Let's test your knowledge of Maryland history. Do you know the importance of Mary and Caroline Pickersgill? The fourth grade students at West Friendship Elementary do; they learned in a very hands-on manner this year.
To answer the question, I must back up the story to last summer, when West Friendship teachers Sue Donaldson and Darlene Heflin and retired teacher Peggy Dash visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore. While there, they each put a stitch in a replica of the 1814 flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the lyrics for the Star-Spangled Banner. This flag sports 15 stars and 15 stripes, representing the first 15 states of the nation.
Donaldson decided to make the past come alive for West Friendship's fourth graders by purchasing an 1814 flag kit for the students to assemble and fly on Flag Day. Of course, this project is a bit labor-intensive to complete solely in the classroom, so parent volunteer Leah Wilson sewed the flag and ironed the stars with help from her daughter, Rowan. The Wilsons thus enacted the roles of Mary and Caroline Pickersgill, a Baltimore flag maker and her daughter, creators of the original American flag for Fort McHenry.
The students stitched the stars, with additional assistance from some third graders and teachers. On Friday, June 13, the entire school gathered outside to raise the new commemorative flag. The Advanced Band then performed the "Star-Spangled Banner," and history came full circle.
The school would like to thank Leah Wilson for her many hours of work. Kudos to the teachers, too, for creating such an engaging and interactive learning experience for the students!
The Howard County Conservancy is offering two programs this month. On Thursday, July 10, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., registrants can enjoy "A Visit to Dr. Duke's Green 'Farmacy' Garden with Helen Metzman: Wellness with Herbs and Medicinal Plants." The Fulton-based farm contains a wealth of plants that have been used worldwide for medicinal purposes. Go to http://www.hcconservancy.org to register online; space is limited. The cost is $20 per person.
Kids 10 and under can enjoy the next program, "Building Woodland Fairy Houses," on Saturday, July 12, at 10 a.m. Bring a basket to collect natural construction materials and then create a magical abode. Conservancy staff will photograph the dwellings for a Fairy House Memory Book on display in the education center. This program is free.
Historic Sykesville continues to provide free entertainment throughout the summer and has added something new for this month only. The Sykesville Concerts in the Park series will kick off with the acoustic duo Soulflower on Friday, July 11, 7-9 p.m., at Millard Cooper Park. Parking is free across the street at Sykesville Middle School, and an onsite snack bar will offer hot dogs, popcorn, candy, nachos, Hoffman's ice cream and beverages.
The following evening, Saturday, July 12, Sykesville Cinema will feature "Elf" as its monthly Outdoor Movie in the Park. The movie will begin at dusk at South Branch Park. Snacks will be available for purchase, but remember to bring a blanket or lawn chairs. In case of inclement weather, call the Sykesville Cinema Hotline at 443-300-8724.