Community News & Notes

Arlington Student Earns Degree With Honors

After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, James C. Montana, entered Amherst College. Son of Dr. Stephen Montana and Dr. Margaret E. Coogan, Montana majored in German and philosophy at Amherst. He received a bachelor’s degree, with summa cum laude distinction. He is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

FC Local Earns Bachelor’s Degree

Andrea M. Spakauskas of Falls Church graduated Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree and magna cum laude distinction. Her undergraduate studies included French and political science. She is the daughter of Mr. Anthony Spakauskas and Mrs. Marta Spakauskas.

Arlington Resident Graduates from Gettysburg College

Ross Greenwood earned a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. Greenwood majored in English.

2008 Grads Awarded Bachelor’s Degrees

Among the 475 students who took part in Franklin & Marshall College’s commencement exercises, were Erin Statler from Arlington and Evan Hamme from Falls Church. Statler, a graduate of Yorktown High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Hamme was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. He is a graduate of George Mason High School.

Arlington Resident Receives Degree at 140th WPI Commencement

Paul Alexander Dragnich, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Dragnich of Arlington received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering with distinction at the 140th Commencement exercises at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A total of 1,089 degrees were awarded during the ceremony, which took place outdoors on the WPI Quadrangle.


MEMBERS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION of Home Staging Professionals will host an open house viewing of a 7,000 sq. foot custom built home designed by accredited stagers from July 26 – August 24 in Falls Church. (Photo: Courtesy Leigh Newport)

Top 10 Team Invited to the Bahamas

ERA Franchise Systems LLC, one of the world’s largest residential real estate franchisors, will honor its most successful sales associates at its annual “Beyond Excellence” conference, July 20 – 23 on Paradise Island, in the Bahamas. Richard Bridges and Jennifer Bridges of ERA Blue Diamond Realty in Woodbridge, Va., are among the top producers recognized for excellence in real estate sales, and will participate in the invitation-only event. To qualify for this year’s event, ERA sales associates or selling-brokers must have achieved 40 residential units closed or $100,000 in residential adjusted gross commission in 2007.

FCPS Earns Accolades for Financial Reporting

Fairfax County Public Schools has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the United States’ Government Finance Officers Association for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. The certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The county’s CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story. The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 16,000 government finance professionals.

Molina Healthcare to Operate Clinic in Falls Church

Molina Healthcare of Virginia announced it has been awarded a contract by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to staff, manage and operate three county primary care clinics one of which is located in Falls Church. Earlier this month, Molina began operating the Fairfax County Community Health Care Network, which is comprised of three county clinics (Falls Church, Alexandria and Reston) that provide comprehensive medical services to more than 12,000 of the area’s uninsured residents. Providing approximately 48,000 primary care visits annually, centers have licensed pharmacies and laboratory services. Two of the facilities also offer radiology services.

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners Named

This year’s National Merit Scholarship competition includes 194 colleges and universities sponsoring some 4,700 award recipients. Sponsor colleges, located in 43 states and the District of Columbia, include 115 private and 79 public institutions. In Virginia, seniors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology were among the finalists to receive college-sponsored awards between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. Recipients of college-sponsored scholarships with their prospective undergraduate schools in parentheses are: Olivia Bonin, (University of Southern California), Emily Feeney (University of Rochester), Stephen Houck (University of Rochester), Mohit Iyyer (Washington University in St. Louis), James McAtamney (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), William McGrath (Purdue University), Robert McMullin (New College of Florida), Geoffrey Miller (University of Oklahoma), Rathna Ramamurthi (New York University), Melanie Szwajkowski (Northwestern University) and Cayla Wallwork (New York University).

TJHSST Teacher Wins Life Sciences Educator Award

Paul Cammer, director of the neuroscience laboratory at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is the first recipient of the Life Sciences Educator Award, sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Cammer was recognized for his dedication to his work and his unique approach in engaging students in the study of life sciences. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, is presented annually to a secondary school educator with at least five years of teaching experience who has made a significant and positive contribution related to promoting the study of life sciences to his or her students. Nominees are also expected to show proficiency in teaching Advanced Placement biology or chemistry courses and must demonstrate outstanding student guidance and mentoring skills in their work with students on independent projects. The neuroscience laboratory at TJHSST is an interdisciplinary lab incorporating skills from the areas of biology, electronics, robotics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

Final Performances for ‘A Body of Water’

Firebelly Productions’ acclaimed production of Lee Blessing’s “A Body of Water, heads into its final performances, July 17-20 at Theater on the Run (3700 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington). Performances on Thursday and Friday begin at 8 p.m., with two 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12-15, and $5.00 for seniors on Sunday. In this mystery, a couple awaken in a house with no memory of who they are or how they got there in this suspenseful exploration of the deep relationship between memory and identity. Call 703-409-2372 or visit for information.

An Inside Look at Bullying and School Violence

Are our schools safe? What can be done to protect our youth? What drives a teen to bring a gun to school and open fire on his classmates? The Falls Church City Police Department will answer these questions and more at the “Teen Truth: An Inside Look at Bullying and School Violence” seminar.

This free seminar is open to educators, parents and students. “Teen Truth” examines the phenomenon of school violence and bullying through hard-hitting footage, interviews with real teens, and a dramatic look inside the mind of a violent teenager. Participants will be ready to discuss how to change the alienating culture of high school, stop bullies, and make school a safe and supportive place for all young people. The seminar will be held at the Falls Church City Hall Training Center (300 Park Ave., Level G, Falls Church) on Monday, August 11 and Friday, August 22. All participants must pre-register with Officer Derrica Wilson at 703-248-5056 (TTY 711) or

Justice Visits National Museum of Crime and Punishment

More than a household pet, Justice, lives up to his name daily as he tours with police officers keeping criminals behind bars. Decorated for excellence as a dual purpose patrol and narcotic dog, Justice will be hosting a meet and greet at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, Friday, July 18th at 1 p.m., along with special guest McGruff the Crime Dog. Imported from Germany, Justice is five years and eight months old, working in the canine section of the Operation Support Bureau in Fairfax County for the past four years. For ticket and facility rental information, call 202-393-1099 or visit,

Help Northern Virginia Adults Improve English Skills

More than 150 new volunteer tutors are needed to help area adults learn to speak, understand, read, and write English. Currently on a waiting list to be matched with tutors, these adult students are eager to improve their English literacy skills by working one-to-one with a trained volunteer. Specifically targeting those adults at the lowest literacy levels, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia offers the only individualized adult literacy tutoring programs in Northern Virginia. No teaching or foreign language skills are required. A $35 training fee covers the cost of books, materials, and instruction. All tutor training workshops take place at the James Lee Community Center (2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church). The next English literacy tutor training workshop will be held in August. For more information, e-mail or call 703-237-0866.