Fifth-grade students at Cromwell Valley Elementary are working with Towson artist Kathy Fick (www.kathyfickdesigns.com) in a genuine act of community giving by painting bowls for the Empty Bowls Baltimore Project. The painting party was scheduled to take place Feb. 14.

"This is a way for our fifth-grade students to learn to give back to the community," said Flo Falatko, fifth-grade teacher at Cromwell Valley.

The snow date for the event is Feb. 28.

Each student donated $10 for a bowl, which they will paint in class. Fick is providing the bowls and materials and will then glaze them.

"This is my fifth year helping with the Empty Bowls Project," Fick said. "I have 467 bowls, and 15 painting parties scheduled. I am hoping to have close to 700 bowls for this year's event."

Fick holds the parties in homes, businesses, schools, churches, and with groups such as the Girl Scouts. Parties range from 8 to 140 participants, ages 3 and up, according to Fick.

"I have learned so much about the homeless in Baltimore and what St. Vincent DePaul does for them," Fick said. It helps "those in need to better themselves so they will be able to help themselves."

St. Vincent de Paul provides community services to people suffering the effects of hunger, homelessness, and poverty in Baltimore. The Empty Bowls event takes place March 22 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Visit the Empty Bowls Baltimore Project at http://emptybowlsbaltimore.org/.

In other Towson news, Sister Patricia McCarron, headmistress of Notre Dame Preparatory School, has been named one of six national recipients of the National Catholic Education Association's Educational Excellence Award. This award honors Catholic secondary school educators for their service and dedication, outstanding contributions to Catholic secondary education, and achievements in Catholic secondary education at the local, diocesan, state and national levels.

"I am deeply honored by this award and recognize that it is one I share with the entire Notre Dame Prep community," McCarron said.

The Calvert Hall Robotics Program, moderated by Renie Brown, of the school's math department, was set to host its first Cardinal Classic VRC Tournament on Feb. 15. Forty-four teams, including eight from Calvert Hall, registered to participate in the competition, which featured middle- and high-school teams.

For more information, go to http://www.robotevents.com/catalog/product/view/id/26604/category/511.