Terrorist attacks inspire students' peace project

NEIGHBORS

March 05, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE ATTACKS of Sept. 11 were a call to action for the peer mediator group at Long Reach High School. The young people wanted to work toward fostering peace - at least in their school community.

Since October, 22 students, led by guidance counselor Donna Cook, have been working on building a "Peace Garden" with an adjoining engraved brick "pathway to peace."

"Hatred cannot be stopped by hatred" is one of the nearly 200 sayings that will adorn the bricks the group has sold to raise funds for the project.

The garden and pathway will be installed in front of the school's administrative office, a site that has been approved by Principal David Bruzga. With the help of Sun Nurseries in Marriottsville, the students designed the garden to include two birch trees, a Japanese maple, and shrubs and flowers.

Cook has been leading peace projects for the past three years. Two peace quilts and a peace pole adorn the school's atrium. But the terrorist attacks left her drained, she said. The idea for a peace garden grew from the dream of two students, Nicole Modeen and Allison Tabor, both juniors.

"People kept coming to me saying we need to do something," Cook said. "But when Nicole and Allison approached me with their well-thought-out idea, I knew these two could get it done."

The two young women have an impressive record of accomplishments. Nicole formed an ice-hockey team for the school, and Allison co-founded the drama club.

"When I think of a garden, I think of a calm, relaxing atmosphere where you don't have to stay on a schedule," Nicole said.

Inspired by the engraved bricks around the Columbia People Tree, the girls thought the bricks would be a nice way for students to "leave their mark" on the school. The notion of permanence appealed to students.

"It was really fun doing this project," said Lanecia McKennon, a junior who sold 10 bricks. "People are used to being asked to buy cookies and candies, but this is something they can take their families back to see later on."

It is hoped that the garden will remind students of a feeling of unity, Nicole said. "It's a way for all of us to remember how we all came together that day," she said. "It didn't matter what gender, sex, race or religion you were, you had something in common with every person in school."

Despite the group's hard work, the students weren't able to raise as much money as they had planned. Landscaping companies are being asked to donate excavation time. The students will do the rest. Installation is planned for May.

Information: Donna Cook, 410-313-7412.

Las Vegas - Columbia style

Enjoy yourself while supporting Hammond High School at the Booster Club's Bull and Shrimp Roast from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the Great Room at Historic Savage Mill. The menu includes pit beef, shrimp and side dishes.

Guests may try their luck at gaming tables run by volunteers. The casino-style games will include blackjack, roulette and big six. No cash awards will be distributed, but prizes are planned. Up for grabs are front-row seats to the school's graduation ceremony and reserved parking for the ceremony. Gift certificates to restaurants and merchants also will be on the prize tables.

Raffles and door prizes are planned, too.

The Booster Club has 350 members. It supports all the school's student organizations - not just athletics. "The club is especially helpful to [school] organizations that don't have a lot of outlets for fund-raising events, such as foreign language club, [the student] Bear Press and the Black Student Achievement Program," said Penny Emery, vice president of the boosters and head of the roast committee.

The roast is one of the group's biggest fund-raisers of the year, she said. The club holds a spaghetti dinner and runs a holiday tree sale as well as concession stands at athletic events.

Other roast committee members are Karen and Ed Berger, Austin Maguire, Larry Tobin, Arlene Swantko, Charlene Whitaker and Ben Sandler.

The group is still seeking donations for prizes.

Disc jockey Bobby Nyk will provide music, and Putting on the Ritz will cater. Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 at the door.

Information: Penny Emery, 301-604-6024.

Questions answered

The Howard County state's attorney's office has opened a satellite location at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center. Two days a week, prosecutor Lara Weathersbee will be available to discuss crime, public safety and other community concerns.

"This really gives me the opportunity to be more aware about what's going on in Oakland Mills," she said. "It also gives the community a direct link to the prosecutor's office."

Weathersbee will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at The Other Barn.

Information: 410-730-4610, or drop by The Other Barn.

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