IT WOULD BE an honor for any school to have a member of its faculty or staff named the county's educator or employee of the month. So Park Elementary School has been doubly honored, with speech pathologist Nancy Jones being named February's educator of the month and cafeteria manager Cassie Catterton winning the employee distinction.
Assistant Principal Carolyn Keenan said Jones and Catterton provide invaluable services to the pupils.
"Mrs. Catterton picks up on the little things that can go unnoticed. If a student stops taking lunch, she's aware of it. This is the type of thing that a teacher could miss," she said.
Catterton wants the pupils' lunch break to become part of Park's learning experience. "If we are having Native American Day as part of our studies, she is willing to go along with it and decorate the cafeteria for the day. She's extremely flexible and has made hats for the cafeteria workers to go along with the theme of the day," Keenan said.
Catterton is also an excellent manager. Keenan said that when the county audited the operation at Park, Catterton's kitchen received a perfect score. "The service, the portions, the presentation and the books were perfect. She has a perfect kitchen."
Keenan said Jones goes above and beyond the call of duty, despite having many responsibilities.
"If there are 29 students in a classroom and only five of them have speech or language difficulties, she will not point out the five, but will tailor her lesson to stress what the five students need," Keenan said.
In addition to working with Park students, Jones provides speech therapy for children referred to her by the county Board of Education.
"She goes to their home or has them come to the school. A pediatrician or their parents refer the children to the board, and the board refers them to her. She's an advocate of the parents and the children," Keenan said. "The end product is to do the right thing for the child."
Catterton and Jones exemplify the high standards necessary to be chosen for this honor. Their professionalism, skills and community service help to make Park Elementary a student- and community-centered school.
Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association, in conjunction with the county police DARE program and the Department of Recreation and Parks, will sponsor a Valentine's Dance from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle School on Andover Road.
Admission is $5, and all children in grades 6 through 8 are welcome. A disc jockey will provide the music, and refreshments will be sold.
Belle Grove Career Day
You don't have to be a celebrity or sports hero to have an interesting career. Belle Grove Elementary School invites you to share your work with children at the school's annual Career Day on April 7.
Volunteers will share their experiences in the work force and answer questions on the skills and training necessary to be successful.
On the cafe stage
Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts is sponsoring two performances of A.R. Gurney's play, "Love Letters," at Granny's Cafe, 2412 Mountain Road in Pasadena, on Feb. 13.
The performance will be presented by the Actors Company Theater and will star Gary Wheeler and Susan Allenbach.
Wheeler, a Brooklyn Park native, has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for 15 years. He has appeared in the films "Random Hearts" and "G.I. Jane," and in the television series "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Allenbach has been acting professionally since 1983. She also appeared in "Random Hearts" and the "Homicide" series, as well as an Actor's Company Theater production of "Steel Magnolias."
John Strawbridge, whose previous directorial projects have included "California Suite," "Steel Magnolias," "On Golden Pond," and "Harvey," directs the production.
Since 1990, Strawbridge has done casting for film and television. Recent projects have included the films "Washington Square," "Absolute Power," "Home for the Holidays," "Liberty Heights" and "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Dinner seating for the first performance will be at 3 p.m.; the show will begin at 4 p.m. Dinner seating for the second performance will begin at 7 p.m., with the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25, and reservations are suggested. Information: 410-590-6610 or 410-439-8200.
A representative from Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts will discuss the new arts center on Hammonds Lane at the next meeting of the Belle Grove Improvement Association, at 6: 30 p.m. Wednesday at Belle Grove Elementary, 4502 Belle Grove Road.
All community residents are welcome to attend. Information: 410-636-1843.