Longfellow needs new school playground

NEIGHBORS

April 13, 1994|By LARRY STURGILL

Members of the Harper's Choice community want to replace what many feel is dilapidated, and unsafe, playground equipment at Longfellow Elementary School.

The school playground is heavily used by Longfellow students, children in before- and after-school programs, neighborhood children and by children attending summer camps.

Because the Howard County Board of Education hasn't allocated money for new playground equipment, the project has been taken on by the Longfellow PTA and concerned members of the Harper's Choice community. They want to replace the current playground with two new, fully equipped areas, one for children from kindergarten to second grade and another for ages 3 to 5. The estimated cost of new equipment is between $20,000 and $30,000.

Jackie Rose and Kathleen Gandy are co-chairs of the PTA campaign, and an official playground committee, headed by Eileen Skidmore, has been formed to coordinate the project.

A recent meeting with the Harper's Choice Village Board gave the playground committee hope that some money might be available from the board.

"We requested a total of $10,000. That's $5,000 for each step," says Jackie Rose. "I think the amount of our request stunned them. They have never given a grant in that amount before, and board members expressed concern about setting a precedent. However, they did show concern and agreed to get back to us. We're hopeful that they'll offer us some help."

In the meantime, the committee is moving forward with other fund-raising strategies, including seeking donations from community businesses and organizations, individual donations from Harper's Choice residents, and a "loose change" fund, in which the children at Longfellow Elementary School would participate. In addition, various fund-raising events are being discussed.

"The current playground and the Harper's Choice tot lots do not meet the needs of older children, nor the physically challenged children in our community," says Ms. Rose. "In fact, we have been informed that two of the pieces now in use at the school playground have been evaluated as potentially dangerous under current playground safety standards."

Although they are unable to provide funds for the purchase of new equipment, the Board of Education has agreed to install the equipment.

"Our goal is to raise the first $15,000 needed by June 1," says Ms. Rose. "And, any help we can get from the community would be greatly appreciated."

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Linden Hall is offering Camp 2000, a series of summer camps for children, ages 4 to 7. The camp is a cooperative effort by Computer Tots and Discovering Science, which promises to build youthful science and technology skills.

Lisa Rahwanji, director of the Computer Tots program, says this is an excellent camp for young children who are just beginning to explore the world of technology.

"They will have fun discovering science through hands-on activities and using the computer to explore, create and experiment in other areas."

Three sessions will be offered, each with a difference theme.

Session I: July 11-15. "Digging For Dinosaurs" will show young paleontologists how to use the computer to go on a fossil hunt, dig up bones and track dinosaur footprints. They will also travel through time, back to the age of dinosaurs to observe their environment, how they eat, see their size, and discover lots of fascinating dinosaur facts.

Session II: July 18-22. "Space Walkers" will take young astronauts on an exciting computer-simulated voyage to outer space and explore the solar system and the constellations via a simulated space walk. They will also build satellites, space stations and space ships and will program a miniature robot.

Session III: July 25-29. "Discoveryville" will take the children on a magical journey of discovery where they will learn basic science concepts while building air machines, constructing ships, making a volcano and creating mystery mixtures. They will also use the computer to learn logical thinking and deductive reasoning, as well as explore and experiment with programming.

All sessions will run Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost of each session is $149. There is a 10 percent sibling discount if you have two children taking a session.

Enrollment is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call (301) 718-4545 or (410) 995-6618.

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As one of those who spent most of my time in high school algebra classes wondering what was going on, I can definitely appreciate the achievements of students who do understand the complexities of modern mathematics.

The Howard County Mathematics League is a home of sorts for mathematically talented students, and their annual competitions bring out the best of the best.

Tops in this year's competition was Andy Zimdars of Wilde Lake High School. He placed first among competitors from all the county high schools.

John Armstrong of Atholton High School was tops among freshmen competitors.

Other top scorers included Eric Lamar of Atholton and Aric Shafran of Wilde Lake.

*

Y'all come to Wilde Country Night at Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village this Saturday night. The hoedown starts at 8 p.m. and will feature country line dancing, country couples dancing, light refreshments and a guarantee of lots of fun.

Hosts Jim and Pat Davis will be on hand to lead everyone in their dance favorites and to teach newcomers the country two-step, the Cotton-Eyed Joe, the Achey Breaky and other country line dances.

Space is limited, so reservations are suggested. Advance tickets are $7 per person ($8 at the door).

Information: 730-3987.

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