At the Montebello school store in Baltimore, the free notebooks and pencils run out long before the first semester.
But 572 elementary students will start the new year with copious supplies donated by Carrolltowne Elementary in Eldersburg.
Marcia Dorsey, an Eldersburg mother of two, saw the glaring differences in the two schools while on a student teaching assignment at Montebello Elementary.
"I thought how stark their library and how empty their desks," said Dorsey. "Our shelves are overflowing."
She created a project that the Carrolltowne PTA adopted immediately. Every grade participated in the monthlong drive, and the results astounded the organizers.
"I think just about every child gave something," said Karen Lamdin, a parent volunteer who drove one of four vehicles that went to Montebello on Thursday loaded with supplies.
"I think this means somebody really likes us," said Marenda Hudson, a fourth-grader at Montebello.
More than 1,200 pencils, nearly 100 boxes of crayons, markers and glue sticks and several large cartons of notebooks were included.
"Now they can start off in January with the supplies needed," said Principal Patricia Dennis. "And, they will have the extras, not just for adding and subtracting, but for projects."
Hats, mittens and gloves were part of the bounty. All Montebello students walk to the school on 32nd Street, a few blocks from Memorial Stadium.
"We have a long list of kids who need warm clothing," said Dawn Shirey, Montebello's school improvement coach.
No classroom is without a box of tissues. Carrolltowne sent a large plastic bag full.
"A lot of people have colds here, and you can use a whole box in one day," said Ashley Marsh, a fifth-grader at the city school.
Although Montebello pupils didn't know where Eldersburg is, they all said they felt they had new friends watching out for them, said Spencer Williams, the student council president.
"We run out of pencils and paper a lot," Spencer said.
That is why Robby and Steven Voytek collected donations from their Carrolltowne classmates.
"We brought supplies to help the children here," said 7-year-old Robby, one of nine children who accompanied their mothers on the trip to Baltimore. "We are lucky. We never run out of supplies."
"Our car was crowded on the way down here," said his 9-year-old brother, Steven. "The whole back of our van was full."
Among the packages were several hundred books for the Montebello library, including "My First Poem Book," which Steven read on the drive. He promised the next reader "some funny poems and some old ones like Miss Muffet."
The Montebello choir serenaded the Eldersburg guests with holiday music and thanked Carrolltowne with a poster-size card that unfolded into several pages containing greetings from each classroom.
"I see my name," a Montebello pupil said as Jonathan Dorsey and his mother accepted the card, promising to display it in the Carrolltowne lobby.
"We will keep it open so everyone can see it," said Jonathan, a third-grader.
On a tour of the four-story brick building, the visiting children immediately noted differences.
"They have cool elevators," said Steven. "Our school is only one floor."
Julie Lamdin, a Carrolltowne fourth-grader, saw no portable classrooms and decided Montebello "is not so crowded as our school." Carrolltowne has 882 pupils, nearly 300 more than it was built for, and relies on 10 portables to ease the crowding.
Before the vans left for Carroll County, the principal was inviting the guests back.
"Don't let it end," said Dennis. "Come visit us again."
Dorsey wants to continue the project. It has spawned a similar program between Freedom Elementary in Eldersburg and Northwood Elementary, about a mile from Montebello.
"We can't solve all the problems, but people are willing to give," Dorsey said. "They just need to know how. We showed them how they could put it right into kids' hands."
Pub Date: 12/21/97