Thousands for charity sums up Math-a-thon

February 23, 2004

It was a lot of money to raise in 15 minutes - enough to buy a car or swimming pool. Northfield Elementary School's Math-a-thon on Feb. 4 raised $16,684.03 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Although school started two hours late because of icy conditions, the Math-a-thon was the first activity of the day. The children solved math problems for 15 minutes to fulfill pledges collected from parents and neighbors; some donations were based on the number of right answers. Parent volunteers graded the tests.

"Even the kindergartners, who don't know basic facts, participated by having a math day," said fourth-grade teacher Karen Geissler, whose son has cystic fibrosis. "They brought in donations. So even the 5-year-olds were involved in raising money for cystic fibrosis. They raised close to $1,200."

As part of the project, the children read Mallory's 65 Roses by Diane Shader Smith, a book about a little girl who has the disease. "Sixty-five roses" is a child's mishearing of the words "cystic fibrosis."

"We showed them pictures of lungs. We [said], `If you had roses in front of you and breathed in deeply the scent of the roses, what would you be filling? You'd be filling the balloons in your chest and that's what hurts for children who have cystic fibrosis,'" Geissler said.

The school congratulated the children for their effort at an assembly Thursday, and presented an oversize check to representatives from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Prizes were awarded to pupils and classes for raising the most money.

"They were cheering, they were so excited, because everybody who got up to speak congratulated them on what an amazing job they did," said gifted and talented program resource teacher Nancy Homewood.

First-grader Andrew Marquette and his brother Graham, a second-grader, raised $362 each and received gift certificates donated by Target. Pizza parties were awarded to Ginger Gauert's fourth-grade, Tiffany Putro's third-grade, and Debra Smith's second-grade classes. About 75 pupils received T-shirts or bean-bag dolls sporting tags that read, "I was born to cure CF." Everyone will have ice cream today.

" ... We want the children to look back to this event and realize that they made a huge difference" Geissler said. "[We want them] to be able to look back and say, `Hey, I did this for cystic fibrosis; I had a hand in that cure.'"

- Fay Lande

Births

Kaela Leigh: To Kurt and Nina Weisenborn of Ellicott City on Feb. 6.

Cooper Henry: To David and April Baer of Ellicott City on Feb. 10.

Around town

Candidates forum: The PTAs of seven schools in the Ellicott City area will sponsor a candidates forum at 7 p.m. today in the Hollifield Station Elementary School cafeteria. The sponsors are the PTAs of Hollifield Station, Northfield, St. John's Lane, Waverly and Worthington elementary schools; Patapsco Middle School; and Mount Hebron High School. Written questions will be submitted through the PTA of each school. The format will follow recommendations made by the League of Women Voters. hsespta@ yahoo.com.

Breakfast supper: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7474 Washington Blvd., Elkridge, will hold its traditional Shrove Tuesday Breakfast Supper from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow in the parish hall. Proceeds from the supper - which will include breakfast foods - will support Rebuilding Together in Howard County, a nonprofit home rehabilitation program that provides free home repairs and maintenance for those in need. Tickets, available at the door, are $5; $3 for children ages 6 to 11; and free for children to age 6. 410-799-7974.

Youth dance: The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, 6275 Old Washington Blvd., will hold a Valentine's Youth Dance for ages 9 to 15 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets ($7) will be available at the door. 410- 379-2973.

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