BJ's, elementary belong to profitable club


March 04, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A LINK between Cranberry Station Elementary School and BJ's Wholesale Club has evolved into a partnership that both parties call a profitable friendship. Ask who profits more, and most people will say, "The pupils."

Since September, pupils have been rewarded for good grades, good attendance, good behavior and strong character traits with goodies provided (or paid for) by the club. A bulletin board at BJ's is decorated with the school's signature locomotive logo and features artwork and creative writing by Cranberry Station pupils.

"In the past, we'd look at wish lists and wonder how we were going to pay for all this," said PTA President Lorie Wonilowicz . "BJ's has covered so many things that we normally spend money for, that we have been able to redirect those funds to other teacher and student needs."

The partnership was unsolicited and unexpected, which made it more inviting, Principal Judy Walker said.

"When the new store opened up, the marketing coordinator was told to form a partnership with the nearest school, and we were that school," Walker said. "We have enjoyed the results. We all met together over the summer, set goals, linked incentives with existing programs in the school, and mapped out the partnership for the school year."

BJ's has picked up the tab for Play Day and for Maryland School Performance Assessment Program refreshments. It has awarded certificates and laminated tags to pupils who have good grades or good attendance. On Friday, the store furnished cake to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday and select pupils' good reading habits. The club has contributed to basket bingo and the school carnival.

"It's not just the generosity financially," Wonilowicz said. "There is a bigger partnership. Our choir sang at the club during the holidays. And the club sends someone to our PTA meetings to keep in touch and to see if we need more help."

The person who attends PTA meetings usually is Doug Deis, the store's marketing coordinator, who said the partnership is one of the biggest rewards of his job.

"I don't have kids, so it has been fun going PTA meetings and listening to all the issues that come up," said Deis, who lives in Westminster. "I've talked to other marketing coordinators who said schools let them be principal for a day. I'm hoping that happens. It would be fun."

"At the end of the year, if people ask if the children or the club got the most out of this, I think the answer will be the children," Deis said. "Believe me, this partnership is getting more smiles than frowns."

Carroll County students are invited to BJ's Wholesale Club in Westminster for Read Across America Day from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 15. The event will include games, and local heroes will read their favorite books.

Information: 410-857-4569.

Basket bingo

Deer Park Lions Club will hold basket bingo Saturday at Gamber Fire Department Social Hall. Proceeds will go to the Carroll County Career and Technology Fund and the Maryland Eye Bank.

"This is the first time we have hosted a basket bingo, and we are excited about the baskets offered and the raffle prizes, too," said Richard Liebno, event chairman. "For one raffle, we are offering the three-tiered Hostess Superstar Set with liners and protectors. We are raffling the wrought-iron Generations Stand and the 14-inch Generations Basket."

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., food will be served at 6 p.m., and games will begin at 7 p.m.

Information: 410-848-4929.

Living Treasure honored

Westminster resident Lori Demetrakis honors her parents, Mary and Will Bland, as her Living Treasures this week. The Blands live in an apartment attached to the Demetrakis home.

"My parents have a great sense of humor - they have to living here," said Demetrakis. "They happily step in and help with everything - whether it's basket bingo at the school or shuffling one of the five grandchildren to events that overlap and keep me from being there.

"I love the relationships that they have with my children," Demetrakis added. "Mom has a dry-erase board, and my son Sean wrote `Gram stinks' one day. She erased that lovely message and left something equally charming."

Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Submit a name and specific reasons why that person has been your Living Treasure to Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, 410-848-4703.

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