School gets in the spirit of healthy living


PUPILS AT Sykesville Middle School spent last week celebrating Spirit Week, designed to promote healthy activities, behavior and environments to deter substance and alcohol abuse.

Spirit Week was sponsored by the Student Assistance Team, which consists of a school administrator, pupil personnel worker, counselors and teachers. Team members are trained by the Maryland Student Assistance Program about the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, and how to help students who are abusing these substances.

According to Cheryl Runkles, guidance counselor and team chairwoman at Sykesville, the confidential program involves identifying students who might be in trouble with drugs or alcohol and need treatment. Members perform interventions and link students and their families to community resources. They also provide follow-up services.

In preparation for Spirit Week, Sykesville Middle's eight teams of pupils decorated hallways based on the theme, "Everyone is a winner without drugs." The eight interpretations were judged Jan. 28 based on several criteria.

Jan. 29 was Hat Day, and pupils and staff wore creative head coverings. On Wednesday, Twin Day, pupils could pair up and dress alike. Thursday was Mismatch/Inside-Out Day, and Friday, pupils dressed in school colors.

Also Thursday, eighth-graders were treated to a performance by the theater troupe Foolproof. Foolproof is a group of high school students whose performances depict the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse on abusers and their families. The performance was very effective, according to school nurse, Beth Harkins.

As a finale to the weeklong celebration, Friday was designated with the slogan, "Almost Anything Goes," and pupils participated in games, a basketball shoot, a gelatin-eating contest and an egg catch.

The highlight of the day occurred at lunchtime, when six pupils from each grade took part in a pie-throwing contest. Six teachers, with acting Principal Royce Friedlander and Assistant Principal Ralph Billings, were the targets.

Friedlander was amused that she had been targeted the most by pie throwers. Although she rinsed the whipped cream out her hair, it remained sticky.

"It was a fun day," she said. "But I'm looking forward to getting back to normal."

Outstanding teachers

Carroll County public schools are participating in the selection of an Outstanding Teacher, an annual awards event. Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers are sponsoring the event.

Any community member, including parents, students and teachers, may nominate a Carroll County public school teacher.

Eight teachers will be chosen and will receive a plaque and cash award. This year an Outstanding Teacher of the Year will also be chosen from the group of eight teachers, and will represent Carroll County for the Maryland Teacher of the Year award.

The awards banquet will be held April 22 at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers on Route 140. Nomination forms are available from the school system Web site at www. or by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 410-848-9050.

The deadline for submission is Feb. 25.

Salute to veterans

Oklahoma Road Middle School's PTA is participating in America's Salute to Hospitalized Veterans the week of Feb. 14.

The PTA is asking all Oklahoma Road pupils to make valentines to show appreciation for the sacrifices of the hospitalized veterans.

Unsealed cards should be left at the school office by Thursday, and will be reviewed before being delivered to a local veterans hospital. Pupils can earn an hour of community service for their contribution.

Information: 410-751-3600.

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

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