quotes she strives to live by: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” by Nelson Mandella, and “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” by Maya Angelou.
Both Goodwin and Pauls spoke briefly following the presentation of their awards, saying they were honored.
Goodwin said, “You can’t imagine how much this award means to me. You are the first organization, outside of the county government, to honor me in this way.”
Pauls said, “Honored to serve the community where I was raised. The education I received when a student at Kennard Elementary School gave the foundation to believe I could become whatever I want to be.”
She added, “Our children need our help.”
Deborah Lawrence wrapped up remarks, saying “I’m so proud of Janet Pauls, not only because she is my friend, but she is currently serving as interim assistant superintendent of Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, the first African American to hold such a position.”
From the left, L.C. Lawrence, representing the Grasonville Community Center, presents Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin and Janet E. Pauls awards for distinguished service to Queen Anne’s County, Saturday evening, Oct. 15. Lawrence was filling in for Community Center President Deondra Jones.
Maya Robinson performs a praise dance during the annual Grasonville Community Center Appreciation Banquet, Saturday evening, Oct. 15.
Longtime friends Janet E. Pauls, left, and Deborah Lawrence, both Queen Anne’s County Public Schools administrators, following Pauls being honored at the annual Grasonville Community Center’s Appreciation Banquet.