LITTLE COULD contain the enthusiasm of a team of seventh-graders at West Middle School in Westminster last week as they prepared to slam shaving cream "pies" into their teachers' faces. After a successful candy sale that garnered $8,000 for school activities and charities, it was finally time to cash in on their prize.
Teachers Tracy Lee, Amy Airing, Pat Gibson and Dick Thompson huddled nervously.
"Man, I can't believe this is happening. It's kind of scary," said pupil Courtney Cornelius.
She and the other pupils who raised at least $100 wrote their names on slips of paper that were put in a container for a random drawing to determine who would get to throw the pies.
For each $50 increment of sales, a pupil got a slip of paper with his or her name put into the container. Four names were selected to pie the teachers.
"You should be proud of yourselves and you should feel good as a team," Thompson told them before he conducted the drawing. "Without any incentives for yourselves, like big prizes or money, you pulled in more than $8,000. Now of that money, we will get approximately $2,400 - and a committee will decide which charities will receive the rest."
The lucky winners - Courtney, Jenny Lewis, Christina Charvin and Kyle Felisky - made their way to the center of the classroom while others applauded and hollered, "Make it count," "Good luck," and "Don't be nervous."
The teachers tried to make their duty as tidy as possible by wearing plastic caps and lab coats and draping towels around their shoulders. Airing tried to put on goggles, but pupils and parents booed until she gave up.
In the final seconds, each teacher tried to talk his or her pier into going easy by saying, "Remember who does the grading," and "I just learned a lot of juicy stuff about you from the last assignment."
But later, the victims acknowledged that nothing could really prepare them for the boisterous "5-4-3-2-1" countdown and, ultimately, the slimy slam.
"I was shaking pretty hard before Kyle pied me. But once it happened, I definitely felt like it was worthwhile," Lee said.
"I think activities like this foster a better relationship between students and teachers," she said. "We get to see a side of each other that we don't often see. They know we appreciate them, and we are reminded that students show mercy and kindness by not smashing the pies hard into our faces."
"Even though very few students actually threw a pie in a teacher's face," said Airing, "they all showed such appreciation, and they were great sports."
In the past, the local Humane Society, the Ronald McDonald House and other charitable organizations have benefited from the candy sales. School activities have included a picnic in the park, a pizza party, ice cream socials and an Edgar Allan Poe presentation.
At least one pie-throwing pupil expressed mixed feelings about the event, though.
"I loved seeing their cream-covered faces," Jenny said. "But it is hard to believe that I won't get a lower grade from now on."
Living Treasures honored
Westminster resident Georgia Cox honors her parents, Arlene and Sterling Beard, of Westminster as her Living Treasures this week.
"They did a great job raising my brother, Allen, and [me] in a loving home," said Cox. "They are always helping people out and they are great role models."
Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Submit a name and specific reasons why that person has been your living treasure to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, 410-848- 4703.
Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.