Students, faculty and parents of area schools are participating this week in American Education Week, which runs through Nov. 18. Parents are welcome all during that week, but some of our schools have arranged for one special Visitation Day.

That day was scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Towson High School and at St. Pius X School.

Our other area schools have specified certain Visitation Days for specific grades.

Rodgers Forge Elementary School had its kindergarten and first grade days on Nov. 14 and 15, respectively. Second grade was scheduled for Nov. 16, and the third and fourth grade is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17. Fifth-grade visits will be welcome on Friday, Nov. 18.

At Dumbarton Middle School, visits are Nov. 16 for the seventh grade, and Nov. 17 for the eighth grade.

While we are on the subject of schools, we offer congratulations to Jane Barranger, principal at Towson High School, and Glenn Hyman, Towson's Math Department chairman, who were in Washington this week to formally accept the National Blue Ribbon School Award.

What a thrilling moment and what a prestigious recognition it has been for Towson High School. Congratulations!

Another round of applause is appropriate for the newly elected 2011-12 Student Government Association officers at Dumbarton Middle School. They are: Connor Reid, president; Sam Loeffler, vice president; Andrew Pagano, treasurer; Jonas Byars, secretary; and Chastity Brown, historian.

Daniel Sievers, SGA adviser and math teacher, also tells us that the SGA is continuing its canned food drive, which helps needy Baltimore County families. Most of the food goes to the Assistance Center of Towson Churches. All donations of canned foods are welcome and will be accepted until early December. Thank to those who are able to help!

Looking ahead to December, we see that on Dec. 10, St. Pius X School, 6432 York Road, will host its annual Breakfast with Santa, from 9 to 11 a.m. Children and their parents are invited to stay and enjoy the craft fair, held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be a special section Santa's Secret Shop for children only. We'll have more details about this fun event in our next column.

Jane MacMillan alerted us to a nifty idea for keeping in touch with former classmates. She and her colleagues from the Towson High School's Class of 1959 recently gathered for a birthday luncheon.

Sixty-nine graduates celebrated their collective birthdays with candles, cake and ice cream. Everyone enjoyed it and there were many requests for an encore.

As Jane said, "Five years between reunions is just too long to wait. Friends for decades — priceless!"

Although it snowed the day before, Oct. 30 was a perfect sunny day, although cold, for a Halloween party. We heard that the Gaywood Green was alive with an array of costumes and excitement. Congratulations to the organizers of this wonderful community event.

If you like art, you will not want to miss "Art: The Gift of Beauty & Inspiration," now on display at the Ascension Lutheran Church's Parlor Gallery, 7601 York Road.

This is Ascension's opening exhibition of the season, produced by the Women Artists' Forum, and will run through Jan. 6. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And finally, Rodgers Forge resident Chris Batten offered an account of the cross country trip that she and her husband, Dave, took this summer. They drove to Springfield, Ill., where she said they enjoyed a tour of Abraham Lincoln's home.

"I cannot tell you how moving it was to run my hand up and down the same banister that he touched," she said. "We then went to the cemetery to see the tomb. It was very impressive and rightfully so."

The couple then drove to Ontario, where friends own an island in the Winnipeg River.

"No phone, no TV, just fishing, reading, swimming and great company," she said.

Sounds tempting!

Till we meet again ...