Students mix work with fun to aid those with learning disabilities


March 04, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

A group of industrious seventh-graders at Mount Airy Middle School have combined volunteer service hours with a collection of vintage baby photographs to create a treasure for the Learning Disabilities Association of Carroll County.

The students raised $582 for the association's scholarship fund by holding a "Mount Airy Middle School Staff Cutest Baby Photo Contest" during American Education Week in November.

Students will present a check for the contest's bounty on Wednesday during the association's meeting at the Mount Airy Library.

In addition to gaining a multitude of planning and management skills, students earned volunteer service hours, honored a staff member as the "Cutest Baby" and held two contests involving students and staff.

"It started out with a class discussion," said teacher Gail Meehan.

In the discourse, students in Mrs. Meehan's seventh-grade reading class expressed their concern about how difficult it would be to earn 75 hours of community service toward their high school graduation requirements.

She said she told the students it would not be that difficult once they got started.

"The next day they came in with the idea," Mrs. Meehan said.

Students decided to hold two contests using about 23 childhood photographs they got from faculty and other staff members at Mount Airy Middle. The youngsters mounted the photos on a display board and decided that, to ensure contest fairness, Mrs. Meehan would be the only one to know which staff member had contributed which picture.

One contest was to be "just for fun" and would be open to all students with no money involved, said Mrs. Meehan. In this contest, students attempted to match the photos with a list of names.

The other contest was open to anyone who wished to make a penny vote (or more) for the cutest baby photograph.

"They all decided what they wanted to do and each came up with a job," said Mrs. Meehan.

One student volunteered to present the idea to the school principal, Larry Barnes. Some students made posters; others wrote publicity paragraphs for the school's morning announcements.

Two students created a display publicizing the contests for the school lobby and others manned the contest tables. The project was student-run from beginning to end, according to Mrs. Meehan.

To see the students take the idea, develop it and make it work was "really great," she said. "I just refereed."

Mrs. Meehan said she suggested five possible beneficiaries for the contest, and the students decided to dedicate all proceeds from the contest to the Learning Disabilities Association's scholarship fund.

"They also accepted donations," said Mrs. Meehan.

After the voting was closed, Team II social studies teacher Ellen Kartisek was honored as Mount Airy Middle School's Cutest Baby. She was presented with a basket brimming with gifts selected by students just for her, including a T-shirt reflecting her new title.

Mrs. Meehan said her students are already discussing other ways to earn volunteer service time during the next school year.

"It was just a totally positive experience," she said. "They really had fun."

Members of the Learning Disabilities Association of Carroll County are thrilled with the student contribution to their scholarship fund.

"The fact that it was done, that they even thought about doing it for us, was wonderful," said Pam Vallis, the association's publicity chairwoman.

The community is invited to attend the association's meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mount Airy Library at 705 Ridge Ave.

Student testing in Carroll County public schools will be the topic of the meeting, which will feature Judith Backes as guest speaker.

Ms. Backes will focus on allowed accommodations and modifications for students with learning disabilities.

For information, call president Stephanie Tighe at (410) 795-8621 or vice president Debby Paisie at (301) 829-2890.


An afternoon of fabulous '50s and '60s music, fried chicken and fun will help pave the way to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for band members from South Carroll High School.

Band Boosters are having their Second Annual Sunday Dinner Dance featuring the Hubcaps on April 10 at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers, 1011 Baltimore Blvd. in Westminster.

The fund-raiser begins at 1 p.m. with a fried chicken dinner, followed by four hours of rocking tunes beginning at 2 p.m. The cost of the dinner-dance will be $25 per person.

The Band Boosters hope to sell 350 tickets to help with the cost of the band trip and to replenish the Boosters' treasury. South Carroll Band Boosters finance the majority of band expenses, from sheet music to instrument purchases.

The most recent expense is a $1,200 repair needed to the drums before the trip in April.

Buses will leave South Carroll High School at midnight on April 21 for Pigeon Forge, where band members will compete in categories including: jazz, symphonic, marching, indoor guard and parade.

If time allows, students will visit nearby Dollywood. Buses will return to Winfield the evening of April 24.

Band students have been supporting a variety of fund-raisers throughout the school year to finance this four-day band trek. South Carroll's last major trip was four years ago when the band went to Orlando, Fla.

Tickets are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis for preferred seating. Call (410) 875-2750 for ticket information or reservations.


All-you-can-eat fare featuring roasted turkey, baked ham and freshly fried oysters will be served at the Mount Airy Fire Company's first Spring Dinner beginning at noon Sunday at the Activities Building, Route 27 at Twin Arch Road.

The event also offers a variety of side dishes and desserts.

The cost of this fund-raising feast will be $9 for adults and $4.50 for children 5 to 12 years old. Admission for the "under-5" crowd is free. Carryout dinners will cost 50 cents extra.

The fire company's second and last Spring Dinner of 1994, which will feature the same popular entrees, will be held April 10.

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