THE GIVING SPIRIT OF Christmas is flourishing at Oklahoma Road Middle School. Pupils at the Eldersburg school have been working to create a town scene dubbed Winter Wonderland.
More than a dozen pupils in a group called the Partners Club have spent the past two weeks working on the display, which covers about 50 square feet. Pupils in the club spend time during their skills class working with pupils in teacher Lois Dolan's Learning for Independence class.
I visited the Winter Wonderland display last week as the children were putting finishing touches on their work. Sixth-grader Sarah Steil pointed out the mall and the Kmart buildings she had worked on. Chris Anderson helped construct several buildings on the display.
"We used simple materials for the construction of the buildings so that everyone was able to participate," said Karen Sirko, an instructional assistant.
In planning the display, pupils talked about what buildings and services were usually found in a city or town and were careful to include as many as possible in their effort.
Stores, a gas station, fire department, library, art museum, school, houses of worship and plenty of convenient parking can be found in the town they created. Sarah kept a list of the necessary structures and was nearly finished checking them off.
Two trains will run around the perimeter of the display, thanks to Principal Larry Barnes, who set up part of his collection of antique American Flyer trains to add movement and excitement to the display. A device allows student Tom Hardester to run the trains.
Seventh-graders Katie Bankard, Kelly Brown, Ariel Canter, Sarah Hannon and Amy Moore were working on the display during my visit.
"I like being in the Partners Club because I wanted to help other people," said Amy.
Katie said, "Working on the Winter Wonderland has been fun."
Visitors are welcome to view the Winter Wonderland in Room 405 during school hours today and tomorrow.
Drums were beating, hands clapping and bodies swaying Friday at Oklahoma Road Middle School as Sankofa Dance Theater paid a visit. Seventh-grade pupils at the school have been studying a unit on Africa in social studies and enjoyed a first-hand look at African storytelling traditions.
A three-member group from Sankofa enthralled pupils and teachers with their African music and colorful costumes. During their hourlong presentation, the group presented African customs and traditions through their drumming, dancing and pantomime.
"I thought it was pretty neat," said Justin Jones. "I really liked the drums."
Near the end of the program, the audience was invited to participate as chanters or dancers. Friends of Drew Counselman dared him to get up and dance, and dance he did. Drew did an jTC excellent job in following the dancing, swaying and shaking of leader Kibibi Ajanku.
"The dances were pretty weird because I'd never seen anything like that before," said Drew. "I just tried to follow what she was doing."
Members of Sankofa Dance Theater have performed at the Baltimore Museum of Art and many festivals in the area.
The program was brought to Oklahoma Road through the school's PTA.
For anyone who has not made plans to ring in 1999, members of Sykesville-Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department might have just the event.
A New Year's Celebration will take place at the fire hall from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Doors will open at 8 p.m., and a hot-cold hors d'oeuvre buffet will be available from 8: 30 p.m. to 10: 30 p.m.
A champagne toast will be offered at midnight, and a continental breakfast will be available from midnight to 1 a.m.
Live music will be by Southern Guns.
Tickets are $25 or $45 per couple and include beer and setups.
Tickets or information: the Fire Department, 410-795-9311, voice mail box No. 8.
Sherry Graham's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 12/22/98