SOMETIMES NICE guys do finish first. At the Howard County Board of Education meeting May 25, representatives from Atholton High School were presented with the Sportsmanship Cup, an award that honors outstanding sportsmanship by a Howard County high school.
The award was established in 1994 by Don Disney, coordinator of athletics for Howard County schools. This is the fourth time Atholton has won. The other schools to receive the award were Glenelg High School in 1995 and Howard High School in 1999.
"The reason the award is special is because the other high schools decide on this," Disney said.
The principal and athletic director of each high school solicit input from coaches, players and the booster club to determine which school sets the best example for athletic programs in the county.
"What the other schools are saying is, if they had to pick one team to represent Howard County, it would be Atholton," Disney said.
It's not only the players and coaches who are judged for the award. School spirit and the behavior of parents, cheerleaders, the student body and administrators are considered.
Each high school nominates three schools for the award. The first selection is awarded 5 points, the second selection is given 3 points and the third is worth 1 point. The school with the highest number of points is awarded the cup. Schools cannot vote for themselves.
"The old adage, 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game,' is very true," Disney said. "Atholton goes out of their way to make the away team feel welcomed."
Atholton High School Principal Connie Lewisaccepted the award at the school board meeting along with senior athletes Craig Smithand Karen Brownlie.
"It's the only athletic award that's presented in front of the Board of Education," Disney said. "That's a real honor considering that Howard County probably wins 15 state titles a year, more than any other school district in Maryland."
Ruby Schneider, director of operations for the Harper's Choice Community Association, will retire this week after 20 years of service to the community. "She really has fostered the development and use of this center," said Harper's Choice community events coordinator, Jackie Rose. "She's steadfast, loyal and caring. Her sense of community is extremely strong. We think the world of her."
Schneider, a resident of Longfellow, has lived in Columbia for 23 years. She will celebrate her 65th birthday Friday. That's also the date she chose to retire. Schneider said she has mixed feelings about her retirement.
"Of course it's a mixed bag," she said. "Most people don't realize this is a very stressful job. I'm on duty seven days a week. There have been times I've had to come to the building in the middle of the night because water pipes burst or doors were left open."
Schneider is responsible for the rental and maintenance of the community association's three facilities.
"She's done the nuts and bolts of keeping Kahler Hall, Swansfield and Longfellow neighborhood centers running smoothly," said Wendy Tzuker, Harper's Choice village manager. "She's really contributed to the sense of community in Harper's Choice by making Kahler Hall a hub for the community."
Schneider says she will miss her co-workers. "We have a very closely knit group of employees here. Sometimes coming in and seeing their smiling faces is the highlight of my day," she said.
Although she will be officially retired, Schneider plans to keep busy. She is the vice president of membership of the National Council of Jewish Women, membership chairwoman of the Kiwanis Club of Columbia, a member of the Temple Isaiahchoir and plans to serve on the architectural committee of Harper's Choice.
The Harper's Choice Community Association is planning a luncheon in Schneider's honor Friday, followed by an open-house reception from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dance festival winner
Students from AlixMcDonough'sRaksNoorSchool of Middle Eastern Dance received an excellent rating in the adult open category at Paramount's Kings Dominion Dance Festival in April.
Students also won a trophy for the most points awarded to a duo or trio in the open-dance category. Making their performance debut were Ruth and Mary Leaf, Becky Greeneand Faith Kremer.
They joined veteran dancers Tracy Krolland Miranda Pakulskiin a fast-paced number using veils. CyndiHawkinsand ZiteAvarado Archboldperformed a temple dance while balancing baskets on their heads. The Raks Noor School of Middle Eastern Dance meets at the Dorsey's Search neighborhood center.