Impressive SPHS Students


Spring is always a busy time for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) students. You could literally attend events seven nights a week if you wanted. For this month’s column, I’d like to highlight a couple recent events to showcase some of the incredible students in our community.

First, a huge shoutout and high-five to the Severna Park High School (SPHS) mock trial team. This very skilled troupe battled 13 public and private schools during their regular season, the top four of which then competed for two spots in the Circuit 3 playoff versus the top Howard County and Carroll County teams.

SPHS was victorious, achieving the county champion title with a record of 6-0 in the regular season and a win in the championship match. Crofton High School is this year’s county runner-up.

Severna Park High School’s winning streak continued in the Circuit 5 playoff, defeating teams in both Howard and Carroll counties as well as in the Elite Eight in Maryland. SPHS made it to the Final Four in Maryland. Massive congratulations to these incredible students! Whether or not the winning streak continues, know how proud your community is of your accomplishments.

Next, let’s talk about “RNR XXXIV Goes to the Movies.” There is no better substitute for the actual musicians and bands our students are honoring with their vocal stylings than the annual Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival at SPHS. The experience begins before the show even starts, with a red carpet entering the auditorium right down to popcorn kernels hanging from the ceiling.

From “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, featured in the film “Pretty Woman,” to “You Should be Dancing” by The BeeGees from “Saturday Night Fever” to “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins from “Top Gun,” there was something for everyone during what felt like a professionally produced concert. Music for each of the 29 songs was performed by students in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival band. These musicians were fabulous, and I will be seriously disappointed if some of them don’t pursue further musical study. The performance of “Viva Las Vegas” was my husband's personal favorite of the evening. That costume was legit Elvis.

My favorite, which should surprise no one, was the mind-blowing performance of “Where is My Mind” by The Pixies from “Fight Club.” Not only were the vocals spot on, but performer Nick Stohler also nailed the guitar solo. I am quite sure Joey Santiago and Black Francis of The Pixies would be equally impressed.

Additional fangirl moments for me were Parijita Bastola’s beautiful rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” and Ben Cangelosi, Reed Estepp and Paul Okparaocha’s ruckus performance of “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys from “The Departed.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dancers and backup singers who accompanied almost every performance. Stunning doesn’t capture it. While it was near impossible to choose a favorite, I have to go with Grace Daly and Reilly Miller, whose dance during “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith from “Armageddon” left me speechless. A triple threat, Reilly Miller later performed “It Had to be You” by Harry Connick Jr. from “When Harry Met Sally.” Simply fantastic.

The final number was a stunning performance of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes from “Dirty Dancing.” The highlight was the lift scene, made even funnier for me because the “Danger Zone” performer, Brandon Chisolm, executed it perfectly while still wearing a flight suit from his performance. The crowd went wild.

While AACPS staff keep me and my colleagues abreast of larger events, it’s impossible to know or attend all that occurs in our county. If there are events you would like Board of Education members to know about or attend, please drop a line to Diane Howell, executive assistant to the board, at As always, I can be reached at or 443-534-2660.


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