It's definitely been a hard Winter for all, but each passing week brings us closer to Spring. Will the thermometer ever reach 40 degrees again? Keep your snow shovels and ice-melt handy, and remember, Valentine's Day is Feb.14. St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner.

February is a busy month, so let's take a look at the schedule. Keeping with the usual format, I'll start with those items that apply to both of the junior high schools. On Feb. 5 report cards will be issued. There is no school from Feb. 16 through 20. Parent-teacher conferences will be held on Feb. 10, so you should check with your children for the details. On Feb. 27, the National Spanish Exam will be given to those participating Grade 9 students.

The Amity Regional Board of Education Facilities Committee will hold community forums on Feb. 3 and Feb. 24., at the Senior High School Cafeteria at 7 p.m.. The forum on Feb.3 will discuss site alternatives, options and schematic designs. The forum on Feb. 24, will discuss development options and site design.

A free parenting seminar titled "A Different Generation" will take place on Feb. 2,from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the junior high in Bethany. Subjects to be discussed will be basic discipline techniques for parenting today's teenagers. Please R.S.V.P. to Noreen Julian at 392-2118.

Now we will review events at the Orange campus. Feb. 4, is Job Shadow Day. Twenty Amity High students will follow junior high teachers in Orange to observe teaching techniques and activities. There will be a concert by the Solo Ensemble on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m..

The PTSO will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the library at 7 p.m.. Please note that this a change from the normal schedule of the third Tuesday of each month. This change was necessitated by the school vacation dates. The PTSO is looking for parents interested in serving as PTSO officers for the 2004-2005 school year.

Anyone interested should contact Karen Arnold at 799-7273.

Aleksander Zyla and his daughter Katherine wish to express their gratitude to all members of the community who graciously offered their support and sympathy to their family regarding the recent passing of their beloved wife and mother. The kindness of all of you was very comforting to the family. The family is very grateful.

Here are the following activities for the Bethany campus. The PTO meeting will take place on Feb. 3, at 9 a.m. in the cafeteria. All parents are welcome and coffee is provided.

The mid-Winter Food Drive is from Feb. 2, through March 4. Students will be collecting non-perishable food items and personal care items, which will be donated to the Connecticut Food Bank. For more information, please call Mr. Snyder at 393-3102.

The Daffodil Flower Fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will be held from Feb. 23 through March 4. A bouquet of 10 freshly cut daffodils will cost $7. A Gift of Hope bouquet of flowers in a vase delivered anonymously to a cancer patient or someone in need in the local community costs $20. All proceeds provide funding for the American Cancer Society's ongoing research and community programs.

Tenth grade registration will begin on Tues., Feb. 3, and orientation for grade 9 parents will be held on Feb. 4, at the Amity Regional Sr. High School. Parents should check with their children for more information, as well as, the Amity Regional website at http://www.amityregion5.org.. Please note that if you are a parent of a grade 9 student at the Orange campus, you should also check with your child, the school and the website to see if these dates also applies to your child and your family.

The Amity Booster Club's largest fund raising event of the school year begins in March and will continue through the first week of April. For more information you can contact Anne Marie Paone-Mullin by calling the senior high at 397-4830. The Amity Booster Club awards six scholarships annually at graduation. Please support each of Amity's athletic teams. Grade 9 students are eligible to participate in Amity athletics at the senior high.

As this has been a Winter full of snow and freezing temperatures, please be reminded to check for school delays, school closings and changes in the schedule of programs covered in this month's edition of the Amity Backpack. Updated information can also be obtained from the website at http://www.amityregion5.org.

School administrators, faculty and student organizations are reminded to submit information for activities each month to Karen Arnold at 799-7273. You can call for deadline information each month so that your event or activity can be included in a timely manner.

I hope you all have a good month and enjoy the Feb. school vacation. Please stay safe and stay warm.