FOR SANDYMOUNT Elementary pupils, yesterday should have been a bit more than just a day off from school.
After a week of learning about the origins and meaning of Memorial Day, the children spent part of Friday morning participating in a service honoring those who gave their lives for this country.
"We're not focusing on a death scene," said PTA member John M. Keydash Jr., who organized the 15-minute ceremony. "We're trying to show the students that adults, especially those in uniform, take patriotism seriously."
The service was inspired by a PTA member's lament that pupils don't have much patriotic spirit. The member mentioned that "her grandfather said he was concerned that students weren't having enough patriotic pride instilled in them at school," said Keydash, next year's PTA president.
Keydash, a retired Navy officer, said the service enjoyed the support of PTA President Donna Moffatt and Sandymount Principal Linda Mills.
"They thought it was a grand idea," said Keydash, who used his military contacts in planning the ceremony, which included a presentation of colors by Maryland National Guard Free State Challenge Academy and a rendition of taps by Bob Coffey, owner of Coffey Music in Westminster.
Under a bleak gray sky, Challenge Academy's teen-age platoon solemnly presented the Maryland, American and National Guard flags while the school's flags were slowly raised. Pupils sang the national anthem and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, led by pupil Elizabeth Tanney.
The event ended with Keydash's daughter, Navy Petty Officer Donna M. Keydash. reciting the poem "In Flanders Fields" while children laid poppies, donated by American Legion Lithuanian Post 154, on the ground.
Keydash's youngest daughter, Katie, is a fourth-grader at the school.
The fruits of reading
Two Friendship Valley Elementary School administrators got more than their apple a day Friday after pupils dumped several gallons of applesauce on their heads as the children's reward for meeting their reading goals between March 19 and April 19.
"We've watered it down a bit," said Vicki Anzmann, PTO president and co-chairwoman of the organization's reading incentive committee.
Organizers added water because they were concerned the applesauce wouldn't pour well without it, she said. The applesauce was poured over the heads of Principal Pat Dorsey and Vice Principal Jane Farver.
The Read Your Heart Out challenge encouraged pupils to fill out construction paper hearts for books they read.
Inexperienced readers could also count recorded books they listened to, attendance at a Carroll County Public Library story time and books that had been read to them. The agreement was that the pupils would earn their reward - suggested by the fifth-grade classes - when they had enough hearts to circle the hallway surrounding the school media center twice.
"We could probably have done five or six rings," Anzmann said.
The children also required Dorsey and Farver to sing a silly song. The song was written by the principal and recorded Friday morning during school announcements. It will be played on radio station WTTR.
Ringing in spring
The public is welcome to attend the Westminster Ringers spring concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Westminster United Methodist Church on East Main Street.
Westminster Ringers Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and enjoyment of handbell ringing.
Admission is $6, and $4 for children and those over 60. Proceeds will benefit the group, which sponsors handbell workshops and conferences throughout the year.
Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.