WEST FRIENDSHIP Elementary School was empty yesterday.
In celebration of Earth Day, the pupils -- kindergarten through grade five -- traveled to Nixon's Farm for environmental studies.
Students and teachers (including afternoon kindergartners, who came in the morning yesterday for the event) boarded 11 buses for the ride to the farm. Nixon's Farm, on Nixon's Farm Lane, off Route 32 in West Friendship, is the second oldest minority-owned business in Maryland.
L It is also West Friendship Elementary's educational partner.
The Nixon family donated the use of the facilities for the day. The farm's grounds provided an outdoor laboratory for Earth Day activities.
What could be more fun for kindergartners than going on a scavenger hunt? The object of the hunt was to look for things to classify as "living," "nonliving" or "dead."
The children examined and compared seeds, planting some and tasting others.
First- and second-graders were met by members of the National Honor Society from Glenelg High School, who served as companions and led activities focused on endangered species, baby beluga whales, worms and rain forests.
The first-graders sang songs about nature with music teacher Eileen Clark, while second-graders created pictures that they plan to turn into a mural about their experiences at the farm.
Third-graders observed cloud formations, learned about tree rings (estimating the ages of cut trees), tested stream samples for water quality and learned about recycling and antique farm machinery.
The environmental impact of oil spills was the topic for fourth-graders, and they watched aquatic life in the farm's pond and speculated on how its ecology would be affected by a spill.
Fifth-graders became bird watchers, discussing creatures with wings from bluebirds to birds of prey.
The fourth- and fifth-graders also learned to monitor water quality and participated in orienteering activities, finding hidden objects following directions, using compasses and locating natural landmarks.
Relying on maps to travel about the farm, the children measured, estimated and sharpened their powers of observation.
By 1 p.m. the students were famished. They headed to the picnic area to consume the lunches they had brought and cupcakes provided for the occasion.
After cleaning up, to make sure the farm was left in good Earth Day order, the pupils went home.
During the next few days, the children will write about their adventures and read the Dr. Seuss book, "The Lorax," which mixes humor with an environmental theme.
Glenelg High School students recently traveled to Florida to participate in a music festival at the Tupperware Convention Center near Orlando.
Led by choral director Nancy Buckel, more than 100 vocal music students competed.
Buckel, who received a Teaching Excellence Award on March 18 at Howard Community College's Evening of Excellence Awards Night, expected her students to do well -- and they did not disappoint her.
When the singing ended and the judges reached a decision, Glenelg High was awarded first place and a superior rating in six competitions: men's choir, women's choir, concert choir, madrigal singers, men's barbershop quartet, and solos.
Glenelg also won the choral sweepstakes award in the category "Most Outstanding Performances By A School."
The Madrigal Singers received their award for being the best choral group at the competition.
Buckel, in her 10th year at Glenelg High School, was thrilled with her students' performances and amazed by the size of the trophies they had won.
"We had trouble getting them into the bus," she said of the trophies. "They were so large they had to be carried back to the hotel in the luggage compartment down below."
In addition to the group awards, four students were recognized for their vocal accomplishments.
Junior Brian Rice received an award as "Outstanding Soloist in A Choral Group."
And seniors Christine Larsen, Kristina Vaskys and Jenna Bythrow received first-, second- and third-place trophies as outstanding soloists.
The trip meant a lot to Kristina, who is heading to Duquesne University in the fall to study music therapy. It was the last music competition she would attend while a student at Glenelg.
"I was really pleased with the whole experience and glad we did as well as we did," she said. "Rehearsals before we left were very stressful, as was the 18-hour bus ride, but our hard work and extra practices really paid off. Our choral groups really connected with the audience, and our singers connected with one another. We truly had a great experience."
The students -- who worked hard to raise $40,000 for this year's trip through pizza, flower and candy sales, as well as ticket sales for the winter and pops concerts -- enjoyed the thrill of competition, the warm weather, meeting new people -- and their side trip to Disney World.
Glenelg's Spring Concert will be presented at 7: 30 p.m. May 13 in the school auditorium. The school is at 14025 Burnt Woods Road.
Tickets cost $5 and are available from any Glenelg music student or at the door.
Pub Date: 4/23/98