Mount Airy school ready for big 3-Oh


March 07, 1997|By Christy Kruhm | Christy Kruhm,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FORMER STUDENTS of Mount Airy Middle School are invited to attend the school's 30th anniversary and homecoming

celebration from noon to 3 p.m. March 15.

Seen from the road, the building appears much as it did in 1967. However, if you go to the back or step inside the lobby, you would hardly recognize the place.

Walls covered in murals, a new wing that includes a fully automated media center, 10 additional classrooms, three resource rooms, an exercise room, a technology education center, and an elevator and ramps for the disabled are a few of the changes returning students will notice.

Previously Mount Airy High School, Mount Airy Middle School opened in September 1967. The school was one of the first two middle schools in Carroll County.

John W. Devault, who was principal for 23 years, remembers that first day well.

It was confusion from the minute the buses showed up, Devault says.

The 440 students and most of the staff -- all new to the building -- spent the day locating classrooms, unscrambling schedules, unlocking stubborn lockers. Now, in retrospect, it sounds funny, Devault says.

During his years at the school, he saw the effects that a changing society and increased technology have had on students and their course work.

Gone are the days of shop and home economics. Boys and girls study technology education and family consumer sciences. Computers have replaced the card catalog in what was once the library, now called the media center. The typically segregated physical education classes are co-educational.

Devault says he also feels that students today are more sophisticated and more at ease with adults than students of 30 years ago.

Despite the changes that Mount Airy Middle has undergone in 30 years, it will be a comfort to returning students to know that some things haven't changed.

A familiar face greets students and staff each morning from the school office. Office manager Grace Mason is keeping attendance, running off copies and answering the phones just as she has every day for 30 years.

A drive by the school's athletic fields is sure to find physical education teacher James Myers. Thirty years later, he's still teaching the finer points of soccer and field hockey to classes of middle school students dressed in gym uniforms.

Cherie Smith is in a unique position to compare differences and similarities. She was a sixth-grade student when Mount Airy Middle opened in 1967. Her daughter, Sara, is a seventh-grader at the school.

Remembering the strictly enforced dress codes (girls had to wear skirts or dresses), Smith says the way students dress today is the most noticeable change from her day as a student.

She remembers desks being arranged in rows, instead of the clusters now used in classes.

Mother and daughter also had the experience of having the same teacher for sixth-grade math, David Day.

The festivities March 15 begin with an open house and tour at noon, followed by a program in the auditorium.

Devault and Larry Barnes, another former principal, will present "Moments of Reflection."

Music will be provided by the faculty and an instrumental ensemble.

Former students and staff and current students and staff will entertain the crowd with activities contrasting the early years with the present.

From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., a reception will be held in the main lobby. Refreshments will be served.

A photo and memorabilia exhibit will be on display in the media center. Items unique to the school's history, such as yearbooks, physical education uniforms, school projects, report cards and awards, will be featured.

Dance lessons

Sounds of clogging, tap and step dance echoed through Winfield Elementary School yesterday afternoon, as students were introduced to the world of dance by the Footwork dancers.

As part of the school's cultural arts program, students assisted the Footwork dancers by keeping rhythm with their hands and trying out basic foot rhythms.

The program was sponsored by the school's PTA.

Since 1980, the group has performed throughout the United States, England, Canada and Japan.

Kindergarten meeting

Parents of children who will be entering kindergarten are invited to a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. James Episcopal Church and Nursery School, 202 N. Main St., Mount Airy.

The topic to be discussed is "Kindergarten -- What Lies Ahead?" The purpose of the program is to help parents feel more at ease as their children enter kindergarten.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for parents to meet kindergarten teachers and administrators.

After an informal presentation by teachers, parents will be able to address concerns during a question and answer session.

The meeting is open to all local residents, regardless of what preschool experience their children may have had.

Information: Ellen Bonde, (301) 829-0014.

Christy Kruhm's Southwest Carroll Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 3/07/97

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