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Three Sherwood music teachers named GOCA Citizens of the Year –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Sherwood High School music teachers Johnathan Dunn, Michael Maddox and Alexander Silverbook are the Greater Olney Civic Association’s 2019 Howard J. Garber Memorial Citizens of the Year for inspiring students and making a worthy contribution to the community.

Also chosen for the annual honors are Jeffrey Weiler and Tammy Fox, who will receive the Contribution to the Community award; Safiullah Rafai, as the Youth Contribution to the Community recipient; Ryan Martin, as the GOCA Worker of the Year; and the Women’s Board of Montgomery General Hospital, as the Ron Berger Olney Heritage Award recipient.

Award winners will be honored at the 42nd annual ceremony and reception, beginning at 2 p.m. March 15 at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The event is open to the community.

Each year, the Greater Olney Civic Association (GOCA) thanks individuals, businesses and other organizations identified as having made a notable contribution to the greater Olney community.

GOCA seeks nominations from its members and the community. A ballot is compiled and GOCA delegates cast their votes.

“It’s important to recognize those who contribute to our community,” GOCA President Matt Quinn said. “Most of the winners aren’t doing what they do for any other reason than to help. It’s important that everyone is recognized for their efforts because that is what makes the community strong. GOCA is happy to recognize those who care.”


Johnathan Dunn, Michael Maddox and Alexander Silverbook


According to nomination information provided by GOCA, Dunn, Maddox and Silverbook, all choral and instrumental music instructors, inspire Sherwood students by producing after-school activities that continue to build on the school’s tradition of excellence.

One example of that is the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, now in its 49th year, with performances the weekends of March 6-8 and 13-15.

The nomination form states the trio, with help from many volunteers, goes above and beyond their normal teaching duties by not only working with the vocal and instrumental aspects of the show, but with set design, sound and lighting, choreography, coordinating costumes, ticket sales, videography and working the student tech crew.

Bringing together over 300 students each year to produce the show, as well as the required class performances, is a large commitment to their students and the community, the nomination form says.


Jeff Weiler and Tammy Fox


According to the nomination form, Weiler brought to the attention of the greater Olney community a project to build what was then planned as a 350-foot-tall communication tower on Georgia Avenue, but that had been kept quiet for almost 10 years.

Weiler worked with state and local officials to learn about the project, looked for alternative locations and attended community meetings, utilizing his expertise on environmental law and process. His efforts led to a reduction in the size of the tower.

Fox has served as PTA president for William H. Farquhar Middle School for four years. The nomination form states she also serves on the executive board of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, as Sherwood High School’s representative to that organization, and as the Sherwood Cluster coordinator.

She has created community forums to discuss race and equity and has made it her mission to ensure all students are able to attend educational field trips and have access to educational learning sites that supplement literacy and mathematics, according to the nomination forum. In addition, Fox secures resources for less fortunate families during the holiday season.


Safiullah Rifai


Rifai lives in Gaithersburg and attends Poolesville High School, but has volunteered as a co-instructor every summer for the Olney-based Project Change Student Leadership Institute, mentoring middle-schoolers from throughout the county.

The nomination form states Rifai is a leader among his peers, providing guidance and serving as a role-model for the high school co-instructors in how to mentor younger students, and demonstrating patience, responsibility, discipline, communication and organizational skills.

He has also served as a board member for Project Change.


Ryan Martin


Martin, who has served as the GOCA corresponding secretary for 2019, is credited with taking the role and expanded it using more present-day forms of communication.

According to the nomination form, he worked with the contractor to update the GOCA website, updated the email listservs and set up a GOCA Officers Gmail account. He gathered statistics on the mail and website activity, and has utilized various means to solicit, poll and share information.

He set up the voting for the GOCA Awards and created a traffic survey that provided useful information. He goes above and beyond his primary role and is bringing GOCA communications up to date, according to the nomination form.


Women’s Board


In 1909, Dr. Jacob Wheeler Bird arrived in Sandy Spring to begin a medical practice and set out to establish the only hospital in Montgomery County. In 1919, eight women, who met to roll bandages and sew for community organizations, turned their energies toward raising funds for the new hospital.

Montgomery County General Hospital opened in 1920. That same year, the Ladies Auxiliary was formed to organize volunteers, supervise housekeeping and grounds, fold surgical dressings, provide and repair linens, and raise funds with an annual Chicken Supper.

Today, the Women’s Board is a volunteer service organization consisting of over 130 members dedicated to the hospital, now known as MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. The organization manages and maintains the Thrift Shop and Gift Shop and has supported a variety of activities and programs over the last 100 years, including the Scholarship Program, Annual Picnic and Bazaar and Gifts of Light.

The Women’s Board has raised more than $20 million, which is used to support the hospital through capital improvements, renovations

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