Harford Week

May 09, 2004

State allocates money for school construction

The Maryland Board of Public Works allocated last week the last of $125.9 million in state funds for school construction and renovation, more than last year but much less than the hundreds of millions the states 24 school systems say they need.

Harford County, which had asked for $18.9 million, was given $7.4 million, most of it for renovating and expanding North Harford High School to help relieve crowding.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in some Sunday editions incorrectly described a preview for donors and elected officials at the Abingdon branch of the Harford County Public Library as the branch's grand opening. The branch will open to the public at 10 a.m. May 17, and the grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration will be at 8 a.m. June 3. The Sun regrets the error.

Cecil County had asked for $8.2 million; that request was approved in January.

Harford's allotment means that the modernization of a more than 50-year-old high school can proceed.

Memorial planned for slain teacher, son

A memorial for a Harford County teacher and her son who were killed April 25 in Pennsylvania has been scheduled for next month, school officials said last week.

North Bend Elementary School in Jarrettsville plans to hold the ceremony for Rita Hofler and Kevin Gehring at 7 p.m. June 4 in its gymnasium, schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison said.

Hofler, 48, and Gehring, 17, were fatally shot at the Shrewsbury Township, Pa., home of Hofler's estranged husband, Donald B. Hofler, a retired Loyola College professor, who has been charged in the killings.

Harford school official returning to Howard

Four months after becoming chief administrative officer of Harford County schools, Raymond H. Brown is resigning and returning to the Howard County school system.

"It's a great opportunity," Brown, 55, said Wednesday. He will assume his new post as Howard's chief business officer May 19, overseeing financial matters, as well as school planning and construction.

When Brown left the Howard school system at the end of December, he called the move a "great opportunity to grow professionally," although it meant a $14,000 pay cut.

Brown's departure will leave a hole in Harford's school administration, which had been trying to fill the chief administrative officer position for two years before hiring Brown.

"He's been a tremendous asset to us over these four months, and we're extremely sorry to see him go," said Harford schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison.

Brown's salary in Harford County was $101,654. His new Howard salary will be $135,000.

Harford County does well in Destination ImagiNation

Harford County made a strong showing in the recent state finals of the Destination ImagiNation program. Eight Harford County teams placed first or second in their categories. Three teams were from Bel Air Middle School.

Harford County winners were (with placing):

Bel Air Middle School: 1st, Upbeat Improv; 2nd, DestiNations in Time; 2nd, Cartoon Adventures.

Southhampton Middle School: 2nd, Plot and the Pendulum.

Harford Day School (elementary level): 2nd, Upbeat Improv.

Prospect Mill Elementary: 1st (tie), Plot and the Pendulum.

Ring Factory Elementary: 1st Upbeat Improv; 2nd Cartoon Adventures

Destination ImagiNation is a problem-solving program in which teams of up to seven students work together on long-term problems and "instant challenges." The long-term problem may be performance, structure-building, or technology based, and all problems require the team to create a story that incorporates various elements into an approximately eight-minute performance.

Most teams form and start working together in the fall, and the first competitions take place in February and March. Teams compete at the regional, state and international levels.

Abingdon library branch holds grand opening

The Abingdon branch of Harford County Public Library held its grand opening Friday.

The 35,000-square-foot facility has been under construction for two years.

Morris & Ritchie Associates designed the facility.

Harford Christian students excel on German test

Harford Christian School students have done well in the recent National German Exam conducted annually by the American Association of Teachers of German.

Second-year foreign language students Shawn Bowerman and Chris Straw scored in the 98th percentile, and Kevin Wuest scored in the 96th percentile. The three also ranked as three of the top 10 scorers in Maryland. Other top scorers in Maryland are from the Washington area.

Jessie Bell, a Harford Christian junior, scored in the 96th percentile.

German teacher Peggy Nickson said she was pleased with the excellent showing. "Each of these students has been diligent in the study of the language, seizing upon any opportunity to hear and speak German," she said, "and that's what it takes to become proficient."

Rep. Gilchrest hires former Harford teacher

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, a 1st District Republican, has hired Virginia H. Sanders, a former Harford County teacher, to serve as his office manager in his Harford County District Office.

Sanders worked for the Harford school system from 1973 until last year. During her tenure, she served as coach of the Odyssey of the Mind Team for Prospect Mill Elementary School. She also is a founding member of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, and has served as a director of the board.

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