For sophomores at River Hill, a sigh of relief


January 31, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

RIVER HILL sophomores breathed a sigh of relief after the Howard County Board of Education made the decision to allow them, as "rising juniors," to stay at the school. The board announced its redistricting decisions Jan. 24.

Brenda Saucedo knew that her children, Amanda and Chad Hill, who live in Highland, would be affected by the redistricting process. They had been anxiously awaiting the board's decisions.

Amanda, who attends River Hill, could have been moved to Atholton or Reservoir high schools, according to some redistricting proposals. And Saucedo knew that Chad, a seventh-grader at Lime Kiln Middle School, probably would not attend River Hill.

"We spent a very difficult, uneasy few months waiting for a decision," Saucedo said.

Although the final plan has Amanda remaining at River Hill, Chad will go to a different high school. "When my son is a freshman and my daughter is a senior, they will attend two different high schools, likely River Hill and Reservoir," Saucedo said.

She is relieved that Amanda is not moving to another school. It would be traumatic to move students who have already attended a high school for two years, Saucedo said. But she suggests that the board allow siblings to attend the same high school.

"I am happy that my daughter gets to stay at her present school," Saucedo said. "I am not happy that my children will both be in high school in two different schools. Traveling to two different schools when there is a need to pick them up after school will be quite difficult."

But she concedes, "The decision was a tough one to make, and there is absolutely no way that every situation can be addressed. Not everyone will be happy."

Although Melanie Share, 15, of Columbia was not scheduled to be affected by redistricting, she supported efforts to keep her friends, who live in Highland and Clarksville, at River Hill High School. She worked with her mother, Susan, to circulate a petition to keep the rising juniors at the school.

"I feel that the actions we took to keep the rising juniors together really made a difference," Melanie said. "I am so proud of everyone who helped, especially my Mom and Andy Acs."

Clarksville resident Andy Acs, 15, circulated a petition, and he had a Web site protesting any move of rising juniors.

Di Li, 15, also of Clarksville, is happy with the board's decision. She was scheduled to stay at River Hill in all the plans the board considered. But she shared the feelings of many of the teen-agers: She didn't want to be separated from the friends she had at River Hill.

"It's not right to split up any grades because many people, especially in high school, need their friends," Di said. She echoed the feelings of many families that moved into the River Hill school district so their children could attend the school.

"I think the redistricting is unfair to people who moved into houses here in Clarksville specifically so their children could receive an education at River Hill," Di said.

Although the rising juniors will remain at River Hill, some current freshmen will move to other high schools under the approved redistricting plan.

Daniel Brown, 15, who lives in Clarksville, is happy with the decision to keep his sophomore friends together, but he says will miss friends now in ninth grade, some of whom will be moved to Atholton and Reservoir high schools.

"This has affected me because I'm losing a lot of my freshman friends, and I came close to losing my sophomore friends," he said. "I'm glad the board is letting [rising] juniors stay, but I don't like that they're shifting Pointers Run to Atholton. Part of the reason people move there is for their kids to go to River Hill, and River Hill is a lot closer than Atholton."

According to River Hill Principal Scott Pfeifer, the Department of Education will soon give the school a list of students and the high schools they will attend next year. This information is to be given to families Feb. 11.

Talented musicians

Glenelg High School has some talented music students who will represent the school at the 2002 Maryland All-State Music Festivals. Caitlin Nicholl, Candace Pfefferkorn and Brendan Wise have been named to the All-State Senior Band, and Rebecca Tursell and Chris Wolf were chosen for the All-State Junior Band. Rob Noyes has been chosen to participate in the All-State Jazz Band, with Mack Mackay as an alternate.

Danny Park and Jon Durant were selected for the All-State Senior Orchestra, and Nicole Boguslaw was chosen for the Maryland All-State Junior Orchestra. Senior All-State Chorus participants are Margo Seibert, Siga Vaskys, Laura Wolf, Jackie Congedo, Matt Bounds, Laura Kurdziel, Danielle Morgan and Matt Anderson.

Glenelg's All-State participants were chosen by audition from hundreds of musicians across the state. The All-State Festivals, sponsored by the Maryland Music Educators Association, will be held next month and in March.

Dayton 4-H

The Dayton 4-H Club ended 2001 with a holiday party and a community service project. Club members collected toiletries and other items and donated them to Springfield State Hospital in Sykesville.

They also welcomed new officers for 2002.

Anna Schlict will serve as president, with Matt Biegel as vice president. Kathleen Littleton is the new corresponding secretary. Laura Tribble and Kim Patterson will share a job of recording secretary. Callie Littleton is treasurer, and Stephanie Simmens will serve as historian. Molly Simmens is the new club reporter.

Information: 410-313-2707.

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