Spotlights
High school student by day, community leader at night
3/26/13

spotlight

Perry Hall High School Principal George Roberts and teachers Carl Armstrong and Daniel Probst support McCall at the Young Woman of the Year Ceremony.

When Perry Hall High School student McCall Behringer stepped onto the stage to speak at the inaugural BCPS State of the Schools, nerves would’ve been understandable. She faced a crowd of more than 1,000 school administrators, government leaders and parents, and she still felt a bit of jet lag from a trip to Iwo Jima the week before.

But it wasn’t nervousness McCall says she felt as she stepped on stage to talk about her school experience in front of her principal, superintendent and nearly half a dozen TV cameras. It was passion.

“I felt comfortable and passionate about what I was talking about, and that made it easy,” McCall says. “I’m where I am today not just because of my family and friends, but because of my teachers and the people at my school who encouraged me and guided me. They helped me to become who I am.”

McCall is, in all respects, someone to be admired. She’s an honor roll student, three-letter athlete and marching band flutist who sits on the board of the March of Dimes/Kidney Foundation, for whom she’s helped to organize fundraising walks. She’s also a star in the Young Marines, a non-profit organization that promotes the mental, moral and physical development of young adults from age 8 to 18. In the organization’s 54-year history, McCall is only the 13th Young Marine to earn its Distinguished Order of Merit, similar to the Boy Scout’s eagle scout designation. The achievement required her to complete two pages of tasks, including an individual community service project. It was an accomplishment she’d worked toward since joining the group at age 10, when she tagged along on a family trip to meet with Young Marines recruiters.

“The idea was for my brother to join, so my sister and I came in and sat in the back, not really paying attention,” McCall said. “But then one of the Young Marines sat down next me and started talking about the program and showing me images of camping trips. After that I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.”

Last spring, McCall was selected out of 13,000 Young Marines to be the 2012-2013 National Young Marine of the Year, a role in which she represents the group through various speaking opportunities, training initiatives and official delegations. Earlier this month, the position took her on a 10-day trip to Guam and Iwo Jima, where McCall accompanied World War II veterans returning to their battle sites for the first time. She found the history inspiring.

“You’re on a beach under coconut trees, standing next to men who used those same trees for cover during battle,” McCall said. “It gives you a different perspective when you hear history first-hand from these veterans who’ve seen so much in their lifetime.”

McCall has had the privilege of seeing several different perspectives in the past few weeks. First the view from the mountaintops of Iwo Jima, then the crowd watching her on stage at State of the Schools, and just hours later a different type of crowd honoring her in the Baltimore County Council Chamber as she was named the 2013 Baltimore County Young Woman of the Year. McCall received the award based on her accomplishments at school and in the community with the Young Marines and March of Dimes/Kidney Foundation.

At the ceremony, McCall’s Perry Hall High School teachers watched on with pride as she received commendations from Senator Barbara Mikulski, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, County Councilman David Marks, and Baltimore County Commision for Women President Bella Owens. Amid all the hoopla—and after all the pomp of State of the Schools earlier that day—McCall said she was just happy to know that her efforts mean something to those around her.

“I do a lot of community service and a lot of hard work because I want to, not because I feel like I have to or because I want an award,” McCall said. “To be recognized for giving back, especially alongside such other inspiring women, is really humbling. I just want to keep doing what I do.”

 

 

Photos and story by Pamela Gorsuch, Office of Communications. Picture above, left to right: Perry Hall High School Principal George Roberts, Spanish Teacher Carl Armstrong, McCall Behringer, and AP US History teacher Daniel Probst.
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