MANOR WOODS Elementary came up with an unusual and artistic way to commemorate this year's reading incentive program.
A mosaic mural was created, and it will hang permanently in the school's foyer. The 2-by-13-foot mosaic, "Brilliant Path, Bright Future," consists of small, square, opaque glass tiles, with four larger tiles in each corner.
It shows the school and surrounding land. A brown-and-gray tile road runs through the artwork to represent time changing: The dirt road changes to a paved road. One tile represents the 100-year-old stone mile markers on Frederick Road.
The idea originated with Manor Woods Principal James Weisner, who moved from Phelps Luck in September -- trading places with Manor Woods' former principal. Phelps Luck had done a mural last year.
"We thought it was such a great idea and to honor the exchange [of principals], we decided to do the project," said Cindy Scruggs, PTA president.
"The nice thing about a mural like this is that it is a really big thing for the millennium," said Scruggs. "We've had reading campaigns where we've gotten the kids to participate, and it has been a wonderful benefit all the way around. But, this is something we can keep, and they can come back [to see]."
The reading program ran nine weeks, from Feb. 1 to Saturday. Children used bookmarks to keep track of their reading time.
"Every time a child reads for 15 minutes, they would check off a box [on the bookmark], and when they read for 150 minutes, they turn it in and we give their class a tally mark. When their class reaches 20 tally marks, they qualify to come in on Thursday," Scruggs said.
Thursdays were the only days that the children installed the tiles. Reading committee volunteers Carol Grady and Bernadette Miller spent countless hours helping with the project.
Parent Steve Milak, who works for Dal-Tile, provided the tiles and was an adviser.
"We have parent volunteers come in and work on it almost every day," Scruggs said.
They tallied bookmarks and on Thursdays helped place tiles. The four larger corner tiles were hand-painted and fired in the school's kiln.
One was the winning design of kindergartner Molly Brnich in a tile design contest. The tile -- which depicts Molly and a friend with stacks of books -- is titled "So Many Books, So Little Time." Art teacher Linda Hoskins painted a tile of the school's memory garden -- where children made stepping stones for loved ones they had lost -- and planted the garden.
Another beautiful tile, a picture of Doughoregan Manor, was painted by Scruggs.
Manor Woods was built on land that originally was part of Doughoregan Manor, which was owned by the Carroll family. Charles Carroll was one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, and his grandson John Carroll was governor of Maryland.
Sally Woodward, fourth-grade teaching assistant, painted the Mighty Duck, the school mascot.
Children in Ann Varlotta's first-grade class were the last to place tiles on the mural.
As the students arrived, they lined up holding their prepasted tiles and waited their turn to place them in the designated area. They then dutifully moved to another table to wash their hands in tubs of water before going back to class.
The mural will be hung today, and it will be formally unveiled tomorrow. The school will celebrate the unveiling with an ice cream social.
Cub Scout Pack 761 held its Pinewood Derby on March 25. Each boy starts with a block of wood and cuts, sands and paintsthe block, transforming it into a derby racing car.
On the day of the race, about 70 boys raced their cars down a four-lane plywood track.
The track, which is 5 1/2 feet wide and 32 feet long, has an electric eye that measures the time each car takes to complete the course. Each car races between 20 and 30 times to tally the final winners.
Tigers winners were Nick Diaz, Nick Van Dyke and Paul Wissman.
First place in the Wolves division went to Josh Ensor, and Nathan Coe placed second. Darryl Horner, Daniel Skutt, Kyle Sheppard and Matthew Moore shared third place.
Bears winners were Trevor Hubbard, Kevin Davis and Jake Zimmerman.
In the Webelos 1 group, Zachary Walker was first, with Christopher Saunders second and David Cunningham third.
In Webelos 2, Marc Azoulay took first place; Greg Peppers was second, and Jimmy Herriotts placed third.
The pack's final first-place winner was Christopher Saunders. Second place went to Zachary Walker, third to Greg Peppers and fourth to Nick Van Dyke.