Crystal Martin and her son Evan took spoonfuls of Hawaiian ices from small cups as they made their way around Meade High School’s campus on Sunday afternoon.
They came to participate in the first Meade Block Party, an event organized to bring together Fort Meade’s cluster schools, the community and local businesses.
Martin said she was glad she came.
“I came to support the school and I want my son to have school pride and be part of the community,” she said.
“It makes me feel pretty good to be a Meade student,” the 15-year-old Meade High freshman said. “We offer good programs and next year we’re going to offer seven college classes. I think I’ll apply later down the road.”
The Martins were among a small gathering of faculty, parents and students who attended the four-hour event, which was sponsored by the Meade High School Parent Teacher Student Association with the support of Principal John Yore.
Jolene Smith-Harden, PTSA secretary and an organizer of the block party, said the purpose of the event was to “give us a chance to get to know our neighbors.
“The hope of the Meade High PTSA is that the block party will be the first of many events to celebrate our community and offer school organizations an opportunity to show off their clubs and athletic and art programs and to fundraise.”
Although all of the Meade cluster schools were invited, a change in the event date because of rainy weather prevented many of the schools from participating.
Dancing And Shopping
A highlight of the afternoon was the Meade High steel drum ensemble’s performance of Caribbean island songs, rock and hip-hop.
“Everybody that was there had fun,” said Benjamin Hausman, a senior and double-tenor steel drum player. “It was really cool. We had a nice crowd. Students were dancing.
“It was cool to see people having a good time with the music.”
Jonathan Justice, a local disc jockey, provided music for the rest of the afternoon.
A small group of local vendors and Meade High clubs came out to promote their products and greet the community.
Jamie Lawless, an independent fashion retailer of LulaRoe, a women’s clothing company, sold several pairs of leggings.
“I live close by, at Patriot Ridge, and I love to support anything on Fort Meade and especially for the children,” said Lawless, wife of Capt. Eric Lawless of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group.
Rebecca McHugh, chair of Meade High’s special education department and owner of Severn Woods Soapworks, said the block party was a good way to bring the school’s faculty and parents together in an informal setting.
“A lot of times parents only see teachers and faculty in a conference setting about a student, which is not always pleasant,” McHugh said. “This allows parents to see us as real people doing real things.”
McHugh said that when she’s not supporting the school’s special needs students, she is making soaps, body butters, oils and deodorants from natural ingredients.
Several people stopped at her company’s display table to check out the products.
Erin Heritage, a junior at Meade High, and her mother Chris purchased a few soaps.
The 17-year-old said that although she enjoyed shopping at the block party, her real purpose was to help raise funds for Project Linus, a student organization that provides hand-made blankets for children in homeless shelters and hospitals.
Fifteen-year-old Gabbie Smith and her friend Erin Beaty, a sophomore at Laurel High School, danced to the music.
Gabbie, a Meade High freshman, said she is proud of her school.
“Even though we may have some issues, we work to resolve them,” she said. “In the end, it’s all good.”