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"Zookies' will buy playground equipment

Imagine 75 little pairs of hands rolling out the dough, cutting, painting and baking 3,600 animal-shaped cookies _ dubbed "zookies."

"We started making zookies the last week in January," said Connie Dierking, a kindergarten teacher at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School in Clearwater.

"The project originated because we have hardly any playground equipment, and the children had been complaining that it's boring outside."

The solution, she said, was to get some new equipment. But with cutbacks in education, playground equipment was not in the budget.

"So we said we'll just have to make some money."

Food always comes to mind when kindergarten children think about selling something, she said, and cookies are a favorite with them.

Because cooking is a part of the kindergarten curriculum, they had some experience.

The pupils have been making cookies since the beginning of the school year _ letter cookies, Halloween cookies and Christmas cookies.

"Their favorite cookie is a sugar cookie," she said. "We have a parent that has this special icing that you paint on the cookie, and when you bake it, it turns out shiny."

They did have some trouble coming up with a name for their product. "Zookie" was suggested by the children, she said.

The children also designed the packaging, wax paper stapled _ and stapled _ to form a bag.

They wrote jingles advertising the zookies and, as a grand finale, they promoted "Zookies with Love" for Valentine's Day.

"If you wanted to send a zookie to your sweetheart for Valentine's Day, you bought a card and put their name on it," Mrs. Dierking said.

The cards were attached to the zookie packages, and kindergarten pupils delivered them.

"We sold them three cookies for 50 cents. I don't know how many we made, but we sold $600 worth," she said.

Now the pupils must decide what equipment they will buy with their money. A tire swing, perhaps a slide or cage balls are some of their ideas.

Yearbook merits recognition

The Tarpon Springs High School yearbook staff has been recognized for excellence in page design, and excerpts from The Talon have been featured in The Yearbook Yearbook, published by Taylor Publishing Co. in Dallas.

The publishing company honored the top 2 percent of the books it printed between Oct. 1, 1990, and Oct. 1, 1991, by printing a collection of the best from yearbooks in the categories of page design, theme development, writing and cover design.

Tarpon Springs High's 1991 yearbook was edited by Jason Phipps, with Kenneth Henderson as adviser. It was recognized for its opening, student life and academics page design.

"Books selected for The Yearbook Yearbook definitely rate a cut above the rest," said Donald Griswold, supervising editor of the publication. "Student work of this quality stands out as an example to other yearbook staffs across the nation."

The Yearbook Yearbook is distributed nationally to yearbook staffs as a resource for creative ideas and motivation.

Information for the Young Newsmakers column may be sent to Pat Scarberry, 710 Court St., Clearwater 34616. Please include a contact name and phone number.