January has been a month of highs and lows for all of us. On the positive side, unusually warm temperatures have given us a break from the bleak days of winter and high utility bills. While we can be assured that the agreeable weather can't last (after all, this is New England) spring is in the not too distant future. Now, if we can just figure out a way to avoid the traffic jams at the high school during the morning student drop-off, life would be more agreeable. While you wait in traffic, keep reminding yourselves that the physical improvements to the campus will ultimately be well worth today's inconveniences.

February's schedule begins with a reminder regarding days the school will be closed. The February school recess begins Monday, Feb. 20, and lasts through Friday, Feb. 24. Classes will resume on Monday, Feb. 27.

On Feb. 1, the eighth grade Parents' Night program for the parents of the in-coming eighth graders will be held at 7 p.m. in the chorus room of the high school. The program will focus on grade 9 course selection options and an overview of the high school program.

High school parent conferences regarding report cards for the second marking period are scheduled for the evenings of Feb. 2 and Feb. 8. Parents wishing to schedule a conference with their child's teachers are required to request the conference by accessing the "on-line" website for the high school at www.amityregion5.org, and following the easy on-line instructions. For more information, please call 397-4804. In addition, those interested in Advanced Placement courses are advised that a program will be held in the cafeteria on Feb. 8, from 5:30 to 6:30p.m., prior to the start of the parent report card conferences.

Feb. 2 also is the date for auditions for the solo and ensemble concert. Auditions will take place between the hours of 2:20 p.m. to 4 p.m.. The Choral Music Concert for solo and ensemble performances will occur on Thurs., Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the school chorus room. The snow date is Feb. 14. While on the subject of the performing arts, please be advised that musical theater performances of "Bye Bye Birdie" will take place on Feb. 8, 9 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sun. Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.. All performances will be at the Jewish Community Center in the large meeting room. The J.C.C. is located in Woodbridge. The musical is a joint undertaking by Amity students and adult members of the J.C.C..

The Student Government Clothing Drive to benefit the Birmingham Group was very successful. Thanks are due to all who participated by donating clothing and volunteering their time. The Student Government is now conducting a food drive from Feb. 6 to Feb. 10. For more information regarding this project, please contact the school.

Parents, players and fans of Amity sports are reminded that scheduled sporting events can be viewed at the website, and follow the link to "athletics."

The Amity High PTSA will hold its next meeting on Wed., Feb.15 at 7:15p.m. in the media center. Please note the change of date for this meeting. The change was necessary due to the scheduling of parent conferences for the second marking period. The PTSA wishes to remind Amity households that a letter was mailed in early January, requesting donations for a "Post Prom Party" for the senior class, which is still in the planning stages. A donation of $10 per family is being requested. A Post Prom Party would give the prom-goers a safe, alternative way to celebrate in the hours following the Senior Prom. Donations can be made payable to the Amity PTSA and sent to Pat Chase, 246 Heartland Terrace, Orange, Ct. 06477. For more information, please call Pat Chase at 799-0898. The PTSA wishes to thank those families who have already contributed in response to the written solicitation.

Amity staff member Sue Duffy is a national finalist for the VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. She is the representative for Connecticut high schools. The Backpack and the entire Amity community is proud of her accomplishment and wishes her the best of luck.

The Backpack wishes to remind its readers, that information regarding events at the high school can be submitted to Karen Arnold at 799-7273. The Backpack appears each month. Those wishing to submit information are reminded that the deadline for publication is the end of the third week of each month.