Celebrating ex-principal's dedication, Living Lab


November 13, 2001|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE DEDICATION ceremony of the Living Lab at Sykesville Middle School on Wednesday represented the completion of a yearlong project initiated by former Principal Donald M. Pyles, who now is director of Carroll middle schools.

The event also offered an opportunity to honor Pyles' longtime contributions to the school community, and the pupils, parents and teachers who worked on the Living Lab.

Science teacher Gina Felter was leader of the project, which involved creating a large pond with a waterfall, stream and small pond in a courtyard near the school's new media center. Native plants were incorporated into the habitat. Benches were placed near the pond and a tiered platform allows classes to assemble for writing, art or environmental assignments.

Before the dedication ceremony, the school's chorus and orchestra performed while guests mingled in the courtyard, enjoying baked goods and refreshments. The guests included parents and school officials, such as Bradley Yohe, supervisor of science; Gregory Eckles, director of secondary schools; Charles I. Ecker, superintendent of schools; and school board member Susan Holt.

Felter began the ceremony by thanking everyone involved in the project. She then introduced five eighth-graders - Amanda Carr, Kathy Casswell, Jessica Makowski, Alessa Rash and Megan Thomas - who recounted their favorite memories of working on the lab.

In her speech, Royce Friedlander, Sykesville Middle's acting principal, said the Living Lab was a wonderful addition to the school and a fitting tribute to Pyles, who has been an integral part of the community.

"He mentored, encouraged and challenged us to be the best we can be," she said.

PTA President Nancy Heasley recalled that Pyles insisted on no fanfare when he left the school to become middle schools director. But this time, he would not get his way.

Ann Norvelle, an English teacher, and Ralph Billings, assistant principal, noted Pyles' strong leadership and expressed gratitude that he still plays a leadership role in Carroll's school system.

When Pyles stepped to the podium, he seemed touched by the heartfelt tribute. He spoke with pride about the work completed in the courtyard, and he described the school as a magical place, crediting parents and pupils.

The final surprise for Pyles was the unveiling of a plaque donated by the PTA and installed near the courtyard entrance. It says: In Appreciation for and Recognition of 21 years of Dedication and Loving Guidance; Donald M. Pyles, Jr.; Principal 1980-2001; Sykesville Middle School; Sykesville PTA.

`Anne of Green Gables'

Faith Lutheran Church will present a production of Anne of Green Gables at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the church, 1600 St. Andrew's Way, Eldersburg.

The dramatization is taken from the classic children's novel by L.M. Montgomery. The novel, written in 1908, depicts the life of a spirited orphan girl with an active imagination and penchant for overcoming adversity.

Tickets cost $4 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for adults. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

Information or tickets: 410-829-0358.

`Vial of Life'

St. Joseph's Catholic Church and the Respect Life Committee are providing "Vials of Life" outside the church on Liberty Road in Eldersburg after each service Sunday.

The vial is a water-resistant plastic tube that contains forms to be filled out for each family member.

The forms would give vital information to emergency response personnel in the event of an accident.

The forms include name, address, medical problems and medications.

The vial is to be placed in the glove box with a sticker on the outside of the box indicating the vial is inside.

A small donation is requested.

Information: 410-795-7838.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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