Fifth-graders' DARE graduation calls for celebration


January 07, 2000|By Lourdes Sullivan | Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AT GORMAN Crossing Elementary School, the newest elementary in our little corner of the county, the year has been progressing nicely.

Before the holiday break, 85 fifth-graders graduated from the 16-week DARE -- Drug Awareness Resistance Education -- program presented by Howard County police Officer Lauren Markley.

Markley, who teaches the one-day-a-week classes, is very good with children, says PTA member Carol Ostrow, who was in charge of the after-graduation reception.

The graduation ceremony took place Dec. 22. The children wore red DARE T-shirts. Rainbow Florists and Delectables in Laurel gave each student a carnation.

Just before Officer Markley handed out graduation certificates, the students gave her a certificate -- a gift certificate from a sporting goods store.

Then, on to the refreshments -- a large sheet cake donated by Cakes Plus of Laurel, decorated to look just like the T-shirts -- and goodies provided by more than 35 parents.

"The parents helped a lot," Ostrow said. "It helped the kids feel good, too."

A sense of place

At Lime Kiln Middle, another new school, staff members and parents have been organizing activities to promote school spirit and help the children feel at home, says PTA mom Suzanne Gordon.

Gordon says the school has drawn students from about 30 elementary schools.

On Dec. 10, the Lime Kiln eighth-graders were scheduled to play their natural adversaries -- the faculty -- in a basketball game. All was set, and a sellout crowd had bought tickets at $5 a family. The 70-member Lime Kiln Dance Company had worked up a halftime routine. Proceeds were slated for a charity.

Then, on the eve of the game, a student at Mount Hebron High School, Brian Drnec, was seriously injured in an accident.

The Lime Kiln game went on as scheduled, and the Lime Kiln school community contributed the proceeds of more than $350 to Brian's family to help with expenses.

The faculty won the game, and, by formal letter, was challenged to a rematch the next day.

This week, the school sent two van loads of canned goods to Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, a shelter for the homeless in Columbia.

The students had contributed so much food at Thanksgiving -- the school's Turkey Trot fitness races required a canned good as entry fee -- that there was too much to give all of it to the six area families slated to receive dinners.

School staff members stored the extra food at school to donate after the holidays, when shelters and food banks were likely to run low.

Gordon is pleased to see how quickly Lime Kiln is settling into a routine. She notes the contributions of PTA President Debbie Bloome and First Vice President Maureen Skelly, who worked to put on these events.

Gordon also praised the dance company organizers -- English teacher Amy Morris, science teacher Christie Ficke and physical education teacher Debra Lange -- and the music department.

Recruiting for the band and chorus was so successful that it will be necessary to hold the winter concert over two nights -- the stage won't hold all the musicians.

Gordon mentioned that the music department ordered matching green cummerbunds and bow ties for the band and chorus.

"We're trying to get us to mesh," she said, "developing a school spirit where everyone belongs. We think we're accomplishing it sooner than we'd thought."

Library notes

The Savage library offers a selection of children's programs, ranging from 20-minute story times for the youngest children to visits from animals brought in by 4-H members for children of any age.

But there have not been as many activities and events for adults as some would like.

Longtime staffer Angie Engles hopes to change that with two winter offerings.

Engles is a fan of old movies and literature. For the next four months, she invites everyone to come see great old movies -- and read the books from which they were made.

Her wide-ranging interests are reflected in the selections she has made. This month's film and discussion will focus on the works of Oscar Wilde. Engles will show clips from "A Picture of Dorian Gray."

Next month, the series offers family fare, with a look at the movie "Matilda" and an introduction to the works of author Roald Dahl.

The first showing and discussion group will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Savage library, 9525 Durness Lane.

Bring a friend and enjoy a fascinating evening. Also to be offered this month at the library is a presentation on eating disorders and how to help people with them. Registration begins Tuesday.

Information on both programs: 410-880-5980.

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