Hectic holiday season gives way to calm days

NEIGHBORS

January 09, 1995|By JEAN LESLIE

January gives us a rest after a busy six-week holiday season, a fall of school activities and warm months of vacations, gardens and sports activities.

There's time now to read on long winter evenings, mend that pile of clothes, paint the nicked-up woodwork and have some time to spend playing Scrabble and cards with the family. Fantasies of even taking up a new hobby or finishing incomplete crossword puzzles entertain us in January.

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Boy Scout Troop 944 is proud to announce that Matt Blanchard, a new Eagle Scout, celebrated his Court of Honor on Dec. 2, 1994, at Bethany United Methodist Church in Ellicott City.

His scouting career began in Cub Pack 361 in 1984. He joined Boy Scout Troop 944 in 1989 and has served in six different leadership posts. He acted as the troop's Senior Patrol Leader during their trip to the Haliburton Scout Reserve in Ontario, Canada, last August. He has earned 44 merit badges, as well as the World Conservation Award, World Crest, Baden Powell Patrol Leader Award, First Class, within one year, and BSA Mile Swim.

Matt was keynote speaker at the National Pike District "Good Scout" Award Breakfast this September.

Matt is the son of Jim and Joan Blanchard, and has lived in the county for more than 15 years. He is a junior at Centennial High School, where he maintains a 3.95 grade point average.

He runs track and represents Centennial in "It's Academic."

He is a member of the International Club, Human Relations Club, Aquila literary magazine, Art Service Club and Centennial's yearbook, "The Eyrie."

Matt's Eagle Service Project benefited Troop 944's sponsor, Bethany United Methodist Church. He planned and carried out the restoration and repainting of the church's storage building as well as the repainting of the church's nursery. The project required more than 120 hours of work and improved the appearance of the structures.

Congratulations, Matt!

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Lee Kiesling, reading teacher at Dunloggin Middle School, has initiated a program pairing the students at his school with children belonging to next-door neighbor Northfield Elementary, creating sets of "Reading Buddies."

Mr. Kiesling began the project by submitting a grant proposal to the nonprofit organization RIF, Reading is Fundamental, in September.

In November, he got word that his proposal was accepted. He announced the project, and 57 middle schoolers came forward to help.

The buddies meet once a month, when the older student brings a book to share with a child in the primary grades. Many older buddies also create puppets and skits to help motivate their young friends.

The RIF funding is used for the big motivator: The younger children get books of their own to keep.

Each child in the first, second and third grades will be given a book three times this year. That's well over a thousand books funded by RIF.

The books will be chosen by the Dunloggin students, who have determined the younger students' interests and reading ability. The books will be distributed in celebrations of reading. The first celebration will be next month,when an "I Love Reading" theme will be borrowed from Valentine's Day.

The project has fully involved the students. A core group of Dunloggin students organized the program, planned reading lessons and follow-up, created an interest inventory and organized celebrations. Participants must

keep journals on their experiences.

Mr. Kiesling reports that the middle school students have surprised him with their natural, gentle way with the young students. He is especially pleased with the eighth grade boys.

The program is moving forward with the help of Northfield reading teacher Donna Michael, Penny Zimring, Dunloggin teacher for the gifted and talented and 57 middle school students.

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Who says craft shows are limited to the holiday season? Howard High School's Junior Class will hold its craft show on Feb. 18, when there will be less competition.

Craft people are sought to rent tables or space.

The craft show will take place at the school, 8700 Old Annapolis Road in Ellicott City.

For information on table rental, call Dave Dittman at the school, (410) 313-2867.

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On Nov. 20, Stacie Griffin, owner of children's consignment store Second Childhood, held a yard sale to benefit Tracey Carroll.

Ms. Carroll, a single mother from Ellicott City who consigned and shopped at the store, needed a bone marrow transplant. Although she had health insurance, it did not cover all the hospital costs and the missed work time. Second Childhood's yard sale raised $525 to give her a hand.

We're happy to report that the surgery went well and that Ms. Carroll is home from the hospital and starting to get out a bit.

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Mayfield Woods Middle School's Stan Rappoport tells me that with fund raisers out of way, the PTA is turning its attention to other matters.

The group's next general meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night.

The speaker will be Joyce Brown, substance abuse specialist for the county. She'll speak on "Parents Taking Action-Keeping Kids Drug and Alcohol Free."

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