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Linthicum parent named Volunteer of the Year by Anne Arundel County Public Schools

What began as a way to help her son’s class 16 years ago turned into a legacy of volunteerism and a passion for educating others for Michelle Fowler. In May, she was presented with the 2018 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Volunteer of the Year award.

In 2002, Fowler volunteered in her son’s kindergarten class at Linthicum Elementary School and soon realized just how much an extra set of hands benefited the entire classroom.

“Whether making copies, working with small groups of students, cutting and pasting or hanging student projects for display, freeing up a little time for the teacher to plan lessons or give attention to small groups of children yielded positive benefits,” Fowler said.

She joined the school’s Parent Teacher Association and organized events that promoted the arts, literacy and teacher appreciation.

Her spirit of volunteerism continued as she followed her son and daughter to Lindale Middle School. There, she helped with school-wide activities, including events for honor roll students and book fairs. She also worked with teachers to organize performances, and coordinated music festivals and performances.

When her children attended North County High School, Fowler continued to volunteer and support the arts. Her advocacy for music and theater isn’t something that came naturally, however. Instead, it was a way to support her son, who graduated from the school in 2015, and her daughter, who graduated this June, who were both active in the arts.

“As I spent time with the orchestra and band teachers, I could see their dedication and desire for their students to enjoy and excel in their musicianship,” she said. “At the same time, the teachers have to deal with very limited resources for funding for instruments and sheet music, and even travel opportunities.”

Because of this, Fowler offered to speak to the administration about the benefits of music programs for children.

“The orchestra and bands at North County are the largest student groups in the school with over 160 students participating,” Fowler said. “Unlike sports teams that change from season to season, performing music ensembles are a commitment for the entire school year. One teacher with groups of 25 to 80 students who rehearse, perform and travel certainly can use a helping hand at times and I am happy to be a part of a great group of parent volunteers who do just that.”

Her advocacy efforts and passion for helping others earned her the respected award, which Fowler says she wasn’t expecting.

“I was honored and surprised. Volunteering is not something I do for recognition and there are many deserving volunteers working hard in our school system,” she said.

For more information about how to volunteer, visit https://www.aacps.org/.

Empowerment Self-Defense Class

The Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave., will hold a Pride Month Workshop empowerment self-defense class Saturday at 2 pm.

Taught by Christian Knoll of Arundel Aikikai, the workshop aims to help members and allies of the LBGTQ community identify their unique self-defense needs, as well as learn techniques to defend themselves.

For more information, call (410) 222-6260 or visit https://www.aacpl.net/location/brooklynpark.

Strawberry Festival

The 28th annual Ann Arrundell County Historical Society Strawberry Festival is June 23, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Benson-Hammond House, 7101 Aviation Blvd. in Linthicum.

Celebrate and learn about Anne Arundel County’s agricultural history at this family-friendly event, featuring face painting, crafts, demonstrations, food and more. Guests can also enjoy homemade strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, chocolate-dipped strawberries and strawberry wine and beer.

The Benson-Hammond House will be open for the day for self-guided tours. Historical reenactors dressed in period costume will also be available to answer questions.

The rain date is June 24, for this free event. Airport Lot A will offer complimentary parking with shuttle services to the festival. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Benson-Hammond House and the Historical and Genealogical Research Society at the Kuethe Library in Glen Burnie.

Call (410) 760-9679 or visit http://www.aachs.org/ for more information.

Army Field Band Performance

The United States Army Field Band Semper Six will perform a woodwind recital Monday at 7 p.m. at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park, in the Studio 194 Theatre.

Featuring musicians from three premier bands, the Semper Six will perform original works and arrangements, as well as selections from Dvořák, Ponchielli, Bach and Ives.

For tickets and information, visit http://chesapeakearts.org/.

Free Lunch for Children

Anne Arundel County Public Schools will offer free lunch for children, ages 2 to 18, this summer, as part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

Meals will be offered at Brooklyn Park Middle School June 18-Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m. and North County High School June 25-Aug. 9 at 12:45 p.m. There are no income or registration requirements. Meals will not be provided on June 26 or July 4.

Call (410) 222-5900 for more information.

Email your North County news from Brooklyn Park, Pumphrey and Linthicum to Heather Vecchioni at northcountygazette@gmail.com.

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