Former Oriole pitcher kicks off readathon

NEIGHBORS

November 22, 1994|By SHERRY GRAHAM

It is said that reading can really take you places. Maybe even to the big leagues, according to Bill Swaggerty.

Mr. Swaggerty, a former pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, was on hand last week at Eldersburg Elementary when the school kicked off a November readathon. The event is part of the school's celebration of its silver anniversary.

Dressed in an Orioles shirt, Mr. Swaggerty spoke briefly to the Eldersburg students about how his love of reading helped him achieve a major league pitching career and a World Series ring.

Mr. Swaggerty credited his mother with making reading a large part of his life. Mrs. Swaggerty insisted that her children read every day after lunch during the summer.

At first, an older brother would read to young Bill. By the time he could read himself, he had developed a great interest in books about any sport -- but particularly baseball.

Although it did not replace actual experience, Mr. Swaggerty said he was able to learn a great deal about pitching and baseball from books.

Being an avid reader also made him a better student, helping him achieve good grades in school. Mr. Swaggerty encouraged the children to continue improving their reading skills and to find books that interest them.

The school's readathon will encompass 25 hours of reading throughout the school over a four-day period. More than 115 parent, faculty and alumni volunteers will read to students in all grades.

Mr. Swaggerty officially kicked off the event by reading "Casey At The Bat," a favorite baseball poem.

Mr. Swaggerty was given a certificate and an Eldersburg portfolio to thank him for his visit to the school. He was also treated to a rousing rendition of the school song.

VTC In further recognition of the school's silver anniversary and its readathon, a teacher read two letters from President Clinton congratulating them on these events.

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Students at Freedom Elementary have found friends at nearby London Fog.

For the past year, 15 London Fog employees have been friends and mentors to about 18 Freedom students.

Brought together by the efforts of Freedom guidance counselor Karen Wright and London Fog volunteer coordinator Danielle Yates, the adults and students have developed positive relationships.

London Fog allows the employee volunteers to spend a half-hour each work week helping the students with aspects of school life.

The mentors reinforce math, reading and writing skills, along with specialty areas such as computer science or newspaper publishing. Good social skills and positive behavior are also emphasized.

To thank the mentors for their hard work and devotion to the program, Freedom Elementary had a lasagna dinner in their honor at the school last week.

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For most people, the winter holidays are full of traditions. Holiday craft workshops have been a Piney Run tradition for several years.

On Dec. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Nature Center will be filled with the sights, sounds and smells of the holidays.

Nature Center members and the public are invited to participate in one of 10 craft workshops. Choose from herbal chaplets, door swags, woodland trees, glass ornaments or window accents, all from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

If you prefer the 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. time period, you may create a teasel mouse, Santa gourds, window decorations, a yule log or an apple tree. Ages 16 and older may participate.

A lunch of chili or soup, homemade bread and dessert will be for sale starting at 12:30 p.m. The cost of the workshops varies; registration by phone begins Friday. Information: 795-6043.

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Carrolltown Center will be the seasonal home of Santa starting Saturday. The arrival parade will begin at noon and will feature Santa's sleigh accompanied by reindeer and familiar characters.

The Liberty High School band, the Sykesville Fire Department and others will be on hand to welcome him.

Young and old are invited to give Santa their Christmas wish lists in Center Court and to take advantage of a 99-cent photo offer through Christmas.

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The Piedmont Pacers Volksmarch Club, a Carroll County walking club, is sponsoring a free, noncompetitive 10-kilometer walk at Piney Run Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Walkers may begin the trail at the park's Nature Center any time between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on either day. Participants must finish the walk by 5 p.m.

The trail is mostly along the natural surfaces in Piney Run Park and is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. Participants may run, jog, walk or stroll at their own pace.

As in all volksmarches, a walker who does not complete the entire 10K course will receive credit for the distance covered. Walkers completing the course will have the opportunity to purchase a commemorative pin and patch.

The Piedmont Pacers will collect nonperishable foods for distribution to needy families in Carroll County.

Information: 549-1889 or 876-1108.

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The Red Cross will sponsor a blood drive at Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Hall from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Show your support by donating.

Information: 795-9311.

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