Carrolltowne Elementary turns 25, holds a party


May 07, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CARROLLTOWNE Elementary pupils, parents and staff opened the school Friday evening for a celebration of its 25th anniversary and invited the community, alumni, and school board members to join.

Principal Martin Tierney greeted guests as they entered the lobby, which was decorated with balloons and flowers. The color red dominated the scene, in recognition of the school's mascot - the cardinal.

Many of those attending were members of the original staff who helped open the school in 1976, such as art teacher Linda Nordling, who now teaches art at Linton Springs Elementary; Larry Thompson, the first assistant principal, retired; and former teachers Nick and Shelley Urich. Nick Urich is a principal in Montgomery County and his wife is no longer with the school system. The former staff came to reminisce and see old friends.

Former pupils Jessica Goode, from the first class of the school's notable special education program, and Melissa Bobby, 11, now at Oklahoma Road Middle School, attended with family members who were actively involved with the school.

In the media center, a reception was held with buffet food and drinks. The school's bell choir, made up of fourth- and fifth-grade pupils, performed while guests mingled and enjoyed photo boards of the school's history displayed throughout the center.

Tierney and Assistant Principal Annie Blonkowski chatted with guests, including former Principal Nancy Chapin; C. Scott Stone from the Board of Education; and Barry Gelsinger, assistant superintendent of instruction for Carroll County schools.

First- and second-graders set up displays in their classrooms of photos and essays for guests to enjoy during the school tour that followed the reception. In another room was a display of memorabilia from the 1970s, when the school first opened, and a PowerPoint presentation put together by pupils.

Tierney said the school plans to create a time capsule containing favorite memories from Carrolltowne, essays from pupils, and a piece written by parents about their favorite memories of the school. The capsule will be displayed in the lobby and opened at an undetermined time.

"We probably won't wait another 25 years to open it," said Tierney with a laugh. He and his staff were wary of burying the capsule after hearing stories about many capsules not surviving burial.

After touring the school, guests were directed to the cafeteria, where a dance was held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Entertainment was provided by a favorite disc jockey, Randy Latimer of Ultimate Productions, who was asked to return for the anniversary celebration.

Tierney said three main components made the school an unforgettable place to be part of through the years.

"We have the best kids, a professional, outstanding staff, and a wonderful parent community," he said.

Message to teens

High school teacher and coach Bobby Petrocelli, co-author of Triumph Over Tragedy, visited Carroll County schools last week. He was delivered his message on the dangers of substance abuse.

Petrocelli's life was changed one night in a matter of "10 seconds," the time he says it took for a drunken driver's pickup truck to crash through the wall of his apartment and into his bedroom, killing his sleeping wife and badly injuring him.

Petrocelli travels the nation speaking to students about the dangers of substance abuse and the consequences of making one bad choice that can change lives forever. His book chronicles his struggle to rebuild his life.

Karen Fonger, 14, of Sykesville Middle School, said the assembly was very moving and that Petrocelli connected with his audience when delivering his powerful message. Many pupils echoed her sentiments, saying they would think twice about using alcohol or drugs.

Mental health walk

Springfield Hospital Center will hold its fifth annual Walk for Your Mental Health at 10 a.m. Friday at the Geriatric Building on the center's grounds off Route 32 in Sykesville.

The event is open to the public and intended to inform people about mental illness. The program will include a walk between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

According to Marsha Ansel, director of public relations for the center, hospital representatives and patients will be on hand to provide information about mental health to participants. Patients will read winning essays on the steps they have taken to deal with their illnesses.

"The event gets larger each year," Ansel said. "Last year we had close to 400 people attend."

The event will include live music and refreshments. Participants will receive water bottles and T-shirts. Information: 410- 795-2100, Ext. 3693.

Debra Taylor Young's southeast neighborhood column appears Tuesdays in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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