School News and Notes

 George mason high seniors (left to right) Nikki Williamson,  Kristie Southern, Kate Root and Sam Shaw, joined by English teacher Ms. Allisa Mears (middle), delivered a meal to  the Falls Church Winter Shelter this past Tuesday. GM seniors deliver meals every Tuesday to volunteer. (Photo: Ron Brousseau)

Lorton Station Celebrates History

Lorton Station Elementary School sixth graders researched topics in history between 1607 and 1877 as part of the National History Day program based on this year’s theme, Conflict and Compromise in History. Students from Margaret Hanscom’s and Laurie Hartt’s classes researched and gathered at least five primary sources and 12 secondary sources to produce an annotated bibliography, process paper and title page. Students then worked to create an exhibit, documentary or drama for a competition to be judged based on relation to theme, clarity of presentation and compliance with rules. Winners of the competition were Samantha Simonoff, first place for Individual Web Site; Carly Levinstein, first place, and Zach Pate, second place, for Individual Documentary; Anika Peterson and Amanda Souto, first place for Group Documentary; Allison Belkowitz, first place, Robbie Douthwaite, second place, and Katie Hough and Ryan Rodriguez, honorable mention, for Individual Exhibit. First and second place finishers went on to compete at the regional level at George Mason University on Feb. 23.


local students served as speech contestants at the Falls Church Rotary Speech Contest, themed “Leading the Way.” (Left to right) Noelle Jumaili of Falls Church High, Varun Bansal of Thomas Jefferson High, Peter Davis of George Mason High and contest winner Mary Klein of Bishop O’Connell High pose for pictures with Rotary President Charli Lucier (center). (Photo: Joe Scheibeler)Students Make National Merit Scholarship Finals

Four George Mason High School students earned national recognition as finalists for the National Merit Scholarships. Peter Davis, Meredyth Duncan, Adam Gann and Sarah Weinberg received letters notifying them of their finalist spots. “We are all very pleased for these seniors on their accomplishment. This is yet another indication of the overall quality of the Class of 2008, a very special group of students,” said GMHS Principal Bob Snee. The Mason finalists are among approximately 15,000 students nationally who are competing for 8,200 Merit Scholarships that reward accomplished students without regard to gender, race, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The 2008 National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news-media announcements in April, May and July. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s own funds and approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions.


FCPS Kicks Off Series of Parent Meetings

Fairfax County Public Schools will hold three regional parent meetings in March and April. The meetings will be free and open to all FCPS parents and are designed to share strategies for increasing student success, to enhance home-school communication, to provide curriculum information for parents and to gather feedback from families. The first meeting will be held Tuesday, March 4, from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Hayfield Secondary School (7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria). Consecutive meetings will be held Thursday, April 3, from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Robinson Secondary School and Saturday, April 5 from 8:30 a.m. – noon at Chantilly High. The same program will be presented at all sites and will reflect fliers sent home to students in early February. Free age-appropriate group child care and light refreshments will be provided for all three meetings. Advanced registration is required due to limited space. For more information, including the list of workshops, visit


‘Doughnuts with Dad’ at Clearview

Clearview Elementary will be hosting Doughnuts with Dad, an opportunity for students to do math activities and enjoy doughnuts with their fathers on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 a.m. Every other month, students will accompany their dads to a before-school activity at which specific mathematical concepts will be highlighted through activities, stories, discussions and games. All activities have been adapted for kindergarten through sixth grade students and are designed to be played in and out of school.


McNair Elementary Gets Technical

A new design and engineering lab has opened at McNair Elementary as part of the school’s technology program. Fifth and sixth grade students attend sessions during lunch or before school to work on diverse applications such as creating digital media with photos, music and digital video and imaginary worlds with computer-aided design software. Third and fourth grade students will begin robotics programming in March. The lab is made possible thanks to two grants, one from the Virginia Association for the Gifted to purchase two Pico Cricket Robotics sets, which are used to create interactive robots, and one from the Solid Works Education Team, which provides professional development for school-based technology specialist Laura Reasoner Jones plus software worth $6,000. Upon completion of her training, Jones will be able to help students use their three-dimensional skills in the SolidWorks program while applying theoretical concepts in math, algebra, geometry, life science, chemistry, physics and engineering.


H.S. Students Design Winning Bridge

Annandale High School students Galen Dunbar, Matt Ashford and Danny Wirdzek recently took top honors at the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area bridge design competition sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers held at George Mason University during National Engineering Week. Annandale High’s International Baccalaureate Design Technology class created four bridges from popsicle sticks that qualified for the competition, with the winning bridge taking the grand prize, and also Best Aesthetic Bridge Design and Most Efficient Bridge Design.


Students ‘Stomp Out Underage Drinking’

The Step Team at West Potomac High will be sponsoring the Ninth Annual Step Competition to be held Saturday, March 1, starting at 7 p.m. The Graham Road Elementary Step Dance Team will perform as the opening act for this year’s competition, themed Stomp Out Underage Drinking. Graham Road’s team is made of 20 students from grades 3-6. Tickets are available at the door.


Elementary Students Serve Community

The Stratford Landing K-Kids, a student-led community service club of 50 students in grades K-6 has been granted a charter from Kiwanis International in its first year at Stratford Landing Elementary. The grant makes it a recognized member of the Kiwanis family of service clubs. Members of the club and its sponsoring group will celebrate Charter Night on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the school. Student members decide what projects to undertake and run their own meetings with guidance from advisors. The K-Kids are currently making fleece blankets for homeless children, organizing a “Pennies for Peace” drive to raise money for schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and have plans to clean up the Potomac at Dyke Marsh-Belle View Marina in April. Other club activities include raising funds for the survivors of the Harris Fire in California, collecting food and clothing for homeless families, co-sponsoring a Family Fall Cleanup for the school, creating care packages and cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas, making Thanksgiving centerpieces for the families at Mondloch House, a local homeless shelter, and helping at the Kiwanis Christmas tree lot.