School contest turns pupils in Md. 'millionaires'


April 03, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT WAS DOWN to the final question and Ryan Groft, a fifth-grader at Robert Moton Elementary, had used two of his "lifelines."

Unsure of the answer, he used his final option for help and asked his teacher, Brent Whalen, "What is the most populous area in Maryland?"

Luckily, Ryan -- one of three big winners in the school's "Who Wants to Be a Maryland Millionaire?" contest Wednesday -- chose to ignore his teacher's advice and went with the audience vote of Baltimore City. Whalen had guessed Baltimore County.

The contest, designed to celebrate Maryland Day and accentuate the pupils' study of the state's history, was created by Patti Canaday's Extended Enrichment Program fourth-graders.

Taking their cue from Regis Philbin's popular "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" program, the pupils -- along with Canaday's EEP Carrolltowne and William Winchester fourth-graders, who had contests earlier last month -- spent February assembling a list of Maryland-based questions for their peers.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who successfully passed a quiz of state history were allowed to compete in the "fast-finger round" for their grade level. Winners of that round then answered questions for prizes, which increased in value as the queries became more difficult.

Prizes were contributed by: Central Maryland Farm Credit, Tevis Oil, Sen. Larry E. Haines, Maryland Office of Tourism, Care First, Robert Moton PTA, Random House, Baltimore Promotional Association and the Carroll County Times.

"The business community has been so nice," Canaday said, noting that prizes included Random House books and Ravens football T-shirts.

Other Robert Moton "millionaires" were fourth-grader Ryan Bittner and fifth-grader Tyler Atkins.

Maryland's mystery writers

Enjoy an "Evening to Die For" with four local mystery writers at 7 p.m. April 10 at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library on Main Street.

Maryland residents Peter Heck, Sujata Massey, Marcia Talley and Barbara Lee are expected to be on hand to discuss their novels.

Heck, a native of Chestertown on the Eastern Shore, has written a series of mystery novels starring Mark Twain as the detective. He has also worked as a science fiction editor for Ace Books and written science fiction/fantasy and mystery newsletters for Waldenbooks.

Massey -- a former feature writer for the Baltimore Evening Sun -- is the author of three mysteries featuring Rei Shimura, a Japanese-American woman who works as an amateur sleuth in Japan. She lives in Baltimore.

Talley, who works at the Naval Academy Library, recently published her first novel, "Sing It to Her Bones." The novel concerns Hannah Ives, a breast cancer survivor who turns sleuth when she discovers the body of a young girl near Annapolis.

Lee, a resident of Columbia, writes about Eve Elliott, who came to Anne Arundel County to escape the New York rat race and help run her aunt's real estate office.

Registration is required for the program, which is free to the public.

Information: 410-386-4490.

Skate park opens

Local skateboarding and in-line skating enthusiasts can improve their skills at Westminster Skate Park, which opens for the season this month.

The park -- on Tuc Road near East Middle School and Westminster Auto Parts -- is open from 3: 30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

When school ends for summer, the park will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Daily passes are available for $5 each or skaters can obtain a season pass, good from April through October, for $40.

Participants must register in person at Westminster Family Center in the former armory on Longwell Avenue. Children will need a parent or guardian's signature and a photo ID.

Information: 410-848-6962.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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