Candy bars, gift wrap, enthusiastic students, and a group of parents with a goal have launched Mount Airy Middle School's media center into the computer age.
A state-of-the-art compact disc computer reference system, known fondly by the student body as the "486," is up and running in the heart of the school's library.
The $4,700 system includes a FastData 486 computer, a CTX Color Monitor, a Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet printer, a mouse, a modem and five software programs, said Parent Teacher Student Organization president Tom Roden.
"That money came from us selling candy bars and wrapping paper," he said.
Fascinated with the new system and the many tasks it can perform, students keep asking media specialist Virginia Norwood to whom it belongs. "I say it's yours," said Mrs. Norwood, because students were the ones who raised the money.
A touch of the keys and a wiggle of the mouse opens a window to a treasury of information contained in software packages such as National Geographic Mammals and the Academic American Encyclopedia. The system, which was set up by parent Forest Hudspeth, also features Word Perfect, Paintbrush, a world atlas, dictionary and much more.
As an example of what the system can do, Mrs. Norwood said a student can look up composer Ludwig van Beethoven, see his picture, read about his life and hear a portion of his Fifth Symphony. Students can print out a copy of the information.
"It gets all kinds of different uses," said Mrs. Norwood, who has been the media specialist at the school for 40 years. "I even have to get a sign-up sheet for after school."
Mrs. Norwood said the recent theme for library week was "Libraries Change Lives."
"Boy, has this changed mine," she said.
She has been learning to use the system along with the students. "It's fun. I've really enjoyed it."
Mr. Roden said the system was purchased now because there was no county funding planned in the near future for something like this for Mount Airy Middle School.
"We would like to expand the system," he said. "As time goes on, we expect to expand to more than one system."
The PTSO also is looking for parents to become involved in the group, and nominations are being taken for officers for the next school year. The next general meeting of the organization and elections will be held on June 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
For information, call (301) 829-1314 or 795-1744. Parents of fifth-graders who will attend the school in the fall are welcome.
Young anglers, age 16 years and under, are invited to try their luck at the Mount Airy Lions Club's First Parent/Child Fishing Tournament tomorrow at Mount Airy's Prospect Park on Prospect Road.
The tourney is part of a nationwide event coordinated locally by the Department of Natural Resources, said coordinator Jay Fulmer.
To make sure there are plenty of fish for the catching, channel catfish have been stocked in the park's picturesque pond for the tournament. Local anglers say the pond already has bass and bluegills, said Mr. Fulmer.
"Whoever catches the most pounds of fish" are the winners, explained Mr. Fulmer.
Participants will compete for prizes, which have been donated by local merchants, in four age categories: Under 4; 5 to 8 years; 9 to 12 years; and 13 to 16 years. Children under 10 years must be accompanied by an adult.
No preregistration is necessary for the free event. Registration begins at 7 a.m. at Prospect Park, and anglers may fish until 11 a.m.
Tournament winners and prizes will be announced between 11:30 a.m. and noon, said Mr. Fulmer.
Plastic bags will be on hand so that all anglers may bring home their catches of the day.
Participants are asked to bring fishing rods, tackle and worms. Snacks, hot dogs, drinks and baked goods will be available to purchase at the event.
For information, call (301) 829-LION.
Mount Airy area residents are encouraged to get their moms' vehicles squeaky clean at the Mother's Day Special Car Wash tomorrow at the Roy Rogers Restaurant on Ridge Avenue.
Armed with sponges and towels, local Boy Scouts will posted in the local eatery's parking lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enthusiastically wash and dry everything from sports cars to passenger vans. The cost of the fund-raiser is $4 for cars and $6 for vans.
Proceeds from the event will help participating Scouts raise funds for summer camp and offset Troop 460's expenses of playing host to the Carroll District's Boy Scouting recognition dinner June 9.
Bingo fans will want to clear their calendars on May 16 for the next Bonanza Bingo event at American Legion Post 191 in Mount Airy.
Advance tickets for the Post 191 fund-raiser are $25 per person and include a Sunday fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings at 12:45 p.m. Coffee and iced tea will be free all day. Tickets sold at the door will cost $30 per person, if they're available.
The games will begin at 2 p.m. and will include a variety of 32 paper bingo games with cash prizes. Each player will receive a package of nine cards on 20 regular games, six cards on five special games, and three cards on the jackpot game. Extra cards will be available.
Doors open at noon for the event. No one under the age of 16 years will be admitted, and no alcohol is permitted.
For ticket information, call Dick Baker at 795-6444 or William Chaney at (301) 829-2311.