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Pupils spreading message of racial tolerance


PUPILS FROM OKLAHOMA Road Middle School are tackling the problems of a diverse society through the work of their Multicultural Club.

Heather Borgoyn, 13, club president, said the pupils' goal is to create awareness about diversity and to promote tolerance. The club has about 20 members and is directed by teacher Kathy Morgan.

Because pupils relate better to their peers, the group and its message of tolerance will have an impact, Heather said. The club is sharing its message with sixth-graders and last week presented a program to sixth-graders in Sharon Hiles' science class.

The presentations started with an introduction by Heather, and a question: "What does diversity mean to you?" The class was asked to focus on that theme throughout the presentation.

The club performed skits to show examples of pupils' intolerance toward others. They also illustrated the negative effects of stereotyping.

Through discussion, the audience and the club established that everyone had been the brunt of intolerant attacks, and most acknowledged they had participated in such attacks.

"Racial and intolerance issues are a problem everywhere," Heather said.

Club member Keslye Neal, 12, recounted his experience moving from Baltimore to Carroll County in elementary school. As an African-American who had grown up with other African-Americans, he was surprised to be in a predominantly white school, and felt uncomfortable. He described the differences between city and suburban life, which he called "cultural shock."

"You have beautiful fields and playgrounds around the schools here. All we had were basketball courts," he said.

The presentation also covered dealing with bullies, hate crimes, accepting people regardless of social status, and racial and cultural diversity issues.

After the 40-minute presentation, the audience was asked what it had learned. Julesa Dawan, 12, raised her hand and said, "No matter how different you are, we all belong together."

The presentation received high marks from the audience, and it appeared the club had conveyed its message well.

Other participating club members were: Magen Hutson, 11; Nick Hopkins, 12; Joy Hutson, 13; Allisan Bennett, 11; Kate Janyska, 11; Angela Zambito, 13; and Ashley Dickinson, 14.

Walk for mental health

Springfield Hospital Center will hold its annual "Walk for Your Mental Health" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 11 at the Geriatric Building on the hospital campus. The event is designed to inform people about mental illness.

"We hope to bring the community together to support our neighbors who are living with mental illness," said Paula Langmead, chief executive officer of Springfield.

The program includes hospital representatives, consumer speakers and an opportunity to walk paths led by the Bookcart Drill Team of Eldersburg. Entertainment, refreshments and mental health information will be available.

The hospital is off Route 32 in Sykesville.

Information: 410-795-2100, Ext. 3693.

Basket Bingo

Sykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club is sponsoring Basket Bingo at 6 p.m. May 19 at Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Hall on Route 32.

Bingo begins at 7 p.m. All baskets are filled. Proceeds will benefit local charities.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Information and tickets: 410-795-1072.

Rally at the lake

Freedom Area Citizens' Council is sponsoring a rally, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Piney Run Park in Pavilion 3, to show support for the lake environment and to oppose the county's proposed water treatment plant.

Children's activities, prizes, giveaways and a disc jockey will be featured. Participants are asked to take lunch and a sign to show support.

Information: 410-876-3282 .

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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