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Easter-egg hunters at HCC undeterred by mud, rain

March 08, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN -- Remember galoshes? The sloppy-weather overshoes parents used to coax children to wear?

Children rarely took a liking to the rubbery footwear, in part because they were violently unfashionable, but also because children, by nature, seem to be largely unfazed by weather.

Today's children have sensible, yet stylish rubber boots with pull-on straps and decorations of butterflies, ladybugs, whales and firetrucks. And they at least are as undaunted as ever by rain, muck and mud.

Case in point -- the Hagerstown Community College Student Government Association's Easter Egg Hunt.

More than 200 children -- many of them in rain boots -- poured into the College Center Saturday morning. Armed with baskets and grocery bags, they were eager to run out onto the muddy campus hills under foreboding clouds in the cool, drizzly rain in search of 2,500 candy-filled plastic eggs.

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Karen Coyne and her husband, David Jones, of Hagerstown said the event was their 23-month-old son Abraham Jones' first egg hunt ever.

"The weather was not a barrier for (Abraham)," Karen Coyne said. "When we told him there was an egg hunt this morning, he didn't care about his cartoons. He was off the bed and out the door."

Beth Stull of Greencastle, Pa., said her daughter, Hannah, 5, also was undeterred.

"Hannah got up this morning and said, 'What about the egg hunt?' She was all about coming today," said Stull, who is HCC's director of public information.

Kirsten Grossnickle, 20, of Hagerstown, bundled her sister, Madison, 5, in a jacket, polka-dot scarf and rubber boots, then set her loose on the college's mucky lawn.

"It's yucky out, but Madison still wanted to come," Kirsten Grossnickle said.

Like others, Madison struggled to slog up the mounds of mucky grass. By the time she ascended, few eggs remained. In a show of good spirit, 5-year-old Mykenzie Dawson shared some of her eggs, and the two cautiously descended the hill together.

Steven and Lane Krambeck, 11 and 7, went to the event with their mother, Mary Bowling, 36, of Halfway. Bowling said the hunt was an educational opportunity for Steven, who has autism, to make conceptual connections.

"This tradition is a good way for him to identify the holiday," Bowling said. "We're Christians, and Easter is very special to us. Steven knows Easter is a celebration of Christ's resurrection, and this tradition emphasizes that."

Heather Barnhart, student activities coordinator at HCC, said student government held the event as a service to the community and to show the public what the college has to offer on campus.

Barnhart said 366 children registered for the egg hunt. While a fraction did not attend, presumably due to weather, some parents, like most of the children, would not have missed it.

Keith and Jennifer Bowers of Smithsburg packed 2-year-old Grace and 6-month-old Lucas into a double stroller and plodded from the parking lot up the substantial hill to the event. When they arrived, Jennifer Bowers realized they had forgotten their camera, and Keith trekked back down the hill to fetch it, determined to see the hunt through.

"This is (Grace's) first little hunt. She is old enough to finally hunt," Jennifer Bowers said. "Hopefully, we'll get plenty of pictures. I don't think she knows what's about to happen. I think it's more for me."

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