Immaculate Conception School is gearing up to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, which runs Jan. 26-31. "This is a time for our school to shine," said admissions director Miriam Johnson. "We will kick off the festivities with a special alumni Mass and reception and the celebrating continues throughout the week." Activities include student appreciation day, open houses for prospective families and current families, student community outreach projects, teacher appreciation day and a special prayer service put on by the kindergarten class. For more information about open houses and the alumni Mass, contact the school at 410-427-4801 or visit http://www.theics.org.

Recently, at the Baltimore County Forensics League tournament, Notre Dame Preparatory School hosted 233 students from 22 schools. NDP's team tied with Loyola-Blakefield for first place. Congratulations to the following students who won in their respective divisions:¿Helena Baffoe-Bonnie won the silver medal in Extemporaneous Speaking,¿Megan Chaney won the silver medal in Impromptu Speaking,¿Abby Conte and Mary Sprague both won gold medals in Duo Interpretation of Literature,¿Minnie Jang won the gold medal for her Original Oratory,¿Maddie Purcell won the bronze medal in the very competitive Lincoln-Douglas debate and¿Emily Sann won the silver medal in Declamation.

At Towson High School, several musicians auditioned for the most recent All Honors Jazz Band and Chorus. Of the 36 positions available, 14 Towson High students were selected. Congratulations to instrumentalists Geoffrey Palo, (1st alto saxophone); Brian Seyler, (1st tenor saxophone); C. J. LaCasse (2nd tenor saxophone); Miranda Janello, (baritone saxophone); Luke Powers (1st trumpet); Tasos Papadopoulos (3rd trumpet); Zachary Jablow, (4th trumpet); Ryan Foretich (3rd trombone); Henri Colombat, (piano); Zakir Bulmer, (guitar); and Chris Silverwood, (drum set/aux. percussion). Congratulations as well to vocalists Allison Ready (soprano); Rachel Weeks, (alto); and Grant Davis, (tenor).

In addition to Towson High's musical success, their It's Academic Team, which includes Ed Fullerton, Geoffrey Palo, and Walter Young, participated in a very competitive match on Jan. 12 against Parkville and Archbishop Spalding. The match will air on WJZ-13 (CBS) on March 15 at 10 a.m.

During the weeks of Advent 2013, Immaculate Conception parishioners and members of the school community assisted many families throughout Baltimore city and county through its annual Giving Tree/Adopt-A-Family Program.

Preparation for the program, which assists 18 agencies and parishes throughout the Baltimore community, begins in July, and coordinator Mary Knudsen holds the regular meetings for the team of 27 members from September through November. In mid-November, trees in the parish narthex and the school are decorated with ornaments listing the needs provided to the team by the agencies and parishes during the summer.

Three of the agencies, the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and St. Ann Parish, also provide lists of needy families to the Giving Tree/Adopt-A-Family team. Those families are made available to the parish and school community to assist through "adoption."

The outcome of this year's program is that 40 needy families were assisted through "adoption"; 55 books were purchased and delivered by the Fr. O'Neill Knights of Columbus Council 4011 to Sisters Academy School for girls (a Giving Tree team member is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council); 1,310 gifts were donated to the other 17 agencies; and 262 gift cards were donated.

In addition to volunteer assistance from parishioners and members of the parish youth group, the Giving Tree team members donated 345 hours of dedicated effort to the program this year. This made "it possible to bring to life the Giving Tree's mission of carrying God's love into the homes of many throughout the Baltimore community this past Christmas," Knudsen said.

Do you like to bowl? Campus Hills Community Association will host a family bowling event for their community on Jan. 26, 3 p.m., at the AMF Towson Bowling Lanes on Southwick Drive. A one-time fee of $10 for Campus Hills residents covers two hours of bowling and shoe rental.

In addition, Campus Hills is hosting the "Have a Heart Charity Drive," which runs Feb. 10–16, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., at 611 Seabrook Road. Please drop off donations of new or gently used clothing, canned or boxed food, and hygiene products to benefit the Franciscan Center of Baltimore.