Cedar Lane School holds first homecoming dance


November 21, 2001|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UNDER A canopy of red, white and blue lights, students, staff and alumni of Cedar Lane School danced the night away Friday at the school's first homecoming dance. Cedar Lane School serves children and young people, ages 3 to 21, who have multiple disabilities.

The theme of the dance, "Spirit of America," was chosen in response to the events of Sept. 11. The Columbia school's multipurpose room was festooned with patriotic decorations for the dance, including a 14-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty. Students worked with art teacher Gena Luoma to create the statue out of papier-mache.

Luoma also helped students make star-shaped pins out of clay that were decorated with red, white and blue ribbons. The young people sold the pins for $2 each, raising more than $1,000 for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Proceeds from ticket sales at the dance also will be donated to the Red Cross.

"This is a special event not only for us, but for what this event stands for and what we're trying to accomplish here," said Principal Nicholas Girardi. "We're trying to provide for those who have suffered as a result of the recent disaster. Our students know that they have contributed to help others."

The dance was attended by high school-aged students. Many of them participate in the Work Enclave program offered at the school.

"The Work Enclave program provides a vocational component in the students' education," said Amy Woodard, a member of the school's Related Arts team. "They learn generic-type goals such as staying on task, cooperating with co-workers and following directions. They work toward independent work skills."

Cindy Schmidt graduated from the school in 1991. She works for Burger King in Glen Burnie and came to the dance to reconnect with teachers and friends.

"I miss it here," she said. "I learned a lot of things."

Girardi said: "Every year, the students who have graduated look forward to the invitation to come to these events. They don't really have the opportunity to socially interact with each other in the adult world because they're spread all over the place. This is a chance to come together and have a night of fun."

Karl Groves, an employee of Burlington Coat Factory in Gaithersburg, graduated from Cedar Lane School in 1991.

"Cedar Lane trained Karl in vocational skills and independent living," said his mother, Donna Groves. "It helped him make the transition to living on his own."

Girardi praised his staff members for their dedication. "This is a staff that regularly gives 110 percent all the time," he said.

Breakfast with Santa

The Wilde Lake Community Association will hold its 17th Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 1 at Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Center.

Children and their parents are invited to eat a pancake breakfast while watching cartoons.

Each child will have the opportunity to talk with Santa and pose for a picture. The "Secret Shop" will be open for children to purchase inexpensive gifts for the family. Gifts will be wrapped for free.

Seatings are scheduled at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Tickets cost $4 and are sold in advance only.

Information: 410-730-3987.

Christmas tree sale

Atholton High School's Athletic Boosters will sell fresh-cut Douglas firs, blue spruces and Scotch pines at its Holiday Tree Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the school.

Trees also will be available for purchase from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 8; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9.

Information: 301-362-3679.

Holiday plant sale

The Work Enclave Program of Howard County Schools will hold its Holiday Plant Sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 1 in the greenhouses behind the Applied Research Laboratory on Route 108, next door to the Department of Education building.

The sale will include poinsettias, decorated and plain wreathes, roping, swags, bows and houseplants. Proceeds from the sale support the program, which is for high school-aged students with multiple disabilities.

Information: 410-313-6977.

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