Club members, volunteers serve `Green Eggs and Ham' to pupils

NEIGHBORS

March 11, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MORE THAN 400 elementary school pupils recently dined on green eggs and ham to celebrate the 98th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birth.

While they dined, they listened to their favorite books - or at least the favorite books of guest readers from Woman's Club of Westminster Inc. and the local community.

Wearing a tall red-and-white top hat, interim Superintendent Charles I. Ecker read The Cat in the Hat and Hop on Pop to William Winchester Elementary pupils.

At neighboring schools, readers included Carol Kolb from Carroll Community College; Joan Develin Coley, president of Western Maryland College; Linda Mielke, executive director of Carroll County Public Library; Audrey Cimino, executive director of Carroll County Community Foundation; journalist Dean Minnich; and 24 members of Woman's Club of Westminster Inc.

"It's always fun to interact with the children," Ecker said. "The students were wonderful. I really enjoyed the experience."

For three years, members of the Woman's Club of Westminster have gone into the schools with eggs, ham, green food coloring, cooking utensils, pretzels (for the children who can't be cajoled into eating green eggs) and an armload of books. The green eggs and ham celebration is part of the club's larger movement to promote literacy.

In conjunction with the Seuss celebration, the club distributed 550 books to pupils, classrooms, libraries and media centers.

For eight years, the club has worked with the public library and local businesses to provide Books for Babies baskets to new mothers. The baskets contain a book, a coupon that can be redeemed for the child's first library card, a schedule of events at the library that focus on family togetherness, and a script of finger plays and rhymes for young children.

"Rather than targeting adult illiteracy, we are hoping to promote literacy by exposing children to reading at an early age," said Jackie Hering, chairwoman of the club's education committee.

Hering wore a red-and-white striped top hat and read books to her daughter Diane Groft's first-grade class at Robert Moton Elementary School during the Seuss birthday celebration.

"We've been real pleased with the community's response to our efforts," Hering said. "Many people have volunteered to help and written letters of support."

"It was such a wonderful time, and the children were so cute," said Sandy Ferguson, who read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham to Becky Larken's kindergarten class at Robert Moton Elementary while Jayne Stocksdale cooked.

"The children read along with me because most of them knew the book by heart, especially `Not in a house. Not with a mouse,'" Ferguson said.

"We always let the children take part in the cooking process and that seems to entice more of them to actually eat the eggs," Ferguson said. "Jayne and I were surprised that it was mainly the boys who opted for pretzels instead of the green eggs."

"It's never hard to get enough volunteers from our group for this project," Hering said. "Some women may be reluctant to get out the electric frying pans and cook the green eggs and ham, but everyone enjoys going into the schools to read. It is so rewarding."

Living Treasure honored

Westminster resident Susan Mora honors her husband, Jim, as her Living Treasure this week. Jim is a sergeant major with the Army National Guard and is stationed in Bosnia.

"He has always been there for me, to comfort me, even from a distance," she said. "I've known him for so long, and seeing his smile and being next to him still brings me great joy. He is a wonderful father who laughs with the kids and supports them openly and honestly. And now we support him."

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.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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