ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Maryland native, Col. William 'Bill' Montgomery, chief of staff for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, spoke at Havre de Grace Middle School during an honor's breakfast Feb. 14 congratulating students on superior grades earned on their last report card."You are an elite group," said Montgomery. "Congratulations, you are already on the path to excellence."Montgomery personally congratulated 59 sixth graders, 43 seventh graders and 52 eighth grade students who earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher on the most recent report card rating period.Havre de Grace Middle School principal and retired Air Force service member, Anthony Bess, said he recognizes students quarterly for academic achievement and sees the program as another way to bring Families together."We always look for opportunities to celebrate success," said Bess. "Events like these help us foster an environment that enables parents to show their support for their child's achievements."He said he appreciates the military and the support they give to local schools. As a retired service member he knows the impact military service can have on students."The military has a way of taking good people and making them great," said Bess. "Col. Montgomery's willingness to share his journey to excellence with our students is further testament to the caliber of our military service members. His remarks demonstrated the journey to success isn't about your origins, but rather how hard work, determination and focus can change your path in life to one of success."CECOM leadership looks forward to participating in more events that encourage excellence in the nation's youth, according to Montgomery. He sees opportunities to speak to students as a way to inspire, communicate to the future workforce, and promote the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study. With two children attending Harford County public schools, he knows first-hand the impact community leaders can make simply by taking an interest.During his presentation, Montgomery challenged students to continue to strive for excellence; encourage others to do the same and use the resources available to them, namely parents and teachers.Montgomery said all students have a gift and as they continue to attain excellence, "it's important to help those around you."He is an advocate for good community membership, urging students to tutor and help their classmates when they are able."Life is a team," said Montgomery. "So share your academic gifts with others and challenge yourself everyday by asking 'how can I make myself better today?'"