Anticipation, a little angst as school opens


August 28, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FACES SHINING with anticipation and a little angst, children and parents clustered outside Clemens Crossing Elementary School for the first day of school Monday. Schoolchildren and staff members were eager for a new year of challenges and opportunities.

Hickory Ridge resident John Lefkowitz escorted his son, Zack, 6, who acknowledged being a little bit nervous on his first day of second grade.

"Zack likes school," Lefkowitz said. "He's excited about it."

He asked his son, "Aren't you?"

"Sorta," Zack replied, clinging to his father's leg.

"It's hard to say goodbye to the summer," Lefkowitz said, echoing a sentiment that seemed to be shared by many of the waiting children and parents.

Wearing new school shoes and carrying a new backpack, Hayley Diener, 10, said she was looking forward to beginning fifth grade. She hopes to be a member of the safety patrol this year.

"She's a big kid on the block, finally," said Tracey Diener, Hayley's mother.

Diener also seemed eager for school to begin. "It's been a long last couple of weeks," the mother said.

Inside the front doors, more than a dozen teachers assembled in the front hall, ready to welcome the children.

"I'm as excited as they are," said music teacher Alice Zehrbach.

Principal Arlene Mindus had posted four principles on the wall in the front office to encourage the faculty. The principles were taken from a team-building video shown to staff members last week.

The illustrated posters read: Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day, Play, and Be Present.

Mindus praised her staff for working hard to get the school in shape. The front office, health room and project rooms have a fresh look, thanks to new carpeting and linoleum donated by Clemens Crossing parents Chuck and Carol Bode, owners of CB Flooring, and one of their manufacturers, Forbo Linoleum.

Clemens Crossing welcomed eight new teachers this year: Dana Lawall, fourth grade; Jennifer Geisbert, fourth grade; Kevin Mulroe, fourth grade; Paige Burton, fifth grade; Rod Nofziger and Michelle Long, special education resource; Jen Soha, speech; and Marni Rosenbaum, physical education.

Seaside triathlon

On Sept. 21, Peter Gobell of Dorsey's Search will participate in the 19th Make-A-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon in Bethany Beach, Del.

The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic, a nonprofit organization that fulfills the wishes of children facing life-threatening illnesses.

Gobell has competed in three triathlons this year.

"My training consists of workouts in all three disciplines: swimming, biking and running," Gobell said.

Six days a week, he swims at Columbia Gym, bicycles on roads in the western county or runs track. Gobell said he enjoys the training

"It's been an awesome experience," he said.

Gobell said the ocean swimming portion of the competition likely will be his greatest challenge.

"It's a very flat bike and run course, so the only thing you have to contend with is the winds," he said.

Gobell will have two enthusiastic cheerleaders to encourage him on his way to the finish line. His wife, Sheri, and daughter, Sarah, 2, will accompany him to Delaware.

To contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, contact Wish Friends Inc., 10920 Connecticut Ave., Suite 1600, Kensington 20895.

Candidates forum

The Wilde Lake Community Association will sponsor a forum for Howard County Council candidates in District 4 at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Slayton House.

Andy Barth of WMAR-TV will be the moderator.

Information: 410-730-3987.

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