Hiram Ammons and the art of teachingHiram F. Ammons looks...


April 10, 1994|By Sandra Crockett

Hiram Ammons and the art of teaching

Hiram F. Ammons looks at buildings around Baltimore and visualizes them as institutions fit for a child.

Years ago, the artist and retired teacher created an illustrated activity book for the Baltimore Zoo. He says learning about animals and the zoo through pictures and text is educational and fun for children.

Now he's doing the same thing for Baltimore's Great Blacks in Wax Museum on North Avenue.

"I've been to the museum so many times and I thought this would be a great enrichment for the children . . . and even for the adults," he says.

Mr. Ammons approached the museum's directors and school officials about the book. They all encouraged him to go for it.

"I've gotten a great deal of community support for this book," Mr. Ammons says.

"It's the first activity book based on figures seen in the Great Blacks in Wax Museum," he explains. The book includes more than 60 illustrations about the figures, says Mr. Ammons, who taught art in Baltimore schools for about 30 years.

Ann Wilson, a librarian at Sarah M. Roach Elementary School on Old Frederick Road in Baltimore, helped with the text, he says.

"The book also has puzzles and vocabulary words . . . things for children to get involved in," he says.

He's hoping it will be in schools and at the museum by the fall.

Next on his agenda?

"Well, I've been looking at the Aquarium and the Science Center," he says. "This city is just loaded with interesting places to deal with."

@ When friends bump into Kevin Probst, they ask what he's been up to lately, besides saving the world.

As the founder of Goucher College's mentoring program, the co-president of the community service organization and a dean's scholar, he's gotten used to the ribbing. "If someone calls me a do-gooder, that doesn't bother me in the least," says Mr. Probst, 19, a sophomore majoring in elementary education. "I feel I have the ability to positively influence others. And I want to use that to help young people find themselves."

He's currently doing that through "Off the Streets," a Big Brother-type program he created last year with the help of community activist Bea Gaddy. Once a week, seven city youngsters (boys and girls, some homeless, between the ages of 12 and 17) come to the campus to play volleyball, attend the theater and interact with Goucher students.

The goal, he says, is to motivate youngsters while showing them a good time.

His work hasn't gone unnoticed. He was one of 60 students recognized for "a blend of scholarship, leadership, initiative and creativity" by USA Today, which named him to its 1994 College Academic Team.

"I was shocked and honored to be among students who have accomplished so much," says Mr. Probst, a Delaware native, whose name appeared alongside a Dartmouth senior who designed a solar racing car and a Wake Forest student who worked with Mother Teresa.

But keeping a schedule that rivals the busiest executive has its downside. To deal with the stress, Mr. Probst, the captain of the school's cross-country team, runs an average 5 to 7 miles a day.

"When people see my schedule book," he says, "they tell me I should make an appointment with myself."

Mary Corey

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