School News and Notes

 Falls Church Students Clean-Up

It was a rainy Friday afternoon, but that didn’t deter the students and parents from the Haycock Elementary School in Falls Church. The Pimmit Run Clean-Up Program, part of the Haycock Community Outreach Program, would go on rain or shine.

The fifth grade clean-up project at Pimmit Run is just one part of a school wide community outreach initiative organized by the PTA and the Grade Level Representatives. Meeting outside the classroom, students and parents are able to interact in a social atmosphere, while working toward a greater good. The PTA found that parents appreciate the activities and imparting the value of outreach work to their children.

Students and parents alike gathered behind the Little League Field on Westmoreland Street at 5 p.m., trash bags in hand, ready to clean the over a 1.5 mile stretch of water and land starting at Great Falls Road and continuing along the other side of Westmoreland up to Old Chesterbrook Road.

Eager fifth graders first received a brief water quality lesson from Cathy Saunders. Saunders provided the class with a live water monitoring demonstration, including “critters” as she called them, caught earlier in the water and now displayed in cups and ice cube trays. “Some of these things that live in the stream can tolerate a lot of pollution and some of them can’t tolerate it all.” She explained how by monitoring the “critters” living in the water enables analysis of the amount of pollution present.

Saunders grew up in Burke's Spring Branch watershed and is a certified Fairfax County stream monitor and watershed steward, a member of the Middle Potomac Watershed Plan Steering Committee and the McLean Community Association's Parks and Recreation Committee. Of the gathered specimens, the leech was the star, garnering the most attention and crinkled noses. “We don’t have any leech large enough to actually pierce your skin,” Saunders assured the students, which pleased a few “they’re not interested in you,” she reassured those who still looked on hesitantly.

 Upon finishing her demonstration she pointed to the surrounding area “all this land is flood plain so any garbage on the land will eventually be washed into the stream when it rains and end up going into to the Chesapeake Bay,” with these final words, she released the children. They excitedly jumped right in and began collecting trash. They were listening and getting the message. “A lot of streams and water are being polluted including the Chesapeake Bay” said student Emily Williams as she plucked an indiscernible object from the water.

Students followed the water’s edge with bright orange bags, inspecting their findings and bagging their loot. “If we just throw trash in the stream, it’s bad for the animals and plants because they aren’t able to filter it,” says Hanna Davis, as she points to a meandering salamander. Ann Williams adds excitedly “We’ve seen lots of tadpoles in the water.” When something interesting is dislodged from the murky underground, it is exalted. “I found a shoe!” someone yells gleefully.

Up ahead, the Hauser twins were stomping through the mud and rocks.” I liked going through the creek, knowing that you’re going to help the creek makes you feel good,” says Madison Hauser. I can feel her parent’s pride. Just to her left, her brother quietly listens. Suddenly, his eyes light up “plus, I found a baseball” Matthew Hauser tells me proudly “my mom said I could take it home and clean and keep it.” He is very pleased with this discovery. So another lesson emerges from this feel good day. “Now that’s what I call recycling,” I say cheerfully observing his day’s bounty.

For more information about this enriching program, visit the PTA website at

Kettering University Announces Dean's List

Sarah Yoon of Falls Church has made the Dean's List at Kettering University for the Spring 2007 semester. Yoon is pursuing a BCH. The Dean's List at Kettering University is an honor earned by students, who in a given term, have attained a minimum weighted grade average of 92.0 out of a possible 100, have received no grades below 85, and have earned a minimum of 16 credits.


George Mason HS Alumni plays in Md.

George Mason High School soccer coaches, Art Iwanicki and Frank Spinnello made the trip to Emmittsburg, MD to watch one of their All State alumni, Alex Fatovic' (2004), as his Long Island University Blackbirds beat Mount St. Mary's 2-0 in a Northeast Conference match up. Alex had 4 saves to record his second shutout of the season in goal. Alex is in his senior year at LIU and joins other GMHS alumni Colin Nannery, Josie and Ben Griffin still playing college soccer.


PS Elementary Helps the Homeless

New gloves, hats, socks, and scarves are being donated by students at Pine Spring Elementary for children at area homeless shelters. Sponsored by the Pine Spring SCA, the drive is being held as part of the 2007 Providence District VolunteerFest and runs through October 29.


Singing with Seniors

Key Center students will kick off the school’s community program with residents of Manchester Lakes Senior Apartments on Friday, October 26, at 10 a.m. The Key Center students travel to Manchester Lakes on the fourth Friday of each month; the seniors read to the students, tell stories, and sing seasonal songs. The program helps Key Center students get involved with members of society through an educational and community experience.


Students Raise Money to Help Former Teacher

Five students from Silverbrook Elementary earned $1,200 selling lemonade over the summer, and then donated the funds to help cover medical expenses for Tim O’Toole, the school’s former physical education teacher who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While at Silverbrook, O’Toole organized the Silverbrook annual Fun Run; the run is now used as a fundraiser for the ALS Association. Silverbrook also established a partnership with the Virginia chapter of the ALS Association.