Schoolchildren turn reading into food donations


February 07, 2000|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CHILDREN of Deep Run Elementary School read 6,339 books last month and collected 3,469 items of nonperishable food. In the school's "Read-to-Feed" program, the pupils read the books in exchange for pledges of food for the hungry.

At an assembly Thursday, the children celebrated their success.

About 800 children sat cross-legged on the floor, filling the cafeteria. Teachers and parents sat on folding chairs along the walls.

Inventory specialist Joe Sanders and events coordinator Helene Miller of the Maryland Food Bank honored the school's efforts.

"They did an awesome job collecting food," Sanders said. The school's donations equaled the total donations of eight or nine other schools, Miller said.

All month, the pupils had solicited pledges of food for each book read. The younger children were encouraged to have someone read to them. Fifth-graders were allowed to count every 50 pages of each book with chapters as one complete book.

The pupils kept a tally of books read and food donated.

At the assembly, fifth-graders Sara Tankard and Hillary Braverman announced the results by grade level, displaying a laminated poster-board bar graph and pie chart prepared by pupils in the school's Gifted and Talented Program.

Joe Sanders encouraged the children to keep reading.

Daisy, a professional clown dressed in a Raggedy Ann costume, congratulated the children. She asked teachers to perform for their pupils and gave them assignments and props.

All at the same time, teacher Marcia Dorsey put on a police officer's hat and whistled; dressed in whiskers and soft ears, Kim King jumped like a bunny; sporting a beret and sunglasses, Devin Shannon mimed a pop star's performance; and decked out in a straw skirt with a lei around her neck, LaFragia Jackson danced the hula.

Vice Principal Steve Meconi was given the most difficult task -- to do "nothing."

He did it.

The students shrieked with delight, and the teachers rose from their seats to give Meconi a standing ovation for his performance.

Then Daisy asked four fifth-grade boys -- Kyle Cohen, Brady Earle, Landon Tews and Tyler Carter -- to help her tell a story.

Daisy asked Brady to play the part of a mountain by standing still. He stood motionless, his hands half in his jeans pockets, smiling, while Daisy told a story about Sweet Sue, Nasty Nathaniel and Big Bob.

Then the big moment: Daisy asked Kyle, Landon and Tyler to wave their magic wands -- a feather duster, a stuffed carrot and a toilet-bowl plunger -- to free Sweet Sue from an evil spell.

The performance brought down the house.

Principal Fran Donaldson created the Read-to-Feed program eight years ago, when she was principal at Worthington Elementary School. She initiated the program at Deep Run Elementary last year. Read-to-Feed is now offered at schools around the state.

"It's a perfect situation," Miller said. "As they donate and as they read, they're making the world a better place."

Information: Miller, 410-947-0404.

Happy New Year

The Columbia Chinese School celebrated the Chinese New Year at Howard High School on Saturday.

The school, which serves 120 families and 180 students, teaches Chinese language and offers extracurricular activities such as painting and chess on Sunday afternoons at Howard High.

At the New Year's celebration, students danced, sang and played in a small orchestra. Then families enjoyed a takeout Chinese dinner in the school cafeteria.

The school will present performances, demonstrations and hands-on activities celebrating the Chinese New Year from 1: 30 p.m. to 4: 30 p.m. Saturday at the Miller library branch. Registration is not required.

The library is at 9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-1955.

Information about the school: Yung-Kuang Liang, 410-750-8550.


Freshman Jessica Fritzges, granddaughter of Ellicott City resident John Fritzges, made the dean's list at the University of Maryland.

Pupils at Ilchester Elementary School recently competed in a Young Author's Writing Contest sponsored by the Howard County Reading Association.

Second-graders Amanda Hatfield and Meredith Mill wrote short stories that were selected as overall winners. Second-graders Rebecca Ross and Emily Mills won for their poems.

Third-graders Hannah Lough, Michelle Scheinle and Courtney Watts won for their poetry entries.

Leisurely tea

Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute will hold a leisurely afternoon tea at 3 p.m. Sunday at Mount Ida -- the last home built by an Ellicott in the historic district.

The halls and parlors of Mount Ida are filled with period furnishings, art and garments from the 19th-century Patapsco Female Institute.

For the tea, ladies and gentlemen will model period dress from the 1840s to 1860s.

Hostesses will serve 19th-century-style foods and teas.

The cost is $15. For reservations, call 410-465-8500.

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