Students' Sad Refrain: 'Goodbye, Mr. Smith'

Neighbors/Severna Park

Popular Principal Leavesbelvedere Elementary

October 03, 1991|By Joni Guhne

"Goodbye, Mr. Smith," was the melancholy phrase being spoken last week throughout Belvedere Elementary School.

You'd have to look longand hard to find a more highly regarded principal in Maryland than Donald M. Smith, head of Belvedere for the past 18 years, who was transferred this summer to Sunset Elementary in Pasadena.

At a reception last week in his honor given by the Belvedere PTA and staff, Smith recalled one of his most important contributions.

In 1983, concerned about day care for his students who had no parents at home after school, Smith founded and directed the Latch Key Program at Belvedere.

The successful program has grown to include before-school care and today is run by a paid staff and volunteers.

Latch Key co-director Joan Duryee, whose partner is Sandy Spicer, is one of Smith's greatest admirers.

"He was always available to parents, and at the same time, someone wonderful to work for," she said.

Parents may admire Smith for his personality and administrative skill, but students love the Mr. Smith, the showman.

To challenge his pupils to read more, he placed wagers that made everyone a winner. Onone occasion, when the students met their goal, Smith donned a stove-pipe hat and beard, and as Abraham Lincoln, read the Gettysburg Address from the roof of the school.

Another time he portrayed a farmer and, surrounded by pigs, he read to the children from the middle ofthe pigpen.

Of course, a man like this would love Halloween. Mostpeople's favorite was the time he came to school dressed as a California Raisin.

In Smith's office hangs a plaque commemorating "Mr. Smith Day." It hangs beside a photo of Lincoln.

"I was blessed at Belvedere with strong parental involvement and support the entire timeI was there," said Smith.

Smith and his wife, Annette, are the parents of Brian, David and Aimee.

"Thank you for 18 wonderful years," Smith said to his followers. "Thank you for the roof tar on my feet. . . . Thanks for the memories. 'Good morning, Mr. Smith' will never ring as sweet."


Beverly Bassford had a thrilling experiencebefore retiring as director of Arundel Hospice.

At a tea at the White House this spring sponsored by Barbara Bush, Bassford was introduced to the first lady.

Mrs. Bush was hostess to more than 60 national hospice leaders in the Red Room, after which, during a house tour, Bassford spoke personally with the first lady.

"It was a honor and an experience I'll never forget," said Bassford.


Two Parkmen have been honored for the countless hours they volunteer to Arundel Hospice.

Walter Hampe was honored by the Severna Park Rotarians with the Service Above Self Award. Henry "Hank" Lawton was named the Maryland Jaycees 1991 Outstanding Senior Citizen.


A one-woman-show featuring the latest work of watercolorist June Perry begins Saturday at Benfield Frame and Art Gallery on Jumpers Hole Road, witha reception from 2 to 4 p.m.

Perry, who lives in Severna Park with her family, received her bachelor's degree at the College of Idaho.She studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Calif., and at Boise State University. She has worked as a commercial artist and teacher.


The Baltimore Ravens, an unusual sports team, willplay a return engagement against Anne Arundel Community College faculty and staff members at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The Ravens, who won last year, play basketball from wheelchairs.

The game tips off the college's annual Disability Awareness Day, Thursday, Oct. 17.

Bill Demby, who will speak at 7:30 p.m., will be recognized from his appearances in a TV commercial where he was shown playing basketball in a neighborhood game on his artificial limbs.

Demby, a Vietnam veteran who lost both legs from the knee down, will speak about overcoming disabilities.

Using wheelchairs, blindfolds and a collection of other activities, visitors will better understand the frustrations of the disabled.

State-of-the-art equipment for the disabled will be on display, including a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD), which allows the deaf to make phone calls; a print enlarger for the vision impaired; a Comtek Amplification System, which helps thehard-of-hearing to hear lectures; Braille products and computer-assisted devices.

Exhibitors will include United Cerebral Palsy of Maryland, Epilepsy Association of Maryland, Community Rehabilitation of Maryland, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, County Committee on Employment of Persons withDisabilities, Providence Center and the Sign Language Club.

All events are free, and the public is welcome. For more information, call541-2341.


The Bereavement Center of Arundel Hospice offers asupport group for people who are grieving the death of a loved one who has committed suicide.

The group will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every second Monday, beginning Oct. 14. There is no charge, and the group will meet at hospice headquarters in Millersville.

For more information, call Betty Asplund at 987-2129 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


This word to the wise is sufficient to correct your calendars.

One of Severna Park's most popular and oldest holiday sales, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church's Holiday Bazaar. Because church renovation is scheduled to begin at the traditional time of the bazaar, it will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23.

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