When it comes to golf, Andy Walker is a natural


October 22, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ANDY WALKER is a natural when it comes to the game of golf, said Bob Baker, director of Special Olympics Howard County. While some things may be difficult for the Oakland Mills High School junior, golf is a game where he can shine.

"Every time Andy goes out to play a tournament, I look forward to him coming back and telling me how well he did," said Brad Howell, Andy's special education teacher at Oakland Mills High.

Last month, Andy took fourth place in the second-highest level of play at the National Special Olympics Golf Tournament, held in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The contest featured 159 athletes from 27 states. Andy's father, John Walker, caddied for him.

FOR THE RECORD - The golfer in a photograph accompanying the east Columbia Neighbors column in yesterday's Howard County edition of The Sun was erroneously identified. The young man shown on the golf course at the National Special Olympics Golf Tournament is Chris Pilz (above).
A photo caption accompanying an article Sunday about improving academic performance at Howard County schools misspelled a name. The correct spelling is Adam Rodriguez.
The Sun regrets the errors.

"Golf is something I've enjoyed since I was a kid," said Walker, who played on his high school's golf team. "One day, I took Andy out to hit a few balls, and one thing led to another."

Walker and Baker added golfing to the list of sports offered by Special Olympics Howard County four years ago. Walker is a coach for the team, which has grown from five players to 33.

"It's a game we both love personally and wanted to get our kids involved in," said Baker, whose daughter Stephanie is on the team.

"Playing golf is wonderful for Andy's self-esteem," said his mother, Claire. "All of our kids are involved in sports. Andy always thought he could do anything his sisters and brother could do. Now he has his own boatload of trophies."

Trophies are not the only things that Andy and his peers enjoy as a result of their involvement with Special Olympics.

"When people with special needs get involved in Special Olympics, it gives them the opportunity to see themselves in a different light," Baker said. "It builds their self-esteem, and it's a great opportunity to travel and meet people."

Special Olympics offers 17 sports and many social events, including picnics, dances and trips to professional sporting events.

Andy has taken his love of golf one step further, Howell said. Last summer, he worked in the maintenance department at Timbers at Troy Golf Course in Elkridge, where he practices with his team.

"He loves golf and he knows a lot about lawn care," Howell said. "He mows lawns with his dad. This was a dream job for him." Andy and his dad are still mowing lawns, and Andy is now working at Fairway Hills Golf Course.

Andy was not the only winner at the tournament from our neighborhood last month. Long Reach High School freshman Chris Pilz took third place in the individual skills division.

Information on Special Olympics Howard County: 410-740-0500.

Beautiful music

The Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus opens its 26th season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School with an all-Mozart program.

"We are looking forward to an exciting season," chorus manager Kathleen Bowen said. "This is a challenging time. Getting into music is a way to lift your spirits. When audiences come to hear the music, it takes them into a different realm."

Members of the Pro Cantare chorus from east Columbia are John Bailey, Joa BonGiorni, Laurence Bory, Dan Bravmann, Tom Buckingham, Maggie Caldwell, Christine Carpenter, Dan Cashman, Pamela Clark, Dennis Coskren, Holly Crawford, Abby Ershow, Jeffrey Frithsen, Sandra T. Gray, Alberta Hall, Clarence S. Hall and Jim Hardy.

Also participating are Carolyn Holmes, Chuck and Viviana Holmes, Esther Huebner, Wanda Hurt, Daniel Ipes, Kristina Lehtonen, Martey Longmire, Tamara Lubliner, Duncan MacDonald, Stephen Mack, Brenda McChriston, Glen Newhall, Drew Pastor, Judy Petersen, Nancy Pollack, Andrea Di Santi, Jim Raistrick, Don Raytkwich, Carole Steere, Mildred Taylor, Blanche Ventura, Christina Von Zeppelin, Wendy Baird Weidemann, Phyllis Wells, Margaret Wesley and Jody Zepp.

Tickets are $23 in advance; $20 for senior citizens and students. A $2 surcharge is applied to tickets purchased at the door. Discounts for groups and season passes are available.

Information: 410-465-5744 or 410-799-9321.

Halloween party

The Long Reach Community Association will hold a Halloween party for children to age 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Long Reach Village Center.

Activities will include pumpkin decorating, a performance by Mike Rose the Magician and trick-or-treating at village center businesses.

New this year is a costume contest sponsored by the Howard County police Hotspot office in the village center. The contest will be held at 1:45 p.m., and the winner will be announced at 2:45 p.m.

Children are invited to come in costume and must be accompanied by an adult. The event is free.

Information: 410-730-8113.

Talented singers

Congratulations to two Stevens Forest Elementary School fifth-graders who When it comes to golf, were accepted into the Howard County Children's Chorus: Hattie Robinson and Ryan Shorter.

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