Sunset Elementary School unveils revamped teacher's lounge

Sunset Elementary School unveiled its newly renovated teacher's lounge Sept. 11.

The unveiling was the first time teachers laid eyes on the finished lounge. The room featured new flooring, cabinetry, appliances, window treatments, paint and countertops.

Fifth-grade teacher Charity Crawford said the lounge was like "walking into my kitchen at my house, except nicer." She's excited to make coffee with the new Keurig and have two microwaves for added convenience.

Shelby Flanagan, a fourth grade teacher, said the room was "homey" and she's looking forward to being "able to relax and take a break" during the school day.

Lowe's in Glen Burnie selected Sunset Elementary School, 8572 Fort Smallwood Road, as the recipient of its annual nonprofit community project, Lowe's Heroes. They donated nearly $10,000 worth of materials and labor needed to renovate the space for school staff.

Principal Toni Carr and reading specialist Candida "Candy" St. John presented plaques to Lowe's employees Temple Anderson, assistant store manager of sales, and store manager Charles Bailey during the unveiling ceremony.

With the renovated lounge packed with teachers, Bailey thanked educators for their hard work and dedication. He noted his wife teaches at a school in Perry Hall, therefore he understands teachers need "a place to go and recharge their batteries."

Carr and St. John wanted to renovate the teacher's lounge for years. They were unable to generate enough money for the entire scope of the project. They felt their teachers deserved a comfortable space to congregate and relax.

St. John took the initiative to contact local churches and organizations hoping to raise money to complete the renovation. She said she was turned down repeatedly.

In June, St. John visited her "last hope," the Lowe's in Glen Burnie. She asked them for help creating a design plan for the school's potential lounge and wanted to know how much a renovation would cost.

While working on the design with Lynn Menefee, a Lowes cabinet specialist, St. John was informed the company was seeking applicants for Lowe's Heroes.

Menefee spoke to Anderson to find out what paperwork St. John needed to complete to be eligible for the community project.

St. John wrote a request for help on school letterhead outlining why the teacher's lounge needed upgrades and sent it to Lowe's. She also sent photos of the rusty stove and refrigerator, and the outdated lounge which hadn't been remodeled since the school was constructed in 1970.

Anderson and Bailey said the school's project specifications lined up with their budget and expertise, therefore the application was accepted by corporate and planning commenced.

When St. John was notified of the project's approval, "I got chills, it was such a wonderful feeling," she said.

Over the summer, St. John worked to coordinate renovation efforts between Lowe's, a project manager with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, and the fire marshal to ensure the project had proper clearance and compliance.

The renovation was overseen by Anderson. Although he volunteered for previous Lowe's Heroes projects, this was the first time he oversaw the venture. It was also the first time he witnessed reactions from people personally impacted by the completion of a community project.

For three days, 12 Lowe's employees volunteered their time to renovate the space. The project doubled as a training exercise for employees working in the painting, flooring and cabinet sections of the store.

Anderson said teaching can sometimes be a "thankless" job which is why he wanted to give back to educators who he believes are heroes.

"The smiles on teacher's faces, that's my favorite part," Anderson said.

All-night bingo

he ladies auxiliary of Orchard Beach VFD, 7549 Solley Road, is holding an all-night bingo Sept. 22. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., games start at 7:30 p.m. Packages cost $30 for 70 games, no sharing of packages.

For more information, call Janet Aro at 443-798-8434.

​Blood drive

St. Jane Catholic Church, 8513 St. Jane Way, is holding an America Red Cross blood drive in its school hall, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 23. A free meal will be provided for donors.

A breakfast of pancakes and sausage will be served 8-11:30 a.m. and a BBQ lunch will be served 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Appointments can be made online at redcrossblood.org, enter code: SJFRCC or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Walk-ins are welcome.

Golf course

Knights of Columbus Council 10966 of St. Jane Catholic Church in Pasadena is holding a benefit golf tournament on Sept. 24 at Compass Pointe Golf Course, 9010 Fort Smallwood Road. Proceeds will benefit Special Olympics of Anne Arundel County, Bello Machre, and Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation.

Registration will be held from 8-8:30 a.m. and the tournament will begin at 9 a.m.

Prices range from $125 for individuals to sponsorships up to $1,500 with signs displayed on the course.

For more information, call Ray Liebenthal at 410-925-9187.

Share your Pasadena news with Atalie Day Brown at adbrownmdgazette@gmail.com

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