Pupils skip snacks to show appreciation to rescue workers


October 24, 2001|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHILDREN AT Longfellow Elementary School decided last month to forgo the ice cream, popcorn, cookies and other tempting snacks offered in the cafeteria - and instead donated their snack money to the Alexandria Firefighters' Tech Rescue Team, Station 206.

This morning, representatives from the rescue team will visit the school to accept the donation and participate in a ceremony honoring their work at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Longfellow's mascot is the eagle," said Nancy Harper, the school's counselor. "We put buckets labeled `Eagle Aid' in the cafeteria. The children could choose to donate their snack money. They were really excited to do something to help."

Harper suggested the money go to the Alexandria, Va., station because her brother-in-law, Glenn Sengstack of Damascus, is a member of the unit that performed rescue and recovery operations at the Pentagon.

Over two weeks, the children collected $782.50. The firefighters have decided to send the children's donation to the Red Cross.

The firefighters also will be presented with nearly 400 letters and drawings from the children. Marie Greaney, a fifth-grader at Longfellow, will be among those reading letters to firefighters from Station 206 at the ceremony. An excerpt from Marie's letter to firefighter Mark Dalton reads: "We are very grateful as a nation and to others who have gone through what you go through almost every day. You save lives, fight fires, and even have to find the dead and barely living.

"I and others will hold you in our hearts, and I send many condolences and thanks to you. You must bear the pain and grief of seeing people whose lives were taken from them for a terrible reason, a reason of hate. May your work be blessed and loved, and may peace and love reign."

Harper said that collecting money and writing to the firefighters have given the children a sense of empowerment. "They are feeling very proud to connect with the firefighters. It's been a wonderful avenue of expression for them," she said.

Longfellow's principal, Lou Chillemi, has asked the children to show their support for our nation by dressing as a firefighter, police officer, Lady Liberty, military personnel or anything patriotic for the school's Halloween festivities.

"I realize that some parents may have already purchased costumes for their children, but if they haven't done that, I ask them to consider wearing a patriotic Halloween costume," Chillemi said. He has promised a principal's prize for the most patriotic class.

"I've been really proud of the way the children, the staff and the community have responded to this tragedy," Chillemi said.

Pancake breakfast

Atholton High School's Athletic Boosters will hold a Homecoming Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday in the school cafeteria. That's where you will find Tom Beaver, an Atholton graduate who will be up to his elbows in batter while preparing his famous French toast.

"It's a family recipe that my mother started when we were kids," Beaver said. "It's basically a batter-dipped piece of bread that's deep-fat-fried. It's just delicious."

Tom and his wife, Debbie, graduated from Atholton in 1971. Their sons, Shane, 25, and Adam, 20, are Atholton graduates. Shane is a police officer in Jackson, Tenn. Adam is studying business at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Their daughter, Amanda, is a sophomore at Atholton. "We've been pretty involved with the boosters since our oldest son started at Atholton 11 years ago," Tom said. "I feel like I've never left Atholton."

After the breakfast, a Homecoming parade will begin at noon. Atholton's Raiders will face Howard High's Lions on the football field at 1 p.m.

Advance tickets for the breakfast are $4 a person or $15 a family (limit of five people per family). Tickets cost an extra dollar each if purchased at the door. Tom Beaver's French toast will be available for $1 a slice.

Information or tickets: 301-490- 0221 or 301-776-3794.

Watts cooking

Since she started her business, the Dinner Fairy, Elizabeth Watts of Hickory Ridge spends a lot of time in the kitchen, and not just her kitchen. A personal chef, Watts goes to her clients' homes to prepare their meals.

"I read about the personal-chef industry in an airline magazine, and I was intrigued," Watts said. "I figured that there are a lot of people in Howard County who work long hours, have long commutes and don't have a lot of time to cook."

Watts does the grocery shopping and takes her traveling kitchen with her to prepare meals. "The customer doesn't have to have anything but a clean, working kitchen," Watts said. "I prepare the meals, package them, put them in the refrigerator and clean up afterwards."

Although she had no professional cooking experience before starting her business, Watts said she learned a lot as a child while helping her grandmother. "My grandmother was a rural farm woman in Nebraska who canned her own vegetables. She even made her own sauerkraut. I would help her make lunch for the farmhands," she said.

Information: 301-919-3396.

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