ELKTON — After untold years of silence, the Elkton High School Wall of Fame has added not one, but two new members in a ceremony held Tuesday at the school on James Street.
The Hon. Judge Jane Cairns Murray and Karen Webber, both members of the Class of 1978, were inducted because David Foye, EHS principal said both are good examples to the Class of 2020.
“All of us have stuff we go through and all we need is someone to pave the way,” Dr. Foye told his audience of students, teachers and family and friends of the inductees.
According to Dr. Foye Elkton High alumni can nominate a fellow grad for the honor. He said Murray’s and Dr. Webber’s names came up over and over again.
“We decided they were worthy of being inducted,” he said.
Murray, a Cecil County Circuit Court judge since 2011, and the county’s first female judge, recalled when she ran for student body treasurer while a Golden Elk and lost.
“Luckily in my next election in 2012 I won,” she said. Appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to take the bench for the retiring Judge Dexter Thompson, Murray won the seat outright by election.
Murray encouraged the teenagers to surround themselves with friends and family who will support and encourage them, as she did during her four years at the high school.
“I would not be here without my tribe,” she said. Although she went to college out of state, Murray has made Cecil County her home.
“I’m thankful I was drawn back and I am here to stay,” Murray said.
Conversely, Webber also earned her bachelor’s degree out of state, but came back to Maryland for her master’s and doctorate degrees. However now she calls Athens, Ga. home.
“I am an associate professor at the University of Georgia,” Webber said. She teaches doctoral students seeking degrees in higher education.
Neither woman at first understood the letter each received telling them of their hometown honor, which has also been bestowed on such well known Elktonians as Larry Webster, Bernard Purdy and Bobby Jones.
“I thought it was a joke until I saw the fancy gold lettering,” Webber said of the letter. Murray, meanwhile, said she was not even aware of the Wall of Fame.
“Then when I found out about it I thought, what a great honor,” Murray said.
Murray and Webber both encouraged their young audience to stay in school and take advantage of every experience along their way.
“If you get the chance to study abroad take it,” Webber said. “It changes the way you think about yourself and the world around you.”
She also encouraged them to get involved in campus life.
“Also attend an SEC (South East Conference) or Big 10 football game,” she added, referring to the larger collegiate level competitions.
Webber and Murray said if they could talk to their younger selves in their senior years they would have this advice.
“Work hard, stay in school, enjoy meeting new people and going to new places,” Webber would say to herself. “And appreciate the beauty of Cecil County.”
Murray would also encourage herself.
“Don’t give up. You’re on the right path,” Murray said she would tell her 1978 self.