Basketballs are bouncing and baseballs are flying. It's time for March Madness. With the UConn men's and women's basketball teams competing again for national championships, I'm not optimistic that I will get my husband away from the television and into the yard to start the spring clean-up. For all of you Yankees, Red Sox and Mets fans, hope springs eternal that it will be a good year. For me, I'm just thankful that winter is almost over. Now let's get to the school news for March.

CAPT testing will take place from March 6 to March 15. Grade 9 and 10 students will report to school at the regular time each day. Grade 11 and 12 students will follow a special schedule on CAPT days beginning with a 3 hour delay. There will be a second bus run on CAPT days with the pick-up time three hours later than normal, except for March 15 when the delay will be 3.5 hours. A direct mailing has been sent to all parents providing the CAPT schedule details. Further information on CAPT tests can be viewed on the Amity Regional website at www.amityregion5.org.

Included in the CAPT test mailer will be a flyer that encourages parents to sign-up for the Amity High School "listserv." The "listserv" enables members to do an instantaneous mass e-mail to everyone else who has signed-up. The flyer will have a tear off portion that will give you the option of providing your direct e-mail address. It is hoped that this will help in facilitating personal communication.

March 8 is the mid-point of the third marking period. The marking period closes on April 7. There will be a staff development day on Monday, March 27. There is no school for students on March 27. The Winter Sports Awards Night will take place on Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the school gym, and the College Fair will be held on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. also in the school gym.

The Amity PTSA will have a joint meeting with the PTSA and PTO from the two middle schools on Thurs., March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. Dr. Brady, superintendent .of schools, will attend from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to update members on the budget, building issues and other matters affecting the schools. There will be a question/answer period from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

Parents and students are reminded that the "temporary new main entrance" to the school is located in the rear of the building. The most convenient parking for evening events is on the side of the building and near the tennis courts. The best location for afternoon pick-up of students is at the student drop-off area on the side of the building by the child development playground. New "Visitor" parking spaces have been created on the side of the building past where the District Offices are located.

The Backpack wishes to congratulate the Student Government for its very successful Food Drive. Congratulations are also in order for Paul Gamble and Samantha Toscano who took First Prize in a contest sponsored by the Creative Writing Club. Gamble submitted a short story titled "Requiem" and Toscano wrote a poem titled "Midnight Tempest." Both pieces will be included in Amity's literary magazine Calliope, which will be published this Spring. Honorable Mention winners were Lou Bachenheimer, Debbie Chen, Rob Hickerson, Monica Loscalzo, Belinda Wenke and Sarah Zaborszky. Entrance fees for the contest were donated to the Red Cross Disaster Fund to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

A Bone Marrow Drive will be held on Saturday, March 11 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the high school. Volunteers are asked to attend and join the National Marrow Donor Registry and help Tristan Campbell, the infant son of Amity School Counselor Courtney Campbell and her husband Richard Campbell. Tristan is battling leukemia and is fighting for his young life. By joining the National Marrow Donor Registry, you will be helping Tristan and many other patients looking for a bone marrow match. You must be between the ages of 18 and 61 and be in good health to register. If you cannot attend, you can contribute by sending your tax-exempt donation to: Tristan Campbell Trust, Attn: Ellen Papermaster c/o Amity High School, 25 Newton Road, Woodbridge, Ct. 06525.

That's all of the news for March. Anyone wishing to submit information to the Backpack for inclusion in April's column, should contact Karen Arnold at 799-7273 on or before, March 18.