A CHINESE GONG sounded, and a colorful dragon snaked its way into the cafeteria at Freedom Elementary School.

The dragon was led by a masked student taking the part of a "teaser" and another student solemnly banging a tambourine.

The costumed third-graders were leading their parents on a "visit" to China after studying the country and culture for most of April. Guests at Chinese Culture Night were treated to glimpses of Chinese art, music, recreation, traditions, geography and history through a variety of activities.

With guidance from teachers Dave Anderson, Michelle Broccolino, Karen Dulany, Bertie Pond, Chris Reese and Wendy Weaver, the students educated, informed and entertained their guests with enthusiasm.

Hallways at the school were decorated with beautiful Chinese fans, cut-paper lanterns, watercolor paintings and detailed maps of China. Students demonstrated sophisticated Chinese brush strokes and presented parents with messages done in Chinese characters.

Several dozen students performed a sweeping ribbon dance and displayed complicated jump-rope skills to Chinese music. Using minimal props and lots of imagination, the students told amusing Chinese folk tales.

"I thought the whole evening was so well done," said Amy Harrison, whose son Grant participated. "The kids all did an excellent job."

Chalk walk

Students at Carrolltowne Elementary School spent a good deal of time Friday creating a "Literary Chalk Walk" around their school. The walk was to mark the end of the school's "100 Days of Reading" program.

Most of the school's 925 students sprawled on the ground as they worked together to create their chalk masterpieces. Scenes from "Winnie the Pooh" and "Arthur" were favorites with the younger students, while "Jurassic Park" was popular with the older children.

"Our teacher, Julie Voight, read 'Shiloh' to our class, and we really enjoyed it," said Shannon Wilson, 10. Shannon and Kerry Miller, Stacey Justice and Kelly Miller, all 10, drew a picture of the dog, Shiloh, and his young owner against a backdrop of rolling hills.

A book titled "How to Eat Fried Worms" was the subject of interest for third-graders Eric Miller, Nick Hopkins, Brad Cohn, Billy Marshall, Patrick Beaven and Eddie Creamer. Their portion of the walk displayed a big plate of worms with a fork and knife sticking out.

"We picked this book because it was funny, and we read it in our reading group," said Eric.

Though they liked the story "The Wonderful Underwater Machine," Ashley Bruce, 8, and her group confessed that they chose their picture of fish, seaweed and shells because "it was the easiest to draw."

Spring fling

Piney Ridge Elementary School's PTA will sponsor its annual Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the school on Freedom Avenue.

The event will offer family games and entertainment, including clowns, a magician, storytelling, karate demonstrations and a raffle. A variety of food and home-baked goodies will be available.

Those attending the event should plan to ride the shuttle bus from the Sykesville-Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department, as there will be no parking at the school.

Information: 410-751-3535.

What a kick!

The Freedom Optimist Soccer program will conduct registration for the fall season from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and May 10 and 17 at the Freedom Community Center, Route 32 just south of Liberty Road.

The Optimist program offers recreational teams for boys and girls entering kindergarten through high school and travel division teams for ages 8 to 17.

Fees are $45 for the first player, $35 for the second player and $25 for each additional player in one family. Travel players will pay an additional fee. A $10 late fee is charged for registration after May 17.

Information: 410-795-7697.

Middle school dedication

A dedication ceremony will be held at Oklahoma Road Middle School at 3 p.m. Sunday in the gymnasium.

Richard Dixon, state treasurer, will be the keynote speaker. School board members and other county officials also are expected to attend.

Students at the school, which opened in January, have prepared a time capsule, which will be placed after the ceremony. Each grade has prepared a gift, which will be presented at the ceremony. The school's band students and a chorus will perform.

The students at Oklahoma Road Middle recently chose purple and silver as their school colors and a "Twister" as the school's mascot.

Information: 410-751-3600.

Flowers for mother

Children can make a flower pot for Mother's Day at a free workshop from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Center Court at Carrolltown Center.

Information: 410-781-7070.

Sherry Graham's Southeast neighborhood column appears Tuesdays in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 4/29/97

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