Middle schooler Hanna Al-Kowsi among 'brightest' [West Friendship]

Hanna Al-Kowsi's mother Tracey Davidson is beaming like never before. Mount View Middle School students and faculty are pretty proud too.

Hanna, an eighth grade student at Mount View Middle, was recently honored as "one of the brightest middle school students in the world" during a national awards ceremony sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth.

The Center for Talented Youth honored Hanna for her exceptional performance as a middle school student on the college SAT for middle school students. Hanna was one of 960 United States and international middle school students whose score was high enough to be invited to the ceremony on the Johns Hopkins University campus. Congratulations, Hanna.

A must for holiday shopping is what the organizers of the Maryland Alpacas and Fleece Festival call a fun filled family festival. "Give luxury. Give Alpaca", is the standard refrain from these artisans. I did just that last year in the form of alpaca socks for my Minneapolis clan who reported the warmth was like no other.

Becky Moy Behre of Greenbridge Pottery in Dayton is one of the vendors with her usual array of bright, bold and useful ceramics. Alpaca garments, fleece items, yarns, batting and more will be on display and on sale during the fifth annual show and festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds, Nov.15-16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fiber artists, spinners, weavers, knitters and craft artisans will be on hand to describe their works.

Live alpacas for the little kids to enjoy as well. Organizers do remind folks to leave your dogs at home. Need more information on this colorful event? Go to the web site http://www.marylandalpacas.org . Or for more information email festival@marylandalpacas.or go to http://www.marylandalpacas.org.

Sally and Shannon Stevens, the mother-daughter jewelry making team who make up Sunroom Studios are in the throes of preparation for holiday shows. The artisans wares will be available during the Howard County Conservancy Holiday Show on Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go to the website at http://www.sunroomstudiosonline.com/shows to check out all the venues for the holiday season.

West Friendship Elementary students are in for a treat beginning Nov. 17, when the annual Book Fair is in place at the school. This is the time of year when youngsters select favorite titles and hopefully gain a new passion for reading.

My own grandson Henry, now 8 years old, picked a book about the Titanic as a kindergarten student in North Carolina, and since that time has become the unofficial world expert on all facts about the famed ocean liner. The Book Fair at West Friendship continues until Nov. 25.

"We finished riding the Baja and then went snorkeling" was the latest entry on the Philtron's blog as they bike from Alaska to Argentina in the trip known as "The Philtron's Pedal South". The couple, Jason Bostron and Daisy Phillips, started this daunting and exhilarating journey last spring. In mid October a post declared, "We made it to Paradise, but the stingrays got here first." Reaching the Sea of Cortes and camping on the beach in one of the most scenic locations imaginable were just a few of the enthusiastic postings from the couple. The environment is a far cry from the origins of the cycling trip which began in Anchorage on May 10. Jason Bostron grew up in this area. To be continued.

Bette Hoover of Eden Valley invites community members to attend drop-in yoga sessions Monday evenings through Nov. 24, 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. Next sessions is set for Nov.3. The fee for each session is $13. The classes are for all levels, beginner to advanced. Interested? Call Hoover at 410-531-5610 or 202-329-4667. Eden Valley is at 5085 Green Bridge Road in Dayton.

Next meeting of the Celestial Searchers young astronomers club is set for Nov. 17, 7 p.m., in the Art room at Bushy Park Elementary. New members are always welcome.

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