A SPECTACULAR quilt created by the pupils and staff at Hampstead Elementary School was unveiled April 11, the high point in a millennium celebration that has put children in touch with the future.
Festivities began when a giant paper dragon held aloft by 26 children marched through the gym, which was packed with parents and children. The giant red head was followed by a body made of long lengths of green and yellow fabric stretched over hula hoops, held by the children. The dragon, which is the Chinese symbol for the new year, has been the subject of many art and storytelling projects at the school.
A member of the school's after-school storytelling club retold the Chinese folk tale "The Eye of the Dragon," while art teacher Barbara Hammond mimed the story, in which a young artist creates a dragon without eyes. When the dragon's eyes are painted on, the dragon ascends into the sky.
The fourth- and fifth-grade chorus, under the direction of Julie Hollenberg, sang about peace in the 21st century, inviting all pupils to join.
As they sang, an enormous quilt, held at the edges by 30 pupils, was carried through the center of the gymnasium toward the stage. For the children, teachers, staff and community members who had a part in making it, this was the first time they had seen the finished quilt.
Recognized during ceremonies were professional quiltmakers Nancy and Larry Ogletree of Snydersburg; Carol Reightler, occupational therapist and quilter; parents Ruth Bell, Lee Davies and Lavina Basler; and Gina Mullinix, media center assistant.
Each class represented itself with a quilt square decorated with paint, applique, embroidery, photography, buttons, fabric, feltor other materials.
"All of us have a part in the long-term scheme of things. This connects our students to the future," said Doug Blackiston, physical education teacher.
Blackiston devised the idea two years ago of making the quilt and holding a series of monthly schoolwide programs. The school's special areas team, staffed by teachers of enrichment subjects, ensured the involvement of the whole school. That team includes Hammond, art; Hollenberg, vocal music; Iva Martin, media center; John Brown, physical education; and Kim Keeler, instrumental music.
"To do a project of this major kind takes a lot of dedication. Mr. Blackiston has the type of vision and perseverance to pull this off," said Principal Monica Smith.
Family Hike and Bike Day
Trinity United Church of Christ in Manchester is planning a Family Hike and Bike Day at 9 a.m. April 29.
The event starts at the access point of Northern Central Rail Trail in White Hall.
Traveling north from White Hall guarantees riders a shaded trail with access to a stream for wading.
For information, or for assistance in transporting a bike, contact a Family Life committee member. The church has a Web site: www.carr.org/tucoc.
Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.