A hard but enjoyable year filled with meetings, parades, fairs and pageant will be ending in a few days for Tracey Austin, outgoing county Fire Prevention Queen.
It's been a whirlwind at times. Rearranging schedules, visiting fire stations she did not know existed, appearing in 30-plus parades -- including two on July 4th -- and representing Anne Arundel County in the state pageant at the annual Firemen's Convention in Ocean City.
All this while attending Old Mill High School and working, too.
But her reign will come to an end Aug. 18 when the new Miss Fire Prevention and Junior Miss Fire Prevention and their runner-ups are selected at Riviera Beach fire hall on Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena. The countywide contest will begin at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
The competition for the titles is not just a beauty pageant or atalent show, explained Henry Brewer, coordinator at the county Volunteer Firemen's Association. About the only concession to those types of contests is that contestants appear before the judges in an evening gown.
What the young ladies are judged on is general appearance,poise, speaking, personality and fire prevention knowledge.
Contestants have to submit an essay on why they would like to be selected and are asked a question about fire prevention at the pageant.
Whoever wins can look forward to a year of activities promoting fire prevention throughout the county, just like Tracey has this past year.
"It will be really hard for me to let go," Tracey explained. "But I'm ready to pass on the crown to a new girl. . . . I had a great timeand got to meet hundreds of people, but it would not have been possible without the help of my family."
Her dad, Charles, a life member of Earleigh Heights VFD; her mom, Mary Lou, auxiliary member and former Mrs. Fire Prevention, and big brother Michael, a paid firefighter at the U.S. Naval Academy, all pitched in to help with chaperoning and escorting services.
As Tracey steps down and returns to her regular life as a senior at Old Mill, she will not be abandoning her volunteer work with the fire department. Next month she will be sworn in as a guard for the county Volunteer Firemen's Ladies Auxiliary.
Fall fashions for the entire family will hit the runway at the 2nd Annual Fashion Show, sponsored by the parish of Our Lady of the Chesapeake, starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Columbian Center on Ritchie Highway.
A cash bar will open the evening at 6 p.m., with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. followed by the fashion show.
"We have added some variety to our show this year," said chairwoman Gloria Romey.
"We will feature ladies clothing from Casual Corner, Marshalls, Hit or Miss and Amy Stout for the full-figured," she said.
"Kids R Us will provide lots of back-to-school togs, and fashion for the well-dressed male will come from Webster's and Oak Tree," she added.
Tickets are $15 and will be available after all weekend Masses at the church on Ventnor Road or from the parish office during the week.
For more details, call the OLC office at 255-3677.
George Stalk, president of the Board of Trustees of Gibson Island Country School, recently announced the election of trustees.
"We are fortunate, indeed, to have such good people join the board," Stalk stated.
"The wealth of experience, commitment and enthusiasm the new members bring is deeply appreciated, and we look forward to their involvement and contribution to making a good school even better," he said.
Thefive new members are: Andrew Barboza, a process manager for Digital Equipment in Baltimore, the father of a first-grade student; Paul Keck, vice president of Newman and Holtzinger, P.C., a Washington law firm and longtime resident of Gibson Island; Dr. Henry S. Lewis Jr., another longtime Gibson Island resident and father of three GICS alumni, Henry, Hugh and Christopher; Katherine Worthington, a former assistant director of Georgetown Medical Center and an island resident.
Also elected for a second three-year term was Patricia Rogers, formerkindergarten teacher and parent at GICS. Rogers, the mother of two alumni, has served as chairman of the education committee for the pasttwo years and resides on Gibson Island.
Orchard Beach Volunteer Fire Company and its ladies auxiliary are sponsoring a Ham & CrabCake Dinner from 3 to 7 p.m. this evening at their hall on Solley Road.
The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children with carryout available.
For more information, call 437-3496.
Chesapeake High School invites students interested in trying out for a fall sportto report for physicals that will be given at the school next week.
Boys should report at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13. Girls should reportat 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Coaches will be present both nights and will be able to answer questions from students and parents.
According to Harry Calendar, CHS principal, students that participate inextracurricular activities do better academically than those who do not.