PTA digs in to ensure a beautiful, blooming spring


IT'S THAT TIME of year again when young scholars trudge unwillingly to school.

Or so they'd have us believe.

Secretly, many students long for the beginning of this crisp, cool season, the company of their school friends and structured days of learning.

Or so their harried parents would like to believe.

Regardless of mixed feelings, new kindergartners have waved their first poignant goodbyes, school lockers are filled with shiny new supplies and PTAs are beginning their projects for the year.

So don't be surprised to see lots of people digging up the grounds at Laurel Woods Elementary School tomorrow. They won't be looking for buried treasure -- they'll be burying it. The PTA will be planting perennials and bulbs on the school grounds. The remnants of Hurricane Floyd have loosened the soil, so planting will be easier than expected. These efforts should ensure a golden harvest next spring when the daffodils bloom.

The PTA invites you to stop by and lend a hand. Donations of bulbs and other plants will be appreciated, too.

The school welcomes its new teachers: Kelly Meyers, Amanda Oakley, Fonda Reed Malone, Karma Christopher, Robin Lang, Alexis Worchesky, Kimberly Levin, Sheila Rosenthal, Shanley Salaski, Marianne Schultz, Sharon Davis, Lisa Katzen, Patty Wilson, Lisa Magda, Meryl Sirmans, Maureen Stewart and Antoinette Powell.

Girl Scouts busy

All around our community, people are preparing for the coming seasons. After a summer hiatus, the Bollman Bridge/ Guilford Elementary Girl Scout Cluster is planning its fall and winter activities. The cluster includes 10 Girl Scout troops.

Phil DeVito is leader of the cluster. She will be assisted by troop leaders from Jessup, Savage and Guilford: Diana Grey, Mary Metzler, Janet Riggins, Sue Moyer, Dawn Stewart, Jenny Jones, Denise Lancaster, Lisa Van Alstine, Gail Winslow and Jessica Kemper.

Not that the troops have been sleeping over the summer months.

Denise Lancaster and Judy Esposito report that their troop of Juniors (girls entering fifth grade) spent part of their vacation earning swimming badges.

Most of the girls already knew how to swim, so a day at the Huntington pool in Kings Contrivance seemed just what was needed to earn the badges. With a bit of help from the lifeguards, the girls practiced safe rescue techniques. They learned how to tread water and the importance of always swimming with a companion.

The troop members are looking forward to their first tent-camping event. They have been camping since first grade, Lancaster says, but mostly in cabins.

The Scouts are gearing up for other activities, too: planning and financing the end-of-year trip to Williamsburg, Va.; and organizing the Girl Scout cookie sale. With a little luck, there's a trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to look forward to.

According to Lancaster, former Girl Scouts enrolled at the Naval Academy have started a program for young Scouts called "In The Looking Glass." The program introduces Scouts to careers in science. To fifth-graders, most of whom are 10, young women in their late teens and 20s can be important role models.

Lancaster is applying to the program on behalf of her troop.

Time for money

Fall is the season for serious fund raising. Lancaster is a member of the Bollman Bridge PTA and a Girl Scout leader, so at this time of the year her home is an accountant's nightmare.

She is processing orders for Girl Scout cookies and for Bollman Bridge Elementary's Sally Foster Gift Wrap and Chocolates drive.

Lancaster acknowledges "roping" Esposito into helping with gift-wrap sales.

Of course, both fund-raisers are for good causes. Be generous when the young Scouts and the young scholars offer their wares.

Boys make plans

Boy Scout Troop 424 is gearing up for a busy fall. Headquartered in the Savage United Methodist Church Hall, this troop has been active in Savage for more than 50 years.

Two weeks ago, the boys elected their troop officers. While there are many adult leaders in the troop, it is the boys who run the show.

The honor and responsibility of being senior patrol leader falls this year on Brian Cassella, 16, and his assistant senior patrol leaders James Robinson, 13, and Daniel Greeley, 12.

The troop consists of four patrols, grouped by age. Members chose the patrol names.

Scott Owens and P. C. Johnsen lead the Venture -- a patrol of high-school-age Scouts.

Paul Johnsen and Kevin Cassella lead the middle-school-age Pedros.

Nick Holst and Jeffrey Dennison lead the sixth-grade Anacondas, and Brandon Schlueter and Colin Miller lead the youngest Scouts -- the Raptors.

On Tuesday, 25 Scouts and 15 adults were planning a three-day camping trip to King's Dominion. They will work on their merit badges at the campsites.

The next Court of Honor is Sept. 28, so this weekend is the last opportunity some Scouts have to meet requirements for awards.

Also on the horizon is a Scouteree, a problem-solving program organized by the Scouts.

According to Brian Cassella, the four patrols have been given four problems to solve, such as "lifting a falling tree when there are lots of bees around."

This exercise in teamwork requires that the Scouts brainstorm to find solutions. On Oct. 3 at Savage Park, the patrols will implement them although, one hopes, without the bees.

Tuesday's meeting was a cross between chaos and accounting. A lot was going on among disparate groups of boys. The adults gathered paperwork, grilled candidates for awards and kept count of who earned what honor.

At the close of the meeting, order prevailed. The Scouts -- most dressed in khaki and olive with red bandannas -- stood in relaxed ranks by patrol, listening to awards handed out and applauding one another.

Scoutmaster Joseph Owens conferred a Life Award on Scout Brian McNeally of the Pedros. Owens made a graceful speech, saying Brian has joined the ranks of Life Scout, which means he must honor the Scout Pledge in his life -- sometimes a difficult thing to do.

The boy in front of Brian clapped his hand in a ceremonial handshake; his neighbor behind him did too. The troop recited the Scout Pledge and broke ranks for the ride home.

Time for yard sales

Among community groups regrouping for the fall is the Savage Community Association. This group of neighbors is holding a yard and bake sale tomorrow on Baldwin Commons, the small park at Foundry and Baltimore streets.

The sale begins at 9 a.m.

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