Hopefully, everyone enjoyed a wonderful beginning to 2014! A new year always provides us a chance to begin again, to make new promises to ourselves and others, and hopefully succeed in our new endeavors. The students returned to school quickly following the dropping of the New Year's Eve ball and many receive their opportunity to shine with mid-term exams occurring next week. As a reminder, there is no school on Monday, Jan. 20 and all schools dismiss two hours early on Jan. 21 through 24 when high school students take their mid-term exams. Good luck to all of you! Schools also close on Monday. and Tuesday, Jan. 27 and 28 for teacher work days. Report cards go out on Feb. 4.

If you have a student ready for pre-K next year, please note that the schools begin taking applications on Feb. 4. A student must be age 4 by Sept. 1, 2014 in order to apply. Please call your home school for information on eligibility requirements for the pre-K program. Brock Bridge Elementary can be reached at 301-498-6280 and Maryland City Elementary at 301-725-4256.

Maryland City Recreation Council basketball continues as we quickly approach the spring season. Registration for spring soccer and baseball takes place on Mondays, Feb. 3 and Feb. 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. in front of Brock Bridge Elementary School located at 405 Brock Bridge Road. Soccer accepts registration for all players [boys and girls] ages 3-17 as of Sept. 1, 2013. Practices for ages 7 and over begin in early March with the 3- to 6-year-olds beginning in late March-early April. Soccer registration costs remain $105 for ages 7 and over and $60 for ages 3-6 and includes uniforms. If you played soccer with MCRC in the fall of 2013 there is a reduced rate available. Soccer registration for ages 7 and over is required by Feb. 12 to ensure a spot on a team as team registrations with the county league are required immediately after this date. Don't miss out on a fun spring sport.

MCRC baseball accepts registration for all players [boys and girls] ages 4-17 as of April 1, 2014. Practice for ages 9 and over begins in mid-March with the 4-8 year olds beginning in early April. Baseball registration costs $125 for ages 9 and over and $65 for ages 4-8 and includes uniforms. MCRC also invites community leaders and parents to step up as a volunteer coach for one of the soccer or baseball teams. Contact my husband, John Venit, at dpws@aol.com or 301-725-7711 for more information.

Finally, don't forget to help our local Maryland City Volunteer Fire Department by attending the next Basket Bingo on Feb.1. The authentic Longaberger and Vera Bradley Bingo occurs at the MCVFD, 3498 Fort Meade Road. The doors open at 5 p.m., with games beginning at 7 p.m. Come early to get a great seat and enjoy some delicious food available for purchase for dinner.

Prices start at $21 and up, with discounts available with reservations. In addition to the regular games, there will be two jackpot games, King Tutt pull tabs, two prize raffles and one 50/50 cash raffle. Mighty Balls and Pull Tabs for cash prizes will also be available.

Grab a few neighbors and support the brave men and women who are there when we need them.