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Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

April 2, was Butterfly Day, at the Dulles Town Center, a community awareness project intended to educate Loudoun County residents about the children in the foster-care program. The Loudoun County Department of Social Services Foster Care and Adoption Program invited children to participate by hand decorating paper butterfly cut outs, which were then hung on a special butterfly tree to send a wish to children in foster care. The goal was to raise awareness about foster children and to encourage more people to consider serving as foster parents in the community. For more information about the Loudoun County Foster Care and Adoption Program, call 703-737-8824 or visit www.loudoun.gov/services/family.htm.

During the weekend of April 2-3, members of the Creative Dance Center Competition Team, with studios in Chantilly and Ashburn, attended the Starbound Dance competition. Top scoring routines included some students from Loudoun County: first overall junior soloist was Dani Shibla, a Farmwell Middle School student; first overall petite duet included Lindsay Carr, a Dominion Trail Elementary School student; second overall junior duet/trio included Nicole Otto, a Belmont Ridge Middle School student; fourth overall junior duet/trio consisting of Lorenzo Hernandez, home schooled and Devyn Shibla, a Dominion Trail Elementary student; first overall senior duet/trio was Dani Shibla and Nicole Otto.

Venturing Crew 761 announces that it has promoted its first Silver Award to Amy Luna of Sterling, becoming the BSA Goose Creek DistrictÕs first-ever such award, but also the first-ever being given to a young woman.

The Silver Award is the highest award for Venturers. In addition to earning a Bronze and Gold Award, Venturers do additional work in the areas of leadership, emergency preparedness, and ethics. The Silver Award requires a pre-approved plan of action and a board of review, and is available to all youth Venturing members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Luna is a sophomore at Texas A&M in Galveston, Texas, where she is studying maritime trade, and has been a member of Venturing Crew 761 since its inception in 2001. With her crew, she has scuba dived at BSA's Florida SeaBase and in North Carolina, spelunked and repelled in West Virginia, Toured and slept on USN ships, backpacked the Appalachian Trail, and accomplished wilderness survival training. She has received CPR/First Aid certification, safe swim defense and safety afloat training, PADI scuba certification, leave no trace training, and Venturing fast start. She was the crew chief in the Venturers' 2003 Scuba trip to Florida.

Andrew Carlson, a member of Boy Scoot Troop 966, received his Eagle Award during a Court of Honor ceremony attended by fellow Scouts, family and friends at the Community Lutheran Church in Sterling April 2. The Eagle Award is Boy Scout's highest rank and is achieved by less than 4 percent of Scouts. Carlson has been a Scout since elementary school and achieved the rank of Eagle after earning a total of 29 merit badges demonstrating proficiency in outdoor and other skills and by holding leadership positions in Troop 966, including the position of Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Carlson is also a member of the Order of the Arrow. Carlson's Eagle Project included designing and building picnic tables for Forest Grove Elementary School in Sterling. He received letters of commendation from many notable officials, including President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Sen. George Allen and Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carlson is a junior at Park View High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society and the cross country team. He is the seventh member of his family to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Troop 966 is sponsored by the Sterling Ruritan Club.

Ashburn Farm Association has recognized five volunteers, Jon Brunley, Arlene Cottone, Vicky Duarte, Sean Ganey and Scott Stewart, who were all nominated for the 2004 Volunteer of the Year award, for their contributions to their community. Ganey, the chairman/vice chairman of the association's Architectural Review Board last year, received the award.

After defeating Michael Riggs and James Schoppet in an international speech contest at a Loudoun Toastmasters Club meeting March 3, Julie Halstead went on to compete in an area public speaking contest between all the Loudoun County Toastmaster Clubs. Halstead, an Ashburn Farms resident, went on to win the area speech contest, and finished second at the division level held April 10.

The Loudoun Academy of the Arts is pleased to announce

that painter Karen Casey has joined the academy's list of

professional art instructors. She will teach Still Life Painting on

Tuesday nights beginning May 3. Beginners will follow a structured approach, while intermediate painters can explore more complicated techniques. No matter what level, Casey will work with students individually to bring out their strengths and expressive styles.

Casey earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of North Carolina. She received an MFA in Studio Arts/Printmaking and Painting from James Madison University. She shows her work regionally.

The Loudoun Academy of the Arts is a 501c3 organization that offers fine art instruction for students of all ages and abilities.

M. E. Yancosek Gamble is the new Main Street Loudoun coordinator with the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. A native of Washington, Pa., Gamble has been involved with Main Streets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. She joined Loudoun County March 21.

Gamble began her career teaching at Bethany College (W.Va.) and at Washington and Jefferson College (Pa.). She formed her own business, an organizational communication firm specializing in political consulting and marketing. She has been the executive director of public relations and marketing at Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.), the director of marketing for Cafaro Company (Youngstown, Ohio) and Crown American Corporation (Johnstown, Pa.) and a full-time faculty member in the Business and Economics Department at Fairmont State University (W.Va.). Most recently Gamble served as the regional director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center at Fairmont State University.

Gamble will work directly with Main Street Loudoun partner communities on implementing the recommendations from last year's community assessments. She will also begin the outreach effort to eastern Loudoun communities and work directly with small businesses throughout the county.

She holds a bachelor's degree from California University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from Marshall University (W.Va.), both in Communication Studies, and has done post-graduate work in Organizational Communication from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) in the area of planning.

Army National Guard Pvt. Sareth Sum has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Roeun Neng of S. Dearing, Fresno, Calif., and niece of Bonnie Sam of Lamoreaux Landing Square, Ashburn. Sum is a 2004 graduate of Sunnyside High School, Fresno.