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Manor Woods Elementary friends hold Ronald McDonald House fundraiser

Two years ago, 10-year-old Gracie Virden witnessed a horrific snow tubing accident involving her sisters, Bella and Chloe, while on vacation with her family at a Pennsylvania ski resort. Since the accident occurred out of town, the family was supported by a Ronald McDonald House during the hospital stay for then 4 1/2-year-old Bella (who required seven hours of surgery) and 8-year-old Chloe.

To pay tribute for the wonderful help her family received at the Ronald McDonald House, Gracie and her friends Caroline Crawford and Lilly Grant, all Manor Woods Elementary School classmates, organized a walk/run/bike ride and bake sale Nov. 13th. The trio helped raise more than $1,600 to benefit a local Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore.

Congratulations to Burleigh Manor Middle School students Celine Aslinia, Frank Kou and Rohan Laljani who received high honors on the SCAT test via the Johns Hopkins Centers for Talented Youth. This means they scored greater than or equal to a 480 in the math portion of the SCAT test or greater than or equal to a 460 in the verbal section of the test.

Another Burleigh Manor Bobcat in the news is Cecilia Hsu, who received the Top in Country Award for her performance on the math portion of the SAT-1 test. This mean she scored greater than or equal to a 650 on the math portion of the SAT. Way to go, students!

Andrea Ciniero and her family are hosting their annual outreach effort for Crum, W.Va., Dec. 2 and 3. For the past 15 years, the Ciniero family has parked a large commercial truck in front of their home to collect donations of gently used clothes, toys, furniture, household items and non-perishable food.

Donations will be accepted from Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. until Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. when the truck departs for West Virigina. The Cinieros live at 4925 Ellis Lane, in Ellicott City. Place donation items in a box or closed plastic bag.

For more information, call Andrea at 410-788-1406 or email her

If you need to burn off some of your Thanksgiving meal calories, the Centennial High School Boosters are sponsoring the inaugural Centennial Turkey Trot and Dog Walk Sunday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. at the school.

The event features something for the whole family including the pooch. Choose either the 5K run utilizing Centennial's cross country course through picturesque countryside, the 1-mile family walk (dogs welcome) around the northern and central parts of the school campus or the Kiddie K walk/run on the newly refurbished stadium track.

Ample parking is available on both sides of Centennial High and Burleigh Manor Middle schools. All proceeds from the race will go to benefit the student clubs and athletics at Centennial. Admission fee is $25 for individual walkers and runners, family groups of three or more are $65 and teams of 10 or more are $20 per person.

Participants are welcome to stay for the post-race party from 10 a.m. to noon, which includes an awards ceremony and contests.

As soon as the Turkey Trot is over, you won't have long to start thinking about Christmas. The Boosters will start their third annual Christmas tree sale fundraiser at 1 p.m. in the school's parking lot.

Turkey Trot participants will receive $5 off their purchase Nov. 27 only. The tree sale will continue on all weekends in December from 10 am to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information, visit the Booster's website at

Margaret Prechtl, Minister for children and families at Glen Mar United Methodist Church, told me about their fourth annual Walk to Bethlehem Dec. 3 and 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the church, 4701 New Cut Road.

Free and open to the public, the Walk to Bethlehem is an approximately 60-minute presentation led by guides, where participants will journey through outdoor settings where actors will enact the events leading to and immediately after the Messiah's birth. Following the outdoor theatrical production, attendees are invited inside the church to listen to Christmas carols led by Glen Mar choir members and to visit a marketplace as it looked in Jesus' day.

For more information, call the church at 410-465-4995.

The Jazz Ambassadors, the official touring big band of the U.S. Army, are coming to town for two free Holiday "Sound the Bells" concerts sponsored by the Centennial High School Band Backers.

The public is invited to attend the concerts Dec. 10 at 3 and 7 p.m. in the Centennial High School auditorium. A special performance by the Centennial High Jazz Band will open both shows.

Reserve and print your free tickets at then click the "schedule" tab followed by the "Jazz Ambassadors" hyperlink and scroll down to the Dec. 10 show. It's recommended that all guests have tickets, but every effort will be made to accommodate attendees at the event.

Enjoy the magic of historic Waverly Mansion dressed in it's holiday splendor during the "Holiday Tours at the Mansion" Dec. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon and 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Sponsored by the Howard County Council of Garden Clubs, the self guided, family friendly mansion tours will take visitors through various rooms each exquisitely decorated by club volunteers.

Homemade cookies and cider are included in all tours. Candlelights will adorn the mansion during the Dec. 5 evening session and the Die Liedersanger Madrigal Singers will perform during the Sunday afternoon and Monday evening tours.

Don't miss the craft table sale filled with holiday gifts, fresh greens, wreaths and other decorations for sale prepared by different garden clubs located in a heated tent behind the mansion. Proceeds from the table sales will benefit the local clubs' community service projects including scholarships, senior citizen garden therapy and community beautification projects.

Tour tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children 12 years old and younger and can be purchased at the door. The mansion is at 2300 Waverly Mansion Drive, in Marriottsville.

As a historic site, unfortunately the mansion is not handicap accessible. For more information, call 443-812-2410.

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