West Friendship school extends helping hand to sick children


April 20, 2000|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WEST FRIENDSHIP Elementary School is working with the Johns Hopkins Children Center (JHCC) in the Kids Helping Hopkins program.

Principal Sandra McAmis says the purpose of the program is to provide the West Friendship children the opportunity to help others without personal gain to themselves, to teach them the values of compassion and respect for others, and to benefit the hospitalized children.

West Friendship has been in a partnership with JHCC for two years. Every month, the children send items such as games, books and toys to the hospital.

They have videotaped school events and sent them to the sick children so they will be able to know them better.

In February, the school participated in Tuffy's Healthy Heart Jump-A-Thon. The children collected pledges from neighbors, friends and relatives from Feb. 15 to 29.

Some children emptied their piggy banks for the effort.

They had the Jump-A-Thon on Leap Day, Feb. 29, and raised $6,319.65 for the program.

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade participated.

"The success of our program shows what a caring community West Friendship is and how much the work at JHCC means to them," McAmis said.

The money raised at the Jump-A-Thon will be used for the STARBRIGHT program at JHCC to purchase computers so that ill children can be connected via Internet to other ill children around the country.

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg's STARBRIGHT Foundation has created safe chat rooms so that children can communicate with others in their situation and be better able to cope with their illness. STARBRIGHT uses games, quizzes and interactive exercises to help them.

The Medical University of South Carolina and the City University of New York are conducting research on the effects of STARBRIGHT on seriously ill children.

Preliminary studies suggest that the children experience an elevation of mood and a decrease in anxiety because of the program.

JHCC has been able to return some favors to the West Friendship children. During the school year, eight student nurses helped with health units taught to pupils in grades one through four.

This month, Dr. Nadine Levick, a physician at JHCC, spoke to West Friendship parents on contemporary issues in pediatric medicine. The emergency room physician spoke about safety issues and offered insight into how parents could keep their children out of the emergency room.

She also discussed allergies, asthma, Lyme disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

`La Boheme'

Jackie Congedo, a freshman at Glenelg High School, will perform in "La Boheme" at Lyric Opera House in Baltimore from April 29 to May 7.

She was one of 16 children from the Peabody Children's Chorus in the Baltimore-Howard County area chosen for the opera.

Doreen Felding, director of the Peabody chorus, has helped Congedo learn aspects of professional theater, such as theatrical terms and how to act around the conductor.

"It's really cool because I've never been in anything [this] professional," said Jackie, who lives in Cooksville.

She will sing in the second act.

Her mother, Linda Congedo, said, "Jackie could sing and carry a tune before she could talk. She is thrilled to be participating in the performance."

Last summer, Jackie and her mother toured England and Paris while Jackie performed with the Chamber Singers, the older division of the Peabody chorus.

They sang at Canterbury and Stratford-on-Avon in England and at La Madeleine and Notre Dame churches in Paris.

Jackie also enjoys drama. She performed in the spring musical at Glenelg High and helped Glenwood Middle School with its Shakespeare performance. She maintains a 4.0 average at the high school.

Tickets: 410-727-6000.

National Latin Exam

Glenelg High School has three award-winning students in the 2000 National Latin Exam.

Katherine Mills won a magna cum laude certificate for Latin I. Her Latin teacher is Hugh Macsherry.

Fallon Ojong and Rebecca Dutto each won cum laude certificates. Susan Evans is their Latin teacher.

The exam, administered by the American Classical League, conducts tests for Latin I, II, III and IV. This year, more than 110,000 students from 50 states and nine foreign countries took the exam.

Garden Tour

The Maryland Cooperative Extension Service -- Howard County Master Gardeners will present the Progressive Garden Tour of three properties certified through the Baywise Landscape Management Program.

The free tour will go through Clarksville, Highland and Scaggsville. Master gardeners will be on hand to explain Baywise techniques and offer advice to participants about their gardens. At the end of the tour, refreshments will be available at the firehouse.

Meet at 1 p.m. April 30 at the Clarksville Fire Department, 5000 Signal Bell Lane, Clarksville.

Registration is due Tuesday.

Information: 410-313-2707

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