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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 Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

Del. David Poisson (D-32) has been appointed to represent the House of Delegates on two statewide commissions.

Poisson will be one of five House members Ñ and the only House Democrat Ñ to serve on the 13-member Manufacturing Development Commission. He will also serve as one of four House members on the Substance Abuse Services Council.

Poisson, a member of the House committees on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and Militia, Police and Public Safety, was elected to the House in November 2005.

The Loudoun County Department of Services held a Foster Family Appreciation Luncheon, at the Outback Steakhouse in Sterling, May 6, to honor the agency's foster families. Bashar Kassir, manager/proprietor of the restaurant sponsored the event by opening his restaurant early for the group and donating all of the food.

An engraved photo album, framed certificate and bouquet of red roses were presented to Loudoun County's Foster Parents of the Year, Gloria and Randy Baer.

Certificates of appreciation were awarded to the following foster families, Rosaria and Kent Butterfield, Maria Robohn, Desiree and Frederick Washington, Natalia and Al Morro, Janet and Ron Arp, Louise and Phill Gross, Lorraine and Tim Sawyer, Marna and Larry Zok and Cindy and Chuck Gavelek.

Community service awards were presented to Judge Pamela Brooks; Elizabeth Weaver and Deborah Shiffelette and their organization, PAC of LOVE; Karen Velez, Holiday Coalition and Summer Camp Committee and Kassir. A final community service award was presented to director Robert Chirles for his leadership, advocacy and protection of the foster-care program here at Loudoun County Department of Family Services.

Nick Kraynack, son of Amy and James Kraynack of Ashburn, was named an All-American Scholar At-large Award Winner at the United States Achievement Academy. Nick will appear in the All-American Scholar Official Yearbook, which is published nationally. He is a student at Belmont Ridge Middle School.

The academy recognizes fewer than 10 percent of American high-school students. Winners are based on the Standards of Selection, which include grade point average, student achievements and a well-balanced schedule of academics and extracurricular actives.

Najib Salehi, Loudoun County's energy manager, has been elected to the board of directors of the Virginia Energy Purchasing Governmental Association (VEPGA) for a three-year term.

VEPGA was formed in 2002, after being authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia with the passage of the Electric Utility Restructuring Act in 1999. The group's functions include procurement of electric power on behalf of its 171 member jurisdictions and negotiation for electric transmission and distribution services with Dominion Virginia Power.

As Loudoun County's energy manager, Salehi works to minimize annual energy cost increases for county-occupied facilities and to restrain the county's energy costs despite a volatile energy market and fast-paced growth environment. Salehi has been with the county since November 2004.

Salehi has more than 20 years of utility/energy management experience. He is a certified energy manager and is certified in energy procurement.

Iris Angelica Leguizamo of Loudoun, center director, NOVA Child Development Center, was appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), to the Start Strong Pre-K Council, which will focus on developing an affordable, effective and efficient blueprint for expanding access to high-quality, prekindergarten education to every child in Virginia.

The Start Strong Pre-K Council will develop strategies to build on the existing network of public, private and faith-based providers across the commonwealth. The council will meet at least quarterly to oversee the development of early childhood education programs. Members of the Council will serve without compensation.

The following local students graduated from the University of Mary Washington May 13: John Fuentes, master of education degree, Chantilly; Ashley Gibson, English BA, Sterling; Kathryn Hershberger, English BA, Sterling; Lindsey Hyde, history BA, Leesburg; Jessica Kicha, biology BS, cum laude, Ashburn; Sarah Lintelman, English BA, Sterling; Jessica Noble, English BA, Leesburg; Angela Roth, history BA, cum laude, Potomac Falls; Christopher Spida, philosophy BA, Sterling and David Steele, Latin BA, Leesburg.

ÒExcellence in the Arts,Ó LoudounÕs arts competition for student artists, was held May 6. The Loudoun Arts Council awarded cash prizes to first-, second- and third-place winners in the following seven categories Winners were: in theater, first place, Erin Rust, home school; second place, Alexandra Miheala Wicker, Broad Run High School;third place, Catherine Oliver, Loudoun Valley High School. In literary, first place, Abe Annis, Heritage High School; second place, Lydia Smith, Notre Dame Academy; third place, Whitney Cavin, Potomac Falls High School. In dance, first place, Laurel Snyder, Loudoun Valley High School; second place, Lindsey Miller, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Brittney Miller, Broad Run High School. In instrumental, first place, Ana Rosario Quijano, Notre Dame Academy; second place, Christian Rippe, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Raashi Kulkarni, Stone Bridge High School; honorable mention, Annelise Harder, home school; honorable mention, William Keran, home school. In piano, first place, Kulkarni; second place, Michelle Eve Laurent, Broad Run High School; third place, Phillip Roberts, Dominion High School; honorable mention, Matthew Mennickelly, Dominion High School. In visual, first place, Dane Cozens, Stone Bridge High School; second place, Annis; third place, Stacey Swann, Potomac Falls High School; honorable mention, Shea Carney, Notre Dame Academy. In voice, first place, Jacob X. Mason, home school; second place, Katie Skinner, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Heather Vereb, Park View High School; honorable mention, Rippe.

Rachel Branch of Herndon has become recognized as a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, National Leadership and Honors Organization at James Madison University.

This honor is among three recently bestowed upon Branch, as she has also received recognition and honor with membership into the National Honor Society of Collegiate Scholars, as well as Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in

psychology.

Oatlands has hired Carla Johnston as its new head gardener. Johnston, a resident of White Post, Va., has been a landscape gardener and designer for over a decade.

With her background as a landscape gardener and designer at Greystone Gardens in White Post, Va., and Highland Gardens in Boyce, Va., Johnston specializes in garden design, garden installation and garden maintenance. She also developed a curriculum for classes at the State Arboretum of Virginia. Johnston received her bachelorÕs degree at Shepherd University, in Shepherdstown, W.Va. She also earned a landscape design certificate from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Brian Colleran of Ashburn a junior majoring in marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, received the Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Starr Jr. Award. The two merit-based scholarships are awarded each spring to business majors.

Loudoun Youth Inc. board members Dale Polen Myers and Kristina Kalinas presented a check in the amount of $50,000 to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, with the funds designated for the Loudoun Youth Initiative, to support the Youth After School (YAS) program. Loudoun Youth Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was formed to provide financial support and fund-raising activities on behalf of the Loudoun Youth Initiative.

Cub Scout Bear Den 3, Pack 1152, from Lowes Island Elementary School toured the Loudoun County Solid Waste Management Facility recently to see how a landfill works and to learn about recycling.

While visiting the landfill and the Recycling Drop-off Center, the group learned how recycling of bottles, cans and paper contributes to thousands of new products from pencils to planes. The Scouts also had the opportunity to see 60-ton equipment smash trash in what is known as the "pit," and how "rain coats" are used to keep water out of the buried waste.

Gregory J. Sagstetter of Sterling was named, by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, as its undergraduate student representative for the 2006-2007 academic year. He will serve as a liaison between Virginia Tech's student population and the board.

The student representative is appointed to a one-year term and sits on a committee of the governing board and serve as an ex-officio member on the Commission of Student Affairs. Student representatives are nonvoting members and are required to maintain contact with university administrators as well as Tech students.

Sagstetter, an undergraduate student in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will be graduating in the spring of 2007 with a dual degree in philosophy and political science, along with a minor in African American studies. As an undergraduate, Sagstetter is actively involved with The Virginia Tech Office of Judicial Affairs, and serves as an associate justice with the Virginia Tech Honor System. He is also a peer educator for the women's resource center, a college ambassador, the treasurer of the Virginia Tech Student Alliance and a mentor with the Virginia Tech Leadership Experience for Achievement Development (LEAD).

Christina Vu of Ashburn, a rising senior majoring in management in the Pamplin College of Business, has received the John W. Hansen Memorial Scholarship.

This merit-based scholarship is awarded annually to an undergraduate student enrolled in the Pamplin College of Business.

Victoria Wilson of Potomac Falls, a student majoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, was recently inducted into the university's chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa Society, the national leadership honor society for college students and recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership, and exemplary character. The society recognizes achievement in scholarship, athletics, campus or community service, social and religious activities, campus government, journalism, speech and mass media, and the creative and performing arts.