MOMS Club is adding 2 Ellicott City chapters

NEIGHBORS

May 13, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MOMS CLUB of Ellicott City is holding a baby shower. That may not sound like a big deal for an organization made up of at-home mothers, but this baby shower is a little different. It's for the birth of two new MOMS Club chapters.

With more than 130 members, the Ellicott City club has grown too large to be a single organization. The two new chapters will be MOMS Club of Ellicott City North/Woodstock and MOMS Club of Ellicott City South.

Ellicott City North will encompass the area north of U.S. 40, while Ellicott City South will be for mothers who live east of New Cut Road and Routes 104 and 108. The existing chapter, which will be for members who live west of New Cut Road and Routes 104 and 108, but south of U.S. 40, will be Ellicott City Center.

The smaller size of the chapters should make it easier to organize events and communicate among members, said Jen Friday, president of Ellicott City MOMS Club.

"Play groups become more intimate, baby-sitting co-ops work better and other activities are easier to plan because the members come from the same area and live near each other," she said.

The division of chapters will happen June 11, during annual board elections at the club's regular monthly meeting at First Evangelical Lutheran Church. The baby shower for the new chapters will include cake, and the club will receive presents such as hanging folders, pens and stamps.

MOMS Club is an international organization that provides support and activities for at-home mothers. Members hold monthly meetings and get together for play groups, outings, scrapbook workshops and other activities. Ellicott City MOMS Club is a chapter of the nonprofit International MOMS Club, founded in 1983 in California.

The increase in the number of chapters means a need for more leaders. Katie Burkitt and Lois Graham will co-found the Ellicott City South chapter, and Dionne Thorne will head the north chapter.

Mothers will be able to stay in existing playgroups if current members end up in different chapters.

Information: MOMS Club of Ellicott City, www.geocities. com/ellicottcity_momsclub; International MOMS Club, www.momsclub.org.

Project Starshine

Fourth-graders at Manor Woods Elementary School recently completed a project that is literally out of this world. For Project Starshine, six schoolchildren polished mirrors that will be used on a NASA satellite.

Lynne Spence, the school's Gifted and Talented Program resource teacher, learned about Project Starshine through the Internet. She offered Manor Woods' help with the project to NASA, and the school was one of many schools worldwide selected to participate in the study.

The mirrors arrived in November and were returned in March, Spence said. The pupils were required to grind or polish them three times, for 15 to 20 minutes each time, according to specific instructions. The two best mirrors were sent back to NASA, where they will be among the 1,000 mirrors on Starshine IV, a satellite that will measure variations in Earth's upper atmosphere during solar storms.

Participating children were Amanda Jefferson, Christopher Fischer, Nathan Tresnak, Beth Warsaw, Lindsey Zeimer and Sydney Smith.

The satellite is to be launched in January, Spence said. Once it is in orbit, the children will be able to track its progress at www.azinet.com.

"It was kind of a special thing," Spence said.

Teacher of the Year

Michele Zurad, a sixth-grade math teacher at Burleigh Manor Middle School, has been named the Howard County winner in the Maryland Teacher of the Year competition for 2002-2003. The Ellicott City resident will go up against other county winners for the title of Maryland Teacher of the Year.

Zurad, who has been teaching for 20 years, said she was completely surprised when she received the honor at a ceremony at the school May 3. Current and former schoolchildren were there as Superintendent John O'Rourke presented the award. Her family, including her new grandson, attended the surprise ceremony.

Zurad started her teaching career in Montgomery County and has been at Burleigh Manor since it opened 10 years ago. She teaches through games, cooperative learning and "real life" applications of concepts, she said. "The need to understand and be able to use mathematics in the workplace and everyday life has never been greater," she added.

She will find out at the end of September whether she was named Maryland Teacher of the Year. She's happy with the recognition she's received. "It's really very, very nice," Zurad said.

Calendar art

Carly Johnston, 8, who attends St. John's Lane Elementary School, had her artwork chosen for inclusion in a calendar put out by the Maryland Association of Realtors.

Her work was selected from hundreds of submissions sent by students throughout the state. For a copy of the 2003 Fair Housing Calendar, call the association: 800-638-6425.

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