It is a cold and snowy Sunday evening. I am finishing up my Spanish homework and getting ready to return to school following the long, relaxing holiday break. It is a virtual winter wonderland outside as a thick blanket of snow covers my front lawn and trees. Winter has finally arrived. It is time for children to enjoy sledding or to hibernate in their homes, reading or playing games. Tonight we had spicy chili and pasta for dinner, a perfect winter meal.

With respect to Amity happenings, on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m., the Orange Youth Services will be holding a talent contest at the High Plains Community Center. All Amity students in grades 7 to 12 are invited to attend. Winners will be awarded prizes including an Ovation guitar and three MasterCard gift cards. Individuals or groups can present acts, including in the areas of dance, variety, music, singing or drama. Should anyone have further questions, they should contact Bob Catalde at RobertCatalde@reg5.k12.ct.us.

Moreover, the Amity High School Student Government will be conducting its annual coat drive this month. I would highly recommend that students, their families and community members consider donating clothing to this event, which will be provided to the Birmingham Group "for families suffering from domestic violence".

Importantly, on Jan. 7, 8, and 11, counselors will meet "in small groups with their students" to help them select courses for the 2010-2011 school year. Students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) can review the 2010-2011 Amity Regional High School Program of Studies by clicking on the link to http://www.amityregion5.org/ahs/Program_of_Studies/program_of _studies.html. Hopefully, parent(s)/guardian(s) have reviewed course selections with their students since "final parent/guardian approval forms will be sent home" at the end of this month.

Furthermore, on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. the 8th Grade Parent Night will be conducted in the Amity Regional High School auditorium. On this night, parent(s)/guardian(s) will be able to learn about "the program of studies offered" at the high school.

On Thursday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. the Counseling Services Department will be hosting a Support Services program for parent(s)/guardian(s) and students who want to learn more about post high school services for students with learning disabilities.

Significantly, interested high school students who plan to attend college next fall and pursue a teaching career should consider applying for the South Central Area Superintendents’ Association Scholarship. Students can obtain applications in the Career Center, which need to be completed, with a 200-word essay by Jan. 15.

As noted last week, the Amity High School senior ads deadline has been extended to the third week in January. Senior parents should consider purchasing an ad for their "special graduate in the 2010 Yearbook". Order forms can be obtained by opening the attachment "Senior Ads" at the top of Dr. Britton’s last Friday Highlights email. Completed forms should then be returned to the yearbook staff in Room 111 at the high school. Students who have not yet purchased their yearbooks can still do so at the price of $75 per book.

Lastly, the Junior Parent Post High School Planning Night has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. I strongly suggest that parent(s)/guardian(s) and their students attend this informative evening since a panel of college admissions officers will be present to discuss post-high school planning.

The New Year should be filled with much promise and excitement and hopefully not too much more snow. Clearly, much is happening at Amity including course selections for the 2010-2011 school year, the 8th Grade Parent Night, as well as the Junior Post High School Planning Night.

Emily Nadelmann is a student at Amity High School.