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Chinese culture comes to Mt. View Middle School [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

On Friday, Sept. 5, students at Mt. View Middle School enjoyed a unique cultural event: a World Language Kickoff presented by Bianca Chang, retired principal of the Chinese Language School of Columbia. Thanks to grant funding, Chang was able to visit students at both Mt. View Middle and Wilde Lake High in order to promote the study of world languages.

Her presentation included a lion dance and other Chinese cultural displays, a Q&A session with prizes, and T-shirts for students who are currently studying Chinese.

The goal of the kickoff was to inform students about the cultural aspects of world languages, encourage them to become global citizens and, in accordance with county educational objectives, encourage globally competency.

For more information about this initiative, go to http://www.hcpss.org/academics/world-language-program/student-and-parent-resources.

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, which lies on the border of Howard and Carroll Counties in Sykesville, has announced the departure of the Rev. Walter Earl Mullins after 11 years of service. Beginning in October, Martha Watson will serve as interim rector. She is a Texas native who technically belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, but has served most recently at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City.

Watson will facilitate the congregation's search for a new priest and will also conduct the church's annual Blessing of the Animals service on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 4 p.m.

The church invites all community members to attend the blessing and to bring any type of pet that can be leashed or carried in a box or cage. Participants will acknowledge their stewardship responsibility to all animals and express thankfulness for animals as family members.

The church address is 13135 Forsythe Road. For more information, call 410-489-2800, or go to http://www.stbarnabassykesville.org.

The Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours will also celebrate animals next month with an event titled "Gift of Animals: Our Spiritual Companions" on Saturday, Oct. 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Gordon Creamer will lead the program, which focuses on our relationship with animals, particularly pets, and attendees are encouraged to bring pictures of their pets and/or favorite animals for group appreciation. The day costs $55. Call 410-442-3120 to register, or go to rccbonsecours.com for more details.

Fall has arrived! The Howard County Conservancy will observe the change of seasons on Sunday, Oct. 5, with its annual Fall Festival, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can learn the history of the Conservancy's home, Mt. Pleasant Farm, while watching blacksmiths ply their trade and listening to live bluegrass music.

The day will include plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as crafts, pony rides, hay rides and opportunities to view the Conservancy's resident animals. Food will be available for purchase. The event costs $10 per car, so bring plenty of family and friends.

Go to http://www.hcconservancy.org to learn more, or call 410-465-8877.

Now that school has been in session for a month, the time has come to congratulate the Band Musicians of the Month at West Friendship Elementary School. September honorees include Diana Chatrchi, flute; Lucas Conrad, alto saxophone; Natalie Fedorchak, clarinet; Brenna Fenlon, flute; Lexi Haddaway, clarinet; Grace Hejeebu, clarinet; Therese Kim, clarinet; Kevin Liu, alto saxophone; Grant Peffall, percussion; Mira Shelat, flute; Jorge Suris, trombone; Megan Wagner, clarinet; Michaela Wall, percussion; and Alan Zhao, alto saxophone. These students have worked hard and displayed positive attitudes. Great job!

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