2014 Achievement Awards
CHRISTINA BROOKING (03), graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park and the Howard University School of Law. After law school, Christina clerked for the Honorable Herman C. Dawson of the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County, Maryland. During her clerkship, she was the creator and coordinator for the Rising S.T.A.R.S. Youth Scholarship Organization’s tutoring program. The Rising S.T.A.R.S. Youth Scholarship Foundation is a program that provides tutoring, mentoring and scholarships to teenagers who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Christina also was the chair for the first annual Prince George’s County Teen Dating Violence Summit where over 150 teenagers came out to learn about the dangers of dating violence. Christina also volunteered with the Girl Scouts of America as a speaker and a mentor. Currently, Christina is an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.
In her capacity as an Assistant State's Attorney, Christina is responsible for full criminal docket in addition to being the liaison to the Prince George's County School System. Christina specifically focuses on strategies and programs that help reduce the criminal recidivism rate for teenagers in Prince George's County. Christina is also the President of the Prince George’s County chapter of the Women’s Bar Association where she is most proud of the new Diamonds program. The Diamonds consist of 20-25 young women between the ages of 13-17 who are currently residents of Prince George’s County. The purpose of the Diamonds is to give young women access to female mentors who are attorneys in Prince George’s County. The mentors are all members of the Women’s Bar Association who have a passion and energy to help guide the lives of young women in Prince George’s County. The Women’s Bar Association also has designed programming tailored to help cultivate and polish leadership qualities in the young women. These programs include an etiquette class with a Judge, team building exercises, and sessions on how to effectively communicate when in a leadership role and sessions about college.
Christina is active in the organization’s work with the Thomas J. Waxter Children’s Center which is the girls’ detention facility in Laurel, Maryland. The Women's Bar Association holds interactive seminars with the teenage girls on topics such as etiquette, public speaking and self-esteem. The Women's Bar Association of Prince George's County received an award for "Best Public Service Project" from the Maryland State Bar Association for their work with the Waxter Children's Center. Christina is also on the Executive Board of the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland. Christina volunteers for the Prince George’s County Public School System by having interactive lectures with ninth grade students on criminal law. In 2013, Christina was voted one of the "Top Twenties in their Twenties” by the Daily Record Newspaper. Christina also was selected by the Maryland State Bar Association to be one of its 15 Leadership Academy Fellows for the 2013-2014 year.
STEVE VUTSINAS (84), or “Mr. V” as his students affectionately call him, is a 1988 graduate of the East Carolina University School of Music. Steve graduated cum laude with a degree in violin performance and a minor in viola performance. He received a second degree from ECU in music education. He began his teaching career in 1989 in the Pitt County School System near Greenville, North Carolina where he taught K-12 Orchestra for 10 years. He also coached boys’ varsity basketball there and his teams won two state championships. Steve has taught and coached high school sports for 24 years. His North Carolina orchestra students won the prestigious North American Music Festival National Championship, being named the top high school orchestra to have performed in the festival around the nation. Steve also taught for four and a half years in St. Petersburg, Florida and for nine years in Chesapeake, Virginia where, he is the current orchestra director and Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair at Grassfield High School. While at Grassfield, Steve’s orchestras have received numerous awards including a Music Festivals National Championship, and his Chamber Orchestra was selected to perform at the prestigious Virginia Music Educators Association State Conference in 2012.
2013-2014 was a special academic year for Steve. In November 2013 he was selected as Grassfield High School Teacher of the Year and was also named as a finalist for the City of Chesapeake Teacher of the Year. In addition, former students nominated him for the inaugural Grammy Foundation Music Educator of the Year award. With over 34,500 other nominees, he began a process involving applications, interviews and questions over a ten-month period. After several cuts and months of waiting, Steve was selected as a Top Ten Finalist for this Grammy. For this selection, Grassfield High School received a check for $1,000 and Steve was also awarded $1000. In addition, Microsoft Corporation sent Steve five Surface 2 Tablets that he is using to build a recording studio at his school for students to begin to explore writing and recording music as a potential life path.
When Steve isn’t teaching, he spends time in the mission field
during the summers working in orphanages in Chiang Mai, Thailand and
RICK WREN (74) – Rick retired in 2011 as a two star Admiral in the US Navy. At the time of his retirement Rick was the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan in 2009. Rick received his commission and B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1978. In August 1979, he qualified as a naval flight officer and reported to the Seahawks of VAW-126 in August 1980 completing Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea deployments on board the USS John F. Kennedy. Rick was selected as the 1983 Hawkeye of the Year while serving with the Seahawks.
Upon completing his sea tour in May 1983, Rick reported to Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, where he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Serving as a test naval flight officer for the Systems Engineering Test Directorate, he was instrumental in the developmental testing of several aircraft electronic combat systems and E-2C radar upgrades. In September 1986, he joined the Seabats of VAW-127, where he served in every department head billet and deployed twice to the Mediterranean Sea on board USS Coral Sea.
In November 1989, Rick assumed the duties of operations officer, then executive officer for Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School, Naval Air Station Miramar, CA. His next assignment, in October 1991, was to the Joint Staff with the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, Offutt Air Force Base, NE, as strategic operations officer. Rick then reported to the VAW-115 Liberty Bells, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, in November 1993, as executive officer and assumed command in January 1995. As part of Carrier Air Wing 5, he participated in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 1994 and 1996, and completed two extended deployments with the USS Independence to the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific.
Rick entered the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program in October 1996 and reported to USS Carl Vinson as executive officer in April 1998. During this tour the ship participated in RIMPAC 1998, as well as deployed to the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific. In March 2000, he assumed duties as commanding officer of the USS Bridge. While in command, he completed an extended deployment to the Persian Gulf. Rick then assumed command of USS Carl Vinson in October 2001 and immediately began combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, followed with a deployment to the Western Pacific. Following his two year assignment as commanding officer of the Carl Vinson, Rick reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as director, Aviation and Aircraft Carrier Plans and Requirements Branch. In January 2007 he reported to Carrier Strike Group 5, the Navy’s forward-deployed group aboard the USS Kitty Hawk to assume duties as commander, Task Force 70 and retained duties as CTF 70 as the USS George Washington relieved the Kitty Hawk and became the first permanently forward-deployed, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Rick was assigned to his last post, command of U.S. Naval Forces, Japan in April 2009. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various unit awards and citations.