HAMMOND HIGH School's Golden Bears will sport new colors this fall. For 25 years, the school's athletic teams and bands have worn brown and gold, but as Hammond moves into its next quarter-century, its colors will be maroon and gold, Principal Sylvia Patillo said.
The Golden Bears include all the school's athletic teams.
"Brown was chosen by the original principal 25 years ago," explained Ben Sandler, Booster Club treasurer. "In those days, it was probably more popular. But it has been a long time since brown has been a stock color."
"It costs us about 40 percent more to buy uniforms because of special-ordering the brown," he said. "It also takes up to five months longer to receive [the uniforms.]"
"The idea of changing colors has come up many times in the past," said Bill Smith, the head football coach. "But it was too expensive to pursue."
The change will cost $30,000 each for varsity, junior varsity and band uniforms; the band does its own fund-raising.
"We needed all the uniforms to change simultaneously so that it didn't turn into some kids wearing the old colors and some wearing the new," he said. "We had to show we could raise the funds before we could pursue the change."
That's where the Booster Club stepped in. The club raises money for after-school activities, including athletics.
"Everyone really pulled together this year and worked hard," said Jackie Palmer, the club president. "Although the color change wasn't approved until the spring, we knew it was something we were working toward [last year]."
"We were getting double the number of people at our events, like the bull roast and the spaghetti dinner," Palmer said. "Everyone did their part to make the holiday tree sale a success. One day, football parents would man the sale; then next day, track parents. Everyone did their share."
Last school year, the Booster Club ran snack and concession stands at games in fall and spring; in the past, club members had operated only fall concessions. Boosters also sold snacks and "spirit wear" - clothes bearing the school's name and colors - at two school exits at the end of each school day.
By spring, it was clear that the Boosters could raise the money for the varsity uniforms, Sandler said.
A group of coaches presented the new color scheme to Patillo. Then came the approval of the PTSA, the student government, the Booster Club and school staff.
The Howard County Board of Education made sure the proposed colors did not conflict with those of other county schools and gave its approval.
Last year, the Booster Club raised more than $30,000 - twice as much as usual. It was enough for the varsity teams' uniforms with some left for other after-school activities, Sandler said.
The varsity uniforms have been ordered, Patillo said. All the teams will be sporting the new colors at their first games, she said. Band uniforms will arrive before homecoming.
The band has been raising funds under the supervision of band director Chris Winters, Sandler said. As far as fund-raising is concerned, for the Boosters it is still full speed ahead.
"We're going to repeat everything in triple-fold this year," Palmer said. "We have our momentum going."
Volunteers are stuffing envelopes for the year's first fund-raising effort, a Sally Foster gift-wrap paper campaign. And plans have been made to increase the number of days and hours of the school's holiday tree sale.
"This year, we can set the junior varsity uniforms as our goal," Palmer said. "It'll be a great motivator."
The Booster club executive board includes Penny Emery, Charlene Whitaker, Austin Maguire and Ed Berger. Committee chairwomen include Joan Abel, Linda Toole, Kerry Greer and Vicki Traber.
Four new junior lifeguards at the Dickinson pool in Kings Contrivance - Kareem Davies, 12; Dasha Pletnikov, 14; Hannah Bedard, 13; and Lindsay Hopkins, 13 - have completed a three-week course taught by head lifeguard Matt Kaufman.
As junior lifeguards, duties for the four Kings Contrivance residents will include checking the pool's levels of chemicals and maintenance of the pool deck. If the youths want to become full lifeguards when they turn 15, they will be required to take a recertification class.
There is still time to become part of the Oakland Mills International Fall Festival, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 12.
The festival is an old tradition that is being revived to help renew community spirit, said Mia Collins, village community events coordinator.
"This is an event that used to take place every year," Collins said. "It hasn't been done for the last 10 years. The village board members thought this would be a wonderful way to celebrate the diversity of Oakland Mills."
Entertainment will include: the Dinosaur Babies puppet show; the Blues Man; international guitarist Bruce Casteel; and the Goldenaires, a band of about 35 senior citizens that plays everything from ragtime to swing music.
An international fashion show is to be held, with residents wearing the native dress of their countries of origin, Collins said.
Vendors can rent space for $5 to $50.
"We would love to have handmade crafts and jewelry," Collins said, "something in keeping with the international theme."