Chesapeake Academy drives for a new home ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY EDUCATION

December 07, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Chesapeake Academy Headmistress Jane Pehlke stands at the door of the Severna Park school each morning and greets her students.

She knows each of the school's students by name -- no small feat, even if enrollment is a relatively small 185.

But the academy, which sits atop a hill just off of Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, always seems bent on giving its students something extra. When the school began in 1979, it was housed in a former beauty shop. Thirteen years later, it is kicking off a $500,000 fund-raising project to build additional space for the school.

"We're not building because of growth as much as it for space," Mrs. Pehlke said. "Our school won't get any larger than 230 students. But we really do need more space."

Students range from 3-year-olds to fifth-graders. During the primary years, the school attempts to place no more than nine children in a classroom. The upper grades have a maximum of 18 students.

The new building, to be located adjacent to the existing structure, will house six new classrooms and a multipurpose room. The existing building also will be renovated into a science resource room, computer lab and art room.

Fund-raising for the new building began last month with an art auction. About 250 people from the community attended, Mrs. Pehlke said, and $9,000 was raised.

Louise Sivy, one of the four educators who founded the school, donated $10,000. The school also received a $25,000 donation from the Marks Foundation and another $5,000 from the Chesapeake Academy's PTA. In just two weeks, Chesapeake Academy has managed to raise 10 percent of its goal.

The school is scheduled to break ground on its new building Feb. 28. Mrs. Pehlke said the academy hopes to raise the remainder of the funds, and pay off its debts, within a year.

But fund-raising has not been left up to just the school's board of trustees. Everyone involved in the school has gotten into the act.

Teachers will hold a Mexican Fiesta fund-raiser in February. Half the funds raised will go toward the building fund, the other half toward purchasing new equipment and furniture for the new building.

Students also are doing their part. A plastic jar sits in the entry hall; students drop their pennies, nickels and dimes into it. Each Friday, the school's second-grade students wrap the coins and take them to Maryland National Bank where a passbook account has been opened.

Students also hope to raise money for the project through their Christmas program and a spring production of "Charlotte's Web."

". . .One of our biggest goals is for children to understand how important volunteerism is in their life," Mrs. Pehlke said.

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