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Night Promotes Community

Eagle Ridge Middle School to hold its second annual Night at the Ridge event.

When Eagle Ridge Middle School's administration came up with the idea for the Night at the Ridge, it was looking to create one thing, a sense of community.

"We wanted to figure out how to bring our families, our staff and their families and the community together," Principal Janice Koslowski said.

When Koslowski worked at Potomac Falls High School in Sterling the school held a Night at the Falls event. It was that event that provided a lot of the inspiration for Eagle Ridge's community event and fund-raiser.

The second annual Night at the Ridge event will take place at the school Saturday, March 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

"We wanted to create an opportunity for community building," Koslowski said.

WHILE THE EVENT will be held at Eagle Ridge, the Night at the Ridge is an opportunity for all families in the area to come together for a night of entertainment, food and games.

The school will have 400 dinners donated by The Original Steakhouse in Broadlands on hand. The dinners will include ribs, chicken, a salad, baked potato, bread, dessert and a drink.

In addition to dinner there will be entertainment throughout the evening, including a dodgeball tournament, two talent shows and a number of activity booths. The school plans to have children's games, face painting, a cake walk, game room, a Scholastic book fair and science magic, along with musical performances from Eagle Ridge students.

"It should be a lot of fun for everybody," Koslowski said, "from families who have young children who will be coming to Eagle Ridge soon to high-school students."

Indeed, Eagle Ridge will have several teenagers on hand, helping out at the event, including the Briar Woods High School key club and Stone Bridge High School's National Honor Society.

"We are always looking to tie in to the high schools and make that transition easier for our students who will go there one day," Koslowski said.

The school's different organizations are getting involved with the event, Koslowski said, running different booths in an effort to raise money for their clubs. Many of the 85 advisory groups, made up of 10 to 15 students who work with a single staff member, are getting involved with booths to help out,

"It is a collaborative effort to raise money for the school," Koslowski said.

IN ADDITION to the money made from admission, the Night at the Ridge will hold both a silent auction and a raffle. The larger items donated from local businesses and individuals will be included in the silent auction, while smaller items will be part of the $1 per ticket raffle.

So far, Koslowski said, the school has received donations of rounds of golf, ski packages, stays at the Lansdowne resort, restaurant gift cards, services at local spas, gym memberships, children's gym packages.

"We just went to local businesses to see if they wanted to help us out with our fund-raiser," she said. Each donator will receive recognition in the event's program, as a thank you for his/her support.

"We also rely on our staff and our parents for items," Koslowski said.

One parent has donated her handmade jewelry, while a staff member has donated a dinner by her family's catering company. In addition, the school's nine instructional teams have donated themed baskets, such as a sports basket, a beach basket and a night-out basket for the auction.

THE MONEY RAISED during the event has not been earmarked for anything specific, and Koslowski said a communal decision on what the money should be put toward will occur later in the spring. The decision will be made by a team of people, including the school's administration, grade deans, department heads and the student council.

"We want the children to have a part in deciding how the money will be spent," Koslowski said.

The money could go to a variety of things, Koslowski said. Last year, the school was able to apply the money to increasing its technology capabilities. The school purchased Airliners, which are portable Smart boards and digital cameras. The money can also go to subsidize different programs at the school, such as its after-school activities.

"If we could do this and not charge, then I feel that would be just as big a success as being able to raise money for the school," Koslowski said. "This is really about the community."