School gives high marks to cultural awareness day


March 04, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TO CELEBRATE its diversity, Hollifield Station Elementary School held a Cultural Awareness Day on Feb. 22.

The school has the largest English for Speakers of Other Languages program of any elementary school in the county, said Kathy Jacobs, the assistant principal. "The whole focus has been to really highlight the unique backgrounds of some of our students," she said.

During the day, children viewed exhibits, and took part in demonstrations and a cultural arts assembly, Jacobs explained.

Preparation for the daylong program began in August, when ESOL teachers Amy Cwiek and Julie Byrd-Clark and assistant Katherine Han began brainstorming with Linda Dombrowski, first vice president of the PTA, Jacobs said. In October, the school asked parents and pupils whether they would like to contribute by lending artifacts for displays, or by organizing demonstrations.

The program's intent was to focus on students in the ESOL program, 80 percent of whom are Korean, but many parents wanted to share information about other countries as well, Jacobs said.

"We had many parents indicate an interest in preparing foods but, because of health issues, we could not follow through on that," Jacobs said. However, the school supplemented its lunch menu, which that happened to feature a stir-fry, with fish and chips, a Greek salad, nachos and cheese, and other foods, she said.

Between 30 and 40 displays - including clothing and mementos from Ireland, Italy and Nigeria, among other countries - filled the hallways.

For the demonstrations, martial arts students in the school demonstrated their skills, and fourth-grader Kevin Bao, from China, demonstrated origami, the art of folding paper into intricate shapes.

Second-grader Laavanya Divakaruni performed a dance in native costume from India.

About 20 Korean students from Mount Hebron High School did a Korean drum presentation, and a professional singer serenaded students with songs from Korea.

The children also performed songs and dances. Physical education teacher Joel Trumper held classes after school to work on the dances, while music teachers Edie Yeager and Sheila Haris taught children songs from different countries.

Media specialist Tammy Sczepanski read a folk tale while Shawn Costello, the art teacher, illustrated it.

At the end of the day, "we congratulated all of the participants and spoke of how wonderful it was to have learned so much on that day," Jacobs said. "Then we distributed the words to `This Land is Your Land' and the entire school sang it," she said. "It just really was terrific."

Job and activity fair

HC DrugFree, a partnership of parents, educators and county agencies, will hold a teen job and activity fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 13. The event will be held at Centennial High School, but students from throughout the county are invited, said Laura Smit, one of the organizers.

Exhibitor space is available for employers seeking teen employees, and organizations offering recreational, educational or volunteer activities for teens.

This is the second year for the event. Last year, it attracted about 30 employers, 30 nonprofit organizations and 325 students, Smit said. The goal for this year is to double the number of participants. To help students get to Centennial, buses will be available at all other county high schools.

HC DrugFree, formerly known as the Eastern Coalition Against Substance Abuse, is a volunteer organization that holds seminars and other events designed to help parents guide their children.

"Research has shown, the more teens are involved in enriching experiences, the less likely they are to get into risky behavior, including sex and drugs," Smit said.

The cost for exhibitor space is $25; nonprofit organizations may participate at no charge. Information: Laura Smit, 410-799-4879; fax, 410-799-3510, or send e-mail to

Healthy Hearts

On Valentine's Day, pupils at Ellicott Mills Middle School celebrated matters of the heart by jumping rope to raise money for the American Heart Association. This was the fourth year for the event, which raised $2,900 and gave students a chance to get their hearts pumping.

This year, sixth-grader Calvin Keyes was the school's top fund-raiser, collecting $216. Leslie Carresse, a sixth-grader, won the jump-rope competition, and Krista Mariner, also in sixth grade, won the hula-hoop contest. Winners of the hoop tournament, a round-robin basketball game, were Paul Maurer, Eric Sauter and Michael Showe in grades six and seven, and Chris Moore, Matt Moss, Duane Owens, Nick Scott and Scott Trimble in eighth grade.

Animal Advocates

The meeting of Animal Advocates of Howard County on Wednesday will feature guest speaker Lee Wheeler, who is leading a national campaign to shut down puppy mills. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held from 7:15 to 9 p.m. at the Miller Branch Library on Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

Information: 410-880-2488, or visit, the Web site for Hearts United for Animals, to learn about puppy mills.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.