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Contest invites letters to authors

The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland Center for the Book, a program of the Maryland Humanities Council, is promoting the 2008 Letters About Literature contest, a national program for children and young adults who are invited to write a letter to an author whose work changed their lives.

More than 55,000 students participated in last year's contest. Teachers are invited to incorporate the program into their curricula by downloading a free copy of a teacher's guide. Entries, which must be postmarked by Dec. 14, are judged according to age groupings: grades four to six (Level 1); grades seven and eight (Level 2); and grades nine through 12 (Level 3). Winners on the state and national levels receive cash awards.

Information: www.loc.gov/letters.

Driving program focuses on teens

The central library and HC DrugFree will co-sponsor "Dangerous and Destructive Decisions: Teen Drinking, Speeding and Distracted Driving," an interactive program for parents and high school students on avoiding the tragic consequences of hazardous behavior.

The program will be held at the library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 5. It will be presented by Laurel Stiff, a Maryland Shock Trauma nurse from PADDD (Positive Alternatives to Dangerous and Destructive Decisions).

Registration is required. Those who want to attend should call or visit the branch.

Information or registration: 410-313-7860.

Art scholarships offered for college

The Howard County Arts Council is seeking applicants for its 2008 arts scholarship.

The council will award at least $10,000 in scholarship money to students entering college in the 2008-2009 academic year. The scholarships must be used to enroll in an accredited college program for a degree in the arts. Awards will be at least $1,000, and can be used only for tuition and fees.

Applications, which must be postmarked or hand-delivered by Jan. 11, will be reviewed by the arts council's scholarship panel, whose members are professionals working in a variety of artistic disciplines.

The applications will be judged on artistic merit, knowledge of an artistic discipline, commitment to a career in the arts and a track record of success in an academic setting.

Applications are available from the arts council (410-313- 2787) or at www.hocoarts.org. Applicants, who must be legal residents of Howard County, will be notified about the panel's decisions in March.

School board plans 2 sessions

The Howard County Board of Education will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom at the Department of Education, 10910 Route 108, Ellicott City.

The afternoon session and an evening session, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will start with a public forum on any topic for which there is no formal hearing process. Advance registration is requested.

During the evening session, the board will hold a public hearing and a public work session on the "Long-Range Attendance Area Plan." A public hearing also will be held on "Policy 2030, Ombudsman."

Those who want to testify are asked to limit their presentation to three minutes and provide 15 written copies of their testimony at the time of the hearing. Preregistration will be held during business hours, up to the close of business on the last working day before the hearing.

To sign up to speak: 410-313- 7194.

Career academies subject of meeting

The county school system's Office of Career and Technology Education will hold its second information session for ninth- and 10th-graders and their parents to introduce career academies and other programs available to high school students with certain academic and career interests.

The session will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Applications and Research Laboratory, 10920 Route 108, Ellicott City.

Career academies represented will be architecture and engineering; biotechnology and health services; business and entrepreneurship; culinary arts and hotel management; human resources; energy, power and transportation; and multimedia arts and technology.

Information: 410-313-6682.

Workshop on taking tests set for Tuesday

The Stressless Tests Program will offer a new workshop, "Testing, Testing," for parents of middle school and high school students from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial High School in Ellicott City.

Parents can learn why students who do well in class might not do as well on tests and strategies to help them.

Participants will be given the new Stressless Tests Parents Kit. The cost is $85 per family.

Middle school study skills classes will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays from tomorrow through Dec. 17 and from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays, this week through Dec. 17, at Burleigh Manor Middle School in Ellicott City.

The cost is $165, which includes a copy of the Study for Success digital video disc.

Information or registration: Betty Caldwell, 410-740-4659, or www.stresslesstests.org.

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