2013 Achievement Awards
LEONTE COLLINS (94) followed his MVP football career at Surrattsville and at Hampton University with a professional career in the American arena football league and in Germany, while finding time to serve as Assistant Football Coach and to establish a boys' mentoring program at Surrattsville. Leonte also has spoken to Surrattsville classes about charting a path post-high school, and has served as a youth mentor at his church and for community organizations. On the business side, Leonte became the owner of the Washington Eagles arena football franchise in 2012 – he also coaches the team -- while continuing his career as a fitness model and owner of a boutique personal training business.been
KEVIN O'CONNELL (78) was recently promoted to Major General in the U.S. Army and has been assigned to deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Before this promotion and transfer, Kevin served as Commanding General of the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command on Rock Island Arsenal. (JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. government agencies, and allied nations.)
Kevin's military education includes the
Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Army
Services Staff School, the Army Command and General Staff College,
the Armed Forces Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.
Kevin's military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit
(with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense
Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf
Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters), the
Army Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Army
Superior Unit Award, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Kevin's official military biography notes that he was raised in Clinton, and was commissioned as an officer through Army ROTC at High Point College in 1982. After commissioning, Kevin served in various posts, and received various promotions and commendations, in Germany, Texas, Bosnia, Croatia, Hawaii, California, Kansas, Iraq and Afghanistan.
BARBARA THOMAS (82) has been working with special needs adults for 21 years as director of a theater program that meets at night and on weekends and that mounts a major theater production in the Spring of each year. For her efforts, Barb was named Baltimore County Maryland's 2008 Volunteer of the Year and has received a Baltimore County Star Award. Barb's extraordinary work with her extremely hard-working drama troupe has been recognized in articles in publications such as the Baltimore Sun. (Barb also donates her spare time to mentor an autistic child in his T-ball program.)
Barb's work with her theater troupe mirrors her experience at Surrattsville, where she was active in chorus and drama, earning leading roles each year in musicals directed by Charlie Waddell. In the spring of 1982 she was selected to the Prince George's County Honors Chorus, earning the coveted 1st soprano selection. The Honors Chorus performed at the Kennedy Center Opera House. After a competitive audition process Barb was selected to study Voice at Shenandoah College and Conservatory. In May 1986 she graduated with degrees in Voice and Musical Theatre. Later that same year Barb was chosen to sing the National Anthem at a Washington Redskins game. (The Redskins helped her surprise her father, TSgt. Jessie Thomas (USAF and US Army Air Corps), a lifelong Redskins fan, who had no idea until a minute before she sang that she would have this honor.)
Barb was especially close to her sister, the late Reverend Susan Thomas-Azud (73), a 2005 Achievement Award recipient. Susan's guidance over the years led to Barb's commitment to community service and her work with special needs adults.
Laura (Sisk) Wright
LAURA SISK WRIGHT (88) is an Emmy Award-winning actress, perhaps best known for her role as Cassie Layne Winslow on Guiding Light (1997–2005), and since 2005 for her portrayal of Carly Corinthos on General Hospital. The latter role garnered Laura her Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 2011. Laura's web site (http://laura-wright.net) and the wikipedia entry for Laura both mention her high school productions and dramatic arts roots at Surrattsville in Clinton, MD.