We receive gifts during the holiday season in many different ways. Mary Gail Hare's article on Sandalwood Elementary School brought me an unexpected and wonderful one ("Sandalwood Elementary dances to success," Dec. 17).

Sandalwood school is located in my district and has earned the recognition as a National Title I Distinguished School for 2011-2012. To say I am proud of the efforts of these young students for this terrific achievement is to put it mildly.

The Title I program provides funding for additional resources for schools with economically disadvantaged students. As one of the teachers noted, theirs is not a level playing field and that makes this recognition all the more special. The teachers, staff and entire school community deserve much credit for helping to inspire and educate these young children.

I can only imagine the pride and joy the children must feel in having this recognition bestowed upon them. No wonder they are dancing in the halls. They are filled with a feeling of confidence that has made their spirits soar. It's something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

No matter what socio-economic background or neighborhood a child comes from, if you can inspire that child to learn and provide a support system for him or her, they will do wonders. Sandalwood school is proof of that.

John Olszewski Sr., Dundalk

The writer is chairman of the Baltimore County Council.