ILCHESTER Elementary School is happy to report that the school community collected 143 items for Grassroots shelter clients to use during the holidays.
Among the items collected were 93 cans of food, toiletries and paper goods.
Ilchester pupils Rebecca Watts, Amy Scallion and Melanie Keller started the project, which will continue through the school year.
Ilchester Elementary is in its second year, and the PTA is able to reach out to others. Its executive board has been trying to establish a school-to-school partnership and the program is running, with the aid of parent volunteers Steve Witman and Kathy Tomaszewski.
Witman had been involved in a business partnership with Thomas Johnson Elementary School in South Baltimore and tutored a fifth-grader last year.
This year, with a first-grader of his own at Ilchester Elementary, he extended the involvement to his son's school, linking Ilchester and Thomas Johnson Elementary.
First, Ilchester Elementary students brought new and gently used books to school to give to Thomas Johnson students before the holiday vacation. The goal was to collect a wrapped book as a gift for each city student.
The response was overwhelming. For the 420 children at Thomas Johnson, the Ilchester community supplied 1,065 books, which were delivered Dec. 18.
Each Thomas Johnson student received two gift books. Remaining books were donated to the school library.
Donations came from the children; Drew Sandberg of Coliseum Gym, a business partner of Ilchester Elementary; and an anonymous donor.
"We plan to sponsor school visits, a pen-pal exchange, maybe Internet communication," says Witman. "This is just a beginning."
Elkridge senior citizen Marcella Faulkner devotes two mornings every week to helping kindergarten students at Deep Run Elementary School.
She spends each Monday and Thursday -- a total of 10 hours a week -- working with small groups of 5-year-olds, reinforcing the basic skills vital to children's performance in school.
Faulkner doesn't drive, so she takes a bus to the school.
She is volunteering for a third year at Deep Run out of her affection for children.
Our neighborhood's history
Karen Hinds, producer at Cable Eight public-access television station, has created an "On Location" program about the Howard County Historical Society that includes clips from the society's museum library.
On the program, Hinds interviews the museum director, Mary Mannix; Doris Edwards, a volunteer and patron who uses the library for genealogical research; and Martha Crist, a library volunteer and the daughter of Alda Hopkins Clark -- founder of the society.
The production will also introduce the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, which maintains a museum and library.
The program, which runs for 30 minutes, will air at 4: 30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. Wednesdays and at 1: 30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. Saturdays through January.
Howard High School's "It's Academic" team brought home the trophy from the William Tennent High School tournament Nov. 8 -- defeating 27 other teams, including the previously unbeaten Gonzaga High School.
"We met up with them before and have always been defeated," says team captain Meredith Ward. "When we saw them, a little shiver of fear ran through us. It increased our desire to win."
Ward's teammates were Alan Chen, Elizabeth Chester, Alecia Frisby and Chris Lay.
Howard's success is attributed to speed at the buzzer -- and excellent teamwork.
But one question stumped all the students: "What is a localized distortion of space-time without an event horizon?"
Chen said no one knew the answer: "a naked singularity."
Coach John Gilbert prepared the team well, teaching strategy and how to use each member's strengths.
Gilbert is a veteran of "It's Academic." He was on the television show when Hammond High -- his alma mater -- went to the semifinals.
Gilbert graduated from Hammond in 1986 and coaches Howard's team "for fun."
The TV show will start taping Howard's contest with Atholton and Urbana high schools Feb. 4.
Eighty-one schools will compete. A school must win three rounds to continue.
This column will follow the team's performance.
Congratulations to longtime Ellicott City resident Tom Kusterer, chosen for Marquis' Who's Who in America 1998 and Who's Who in Science and Engineering 1998-1999.
Kusterer is an environmental planner who works for Montgomery County government.
He has written about 40 articles on the subject for professional journals and has edited an environmental newsletter. Because of his expertise, he has represented the United States at international conferences on the environment.
"Everybody wants to know what to do with their trash," says Kusterer's wife, Janet, "and Tom is there to tell them."
Closer to home, Kusterer serves as treasurer for Historic Ellicott City Inc. and volunteers at the Roman Catholic Church of the Resurrection.
Consider the environment