Pupils' pennies add up to thoughtful gift


June 23, 1999|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A PENNY may be a paltry amount, but a penny collection can be magic -- particularly when hundreds of children pitch in.

Joann Olchowski, resource teacher in the Gifted and Talented Program at Swansfield Elementary School, says this is one of the lessons the Swansfield pupils learned through their Magic Pennies fund-raiser this year.

From May 24 to June 4, they collected pennies for Howard County General Hospital. The hospital is one of the school's business partners.

The money will be used to purchase a Wood's Light -- a lamp used to detect corneal abrasions -- in the hospital's Pediatric Emergency Department.

During announcements each morning, pupils were asked a mathematical question relating to pennies, such as: "If our custodian, Mr. Pratt, is 6 feet, 2 1/2 inches tall, about how tall is he in pennies stacked one on top of another? Hint: There are about 16 pennies in an inch."

The answers were read over the public address system during afternoon announcements.

On June 15, hospital President Victor Broccolino visited Swansfield to accept a check for $577.77 -- the amount the children collected.

Broccolino awarded tickets to an Orioles game this summer to three of the pupils.

The winners -- Taylor Reese, Stuart Martin and Lauren Smith -- produced the most accurate estimates of the total amount of pennies collected.

Olchowski thanks parents Anne Rogers and Janet Oken for their help in running the Magic Pennies drive. She also would like to recognize Commercial & Farmers Bank, a Swansfield business partner, for counting the pennies.

Olchowski hopes the children learned about the importance of community service from their penny drive and how it is possible to accomplish big things when everybody pitches in. In case you're wondering, Pratt's height in pennies is about 1,192.

Shifflett retires

Swansfield Elementary School physical education teacher Don Shifflett is retiring after 35 years with the Howard County public school system.

More than 120 people attended a dinner in Shifflett's honor in the Great Room at Savage Mill this month. Swansfield staff members arranged for a limousine to transport Shifflett and his family between his home in Sykesville and the mill.

During the dinner, Shifflett was presented with a cart full of swans -- ceramic swans, plastic swans and swan vases.

It is a tradition to present swans, in honor of the school's name, as a gift to staff members leaving Swansfield.

"For 20 years, I've told them that when I retire I don't want any swans. I'm going to think of some way to get even," Shifflett joked.

June 15 was declared "Don Shifflett Day" at Swansfield. The entire school gathered on the playing fields to unveil a plaque hung on the backstop of the baseball diamond, naming the area Shifflett Field.

One student from each grade read a poem written for Shifflett.

"It's a little bit unbelievable," he said. "They've done so many wonderful things for me."

During his retirement, Shifflett plans to relax for a while, play some golf, fish and spend time with his family.

Teen singer honored

Town Center resident Jessica Factor was a recipient of a Voice Achievement Award at the Peabody Preparatory Annual Awards Ceremony this month.

A recent graduate of Wilde Lake High School, Factor was one of 10 singers invited to perform this year at the Peabody Preparatory Honors Recital in the school's Groswold Hall in Baltimore.

Factor was a member of the Wilde Lake High School choir and recently played the roles of Lady Merrill and the Nightingale of Samarkand in the school's spring musical, "Once Upon a Mattress."

In the fall, Factor will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study voice.

Funkfest at HCC

Howard Community College's Performing Arts Group and local band EpisodeFive will present Summer Funkfest from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at HCC.

The concert will be held at HCC's new outdoor Dreier Stage. Fourteen local up-and-coming bands will play. Included on the bill are Medusa's Son, The Rational Bohemians, Shoe-Faced Wayne, Bailey and EpisodeFive.

Admission is free. Food and soft drinks will be available.

Information: 410-772-4940.

CA scholarship winners

Three west Columbians have been chosen to receive the Columbia Association's Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Awards.

The winners each receive a $2,500 scholarship toward college tuition.

Bryan Chant of Dorsey's Search, a graduate of Wilde Lake High School, was chosen for his involvement with the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

Nailah Jackson, a resident of Hickory Ridge and a Wilde Lake graduate, was chosen for her work as a tutor to children in her neighborhood. This year, she was the chairwoman of the Lake-Aid Talent Show, a fund-raiser for charity at Wilde Lake High School.

Katie McDermond of River Hill, a graduate of River Hill High School, was selected for her commitment to community service. She organized a collection of personal hygiene items, and a canned food and blanket drive, all to benefit Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.

Teens needed

Maryland Search and Rescue Group and the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross are seeking high school students interested in training for disaster relief.

A meeting for the program will be held from 7: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Red Cross offices, 5434 Vantage Point Road in Columbia

Young adults will be trained to work in disaster relief activities such as damage assessment, mass care, shelter operations and emergency first aid.

Training programs begin this summer.

Information: 410-531-9039 after 8 p.m.

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