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Halifax teacher earns Black Engineer of Year honor

Mary Marie Hamlett, an eighth grade physical science teacher at Halifax County Middle School, received the Black Engineer of the Year Awards’ 2012 K-12 Promotion of Education at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards’ STEM Global Competitiveness Conference in Philadelphia earlier this month.

The Black Engineer of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious and competitive honors in science, engineering and technology management.

In the Black Engineer of the Year Awards’ 26-year history, thousands of America’s most creative and innovative professionals have been nominated for this nationally recognized honor.  However, fewer than 700 individuals have achieved the distinction of being a Black Engineer of the Year honoree.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, Hamlett was selected to this exclusive family of high-level achievers.

She is a teacher with a demonstrated commitment to enhancing STEM career opportunities through promotion of STEM education programs and exemplary teaching and outreach activities, the nomination read.

Larry D. Clark, retired deputy superintendent of Halifax County Public Schools, endorsed Hamlett’s nomination package.

In 2011, Hamlett’s eighth grade physical science classes’ overall passing rate was 98 percent on the Virginia Standards of Learning Science test.

The Virginia Standards of Learning Science test represents what many teachers, school administrators, parents and business and community leaders believe schools should teach and students should learn in basic subject such as science, math and technology.

Hamlett is the Halifax Education Association vice president of government relations.  She supports the 21st Century Success Program where she tutors sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in math and science classes.  This program provides both help for students who are struggling in their classes and more advanced training for students who want to improve their existing STEM skills.

Hamlett, a dedicated home based teacher who offers catch up lessons at home when students are ill or out of class because of behavior problems, earned an America’s Stellar Educator recognition for her efforts from Career Communications Group in 2009, as well as a Halifax County STEM Teacher Stellar Educator Award.

Hamlett also was recognized for having a middle school girls’ track and field career coaching record of 215 wins and 16 conference titles.

In 2007, she memorably scored a hat trick in the annual open African-American History Contest sponsored by the Southside Virginia Community College.

She won first place in 2005 through 2007; and took second place in 2010.

She also wrote the curriculum of the first ever African-American History class at the Halifax County Middle School.  The course encouraged students to discover the opportunities in various fields.

Hamlett’s career began in 1985 after graduating from Averett University with a bachelor’s degree in middle school education.  She joined the Halifax County School System as an eighth grade science teacher and a girls’ track and field coach.

Two years later, she served as teacher for a summer program designed to increase the participation of females and minority students in math, science and computer technology.

In addition to physical science, she taught math and reading to help prepare lower-performing students for the literacy passport test, which was phased out with the adoption of Virginia’s new and more rigorous Standard of Learning.

In August 1991, she began to serve as a peer mediator supervisor, where she helped students resolve conflicts in a nonviolent manner.

In 2000, she taught remedial classes to young people age 14-18 at Longwood College.

In 1990, Hamlett received an Earth and Space Science Middle Education endorsement from Longwood.  She also earned a master’s degree in middle school education from Averett University in 1993.

Hamlett is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bethune Scholarship Foundation, Inc. that gives scholarships to graduates of the Halifax County High School.

She serves as the chairperson of the scholarship selection committee and the golf tournament advertisement committee. She is a member of the Greater Brandon Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and serves as financial secretary and member of the media ministry and budget committee.

Hamlett is the secretary of the Sunnyside Association Sunday School Convention Board of Control where she has helped and influenced many.