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Various vendors that focus on children at back-to-school expo

August 06, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Christian Jones, 4, inflates a free ball Saturday given by Pump It Up of Hagerstown, a vendor at the Valley Mall back-to-school expo. His family is from Martinsburg W.Va.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HALFWAY — Karen Kochersberger said business was slow in the morning, but picked up Saturday afternoon during the Back-to-School Expo at Valley Mall.

A consultant for Thirty-One Gifts, Kochersberger was selling purses, lunch totes, backpacks and other items to students to take back to school when classes start later this month.

“It’s really for all ages,” Kochersberger said of her merchandise. “We sell things for men, too.”

Kochersberger was among several vendors, after-school programmers and private-school recruiters who set up booths in the heart of Valley Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Carol Rosicky, teacher director at the Open Arms Christian Child Development Center on Garden Lane near Hagerstown, said she was there to recruit 3- and 4-year-old children for the Open Arms preschool program.

She said classes help children with their social, physical and emotional development. In addition, they get instruction learning numbers and their ABCs.

“We still have openings for the fall,” she said.

Saint Mary Catholic School in Hagerstown also had a booth at the expo.

School representative Mo Tedeschi said the school, which teaches grades pre-kindergarten through eight, is touting the addition of a new science lab to garner new students.

“We invite people to come and look at Saint Mary’s and see what kind of education we can provide for a child,” she said. “We accept people from all faiths, but Catholicism is taught.”

Tedeschi said the school also stresses charity. Each class, for example, adopts a needy family and raises money to buy them gifts.

“The kids want to help,” she said. “You really need to come in and see the school.”

Jamie Sullivan, an instructor at The Little Gym in Long Meadow Shopping Center, said she was at the event to recruit children who are 12 and younger to participate in after-school programs.

“We provide kids with confidence and success,” she said. “We’re not a competitive gym.”

The Little Gym offers classes in dance, gymnastics and martial arts, according to company literature. The gym also entertains 3- to 12-year-olds on the second and fourth Fridays of each month so parents can enjoy quality time together. The program lasts from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

For more information about the gym, go to www.tlghagerstownmdus.com.

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