THE FIFTH-GRADE farewell gift to Hampstead Elementary has already been put to use.
The Class of 2007 purchased black velvet curtains for the gymnasium stage, and a team of parents and staff members hung them in time for Thursday's spring instrumental concert."They look phenomenal. I don't think any of us realized how awful those old ones looked," said Joanne Benson, whose daughter Molly is in fifth grade.
Last summer, Benson and Carmela Guthart, whose daughter, Alexandra, also is a fifth-grader, hit upon the idea of presenting curtains as the gift from the departing class.
The old curtains were often held together with clothespins. The faded orange curtains clashed with the red, black and white color scheme of the school.
By December, after pupils had sold books and raffled Beanie Babies, they'd raised about $500. It was about one-third of what they needed.
Undaunted, the mothers tapped into the good will of a new business neighbor. Almost within sight of the school, Sweetheart Cup Co. is constructing what will be the state's largest warehouse.
When Benson asked for a donation, Sweetheart, a supplier of paper and plastic food-service goods, quickly responded with $1,000 to help pay for the curtains.
Guthart went to work to organize the purchase. Several months rolled by, and the initial vendor didn't respond. With the clock ticking and another parent's recommendation, Guthart called Charles Tiralla of Tiralla's Inc. in Reisterstown."Charlie promised we'd have them done for the concert, and he did it," Benson said.
When they arrived, Guthart and her husband, Jeff Guthart, Mark and Shelley Janowitz, Joe Miller, Benson and Principal Monica Smith, with help from the custodial crew, ripped out the old curtains and hoisted the new."At the concert, two parents asked me, when did we have time to paint the gym? That's how great they look," Benson said.
Earthly delights on Sunday
Renew your Earth-friendly feelings Sunday when Earthworks 2000, an environmental festival, will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at Bear Branch Nature Center. The event is free.
Interactive exhibits will provide family fun on earthly topics, and animals, including a petting zoo, will be on site.
Environmental games will be featured, and everyone can take part in a group drumming circle.
Native plants will be available for your garden from horticultural vendors, and a gift shop will be open.
For children, crafts and face painting will be offered. Nature art and photography will be displayed. Bear Branch Nature Center is at 300 John Owings Road.
Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.