Festive moods mark openings of 2 new schools

September 11, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

Two new schools opened their doors on schedule last week in Harford County after experiencing previous setbacks.

Emmorton Elementary, where workers toiled around the clock this summer to complete the building after winter weather delays, showed off its glass-walled media center, decorated classrooms and colorful cafeteria to parents and students Tuesday evening, the night before school opened.

Church Creek Elementary threw an impressive assembly Thursday to celebrate its opening and announce a partnership with a local retailer. That building was delayed a year while school officials resolved concerns about a possible toxic waste dump and changed contractors because of poor performance.

"It's like a party," said Emmorton Principal Margaret D. Goodson at Tuesday's open house.

"It's a miracle," said Gloria Nelson, the school enrichment teacher. "The faculty is very enthusiastic. It's a partnership between faculty, community and parents."

The mood was festive as parents explored every nook and cranny, except the gym, which was cordoned off. The recently installed floor was off-limits, but there was a large peephole for the curious.

"The floor will be available to be used Tuesday," said Joseph P. Licata, supervisor of school construction. "We're still working night and day to do finishing work."

Most of that work is in nonstudent areas, he said.

The grand, two-story media center was still barren last week, however. Bookshelves will be installed early this week, Mr. Licata said.

Despite a few missing knobs and doors, students were impressed.

"It's neat, but big," said third-grader Sarah Poane.

"It's pretty," said Jessica Zellers, a 5-year-old kindergarten student.

"I'm very impressed it was done on time," said Charles Kares, father of kindergarten student Paul Kares, who was showing Mr. Bear, his stuffed animal, the new school.

Parents at Church Creek Elementary in Belcamp also were proud. "This is so beautiful," said Pat Benedict, president of the school's PTA, who has been keeping track of the school's delays for more than a year. "This is worth it."

Mrs. Benedict attended the school's initial assembly Thursday, the day after the school opened. It was a day of celebration.

Students shouted the school cheer, "We are Church Creek Elementary School!" and sang and chanted, "Cougar, cougar."

A costumed cougar, the school's mascot, made an appearance, much to the students' delight. Several students noted that physical education teacher Chris Cook was suspiciously absent during the cougar's visit.

A ceremonial lighting of a lamp for learning, complete with fire streamers, was part of the festivities.

"It's so touching," Mrs. Benedict said, watching Principal Barbara J. Douglas orchestrate the proceedings. "She pulled everything together wonderfully."

One reason for the gathering was the announcement of "Computers Plus for Schools," a new endeavor by Klein's Super Markets.

The cash-register receipt program, which starts Thursday, allows Harford County schools and community groups to redeem pink cash register receipts for several products, including computers, audiovisual equipment, band instruments, books and recreational items.

"This is an opportunity to have the best possible equipment you could have," said Howard Klein, a member of the third generation of the Klein family that has operated retail stores in Harford County since 1923. "We need all of your help. . . . The more tapes you save, the more equipment we can provide."

"Everyone working together really makes a difference," Mrs. Douglas said.

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