Sunday, February 8, 2009

Charlotte Diane Thompson - an award winner

The Edward Spath (my Dad) academic achievement award is presented each year to a consumer of services at the Maryland Workforce and Technology Center, formerly known to us as the Maryland Rehabilitation Center.

The introduction:

This year's award [2008] is presented to Charlotte Diane Thompson.

Charlotte was referred to DORS in July 2003 for a Physical Therapy evaluation and a comprehensive career assessment. Charlotte had a successful career as a chef but could not continue in her career due to limited mobility with arthritis in both knees.

Charlotte began receiving academic services in 2005. She was taking online courses through University of Maryland University College (UMUC) toward a journalism degree, and at WTC she was proctored by staff in the academic unit for her exams. In her other courses Charlotte was doing well, but she put off taking the math classes she needed. Charlotte demonstrated math anxiety and would forget simple steps in solving problems. At times she would become so frustrated that she would "blank out" on the math and would not be able to do basic calculations. Transportation and other health issues presented some problems, but Charlotte didn't let them slow her down. She was determined to pass these courses. She would come in early and would come in on nonscheduled days for extra tutoring time. Charlotte took advantage of whatever help was available, including using the CD-ROM that came with a textbook and emailing her online instructors at UMUC. She participated in one project for extra credit. Charlotte also spoke with the students in the MAST program here at WTC about not putting off difficult classes.

Charlotte passed two courses in algebra and one in finite mathematics. She continued to take courses for her journalism major. She will receive her degree in May 2009 with the goal of becoming a writer for a food magazine, thus incorporating her previous career knowledge and her degree. Charlotte is now working with job placement. She is a wonderful example of someone who knows what she wants and perseveres to reach her goals.

Her rehabilitation team includes Lynette Whalen and Milton Bell, field counselors from the DORS Park Avenue Office: administrative specialist Joy Young; vocational evaluator Ava Shener, physical therapist Joy Nemerofsky, occupational therapist Ann Reed; RTS staff Ann Krout, Helene Dubay and John Arthur; case managers Therese Parr and Dinah Chavez; and myself as academic instructor.

It is a real pleasure to present the 2008 Edward Spath Academic Achievement Award to Charlotte Diane Thompson.

The speech:

Thank you for this award.

This is the first time I've won anything, and believe me, it is greatly appreciated. I would like to personally thank Ms. Parr, Ms. James and the academic team here at DORS for all their help and support, and for nominating me for this award.

It has been quite the journey for me. It was the pushing, prodding and determination of Ms. Melissa James that allowed someone like me to complete my degree. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but with her help, I was able to succeed.

I would also like to thank Ms. Therese Parr for proctoring my examinations. So often, she was the kind face that eased my nerves. All of the ladies of the academic team are an asset to DORS, and should be applauded for their hard work.

I would like to thank all of my counselors, past and present who worked so diligently to make sure I had all of the tools, tangible and intangible to succeed. A special thanks for Ms. Joy Young who assisted Ms. Whalen. She is an unsung hero who should also be recognized.

Finally, I'd like to thank the family of Edward Spath for establishing this award in honor of their loved one, and all of the staff of the Workforce and Technology Center. You all have been very kind to me, and I thank you.

The background

2009 (the 2008 Award ceremony) was the first year that my Mom missed attending the ceremony, due to an ice storm that week. I was able to attend, get photos and movie clips, as well as let Charlotte, Melissa and my Mom chat on cell-speaker-phone.

"Flickr" photos (with links):

Charlotte ThompsonJim Spath, Charlotte Thompson, Melissa JamesEdward M. Spath Academic Achievement Award

YouTube videos



2007 Award Winner story:

"Edward Spath was a retired Baltimore City public school teacher and principal as well as a well-respected WTC academic teacher."

2006 DORS Annual Report (1.5 MB PDF) - page 8 of 20


SoniaT said...

Thanks for sharing James, this is a wonderful story. --SoniaT

Ginger Sanders said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It's an inspiring story. Did she have a Maryland rehabilitation center to help her through? I recently broke my leg in two places, and I had the help of some wonderful people to help me through.