LAST WEEK WAS a banner week for Elizabeth Welliver, a first-grader at Cranberry Station Elementary School in Westminster.
A poem she wrote with classmate Emily Peters was printed in the monthly newsletter, and just when she figured things could not be better, Dad came to school to eat a "Star Wars" lunch with his little girl.
Paul Welliver and about 200 other parents celebrated National School Lunch Week by joining their children to dine on delicious food with a movie theme.
On Oct. 18, when Welliver joined his daughter, cafeteria manager Patty Therit and other employees served the "Star Wars" meal: asteroid chicken nuggets, tater tot planets, hot rocket rolls, moon dip apples and cosmic cupcakes.
About 270 cupcakes, 1,400 chicken nuggets, and too many tater tots to count were served to pupils and their guests.
School cook Trease Markle kept the nuggets rolling in and out of the ovens, while Esther Muller worked the cash register and substitute Eleanor Quigley assured Therit things were "moving along nicely."
"This is a great way for parents to be with their children and show that they want to be involved in their school," said Sharon Russo, who dined with her daughter, Audrey.
If she had eaten with her fourth-grade daughter, Katherine, on Thursday, she would have had "The Jungle Book" theme, complete with baboon bread sticks, with meat sauce and cheese, swinging vine salad, mongoose fruit and animal crackers.
On Friday, the fifth-graders, including Russo's son, Michael, enjoyed the favorite standby, cheese pizza. Judy Martin dined on asteroid nuggets with her first-grade daughter, Brooke Kable, on Monday, but confessed cheese pizza would always be her favorite.
When doors to the cafeteria were opened at Cranberry Station Elementary School last week, parents were quick to notice their children had it made. In addition to the main meal, pupils have four other lunch options each day: tossed salad, tuna on a roll, cheese on a roll, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Whether it's cantaloupe slices, apples, bananas or grapes, a bounty of fresh fruit is always available to keep children happy.
This is a school of "excellent fruit eaters," Therit said.
Animal rescue walk
Animal Rescue Inc., a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, is gearing up for its annual walk-a-thon, scheduled for 10: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Sunday at Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley.
"It's a perfect time of year to be walking around the park," said Colleen Feld, volunteer fund-raising coordinator. "The leaves are turning; it couldn't be better. I told Bob Turk that he better bring sunshine when he comes."
WJZ-TV weatherman Bob Turk will be host of the walk-a-thon, while Towson-based radio station Lite 102 will broadcast the day's festivities. In addition to games, prizes and a vegetarian cookout, an animal behaviorist will give demonstrations and answer questions about dog obedience.
Maryland State Lottery will promote its new scratch-off game, "Dogs Night Out," by giving away $1 tickets. Other prizes include round-trip tickets to anywhere in North America via USAir (donated by Towson Travel as the grand prize for the person who raises the most money), a 19-inch color television with a gift basket for a dog and its owner, a $200 gift certificate for a watercolor portrait of your pet, and much more.
Last year's walk-a-thon pulled in about $10,000, and Feld hopes to hit $50,000 this year.
"Money raised will go toward Animal Rescue's spay and neuter van and care of the facility," Feld said. "We have more than 600 animals and we get 100 calls a week. Trust me, the money will be well spent."
Participants and visitors are asked to bring donations of cat food -- soft or hard food of any brand. Sponsor sheets are available at Splish Splash Pets, Westminster Video, Finksburg Veterinary Center, Your Companions Country Store and Midway Feed.
"There will be lots of animals available for adoption, too," Feld said. "October 24 will be a great day for animals and animal lovers."
Information: 410 876-9879.
Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 10/18/99