Glen Burnie High's student actors to put `Yearbook' on display


April 26, 2000|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DO YOU REMEMBER where you were when news of the Columbine High School shooting was broadcast? Steven Fendrich was volunteering just a few miles away, at his children's elementary school.

Like many Americans, the Colorado resident felt a strong bond with the students and parents at Columbine and wanted to respond. So he wrote a play called "Yearbook." It will be presented at Glen Burnie High School at 7 p.m. tomorrow and 7: 30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

"In writing this play, I had a huge struggle," Fendrich is quoted as saying in a school announcement of the play. "Life is not always perfect for kids. It never has been, and it never will be. Some are picked on, some drop out, some fail."

But the playwright adds that for the majority of students, school is a positive experience.

"A school's yearbook shows the brighter side, the positive side. It shows the side we want to remember," he explained. "A yearbook shows the entire school community as a cohesive unit, from the principal to the students to the cafeteria staff."

The audience will see, on stage, the yearbook of a typical U.S. high school through the reflections of its students.

Teacher Bill Smith said the cast includes 28 students, with anchor roles played by Catrina Myers, Becky Ross, Kristina Hochreither and James Michie.

"This play has a huge cast, and gave me an opportunity to use everybody," Smith said. "In the production, the yearbook has just been delivered, and they start looking through it and rehashing the year."

Tickets are $4 and will be available at the door of the Drama Studio. The price includes a reception with the cast and refreshments after each performance, along with an art show of students' works.

Information: the school, 410-761-8950.

Glen Burnie coach honored

Some people are hard to forget. Julia Berwager, a physical education teacher and coach at Glen Burnie High from 1941 to 1959, is one of those people. And due to the persistence of her students, Berwager's achievements will not be forgotten.

At 3: 30 p.m. tomorrow, the girls' softball field will be dedicated in her honor. A softball game between Glen Burnie and Meade High will start at 4 p.m., and a reception in the cafeteria will follow the game about 5: 30 p.m.

Erma Ellecamp, a 1956 graduate, said Berwager was an inspirational teacher and coach.

"She was a fair coach," the Riviera Beach resident said. "Everybody played. And because of her knowledge of the game, she took several girls' teams to championships."

Berwager coached girls' field hockey, basketball, volleyball and softball -- all the sports that were offered to young women. During World War II, she taught boys' and girls' physical education classes due to a shortage of male teachers.

A member of the Baltimore Field Hockey Association, Berwager brought the sport to Anne Arundel County.

"She'd take us on play days to private schools," Ellecamp recalled. "It was quite an eye-opener for us. They had been playing field hockey for many years."

During the years Berwager taught, the school drew from a wide geographic range since only a handful of other high schools were in the county -- Arundel, Annapolis, Southern and -- in the mid-1950s -- Brooklyn Park.

Riveria Beach resident Bev Hill, a classmate of Ellecamp, initiated the plan to honor Berwager. After Hill graduated, she participated in athletics at Western Maryland College, her teacher's alma mater. Both women are in the Western Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame.

Ellecamp continued her participation in sports as well. She was active in recreational softball and served as a softball official at the college level.

"I owe all of my background to her," Ellecamp said.

Many Glen Burnie High students from the '40s and '50s are expected to attend the dedication ceremony -- along with Berwager, who is described to be "doing well" by Ellecamp. "She had a couple of knee replacements, probably because she used to run circles around all of us," she said.

"There are quite a few people who still call and visit her," Ellecamp added. Berwager lives in Manchester.

Those planning to attend the reception are asked to call the school's athletic director, Dave Rigot, at 410-761-8957.

Healthy eating

The county Health Department will sponsor a "Good Food for Good Health" weekend Friday through Sunday in cooperation with the SuperFresh store at Harundale Plaza.

Shoppers can visit a nutrition booth staffed by dietitians, taste healthful foods and take home free recipe kits. Hours for the program are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Health Department stages the program periodically with cooperating supermarkets.

Information: the Learn to Live Line, 410-222-7979.

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