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Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock: Mt. View Middle School creates inventive fundraiser with Olympic Day

Good news is never too late to share, and Mt. View Middle School deserves recognition for a unique event that took place earlier in the spring.

First, a little background: This year, the Mt. View PTA decided to forego traditional fundraisers, such as selling magazine subscriptions, in favor of more creative opportunities. In particular, the PTA wanted its money-raising efforts to focus on student wellness and community outreach. With those criteria in mind, the school created a Mt. View Olympic Day, held March 30.

All of the Mt. View students kept active on Olympic Day by participating in a variety of sports activities – for example, a 100-yard dash, a long-distance walk/run, relay races, and basketball 3-point shots – and the PTA encouraged them to seek sponsors for these activities.

Incentives included a doughnut party for the top-earning homeroom class and, for the top three individual fundraisers, a choice of four bus tickets to New York City, two tickets to a Ravens pre-season game, or one free inflatable rental from Astro Inflatables. Additionally, students who raised at least $100 got to participate in a student-staff basketball shoot-out.

Although most of the money raised through the event helped support the school's cultural art programs, after-school programs and end-of-year activities, the PTA also wanted to give back to the community. The school thus partnered with Special Olympics Howard County to educate Mt. View students about Special Olympics and $300 of their proceeds went to the annual Special Olympics Inspiration Walk, held April 21 at Centennial Park.

In all, the school raised $3,145 and had a fun time doing so. The sixth-grade team raised the most money, with Gayle Gavazzi's homeroom class winning the doughnut party. The top three individual fundraisers were Kathryn Wolfe (sixth grade), Omari DeBerry (eighth grade), and Sivanne Bachrach (sixth grade). ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz was on hand to announce all of the winners and to commentate the student-staff basketball shoot-out.

Great job, Mt. View community! I can't wait to hear what clever ideas you come up with next!

Perhaps the largest and most social fundraiser in our area is the Western Howard County Relay for Life, scheduled this year for Friday, June 8 at Western Regional Park. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, Relay for Life celebrates cancer survivorship and raises money for the American Cancer Society through an overnight walk that is open to the entire community. The event is both poignant and festive, with a palpable air of camaraderie.

Teams raise money before and during the event through donations or fundraising activities, and since cancer never sleeps, the teams try to keep at least one member walking around a track throughout the night in a symbolic vigil for those fighting cancer. Last year, Western Howard County Relay raised more than $100,000.

The opening ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. and are preceded at 5 p.m. by a free survivor's reception that is open only to cancer survivors and their caregivers. Those wishing to attend the reception must register in advance at http://www.relayforlife.org/westernhoward. The relay also features a survivor's lap, a kids' walk, a luminary ceremony and a silent auction.

For more information, email claudia.klahre@cancer.org, or call 410-781-4316.

The death on Easter Sunday of 15-year-old Grace McComas, a student at Glenelg High School, left many in the area searching for ways to support the grieving McComas family. One option is to visit Grace's memorial page on Facebook to post encouraging messages and keep apprised of fundraising efforts for the Grace McComas Memorial Fund. (The first fundraiser took place on May 22, at Jilly's Restaurant in Ellicott City.) The web address is http://www.facebook.com/GraceMcComasMemorial.

Those who wish to donate money to the fund can make checks payable to the "Grace McComas Memorial Fund" and mail them either to Glenelg High School, 14025 Burntwoods Road, Glenelg MD 21737 or Carol Waters, 4109 Sequoia Drive, Westminster, MD 21157. Make sure to write "Grace McComas Memorial Fund" on the envelope.

Grace's mother, Christine McComas, says that "all funds collected will go to groups/projects/organizations that represent Grace's life-affirming spirit. Some possibilities include a scholarship through the schools, youth groups in the church, beautification projects for the community, or anything that would pay tribute to our beautiful and kind-hearted child who left us too soon." Details will follow when they become available.

The "early bird" discount has ended for Marriotts Ridge High School Summer Camps, but it is not too late to register your student. Go to http://www.mrhs-boosters.com/summer-camps to check out camp selection or register online. The cost is $155 for each week-long session, and every camper will receive a camp T-shirt or reversible practice jersey.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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