School orientations begin, marking summer's end [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

Can you believe how quickly the summer has passed? School orientations begin next week!

West Friendship Elementary will greet the new school year with several changes. First, the start and end times have shifted forward 10 minutes. The first bell will now sound at 9:05 a.m., the second bell will sound at 9:15 a.m., and school will dismiss at 3:45 p.m.

Also, the school will no longer post class lists on the front door. Students will still learn their teachers in advance via a postcard and can meet their classmates when they come for this year's Sneak Peek on Friday, Aug. 23, at 2:30 p.m. Orientation for kindergarten parents will take place a day earlier, on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 3 p.m. Call 410-313-5512 with any questions.

Finally, Principal Carol Hahn and Assistant Principal Ann Steger would like to announce several new staff members. Amy Petrilla is coming on board as the media specialist; Catherine Fox is joining the kindergarten team; Susan Schleicher and Samantha Mathis are the new 4th grade teachers; and Aneesa Bonner is a new student assistant. Welcome to West Friendship!

At Waverly Elementary, New Family Orientation is Thursday, Aug. 22, at 9:30 a.m. Kindergarten Orientation will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, and a Sneak Peek for the rest of the students will follow at 2:30 p.m. The school phone number is 410-313-2819.

Mount View Middle School will hold its open house for 7th and 8th grade families on Thursday, Aug. 22, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sixth grade families, meanwhile, should plan to attend an orientation on Friday, Aug. 23, 9-10 a.m. Call the school office at 410-313-5545 for more information.

Across the street, at Marriotts Ridge High School, fall athletes must attend a sportsmanship meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m. New Student Orientation will take place the following day, Thursday, Aug. 22, 9:45 a.m. to noon. Additionally, all students who plan to drive to school must attend one of the school's Safe Driving Presentations; the first two are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22, and Wednesday, Aug. 28, both at 7 p.m. For more information, call 410-313-5574.

As autumn approaches, colorful life and death battles begin to play out in the meadow ecosystem. Popular lecturer Mike Raupp, a University of Maryland professor of entomology, will return to the Howard County Conservancy on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 9 a.m. to teach families about "Milkweed, Monarchs, and Miracles of the Meadow." Come out for this free program and learn about the fascinating, symbiotic relationship between monarch butterflies and the toxic milkweed plant. Go to to learn more.

The Conservancy would also like to announce that two new members have joined its Board of Trustees: State Sen. Ed Kasemeyer and Patricia Gordon. Kasemeyer's district includes Elkridge, where the Conservancy will expand to add new programming in 2014. Gordon is a retired teacher and principal who served on the Howard County School Board. Welcome to both new members!

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church will not hold its monthly community feast on Thursday, Aug. 22, as originally planned. However, the event may still take place on Thursday, Aug. 29. Check back next week for more information.

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