First of all, I hope some of you will get to the Hillcrest High School game tonight to hear our own Gregory Morgan sing the Star Spangled Banner.  I understand that 7:15 is the projected time, and we are very pleased that Gregory will have this opportunity. 

I mentioned in an earlier message that we received a substantial donation to be used to support our community outreach activities.  Some of the donors, Riverside High School organizations and students, will be coming to Washington Center Monday morning for a presentation and something of a celebration.  If your child brought home his or her Challenge Day shirt, please have him wear it on Monday.  We are going to have music and refreshments and just generally want to show the Riverside folks how much we appreciate their gift.  With this money, we are working on possible trips to the Children’s Museum, to Roper Mountain Science Center and to other locations; and, we will be having presentations here by a local dance group, by the Little Theater and by folks from the Greenville Symphony.  The $7,000 from Riverside will go a long way toward providing additional opportunities for our students. 

This week, Washington Center was recognized at the principals’ meeting as having had an outstanding “safety record” for last year, and we received an award of $500 to recognize the work we have done in that area.  Our progress is truly due to Linda Thigpen’s leadership and the efforts of the entire staff to keep safety at the forefront all the time, every day. 

Classes were out and about this week with groups going horseback riding, swimming, and bowling and having visits to the Children’s Museum, stores and parks.  We are trying to take advantage of the pretty days we are having.  Also, several classes studied Hispanic heritage and celebrated with a piñata party this afternoon.

If you happen to be in the district office this month, look for our students’ art work on display in the lobby there.  Also, as part of our “art swap” program, this month we will be posting work from Taylors Elementary students here at Washington Center, and some of our work will be on display at Taylors.  Also, our art teacher, Amanda Wakely, has also submitted student work to the Lions Club’s national middle school contest, so we definitely have Washington Center art work getting lots of attention this fall. 

Cathy Bush is happy to announce that she applied for and received a grant for a gecko that will be joining our menagerie of creatures in the horticulture center.  Included with the grant, in addition to the gecko, are all the items needed for an appropriate habitat and coupons for other items needed for the gecko’s care. We think our students will be fascinated by this little guy.

We need to send out a big thank you to Rosa Ramos at Hollis for translating our fall School Newsletter into Spanish and to our own Gloria Munoz who translated the Parent Handbook.  These documents can be found on our website, and we are very grateful to Rosa, Gloria, Barbara Bingham and Lilliana Rabanal, who also helped. 

Next week, and until October 21st, Katherine Gantt and her students will be collecting donations to help out the folks in Columbia.  Please see the flyer she is sending home today with specific information about the agencies she is working through and the items needed.  Also next week we have the dog therapy folks coming, as well as a group of student cadets from Mauldin High School.  Remember that students will be out of school on Thursday and Friday of next week.  On Thursday, teachers and other staff members from Washington Center will be taking a tour of DDSN’s Piedmont Skills programs for adults with disabilities.  We want to get a better sense of what is available for our students after age 21.

Please remember to scan your Bilo and Publix cards when you shop at those stores and to send in box tops as you collect them.  Also, we still need snacks for Boo in the School on October 30.  Please mark your calendars for the November 5th Parents’ Night and for Fall Craft Day on November 13.

Have a great weekend and come hear Gregory sing if you can work it in.  Also, you might like to know that one of our staff members, AJ Mc Daniel, will be playing with his band called NuSound, at Fall for Greenville tomorrow afternoon from 4:30-6:00 on the Peace Center Stage.