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Summer's gone or going and Severna Park goes back to class


Senior citizens have often complained that time passes too quickly. And if you ask any child today standing in the check-out line, his arms filled with spiral notebooks and ball point pens, about the passage of summer, he's sure to agree with his elders. It went too quickly.

Here, for your reading pleasure and information, is Severna Park's annual return-to-the-classroom column.

Thirty years ago this September, the doors of Benfield Elementary School opened for the first time.

School officials have scheduled a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Sept. 8 to kick off a year of celebration for Benfield's 30th anniversary.

Weather permitting, students, parents and guests will gather on the front lawn for comments by Larry Campbell, the current principal, and Jane McNeel, his predecessor.

If it rains, only students will be allowed to attend the indoor ceremony because of limited seating capacity.

For more information, contact PTA Birthday Committee Chairman Peg Morrissey at 544-8492.

Besides Mr. Campbell and Ms. McNeel, one other administrator has sat behind the principal's desk, Mary McGoury, the first principal.

Every gym class, every race, every hop, skip and jump during all those years has been started by the whistle of one woman: Physical Education Director Barbara Hitchings.

For several years, the student body consisted of grades one through six. In 1971, public kindergarten was offered. Teachers like Carol Strahlman patiently taught 5-year-olds about the world outside their families, and little boys and girls fell in love with their first teacher.

Briefly, during the early 1970s, Benfield students attended school on split shifts because of over-crowding.

Today, Benfield's next-door neighbor, is Severna Park Middle School with sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Severna Park elementary schools delayed sending sixth-graders to the middle school because it was filled with temporary guests. Students from Shipley's Choice Elementary School (then known as West Severna Park) were there for 4 1/2 years, while their building was under construction. Severna Park Elementary School youngsters spent the last two years at the middle school building while their building was renovated and expanded.

This year, those students and their teachers are celebrating their return to the 50-year-old building with a new wing.

Principal Patricia Emory and her staff are planning an open house from 2 to 5 p.m., Sept. 27.

"I'm very excited, and I have been here every day, watching every step and am used to seeing it," says Ms. Emory. "But when the teachers, who haven't seen it before, walk in they comment on how beautiful everything looks.

We're all very excited."

The old cafeteria has been converted into a media center. A new gym/cafeteria with a stage has been built with a movable wall that can be removed to provide seating for 500 people. Most of the furnishings will be new.

Severna Park Elementary's phone number is 222-6577.

St. Martin's-in-the-Field Day School on Benfield Road is accepting registrations for two-day nursery school for 3-year-olds, pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds and kindergarten for 5-year-olds.

St. Martin's is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, offering a program of language arts, math, science, social studies, music, art and physical activities.

For additional information, contact Director Jane Spohn at 647-7055 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

If you are an adult without a high school diploma, the county is eager to help.

The county is offering residents and business employees a chance to earn their general equivalency diplomas (GED) at two locations under a program managed by Anne Arundel Community College.

The two locations are the Aris T. Allen Annapolis Learning Center on West Street and the Arundel Center North in Glen Burnie.

There also are free programs in upgrading basic reading, writing and math skills at those sites.

Register at either location from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

For more information, call 974-8752.

A special selection committee at Severn School has appointed seniors to serve as prefects. Among them are several from Greater Severna Park: Kristen Bauer, Kara Hamilton and Hank Taliaferro, of Arnold; Brian Cha, of Millersville; and Christine Cole, Michael English and Ben Harries, of Severna Park.

Chosen for their leadership potential, overall school record and performance during a personal interview, prefects serve as student representatives on the conduct review board; help with new student orientation; give advice to underclass student council officers; and as faculty assistants.

Did your parents teach you about the birds and the bats, the butterflies and the squirrels?

No? Well, everything you ever wanted to know about these tree-top friends can be learned at the Wild Bird Center on Riggs Road. Among the innovations offered by owner Joanne Riddle are a free newsletter subscription for adults and special classes for all ages.

Afternoon classes in September and October will teach youngsters about birds and man's relationship with them.

A program for the entire family is "The Art of Falconry" with Michael Dupuy and his red-tailed hawk, Cinnamon, from 1 to 3 p.m., Sept. 19. Mr. Dupuy discusses identifying raptors (birds of prey), the sport of falconry and how raptors fit into the ecosystem.

Reservations are required for this free program. Call 647-3100.

The Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) will offer customers a chance to voice their opinions about schedules, equipment, personnel and routes from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sept. 17 at Anne Arundel Community College.

The Listening Booth will be staffed by MTA information agents, a customer relations representative and two managers, as well as county commuter assistance office staff.

For more information, call 541-2341.

The county library system has completed its summer reading program and declared it a huge success. Participation was up nearly 100 percent over last year.

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