Listen quietly and you can hear the sound of education personnel around the county muttering to themselves, "15 minutes, 15 minutes, 15 minutes . . ."
Yes, Riva Road has decided that our children don't go to school long enough. It seems that school officials need to adjust the schedule by an additional 15 minutes to guarantee our children an education equal to that of other children in the state.
Now, I'm sure that this extra 15 minutes will be used by the teaching staff to teach important things: spelling, algebra and assorted life skills.
What I'm concerned about is that parents won't know what to do with that quarter of an hour of quiet time. Not to worry. I've come up with a few ideas to share.
* Calculate how much money you're saving on before- and after-school child care. We may be talking about $5 or $6 each month!
* Go shopping at Leedmark and try totrack down the person who thought up its shopping cart system. Ask probing questions such as: What is the real reason behind the confusing 25-cent deposit for shopping carts? Why a quarter? Who decided thatthe extra effort of returning the cart to a specific area was worth a quarter? Did you think we'd just leave the carts cluttering parkingspaces if it only cost us a dime? Did someone do a study on this? Were they paid?
* Stop by a Toyota dealer and discuss the irony of using the quintessential American sitcom, "Leave It to Beaver," in a commercial to sell a foreign car.
* Try to make a left-hand turn atCrain Highway and B & A Boulevard -- from any direction. On second thought, 15 minutes isn't enough time.
* Or give Riva Road a call. Debate the extra 15 minutes' effect on future SAT scores. I know theyvalue our input.
As a public service to the secretaries at our schools who must answer a 1,000 questions a day in addition to "What time will school start?" the following schedule will go into effect Tuesday, Sept. 3:
Freetown Elementary: 8:40 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. Morningkindergarten and pre-kindergarten, 8:40 to 11:20. Afternoon session,12:20 to 2:55.
Glen Burnie Park Elementary: 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Morning kindergarten, 8:30 to 11. Afternoon session, 12:15 to 2:45.
Glendale Elementary: 8:25 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. Morning kindergarten,8:25 to 11:10. Afternoon session, 12:05 to 2:50.
Marley Elementary: 8:40 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. Morning pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, 8:40 to 11:15. Afternoon session, 12:20 to 2:55.
Oakwood Elementary: 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Point Pleasant Elementary: 8:25 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Morning kindergarten, 8:25 to 11. Afternoon session, noon to 2:40.
Richard Henry Lee Elementary: 8:55 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Morning kindergarten, 8:55 to 11:30. Afternoon session, 12:35 to 3:10.
Rippling Woods Elementary: 8:25 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Morning kindergarten, 8:25 to 11. Afternoon session, noon to 2:40.
Southgate Elementary: 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Morning kindergarten, 8:45 to 11:20. Afternoon session, 12:25 to 3.
Woodside Elementary: 8:10 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.Morning kindergarten, 8:10 to 10:45. Afternoon session, 11:50 to 2:25.
Corkran Middle School: 8 a.m.to 2:30 p.m.
Marley Middle School: 7:55 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Old Mill Middle North: 8:45 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.
Old Mill Middle North: 8:45 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.
There is no time change for the high schools.
When you mention "parade"to Peggy Fraser Shelton, a subtle change occurs. As she talks you can understand how this woman's enthusiasm could carry her to win baton-twirling championships on the state, national and world level.
Yet instead of just talking, she took that energy, and with her husband, David, directed it into the Pride of Maryland Majorette and Drum Corps.
Twirling has been a part of Shelton's life since childhood, when she was a member of the Green Beret Marching Corps. She met Davidwhen she was 14, and he shared her enthusiasm, supporting her through the various competitions.
After their marriage and the birth of their first child, Stacy, the role of mom took center stage, althoughher daughter did get her first baton lesson at 18 months.
But it was the death of her second child, Christopher, that made her decide to begin working as a leader in a marching group.
"My son was bornwith several handicaps and for the 10 1/2 months of his life he required most of our attention," said Shelton. "Our daughter was 6 at thetime, and we weren't able to give her the time she needed. After Christopher's death, my husband suggested joining a marching group so that we could share something as a family."
The family spent severalyears working with the Pasadena Kadettes before they decided to start their own corps last September.
"I feel that if you can get a child out from in front of the TV set or a Nintendo game, it's a start," explained Shelton.
Her daughter, now 10 years old, is the All-East Regional Flag Baton Champion.