Questioning the need to buy school supplies that go unused


September 02, 1998|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DID YOU see this list?" my friend asked as she shoved at me a paper pungent with the scent of ditto fluid. "Do you want to ride over to Office Depot with me?"

Smiling, I declined her offer. I had no shopping to do.

"You already bought seven plastic binders? A set of multicolor dividers for each? Colored pencils? No. 2 pencils? Mechanical pencils?'' she scanned her list.

No. I hadn't bought a thing.

"We have no school supplies," my son interrupted. He told her that I was forcing him to enter the halls of academia armed with a left-over roll of calculator tape and free pens that some guy running for County Council left us on the doorstep. "She is refusing to shop," he said.

There's a good reason. After 13 years of public school, I can't remember the last time I actually saw my children use any of the supplies. They don't use loose-leaf paper because everything they learn comes from fill-in-the-blank work sheets. The only time I've ever seen them use a compass was to poke one another with the pointed end. The one time I was gratified to see my child engrossed in his $89 graphing calculator I discovered he was playing Tetris.

Puzzled, my son was quiet for a moment. Had I made an impact with my concerns? Was he ready to make a serious commitment to his studies? "A compass is pointy? I thought it was the thing shaped like a capital D," he said.

Add a dictionary to the list, Glen Burnie.

'Adam's Ramp' completed

A 3-year-old Pasadena boy is finding entering his home a little easier thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers working with the Glen Burnie Civitan Club. The volunteers built the physically challenged child a ramp.

Although familiar to the community through their pizza concession at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival and their fruitcake sales at Christmas, the Civitan Club's true heart can be found in the work it performs to improve the lives of community members facing daily struggles because of mental and physical handicaps.

The Pasadena project -- known only as "Adam's Ramp" to protect the privacy of the boy and his family -- is an example of this work.

"For many of our projects we rely on not only the members of the [Civitan Club] but also on volunteers from the community and donations from local businesses," said Civitan President Ron Sams.

Civitan members who assisted in the planning and construction were Sams, Jean Rock, Audrey Miller, Jenny Miller, Charles Miller, Charles Janson, Richard Finlay, James George, Jerry Falkenstine and James Parks.

Sams applauds the contributions of several local organizations that helped with the project: the county Infant and Toddler Program, J. F. Johnson Lumber Co., Jill Fox Foundation, Kennedy-Kreiger Institute, Business and Work Force Development Center of Anne Arundel County, ALCAP Construction and S & G Concrete Co. The county government got into the spirit of the project, providing a free building permit.

The project required more than good intentions, lumber and a little sweat -- it needed professionals.

Enter the employees of ALCAP Construction -- Tim Collins, Chuck Kerby, Walter Bury, Marvin Bury, Stanley Garde and Tom Marshall.

Then they called in the Navy.

"We had several members of the Seabees from the naval station in Annapolis come in and help on their time off," said Sams.

Members of the construction battalion who assisted with the project were Arthur Sanchez, Kevin Auken, Jeffrey Lambergen, Orman Green, Victor Thompson, Lamar Tuvnen and Mark Randenbush.

For information on the other projects the Civitan Club is involved with or to make a donation: 410-551-4921.

Genealogy library expanded

A gift of a library to a library was the highlight of the summer for the Ann Arrundel Historical and Genealogy Societies when the Daughters of the Founders and Patriots of America donated hundreds of books to the society's collection at the Kuethe Library on Crain Highway.

Murray Combs, an amateur genealogist who volunteers at the local library, was amazed at not only the number of books but at the condition of the tomes. Although an actual count hasn't been completed, Combs estimates the Kuethe Library has been enriched with more than 500 titles.

"We have a lot of books that were published over a hundred years ago and are still in pristine condition. Some have never had the pages cut," remarked Combs.

Most of the books address genealogy and can be used to help trace a family's lineage and history.

Volunteers are available to assist with guests and members who are interested in studying genealogy during the library's business hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Use of the library is free to members of the Historical and Genealogical Societies. A $1 donation is requested of visitors.

Information: 410-760-9379.

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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