School's hoedown gives kids a chance to strut their stuff


THE CAFETORIUM at Deep Run Elementary School in Elkridge was alive with the sound of a good old-fashioned hoedown. Schoolchildren and parents swung their partners and do-si-doed as Slim Harrison played fiddle and banjo and called out the moves.

Harrison, who performs with his Sunnyland Band and conducts workshops around the country, visited the school April 15-25 to teach the youths about American folk music and instruments.

His visit was arranged through the state performing arts residency program. It was sponsored by the Deep Run PTA, helped along by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council's Artist-in-Education Program.

During his time at Deep Run Elementary, Harrison showed the children how to play washboards, gourds, spoons and other instruments, and taught them about traditional American folk dances.

The children got to show off their talents at the hoedown, held April 25 at the school.

More than 150 children, teachers, staff and parents attended, said Meg Ducey, PTA spokeswoman and parent of fourth-grader Amanda.

Some of the kids got into the theme of the night by wearing straw hats and overalls. Many staff members dressed up as well, Ducey said.

The evening began with hot dogs and other typical American fare. Then pupils visited arts and crafts stations situated around the school and did projects with wooden sticks, beans and other materials.

But the highlight of the evening was the hoedown.

"The kids went first to demonstrate, then the parents were invited to join in," Ducey said. Because the children had been practicing, they were more accomplished than their parents, whose performance frequently verged on the comical.

"The kids really knew the dances," Ducey said. "It's obvious they really learned a lot from this residency."

Spring dance

A spring dance is scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight May 18 at the St. Augustine School on Old Washington Road in Elkridge.

Music for the dance will be provided by a disc jockey. The $10 ticket price will include beer, wine, sodas and snacks. Participants must be age 21 or older.

Proceeds from the event will help the school start a basketball cheerleading squad and replace the backboards on the school's basketball nets.

Information: Kathy Wineholt, 410-379-6326, or Dawn Weglein, 410-796-0972.

Parent workshop

Bonnie Branch Middle School will hold a parent workshop Thursday focusing on how to raise a nonviolent child.

The workshop's speaker will be Mary Muscari, whose book, Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Nonviolent Child, was recently published by University of Scranton Press.

Muscari, a certified pediatric nurse-practitioner, will discuss methods for keeping kids free of violence despite the influences of peer pressure, media and drugs.

The PTA-sponsored event will be from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Muscari's book will be available for purchase and signing. Refreshments will be served.

To make reservations for the workshop, call 410-461-2413 or send e-mail to, with the number of people from your household who plan to attend.

Capital visit

Ilchester Elementary School recently completed its second year in the Washington Capitals hockey team's "Reading Is Cool" program, a contest for children in grades three to six in the Baltimore-Washington area. Fourth-grade teacher Julie Bartel coordinated the program for the school.

The contest, which ran from November though mid-March, challenged pupils to read as many chapter books as possible outside of school during that time. Ilchester Elementary pupils in grades three to five read 7,807 books - and the school won the competition.

Third-grader Melissa Patel, who read 175 books, was the top reader among third-graders in the school. Fifth-grader Matthew Cheng read 149 books to become top fifth-grader. Fourth-grader Kasey Forte read a whopping 192 books to capture the honor of top reader in her grade at the school.

Washington Capitals' goalie Olaf Kolzig visited Ilchester Elementary on Wednesday with Slapshot, the Capitals mascot, to celebrate the children's success and talk about the importance of reading.

The school and the three top pupils received plaques and other prizes - including a promise of recognition for the three young winners at a Capitals game at MCI Center in the fall.

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