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

This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

Belmont Ridge Middle School held its second family diversity dinner meeting Nov. 30, as part of its school improvement program. Families of children attending Belmont Ridge came to share a meal and to work with school staff and administrators to create a caring school community for all students. The dinner meetings were developed by the school as part of a schoolwide diversity initiative, which includes ongoing staff training, parent outreach and student leadership training.

After the meal, the group enjoyed a dance performance by the childrenÕs dance group, Cham Cham Payal Bajey Dance Group of Sterling, who performed Bollywood dances of India.

Parents and staff discussed school improvement efforts to eliminate the achievement gaps that occur with minority groups in the school system, as well as increased effort to fully involve minority students in honors and enrichment programs. Belmont Ridge United, a minority parent-led group affiliated with the school, advises and supports the school on diversity issues that affect the students of Belmont Ridge.

The next family diversity dinner is planned for Feb. 27. The Belmont Ridge Step Team will perform at that dinner. The school invites the Belmont Ridge community to attend.

Almost 220 students were set to graduate in Shenandoah UniversityÕs last December graduation Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre.

The commencement speaker and honorary doctor of humanities degree recipient was Sandy Lerner of Upperville, Va. Lerner is one of the cofounders of Cisco Systems Inc.

Honorary doctor of divinity degree recipient Ken Yamada recently retired as associate general secretary of the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the Methodist Church. He is special assistant to the director for global education and new initiatives.

The PresidentÕs Award for Distinguished Service to Higher Education recipient, James C. Cherry, is the Mid-Atlantic State CEO of Wachovia Bank. He is also the 2005-06 chairman of the board of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges

The Shenandoah Medal recipient, Andrew U. Ferrari, is one of the founders of Trex Company Inc., the manufacturer of Trex decking and railing and the leading brand of alternative decking lumber in North America. He is currently the president and COO of Trex.

Because of the growing number of graduates and the limited space in campus venues, this is the final December graduation at Shenandoah. In 2006, students may complete their course of study in December, but they will choose to receive their diplomas by mail or return to campus to walk in May.

Briar Woods High School PTSO is selling poinsettias for decorating home, office, church or as gifts for clients or office employees. Funds benefit student activities. Poinsettias will be delivered to the school for pickup on or about Dec. 9. Large orders may be delivered to a selected destination if needed. Call 703-726-0280 or 571-223-2344 for more information. Visit for

order form and pricing.

Dates for SAT and ACT testing for 2005-2006 have been established for Loudoun County Public Schools. The tests are administered on nationally standardized dates and require advanced registration.

Students may register online or may obtain paper registration materials from the guidance office of each high school. Registration and study information is available at for the SAT and at for the ACT. Students should register at least six weeks in advance of the tests.

Most colleges require SAT or ACT for college admissions. Some colleges also require certain SAT II subject tests for admissions or placement. Students should check with all of the colleges to which they plan to apply to determine which tests are required and preferred.

Students usually register for the SAT or ACT in their junior year and repeat the test in the senior year. Some students elect to take both the SAT and ACT.

The SAT test dates are:

* Jan. 28: SAT and SAT II subject tests, Loudoun Valley High School.

* April 1: SAT only, Loudoun County High School.

* May 6: SAT and SAT II subject tests, Broad Run High School.

* June 3: SAT and SAT II subject tests, Park View High School.

The ACT test date is April 8, Broad Run High School.

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. announces the Long & Foster $200,000 Scholarship Program for well-rounded graduating high-school seniors entering an accredited four-year college or university. The program will award $1,000 each of 200 worthy recipients for the 2006-2007 academic year.

The deadline for applying is March 1 and the scholarships will be awarded in the beginning of April. The monetary scholarship award will be made payable directly to the college or university in the studentÕs name.

Applications for the program can be obtained from any of Long & Foster residential sales offices, from high-school guidance counselors or via Long & FosterÕs Web site at Also visit the Web site for details on eligibility and application requirements.