Send announcements to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, by e-mail to, by fax to 703-917-0991 or by mail to 1604 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Deadline is Friday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos are encouraged. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Give the gift of literacy this holiday season, by getting involved as a volunteer. The "Wright to Read" program, which is funded by the Frank and Betty Wright Foundation and administered by The Campagna Center, is always looking for individuals who wish to make a difference in a child’s life. Through its three programs, Tutor/Mentors; Book Buddies and Reach Out and Read, the Wright to Read program matches dedicated volunteers with first-fifth grade students, referred by their teachers as needing help with reading.

Volunteers meet one-on-one, for a minimum of an hour per week, at a time that’s convenient for them. Initial and ongoing training is provided. For more information and upcoming orientation dates, call Ginny Biggs at 703-549-0111, ext. 142.

Mary C. Sargeant was on the honor roll at Virginia Episcopal School. She is part of the class of 2008 and from Alexandria.

Honor Roll – Grade point average of 90 and above.

McKenzie L. Bennett, a student from Alexandria, recently participated in the Fall 2006 Semester at Sea program. During the fall semester, students travel for 100 days on-board the MV Explorer, taking classes and participating in cross-cultural activities in ports of call.

The Marine Corps Marathon presented Charles Barrett Elementary School with the award for the school with the most runners at the Healthy Kids Fun Run, held at the D.C. Armory on Oct. 28 in conjunction with the marathon. The school’s physical education department received a $1,000 Healthiest School Award, sponsored by Washington FAMILY magazine. Miles, the marathon mascot, along with the Marine Corps Marathon fitness team, will present the prize at an upcoming assembly. Fifty-four students – approximately 23 percent of the school’s enrollment – ran in the one-mile event along with parents and Physical Education Teacher Kevin McGrath.

Pictures taken by the T.C. Williams documentary studies advanced photography class will be featured in a 2007 T.C. Williams High School Commemorative Calendar. The calendar features 13 beautiful, duo-toned photographs -- all taken by current T.C. Williams students — of the soon to be demolished T.C. Williams building and environs. Measuring 7-by-7 inches, the calendar is the perfect size for either wall or desk. Calendars, available for $8 apiece, are being printed now and will be mailed to purchasers in mid-December.

The calendar may be purchased separately or as part of a $25 student-created publications package commemorating the building, which will be demolished in June of 2007 prior to the opening of the adjacent new high school, currently under construction. Publications can be purchased by visiting or by sending a check or money order to We Are The Titans; c/o Taki Sidley, Room D6, T.C. Williams High School, 3330 King St., Alexandria, Virginia 22302. All proceeds from pre-sales will go to the T.C. Williams High School programs that created these publications. Donations above and beyond the purchase price are appreciated. For additional information, contact Technology Teacher Taki Sidley at 703-824-6800.

Thirty-eight Douglas MacArthur Elementary School students, along with some teachers and parents, participated in the Girls on the Run 5K Reindeer Romp at Reston Town Center on Dec. 9. The children joined girls from all over Northern Virginia on the event. MacArthur is the first ACPS school to participate in Girls on the Run, designed to be a life-changing learning program for girls in grades three through eight. The program emphasizes self-esteem and strong character through health education and physical training, including a 3.1-mile running event. The MacArthur Girls on the Run also encourage supporters to attend the event and cheer on the runners. A Celebration Luncheon for the girls, parents, buddy runners, friends and fans took place after the race. For additional information about the organization and event, contact School Coordinator for Girls on the Run Christina Lytle through the school at 703-461-4190.

The Curriculum and Instruction Committee of the Alexandria City School Board invites the community to discuss the Federal Special Education Audit overview (including discussion of the detail and substance of the federal process and how to review areas that are not covered) at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, in the Board Auditorium at 2000 N. Beauregard St. in Alexandria. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. No pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Rosemary Webb, Clerk of the Board, at 703-824-6614 or

The T.C. Williams High School concert and symphonic bands will perform their holiday concert on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, 3330 King St., Alexandria. In conjunction with the concert the band is putting on a gift drive for the Carpenter's Shelter. The concert will feature the T.C. Williams Concert Band, Symphonic II Band and Symphonic I Band. The groups will perform a variety of concert and holiday selections, including Gustav Holst's "Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity from "The Planets," Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," "Greensleeves" and Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride." The concert is free of charge and open to everyone.

Through Dec. 21, the band program is collecting donations of books for K-12 students and age-appropriate gifts for middle- and high-school students. Suggestions for gift donations are gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy and Borders Books and Music. Donated items may be brought to the concert or dropped off in the school’s main office. All donated items will benefit the children at Carpenter's Shelter for Alexandria’s homeless. For additional information, contact Director Vaughn Ambrose at 703-824-6859 or

The Westminster-George Mason Tutoring Program needs tutors and substitute tutors to work one-on-one with elementary school children who need extra help. Tutoring takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 2:35-3:35 p.m. in the library at George Mason Elementary School. Tutors are asked to make a commitment of one hour per week from October through May, excepting school holidays and snow days. Substitute tutors are also needed to be available once or twice a month to fill in for weekly tutors. Contact Kathy Hart at 703-706-4470 or to learn more.

A new Online Career Center, school-based community college career coach and community college outreach counselor are helping Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students plan for life after high school. An Online Career Center created for ACPS students includes sections related to career exploration, researching occupations and colleges, job search skills, employment Web sites and more. The site also features a section for employers, parents and community members who are looking for opportunities to become involved with the schools. The Online Career Center can be found at: For more information about Career Center-related opportunities at T.C. Williams, contact the school at 703-824-6800.

The finals of the 4th Annual Talented Teen Competition will be held on Dec. 31 at the Durant Center, 1605 Cameron St. in Old Town. The venue opens at 7 p.m. for dancing. The finals take place between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The ten 2006 finalists are: Mike Richards, a guitarist who attends West Potomac H.S.; Amber Sheriesse Prigmore, a singer from Mt. Vernon H.S.; Simone Sattler, a singer/songwriter from Osbourn H.S.; Chris Green, a hip/hop dancer from Minnie Howard Middle School; Prophit, dancers from Alexandria; Interference, a four-piece band; Tyjuane Sharpe, a singer/songwriter from Alexandria; NOVA Quartet, comprised of junior and seniors from various high schools; Cross Product, a five-piece band of high school students; and Jolt, a four-piece band comprised of junior and senior high school students. Winners will be announced at 11 p.m. when cash prizes will be awarded. The first place act will receive a paid contract to play at First Night Alexandria 2007. $10/person if purchased before Dec. 25. After that date, admission is $15. Children 12 and under and active military are free.

The Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association's Educational Outreach Committee will present the final round of the 2007 WMPA Concerto Competition on Saturday, March 17, 2007, from 10 am-3:30 p.m. at Episcopal High School, 1200 North Quaker Lane. Finalists in each division (strings, winds, percussion and piano) will perform live before a panel of expert judges. The grand prize winner will be awarded the opportunity to perform live with the WMP during the 2007-08 season. First and second place winners in each division will receive a cash prize and Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic (WMP) season tickets. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. the day of the performance. Open to applicants of 21 years of age or younger (there is no minimum age requirement), WMPA's Concerto Competition requires participants to submit a recording of 15 minutes of music from a concerto. Applications are due by Feb. 3, 2007, and can be found at Finalists are selected based on the recorded performance and are then invited to perform live for judges. Admission to the final round is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact the office directly at 703-799-8229.

T.C. Williams High School's United Student Activists helping out at ALIVE's food distribution at LaDrey Senior Residence on Wythe Street, Old Town on Saturday, Dec. 9. Members of the club that attended this event were Alia Elnahas (founder), Nora Elnahas, Carl Eckel, Jonathan Huie and Carolina Mugerza.

For three weeks in October Joel Ferris participated on a Global Volunteers program in which they taught conversational English to teenagers and young adults in Xi’an, China. Global Volunteers is a nonprofit organization that has offered short-term service opportunities around the world since 1984. By immersing themselves in the day-to-day pace of Xi’an life, the volunteers gained unique perspectives on this fascinating culture that was closed off from most of the world for centuries and only recently has opened its doors to the global community.