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Robotics squad at River Hill takes on challengers [Clarksville]

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. You probably already know this is my favorite annual holiday. It brings back warm memories of happy family gatherings through the years.

This year I'm especially thankful for eyesight. Constantly improving laser surgical procedures are a wonderful blessing. I see sunlight sparkling on the water and a magical world bathed in moonlight.

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Are you especially thankful for something this year? Send me an email to share with others in Clarksville and beyond.

If there are children in your family, great local schools are a blessing. There are already exciting December events on my calendar.

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The River Hill STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Boosters with a local Boy Scout troop will co-host River Hill's First Robotics Challenge at River Hill on Dec. 7. Team 4067 will compete with teams from all over Maryland and beyond in a qualifying tournament for the 2014-2015 season of competition — Cascade Effect. It's an all-day event. You'll want to bring the entire family around 2 p.m. to see 18-inch robots made from scratch in action.

While you are enjoying the Howard Qualifier, be sure to learn more about STEM Boosters summer camps for ages 9-13. Kids have loads of fun while actually learning lots.

To learn more about STEM Boosters and the First Robotics Challenge, go to http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc.

Would you like to volunteer for the Dec. 7 tournament? Go to http://www.usfirst/roboticsprogram.org/ftc/volunteer and follow the link at the bottom to the Volunteer Information Matching System. Look for the FTC "Howard Qualifier" on Dec. 7.

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Are you thinking about joining the STEM Boosters? Go to http://www.RHHSSTEMBoosters.org.

You can support many River Hill students by dining at Chick-fil-A on Johns Hopkins Road Dec. 18, 5-8 p.m. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to RHHS Boosters.

And, aren't we all thankful for music? Pointers Run music students will present a winter concert at River Hill High School on Dec. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

In times of emergency, we are all grateful to see first responders arriving. The Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department will host Santa and his elf helper on Dec. 13 in the engine bay. While little ones enjoy a chat with the jolly old elf by the Christmas tree, everyone else can enjoy drinks, pizza, cookies and cupcakes. Save some for the little ones, too. Pizza will be served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. It's free for those ages 5 and younger. For those ages 6 and up, it's $6.

The Columbia Figure Skating Club announces its annual production of "The Nutcracker on Ice" the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14. There will be multiple performances. This production is the only ice skating show of its kind in the Baltimore-Washington area and has been presented to the community for over 25 years.

Learn more by going to http://www.columbiafsc.com

Through bleak winter days, birds still brighten our days with color and song. You might show some appreciation by brightening their stay with seed and other appropriate food.

Download a free copy of the Howard County Bird Club's newsletter the Goldfinch at http://www.howardbirds.org/Goldfinch/141112_HCBC_newsletter.pdf.

This Thanksgiving column would not complete without noting that I am thankful for each of you who read and share news items with me for the Clarksville community.

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