Busy students have much to celebrate in Spelling and Geography bees [North Laurel/Savage]

Laurel Leader

No snow days means our local students have been busy at school. The youngsters at Hammond Middle School have celebrated many academic accomplishments lately. The annual Spelling Bee was held on Jan. 19 and sponsored by staff member LeRay Blanding and Sumaira Baywa, president of the PTA. Seventeen students participated in this successful event. The first-place winner was seventh-grader Aymen Haq. Sixth-grader Priscilla Ye took second place and third place honors were given to Philana Chang, a sixth grader. Aymen will represent Hammond Middle in the County Spelling Bee on March 17.

Then on Jan. 26, students were challenged again in the subject of geography. The third annual Geography Bee was supported by social studies team leader Jim Riley and volunteer Bandini. Winners included eighth-grader Daniel Fu in first place; seventh-grader Christopher Bandini in second place and seventh-grader Aymen Haq in third place. Daniel will move on to take a state-level online test to qualify for the National Geo Bee in Washington D.C. Good luck Aymen and Daniel!

Other Hammond Middle schoolers join students from across Howard County as winners in the annual Reflections Contest, a nationwide program that gives elementary, middle and high school students a chance to share their artistic talents. This year's theme, "What's Your Story?" had winners in six categories: photography, literature, film, dance, musical composition and visual arts. Winners from North Laurel included Atholton High School students Sophie Lasher in photography, Christine Kwon in visual arts and Alec Chase as a special artist. They were awarded "Outstanding Interpretation of Theme" as first place winners. Second place winners earned the "Award of Excellence". They were Jamie Kotler from Atholton and Vishwawiney Kopparapu from Hammond Middle for photography and Destiny Favery for film, also from Hammond Middle. Another Atholton High School student, Andersen Hansen, was a third place winner earning the "Award of Merit" for photography. A state-level competition follows for these students. The talent in our neighborhoods is overflowing!

Monthly Bingo nights at the Savage Fire Company Hall continues this weekend. Games start at 7 p.m on Saturday, Feb. 18. Twenty games are included in your admission cost which is $20 in advance and $22 at the door but seating is limited so get your tickets early. Doors will open at 5 p.m. so you will have time to purchase snacks and additional game cards which will cost $5 for three cards. Call 301-725-6409or301-604-2468 for tickets or email gorman_s@hotmail.com your name, phone number and number of tickets you need. Remember to park behind the firehouse.

Even though it is winter, it is time to think about your spring garden. Master Gardner Kent Phillips can help with his presentation titled "Spring Vegetable Gardening" at the Savage Branch library on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. Participants will learn how to prepare garden soil for spring planting, which crops like the cool spring weather, and which structures are needed for support. Learning how to plant seeds both inside for later transplanting and directly sowing outside will also be discussed. Tips on how to protect crops from both critters and harsh weather will also be shared. Registration is through the Savage Branch on-line at http://www.hclibrary.org or with the staff on 410-313-0760. The Savage Branch is located at 9525 Durness Lane, Laurel, 20723.

Unfortunately I must let you know that thefts have happened from cars in the middle of the night throughout our neighborhoods. Mostly, loose change and small items have been taken from unlocked cars. Pick-up trucks have had the tailgates dropped and taillights broken so the brake light bulbs can be removed. The truck owners are only noticing this once they have lifted the tailgates back up. So please be on the lookout and watch out for your neighbors' cars and trucks, too.

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