Fr. Scott Woods, Mr. Peter Spaulding (Sam's Husband), Mrs. Sam Spaulding, President Rick Wood and Principal Catherine Bowes

Prestigious XBSS Theodore James Ryken Award Presented to Mrs. Sam Spaulding

News Release, St. Mary’s Ryken High School

On December 3, Mrs. Susan (Sam) Spaulding, Latin teacher, and World Language Department Chair at St. Mary’s Ryken was presented with the prestigious Theodore James Ryken award during a school-wide liturgy to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. It is the highest award in the Xaverian Brothers school community. 

The Theodore James Ryken Award was established to recognize an adult member of the school community who by their commitment and dedication lives the mission of the Xaverian charism of education and strives:

To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to participate in the school’s community of faith and to nurture members of the community, to be committed to academic excellence and to recognize the talents of individuals, to recognize the importance of educating the whole person, to fulfill the Gospel call to peace and justice.

“Thank you for this great honor; it is a privilege to be chosen as the recipient of the XBSS Theodore James Ryken award this year,” said Mrs. Sam Spaulding. “I am humbled to stand before you now, as just one little piece of this great big living organism that is St. Mary’s Ryken.”

Mrs. Spaulding holds a Bachelors’s degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters’s degree in Latin from the University of Florida. She has been a member of the SMR community since 2010 where her leadership, commitment to students and dedication to education is apparent. She has led international travel trips, served on dozens of school committees and continually inspires others to live a life of faith through her example in and out of the classroom. She serves on the board for the Maryland Foreign Language Association, promotes global citizenship and engages students through vivid storytelling.

“Mrs. Spaulding is always smiling around campus and is always encouraging those with whom she interacts,” said SMR President Rick Wood.  “Mrs. Spaulding knows what Carpe Diem means!”

“It is here at St. Mary’s Ryken that I, for the first time in my teaching career, have had the opportunity to share my faith and to engage in deep conversations with my students about what it means to be a believer,” said Mrs. Spaulding. “Conversations about how things have changed since the pre-Christian Roman era, what it means now to do the right thing; and what it means to give back to our community. These are the kinds of things that St.Mary’s Ryken has given us the opportunity to learn, whether as young people or adults. I am grateful that I get to learn with all of you.”

Mr. Chamberlain, Dean of Academics notes that Mrs. Spaulding “is caring, intelligent, knowledgeable in her content area, and the kind of quiet leader that speaks softly yet always seems to have a solution in mind which makes sense for individuals and for the school as a whole. Mrs. Spaulding is able to look at situations from so many different angles – what the department needs, what the students need, and what the school itself as an institution needs.”

Students may not remember all the declensions that Mrs. Spaulding taught, but they will remember how special she made them feel.  According to Senior Jamie Kost, “I have been able to experience Mrs. Spaulding’s love for her students and for Latin over the past several years. She inspires me to want to further my knowledge in Latin. Her positivity and encouragement make me look forward to Latin class every day. Her creativity makes class fun and sometimes we do not realize how much we are learning. She goes the extra mile and genuinely cares about all of her students and their success in Latin class as well as in life. I have enjoyed Latin with Mrs. Spaulding so much, that I am choosing to take AP Latin my senior year which goes beyond my course requirements for graduation.”

What a teacher is, is more important than what she teaches.  “As her former principal, I have witnessed Mrs. Spaulding embody the values of an XBSS teacher,” said Dr. Wood.  “The TRUST that her administrators and colleagues have in her departmental leadership, the COMPASSION she shows for her students when life doesn’t always go as planned or the ZEAL she has for transferring her knowledge of an unspoken language while weaving in mythology and history and arts into her teaching, makes Sam an epitome of a Xaverian teacher.  An old Latin proverb states, by learning you will teach; by teaching, you will learn. Mrs. Spaulding is a perpetual student, always seeking out opportunities to learn more, enhance the classroom or mentor those around her. Mrs. Spaulding brings value to our St. Mary’s Ryken community, not only as an excellent teacher but as a person that changes the world around her for the greater good.”

Special guests in attendance included Mr. Ben Horgan from the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools office, Sam’s husband, Peter Spaulding, and her three sisters, Carolyn Guthrie, Kimberly Russell, and Shelley Valentine.


David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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