Teacher hopes mascot will become pupils' pet


April 14, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL is pumping up school pride with a creative fund-raiser to cover the cost of a new mascot.

Dubbed "Dollars for the Dog," the campaign is for a bronze bulldog sculpture that art teacher Robert Anker discovered in an antique store.

Anker had a hunch that the piece was valuable; the almost life-size bulldog was sculpted by American artist Edward Kemeys in the late 1800s. Westminster appraiser Lyndi McNulty confirmed Anker's hunch: The school's new bulldog is a valuable piece of art history that is worth an estimated $3,700. The head was originally the centerpiece on a mantel, which explains why it has no back.

Anker and other faculty members hope to have the mascot mounted on a newel post in the lobby. They envision pupils greeting the bulldog - which is the school symbol - as they enter the building and perhaps patting it on the head the way University of Maryland students touch Testudo, their terrapin mascot, for good luck.

"Often we hide art and do not encourage students to interact with the work," Anker said. "This bulldog would be available for all to touch. Petting the dog, I am sure, will happen on a regular basis. Since the dog is bronze, it is well suited for this affection."

The newel post adds $500 to the campaign goal, and depending on the dollar increments, donors have the option of becoming a "lead dog," a "guide dog" or a "service dog."

The Carroll County Arts Council earned lead dog status with its $250 donation. The school's PTA is a lead dog, too.

"[Arts council Director] Sandy Oxx has been so supportive since she heard about the sculpture," Anker said. "Support like hers makes this project exciting."

"Having a known artist's work, especially a sculptural work here at East Middle, will increase all students' awareness of fine art," Anker wrote in a letter to parents last week. "These same students will become adults and leaders of the community. It is our hope that this exposure combined with our current curriculum will enable them to develop a refined sense of art and its importance in our surroundings."

Anker took the lead for bringing more pizazz to the East Middle School lobby long before the discovery of the bulldog; he also is responsible for bringing in showcases that now hold pupils' artwork.

"Mr. Anker has been proactive about improving the school atmosphere and school culture for a long time," said East Middle School Principal Bronson E. Jones. "I think that the mascot is a great idea. It will be a source of pride for students and they will enjoy seeing it every day."

Information: 410-751-3656.

Basket bingo

William Winchester Elementary PTA will sponsor a basket bingo Saturday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 7 p.m.

"There will be an early-bird basket raffle for those who arrive before 6:30. The prize will be a Longaberger basket filled with an extra set of cards for 20 games," said organizer Lynda Ponticelli. "We want to get folks inside early to enjoy the good food."

The evening will feature four jackpot games, three raffle baskets, a silent auction, and more than 25 door prizes. There will be door prizes for children as well.

Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door.

Information: 410-751-9339 or 410-848-4468.

Living Treasure

Westminster resident Brent Grove honors his wife, Johanna, as his Living Treasure this week.

"She came into my life at a low period, she grabbed me by the ears and showed great strength for me," said Brent Grove. "I will forever be indebted to her."

Who is your Living Treasure? Brighten someone's day by submitting his or her name to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster, 21157; or call 410-848- 4703.

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

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