When I graduated from high school I was able to determine the circumference and area of a circle. I could recite the names of the United States' presidents and their vice presidents in chronological order. And I knew how to ask "Where is the train station?" in two languages (three if you count English).
Unfortunately since that time no one has ever asked me to calculate the size of their orange. I've never traveled to a foreign country and needed a train and with the exception of Trivial Pursuit fanatics (who are usually just a wee bit too intense for most social situations anyway) no one cares who James Madison's veep was.
If I could do it over again I think that somewhere between Russian literature and French IV, I would have benefited by a semester or two at the vo-tech center. Not only would I have a more well-rounded education, perhaps I could answer some of these vexing questions:
* Does the car have to be running to check the transmission fluid or is that the oil level? Why can't you use the same fluid for both? Or can you?
* When hair is pointing north to northwest, are scissors the only option or will a combination of VO-5 and Dippity-Do work?
* Which of the four basic food groups requires the "frappe" button on my blender?
By the way, Glen Burnie, Madison's vice president was named Clinton.
Peter Akerboom's students at the Center For Applied Technology North are baking pies today -- apple, custard, lemon meringue -- and visitors to the school's open house tonight will have the opportunity to see the magic C.A.T. students can accomplish with an egg . . . or a socket wrench or a hair dryer for that matter.
Parents of students attending C.A.T. North are welcome to visit this evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and meet the faculty and staff. In addition, area eighth-graders have been invited to explore firsthand where today's technology can take them.
Administrative trainee Lizbeth Stouch says students will be on hand to display their skills. "Visitors will be able to see students in action. We want to show off our students who are already involved in an effort to attract new students."
The school offers training in several areas: automotive, computers, construction, pre-engineering, information systems management, drafting, printing, cosmetology, food services, horticulture and health careers.
To help the students apply their skills on a practical level, the school extends the learning process into the community, whether it's the construction of a house in Odenton or the operation of the Almost Home Cafe.
Gary Liddick operates the cafe at the school. His students prepare and sell lunch Tuesday through Friday for students, school personnel and anyone looking for an inexpensive meal.
For information on tonight's open house or any of the programs offered, call the school office, 969-3100.
Last weekend's Halloween Safety Party at the North Arundel Center successfully showcased the creative talent of several amateur costume designers. Awards were presented to the following children.
Ages 2 and under: Tyler Sousa, most original; Chip Helsertay, most attractive; Joseph Laque, funniest; Keith Wiedenhoeft, cutest.
Ages 3 and 4: Alexis Cabezas, most original; Joshua Jennings, most attractive; Monte Hausmann, funniest; Amanda Hatch, cutest.
Ages 5 and 6: Jerry Arnold, most original; Megan Hartlove, most attractive; Monica Arnold, funniest; Christopher Regent, cutest.
Ages 7 and 8: Heather Seebach, most original; Jennifer Martin, most attractive; Elizabeth Treas, funniest; Devin Lascola, scariest.
Ages 9 to 12: Joseph Bohle, most original; Tiffany Green, most attractive; Leslie Holtz, funniest; Benjamin Liebsch, scariest.
CIn addition, Katie, Erin and Bradley Fleming won first prize in the group category for their impersonation of Honey Nut Cheerios.
Ten rooms of ghouls, goblins and Jaycees are promised at the Greater Glen Burnie Jaycees annual Haunted House tonight through Saturday at Glen Burnie Mall.
Located in the vacant Epstein's building, tours will be given through this dark and scary world from 7 to 10 tonight and tomorrow, and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Admission to the house of horrors is $3.50 and a canned good that will be donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
Proceeds from the event will benefit various Jaycees' charities, including the Children's Cancer Foundation and Hospice of the Chesapeake.
Special Halloween parties are in the works for students at two local elementary schools.
* Glendale Elementary School's PTA is sponsoring a Halloween Party from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the school.
Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes. There will be games and prizes for the students. Refreshments will be served.
The party is open to Glendale students and their families only. Tickets are $2 each and can be purchased before classes begin in front of the school office through Friday.
For information, call the school office, 222-6404.