All right, class, it's time for a little quiz. What former Ellicott City resident has been featured in both People magazine and National Geographic?
She also has hobnobbed with former President Bush and acted as aide to former Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner during the Reagan administration.
Still don't know?
One more hint: this woman graduated from Mount Hebron High School, and while there ranked as all-American in the discus and as regional Junior Olympic swimmer.
The go-getter is Sandra Stosz, now 33, who grew up on St. John's Lane with her three younger brothers, spending a great deal of time at the Forest Hills Swim Club.
She left Ellicott City for the Coast Guard Academy, graduated in 1981, and has since proceeded to have adventure upon adventure.
Currently, Sandra is serving as the first female commander of a Coast Guard ice breaker, on the Katmai Bay, which is stationed in the Great Lakes in Michigan.
Sandra enjoys her position, asking, "How many jobs are there where you can take a boat out and hit things on purpose?"
What's next for Sandra?
She's finishing up an MBA at Northwestern University and hoping that the added education and an anticipated promotion will lead to another captain's assignment, this time to a larger ship.
If you want to look her up in the media, Ms. Stosz is featured in a two-page spread, on pages 61 and 63, in the April 8, 1991, issue of People, and her photo is on page 84 of this month's National Geographic.
Thanks to Sandra's former neighbor, Kay Fila, who brought Ellicott City's Coast Guard superstar to my attention.
Margaret and Henry Lester Long Jr., both Howard County natives, romanced each other in World War II Maryland when "Lester" was called to the armed forces and entered Officers' Candidate School.
At the time of Lester's graduation, Margaret traveled south by train to Moultrie, Ga., and at a simple ceremony, with no wedding party to accompany them, the couple married on Dec. 5, 1943.
During the next 50 years, Lester came home from the war, worked in the post office and became the Postmaster in Ellicott City.
Margie was busy with two children. The couple was active in church work at Rockland United Methodist Church.
Since settling in Ellicott City, the Longs have lived in only two homes, the most recent being a lovely home on Daniels Road where they have stayed for the past 45 years.
On Dec. 4, 1993, Lester and Margie Long celebrated 50 years of marriage with an anniversary party at Rockland Church in Ellicott City.
About 100 people shared in the celebration, including all four generations of the family. Son Henry Lester Long 3rd of Ellicott City and daughter Debbie Long Baity of Woodbine attended with their spouses, and brought their children, who represent the third generation: Henry Long 4th and Rebecca Long Smith, Sean Baity and Justin Baity.
Rebecca Long Smith brought her son, a contribution to the 4th generation, 4-year-old Christopher Smith.
The anniversary party was preceded by a short church service before lunch was served at 1 p.m. Old snapshots and scrapbooks helped friends to remember the years past.
Congratulations to the Longs and their families!
I had a unique opportunity this past week when I was invited to attend the Centennial High School Food and Nutrition Class' Annual Holiday Open House.
It helped that my daughter Bridgette is a class member.
Teacher Rosemary Kaiser's students had spent over a week in preparation for the morning event. They had made fudge, Chex mix, cookies, broccoli dip with chips and avocado dip with vegetables.
There was a pineapple punch and several types of candy, including "Andy Willoughby's Lavendar Divinity," which was really very tasty.
Teachers, administrators and parents enjoyed the good food and high spirits.
Thanks for the invite.
The Rev. David G. Berg announces the Christmas Eve Candlelighting Service at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening at Epiphany Lutheran Church.
A children's sermonette, "Making a Dummy Come Alive," will precede the sermon, "What Do We Do Now That We're Happy?"
The service also features Holy Communion and an anthem by the Chimes Choir. All are welcome to attend.
Epiphany Church is located at 9122 Sybert Drive in Columbia Hills, Ellicott City. For directions or information, call 730-6626.
The Columbia Figure Skating Club proudly announces the Ellicott City winners in the competition "Diamond State Autumn Skate," held at the Skating Club in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 14.
Competing at the No-Test Level were Brenna Loury, who placed first in her group winning a gold medal, and Ashley Virtue, who placed fourth, winning a strong Honorable Mention.
At the Pre-Juvenile level, Caitlin Ring competed in Figures, Compulsory Moves and Freestyle.
She placed third in Compulsory Moves and fourth in Freestyle, with an Honorable Mention. At the Special Juvenile Level, Nikki Seegmuller competed in Figures and Freestyle, winning a Silver Medal for a second place in Freestyle.
Here's a get-well wish for neighbor Michael Andresini of Palomino Court in Ellicott City. Mr. Andresini broke his leg in a fall from a ladder on Dec. 15, and will be staying close to home during the holidays. Next time, shake a leg, but don't break a leg.
While you're out after dark looking at Christmas lights, don't forget that on Christmas Eve, Font Hill Residents' Association and Turf Valley Homeowners both display luminarias in the early evening.
My family thoroughly enjoyed our drive down luminaria-bright streets last year and hopes to repeat the custom.
Font Hill is located off Frederick Road east of the Centennial Lane area, and Turf Valley is west of Centennial Lane off Route 40. Both subdivisions are in Ellicott City.
Our Christmas wish for you is that your holiday is as bright as these luminarias. Merry Christmas.