East Middle pupils piqued by peek at Everest's peak


May 30, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A YOUNG MAN climbing Mount Everest with determination, perseverance and a deep respect for his parents is a great role model for young adults, thought Laurie Walters as she read Mark Pfetzer's"Within Reach: My Everest Story."

So, Walters, the media specialist at East Middle School, invited the 20-year-old writer, college student and mountain climber to spend a day speaking with her classes Wednesday as part of her visiting authors program.

"When I was reading the book, I was impressed by the character traits evident in this young man," she said, noting many of them were the same character traits Carroll County schools have been studying with their students.

"Based on his book, this was someone I really wanted my students to meet. These [traits] are all things I want my kids to do," she said.

Pfetzer, who began mountain climbing at age 13, was one of the individuals ascending Mount Everest when a huge snowstorm hit in 1996, killing eight people. The student, who was 16 at the time, has ascended the mountain twice but never reached the summit.

"This book had all the things middle school students are interested in - the challenge, the extreme sport," Walters said, noting that in the past she has chosen authors who have written several books, giving pupils a choice in what to read while preparing for the day.

"But, I was very interested in having him as a speaker who can talk about character traits like perseverance," she said, adding the book held great appeal for boys as well as girls.

To meet Pfetzer, pupils had to either read and review his book or one of several other personal accounts of climbing Everest, such as "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer.

Pupils could also earn tickets by participating in the school's Read-A-Thon, which supports the media center, or doing other projects relating to climbing Mount Everest.

Some pupils were also given the opportunity to meet with Pfetzer informally after school.

But the big prize was reserved for those who had raised the most money in the school's Read-A-Thon to support the media center this February. Those nine children traveled by limousine with Pfetzer to dinner at Johansson'srestaurant in Westminster.

"They're very interested in the thought of climbing Mount Everest," Walters said. "There's been a lot of interest for a lot of different reasons."

Local art and more

Mingle with local artists, performers and musicians during the Carroll County Arts Council's largest show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Westminster City Hall Park.

Art in the Park 2000 is sponsored by Target and is free to the public.

In addition to viewing the work of more than 60 local artists, visitors can also hear performances from musicians ranging from the Celtic trio Wherligig to the bluegrass band Walt Michael and Co.

Storyteller Jamal Koram will present tales, and Todd Shaffer, an animator, will demonstrate portrait techniques.

Girl Scout Troop 2104 and the 4-H Firecracker Club will provide free craft activities for children throughout the day. Food and beverages will also be available.

Information: 410-848-7272.

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

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