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School Notes

Know something that should be featured in School Notes? Awards? Special events? School fairs? Fax a brief write-up to 703-917-0991 or write an e-mail to Joy Allen at mclean@connectionnewspapers.com

Substance-Abuse Education seminars for parents will continue to be held at three locations: Langley High School, McLean High School and Herndon High School. At Langley High School there will be sessions on March 31, April 28 and May 19.

At McLean High School, the sessions are April 14, May 5 and 26, and June 9.

On Saturday, March 13, Freedom Hill Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, honored three local students for their essay writing and good citizenship. Taylor Monferdini, a sixth-grader at Churchill Road Elementary School, won the fifth- through eighth-grade level American History Essay Contest with an essay on this year's topic, "The Louisiana Purchase: Thomas Jefferson's Presidential Legacy." Taylor's essay took the form of an entry in Thomas Jefferson's memoirs as he reflected on the Louisiana Purchase.

Jackie Bello, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, won the high-school-level Christopher Columbus Essay Contest with an essay on this year's topic, "A Day in the Life of Christopher Columbus the Explorer." The essay was in the form of a journal entry from one of the early days of Columbus' journey to the New World. Jackie's essay was judged the best essay for the state of Virginia and has been submitted to the national DAR competition.

Patrick "PJ" Podesta, a senior at McLean High School, received the DAR Good Citizen Award and Scholarship, which includes a $500 contribution to his college expenses. PJ is the Student Government Association president this year and was his class president sophomore and junior year. He has participated in varsity football, tennis and track as well as junior varsity baseball and freshman basketball. He was voted Homecoming King, is a member of the National Honor Society, and plays jazz trombone.

Marshall High School has been certified as a Parent Involvement School of Excellence by the National Parent Teacher Association. The certification recognizes schools that uphold the highest standards in parent involvement and that seek input from all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, students, administrators and community members.

To complete the certification process, schools form teams consisting of the principals, teachers, parents, students and community representatives, complete a self-assessment packet and apply for either the Certificate of Excellence or the Recognition of Commitment. Marshall's effort was headed by PTA president Jackie McCauley.

Helen Sim of McLean High School received a Certificate of Merit for Sports Feature, Sports Writing, News Publication, from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) for her work on The Highlander, McLean High School's student newspaper. The CSPA recognizes excellence in scholastic publications and for individual achievement by student writers, editors, designers and photographers.

David Price of McLean, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, was awarded the Olin Teague Memorial Scholarship on March 19. The award, which included a $4,000 scholarship and an engraved plaque, was presented before an audience of over 2,000 aerospace executives and scientists at the annual black-tie Goddard Memorial Dinner of the National Space Club at the Washington Hilton.

The award recognized a scientific discovery David made as an intern at the U.S. Naval Observatory. His work showed how recently observed variations in the rotation of the earth are caused by large movements of ground water that alter the gravitational shape of the earth. The findings have important practical applications to the prediction of the earth's rotation and calculation of satellite orbits.

David has given presentations of his results to scientists at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. He also recently made an invited presentation of his work to the Washington Academy of Sciences at the National Science Foundation.

Jason Popps of McLean, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, has been named one of four finalists in the National Kids Philosophy Slam Competition scheduled for Saturday, April 24, in Lanesboro, Minn. Popps and three other finalists will debate the philosophical question "Is world peace possible, or does human nature make war inevitable?" in front of a live audience. Each of the finalists will receive a $500 U.S. savings bond and a paid trip to Lanesboro.

Representatives from the private and public sectors will be at Falls Church High School on Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m., for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) transitional high-school program Career Night.

Students from FCPS’ four transitional high school sites meet with area business, trade and education professionals to learn about short- and long-range educational and career options.

Transitional students are typically 18 or older, come from different countries and want to earn a high-school diploma. The students are beginning-level English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students who are also studying math, basic science and social studies. Students are placed in grades nine through 11 based on their educational background.

The transitional high-school program provides instruction at four sites, sharing space at Falls Church, Lee, Stuart and South Lakes high schools. Transitional high-school students often have full-time jobs during the day and then spend their evenings attending school. Classes are Monday through Thursday, 4:15-9:45 p.m., and Friday, 4:15- 6 p.m.

The instructional program consists of the FCPS A-level (beginning) ESOL curriculum and mathematics classes (FAST Math, introduction to algebra, and Algebra 1). Students earn elective credits for graduation for all courses except Algebra 1, in which they earn a content credit.

The transitional high-school program does not offer diplomas; however, when students attain the intermediate ESOL level (B1), they may continue their studies at Pimmit Hills School, Bryant Alternative High School, Mountain View School or Woodson Adult High School to earn their high-school diplomas.

Students who attend Career Night meet with professionals from a variety of careers. There will also be representatives from schools that the students may aspire to attend, such as Woodson Adult High School, the Office of Adult and Community Education certificate and apprenticeship programs, and Northern Virginia Community College. Many of the presentations will be made in Spanish.

Junior Ranger Summer Camp. This fun-fillled, two-day program for children 8-11 allows children to participate in a variety of activities such as hikes and nature-related projects that educate young people about the park and the natural environment they live in. There is no fee to attend the program, but preregistration is required. Sessions are June 29 and 30, July 13 and 14, July 27 and 28, and Aug. 10 and 11. Each session runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Opening are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. For more information or to register, call 703-285-2965.

Registration for McLean Youth's spring volleyball program is now open to area youth in grades four through high school. Registration forms and program information are available at www.myi.org (go to volleyball). For more information, or if available to coach, contact Paula Doyle at 703-893-1398.

Graduating seniors residing in or near Great Falls are invited to apply for two Alexander DeFilippis Scholarships being offered this spring. The Women's Association of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Great Falls is proud to award these college scholarships to young men and women who have served their community with their time and talent. Membership in St. Catherine of Siena Parish is not required. All college-bound seniors who are local residents (Great Falls, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, McLean, Sterling, Potomac Falls and /or registered parishioners) may apply.

The selection process places major emphasis on the student's development of Christian character and demonstrated service to others by involvement in school, church or community projects. The student must also have a 2.5 or higher overall high-school grade point average. Two scholarships of $3,000 each will be awarded again this year because of the generous community support for the St. Catherine of Siena Women's Association fashion show, luncheon and auction at Riverbend Country Club.

Scholarship packages are available in the St. Catherine of Siena Parish office at 1020 Springvale Road, Great Falls. The applications must be returned by May 15. Strict adherence to the deadline as well application completion is imperative.

The Washington Regional Transplant Consortium, a Washington, D.C.-area organ procurement organization, is offering $5,000 scholarships to high-school seniors in Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and suburban Maryland. The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of an essay on organ and tissue donation written by the seniors. The scholarships are endowed from the Leslie Ebert Memorial Fund, in memory of a WRTC staff member who died in 2001. The deadline for the essays is Friday, May 7, at 5 p.m. For more information about how to enter the contest, contact Toni Webb or Eric Price at 703-641-0100.

The McLean Citizens Association, through its Education and Youth Committee, is again sponsoring the Teen Character Award to recognize teenagers with exceptional ethical and compassionate character. Teenagers who have, on their own and without compensation or other formal recognition, cared for elderly relatives or younger siblings, or who have helped out in their neighborhood or the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan community, deserve to be recognized not only for themselves but as an example to others. To nominate a teenager, pick up an application form at the McLean Community Center, Langley or McLean high school, or Cooper or Longfellow middle school. Nominations must be turned in to the McLean Community Center no later than Saturday, April 17. All teenagers whose nominations indicate they meet the criteria specified with the application will be notified and must be present unless other arrangements have been made with the Committee, to receive certificates at McLean Day on Saturday, May 15. For further information, call 703-734-4944.

All 10th- to 12th-grade high-school students in Northern Virginia are eligible for the Civil Liberties Essay Contest, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

Winning prizes, $300 for first place and $200 for runner-up, are awarded in June.

Essays should address the student’s opinion or analysis of a current civil liberties issue and are judged on clarity of thought, cogency of argument and eloquence of expression. Entries must be 700 words maximum. See http://members.aol.com/acluva for excerpts from last year's winning essays.

Essays must be typed and postmarked by March 31, mailed to: Northern Virginia Chapter of the ACLU, P.O. Box 19242, Alexandria, VA 22320-0242. Include a cover sheet with name, address, phone number and the name of the high school attended. Winners will be notified by May 15.

Call the ACLU message line at 703-360-1096.

Now’s the time to register for summer camps at the McLean Community Center. The center offers a variety of fun and affordable options for youth this summer. The Center is located at 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean.

*Camp McLean, which takes place at a Fairfax County Public School in McLean, is an American Camping Association accredited camp and is a Virginia Department of Social Services Licensed Child Care Center. A staff of recreation professionals, teachers and graduate and undergraduate students comprise the staff of Camp McLean. The camp has three two-week sessions beginning on June 28 and ending Aug. 6.

* Tot Camp, which takes place 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., is for 3- to 5-year-olds. Campers remain on site at all times. Each session offers a weekly theme, in-house entertainment and water play. Campers participate in arts and crafts, nature activities, outdoor play, circle time and games played in small groups. The camper/staff ratio is one adult to six campers. The cost of each two-week session ranges from $285 to $325.

* Regular, Adventure and Excursion Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular Camp is for first- through third-graders. Each session offers four swimming days and two local field trips. Transportation is provided via Fairfax County Public School buses. Each session offers a weekly theme in which campers have the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts, music, drama, cooking, games and sports. The camper/staff ratio is one adult to eight campers. The cost of each two-week session ranges from $305 to $340.

* Adventure Camp is for fourth and fifth graders. Excursion Camp is for sixth and seventh graders. Campers spend time participating in arts and crafts, games, sports and nature projects. In addition, these two groups travel on four local field trips and enjoy four days of swimming at a local swimming pool each session. Transportation is provided via Fairfax County Public School buses. These groups join the Regular Camp for camp field trips, special events and recreational swimming. The camper/staff ratio is one adult to 10 campers. The cost of each two-week session ranges from $350 to $390.

* For more than 15 years, the Alden Theatre’s Summer Theatre Workshops have provided theater training for children. These summer programs offer young actors in fourth through ninth grades an opportunity to develop their skills in the areas of acting, voice and movement. Led by a staff of theater professionals, students participate in all facets of the theatrical experience, from audition techniques to putting on the final performance. No experience is necessary for either workshop.

* McLean Kids is a camp for rising fourth, fifth and sixth graders. The camp is Monday through Friday, June 21–July 9. Camp hours are 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. The cost of the two-week workshop is $480/$550 nonresidents, which includes a T-shirt and makeup supplies.

* On Stage!, a camp for rising sixth, eighth and ninth graders, is Monday through Friday, July 12–July 30, from 9:30 a.m.–3:30p.m. The cost of the two-week workshop is $525/$600 nonresidents, which includes a T-shirt and makeup supplies.

* The McLean Cooks’ Kids Cook Program offers a number of cooking camps. All food and materials are included in the cost of programs, which meet Monday through Friday, for three to four hours, mornings or afternoons. All camps are limited to 12 participants, ages 8-12, except for parent and child and teen camps. Each day, students prepare a new meal and then dine on what they have made. Topics include kitchen rules and responsibilities, knife safety, skills assessment, kitchen cleanliness, table manners and the social aspects of dining together. Chef Joel Olson, of Hemmachef, teaches all camps. Recent summer camps have included Baking and Pastry, Let’s Cook Together (parent and child), International Cuisine, Teen Cuisine and Culinary Voyage.

* The Old Firehouse Teen Center (OFTC), a satellite program of the McLean Community Center, offers its Y.E.S. (Youth Experiencing Summer) Program, for seventh through ninth graders for a second year this summer. The program runs June 21 – Aug. 6, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. The cost of the program is $120 a month, or $35 a week. Teenagers participate in a structured program that includes outdoor sports, swimming and catching up on summer reading. Included in the cost is a supervised event, a daily snack, access to books that are on the Fairfax County Public Schools’ summer reading list and transportation to off-site events. Children must bring a lunch daily.

* OFTC also offers The Extreme Summer Experience for rising seventh, eighth and ninth graders.

Teenagers enjoy trips to fun locations, including Six Flags and the Spy Museum. Teenagers should arrive at the Teen Center between 8 and 9 a.m. The bus leaves promptly at 9 a.m. Most trips return at approximately 3 p.m.; however, some may return later. Parents must pick their children up by 6 p.m. The cost of the program is $350/$375 nonresidents for each session. Session I is Aug. 9-13, Session II is Aug. 16-20, and Session III is Aug. 23-27.

* The McLean Project for the Arts’ Creative Art Studio Program offers week-long workshops for children ages 6-8 and 8-11. Tuition is $100 per week/$110 nonresidents. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., or 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Week 3 meets only four days (Tuesday-Friday), and tuition is $80/$90 nonresidents. All supplies are provided. Children may attend one or more sessions and should bring a snack and a painting smock or an oversized shirt.

For more information on summer camps, call the center at 703-790-0123/TTY: TAP-TALK, or visit: www.mcleancenter.org