As fair season approaches, a group of talented students from Glenelg High School are preparing for an annual tradition…running the fried dough stand!

Ever since I was a young kid, this stand has been one of my favorites at the Howard County Fair, but it does more than just provide a great treat for the public. Each year at the fair, the Glenelg High marching unit raises money for both its spring trip and the unit in general by manning the fried dough stand near the Howard 4-H Exhibit Building and across from the animal barns.

These talented musicians, as well as silks and dance performers, look forward to this fun tradition each year. This is a time not only for fundraising, but also for seeing friends the students may not have seen since the middle of June when school let out and may not see again until late August when school starts again. This year, the students are coming off of a very successful year: top marks in the county adjudications, highest scores at OrlandoFest at Universal Studios in Florida over spring break and a very successful European Tour to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Jazz a Juan in France and the Jazzhaus in Freiburg, Germany for the jazz band. Sadly, though, they were rained out at Jazz a Vienne.

Stop by the fried dough stand to support your local students! See you at the fair!

Speaking of the fair, among the many familiar faces you will see around the fair, you may see the DiBenedetto family, along with some help from close family friends, taking photos Aug. 9 as part of the Senior Day activities.

The DiBenedettos – including Debbie and Dennis, along with their daughters Jessica and Katerina, Debbie's sister, Linda Oliva, mother, Pat Oliva, and friends Pat and Lauren Strewig — have turned a photography hobby into a great community service over the past two years. They have attended 18 different functions during this time, where they have provided free family photography.

The DiBenedettos have set up their photography equipment at community events or fundraisers such as the Glenwood Middle School fundraiser for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, Walter Reed Army Hospital, and the Laurel Community Day.

At these events, the DiBenedettos will take approximately 20 to 25 photos per family and then put the photos on a CD or email them to the family. The family can then take the photos to a local photo processing center (such as CVS or Walmart), and have prints made of their choice of favorite photos. As Debbie said these photo shoots "provide the opportunity for family photos to families who may not have the resources to have professional family portraits done, and you can never go back in time to capture those memories. We get a lot of satisfaction knowing these pictures may be treasured for many years to come."

While the DiBenedettos admit that they are not professional photographers, Debbie goes on to say that "most of the photos turn out really well and we have even had several families return to certain events in the last few years to have updated photos taken."

What a great and creative way the DiBenedettos have found to provide a service to those in the community.

It seems hard to believe that back to school time is right around the corner. In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing some back to school news. Of course as you think about back to school shopping, don't forget to remember those who may be less fortunate in the community.

Karen Mobley told me that the Neighbor Network will once again provide fully stocked backpacks to underpriviledged children for the start of the new school year. If you're interested in donating items to this cause in any capacity, it would be greatly appreciated. Each student will receive a backpack filled with a variety of items, including pencil erasers, pink erasers, a pencil case, a pencil sharpener, a box of 12 No. 2 pencils, a 12-pack of colored pencils, black or blue pens, a ruler, scissors, glue, glue sticks, notebook paper, an eight-pack of magic markers, protractor, a 24-pack of crayons, highlighters, marble composition books, one-subject spiral notebooks, and pocket folders with fasteners to hold paper.

Donations of one or many items will gladly be accepted. To make arrangements to drop off items, email Karen at neighbornetwk@aol.com or call 443-506-7394. Your support is so greatly appreciated.

The Community Advisory Council to the Howard County Board of Education is seeking at-large members for the 2011-12 school year. The CAC serves as a channel for concerns, advice and information from the public to reach the school board. Members have an opportunity to study and have input into curriculum, education policy, redistricting and budget.

The council generally meets at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. At-large members serve a two-year term. For more information, email CAC Chairman Ted Mallo at tjmallo@verizon.net.