Mount View Middle's adventurer-principal explores Israel, Jordan


September 10, 1998|By Geri Hastings | Geri Hastings,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IMAGINE A man in Arab headdress on a donkey on a road in Jordan -- cellular phone in hand.

This, and other unexpected sights, were seen this summer by Marion Payne, intrepid traveler and principal of Mount View Middle School.

She toured Israel and Jordan as part of the Fulbright Summer Seminars Abroad Program.

Payne also traveled to Denver as president-elect of the National Middle School Principals Association.

During the school year, she accompanied a group of Mount View students to Japan as part of an exchange program.

A self-described adventurer and risk-taker, Payne and her husband, Bill, who is principal of Stevens Forest Elementary School in Columbia, are accustomed to travel.

Both taught school in Iran in the late 1970s, just before the overthrow of the shah.

Payne, who lives in western Howard County, finds travel stimulating and exciting.

When she begins her year as president of the National Middle School Principals Association in November, she wants to create a global theme.

The trip this summer was a way for her to explore and begin to build a connection between western Howard County students and those living in the Middle East.

The Fulbright Scholarship Program, initiated by the Fulbright Act of 1946, seeks to promote better understanding between citizens of the United States and other countries. The annual awards allow American citizens to study abroad and residents of other countries to study in the United States.

Payne's application for this prestigious fellowship had to pass two screenings by the fellowship committee in October.

She was not selected to travel to South Africa -- her first choice destination -- because that trip was limited to secondary school teachers. But Payne was excited to be awarded a grant to travel to Israel and Jordan, her second choice.

Her six weeks in the Middle East were divided evenly between Israel and Jordan.

In Israel, lectures and tours were supplemented by visits: one three-day visit to the north of Israel to see historic biblical sites, and a four-day trip to the south -- the highlight for Payne being a climb to the top of the Jewish fortress Masada.

In Jordan, Payne found the people, many of whom spoke English, friendly and hospitable. She found Jordan to be very different from Israel and, of course, its citizens presented another perspective on the issue of peace in the Middle East.

Jordanian tours included a climb to a place of high sacrifice, a trip to the ancient city of Petra (discovered in the early 20th century, and a visit to a mosque in Amman, during which women were required to wear robes and head coverings.

She characterizes her visit in terms of two themes -- survival and tolerance. She will integrate these ideas in an article she is writing for the Middle School Journal, titled "Lessons Learned from the Desert."

Payne is also writing a unit for the sixth-grade "World Cultures" curriculum, called "The Influence of Religions on Daily Lives -- Middle East and North Africa."

She is preparing two 90-minute lessons and is organizing a pen-pal project for sixth-graders who will be writing to students from a K-10 Montessori School in Jordan.

Media sale

Western Howard County neighbors are invited to a media sale sponsored by Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran Church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Used books, records, videos, cassette tapes, and computer software will be available. Hardback books will cost $1; paperbacks and children's books 50 cents; and magazines 25 cents.

The Aid Association for Lutherans -- a nonprofit fraternal insurance company -- will match every dollar made at the sale, donating up to $800 to the media center at Glenwood Middle School. Each purchase will benefit the church and middle school.

The church's youth group will have a bake sale in conjunction with the media sale to raise money for this year's activities.

Shepherd of the Glen is at 14551 Burntwoods Road, Glenwood.

Information: 410-442-1204.

Ice cream social

Lisbon Elementary School will have its PTA ice cream social from 6: 30 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. tomorrow in the school cafeteria.

PTA memberships will be sold at the social. Bring one new school-supply item to help those who cannot afford to purchase supplies.

The Lisbon Lion will be on hand to accept donations. Ice cream will cost 50 cents a scoop.

Lisbon families are reminded to mark their calendars for back-to-school night at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 for grades K-2, and Sept. 24 for grades 3-5.

Mount View Middle

Mount View Middle School will have its back-to-school night from 7 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. this evening in the school gymnasium.

Parents and guardians are invited and should bring their child's agenda book.

School-time bash

Gethsemane Baptist Church, 14135 Burntwoods Road, Glenwood, will start its TeamKIDS program with a Back to School Bash at 6: 30 p.m. Wednesday.

TeamKIDS will meet every Wednesday night during the school year.

Children, age 4 through grade 5, are welcome.

This year's theme is "Reach Up and Reach Out," focusing on building better relationships.

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