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Votes

Schools march 7-13

Send announcements to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, by e-mail to gazette@connectionnewspapers.com. Deadline is Friday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos are encouraged. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Several Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) elementary schools will host open houses and tours geared primarily toward parents of prospective kindergartners. Here is a schedule of upcoming events:

* Charles Barrett Elementary School, 1115 Martha Custis Dr., 703-824-6960. A kindergarten children's visit is set for 12:45 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. Tours are available by appointment at 9 a.m. on Thursdays.

* George Mason Elementary School, 2601 Cameron Mills Road, 703-706-4470. An open house for kindergartners registered at George Mason takes place from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 29. School tours, by appointment, begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday.

* William Ramsay Elementary School, 5700 Sanger Ave., 703-824-6950. No open house is scheduled, but parents of prospective kindergartners can call the school to arrange individual tours.

The public is invited to be a part of the new, state of the art T.C. Williams High School by sponsoring a seat in the auditorium. For a $200 donation, an engraved plaque will be placed on the back of one of the new auditorium seats. Sponsors can select their seats by making a secure online transaction using E-check. Sponsoring a seat is a great way to show Titan Pride or honor a recent or future graduate. Visit www.acps.k12.va.us today for details.

The Special Education Parent Resource Center of Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) announces the following events scheduled this month:

* The Support Group for Parents of Children in Special Education continues to meet every Thursday morning from 10 a.m.-noon at the Special Education Parent Resource Center. Meetings include coffee, bagels, free child care with advance notice and great support and problem-solving ideas.

The T.C. Williams High School girls' and boys' lacrosse teams are selling bags of mulch as a fundraiser. Each 3-cubic feet, 40-pound bag costs $4.75. Orders must be received by March 17, with checks made out to T.C. Williams Lacrosse Boosters, c/o Linda Davenport, 206 Elm St., Alexandria, Va. 22301. Pick-up will take place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, at George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria . Delivery is available, in City of Alexandria limits only, for a $20 additional fee and minimum 10-bag order. Order forms may be obtained at www.acps.k12.va.us/tcw/mulchsale.pdf or by contacting Bill Garrahan at 703-926-0919 (work) or william.garrahan@xo.com; or Mark Fitzsimmons at 202-429-8068 (work) or mfitzsimmons@steptoe.com .

T.C. Williams High School drama students won third place at the Patriot District One-Act Festival Competition held Jan. 30 at South County High School. Performing a comedy titled "Jimmy the Antichrist" by Keith J. Powell, the students tied for second place with Lake Braddock Secondary School, but lost a tie-breaker by three points. West Springfield High School won the competition. Morgan Grady was voted by the judges as the best actor to perform at the competition. Maggie Rosenblatt and Alina Collins received All Star Awards for being among the top 12 actors picked by the theatre directors who were present. Rosenblatt, Collins and Grady received three out of the five top awards given to the actors by the judges. Other participating students included actors Biana Lipford, Agatha Aramayo and Anil Kenkeremath and Student Director Beth Wherry.

Six T.C. Williams High School TV Production students received awards in the recent Pre-Produced One-Minute Video Production category of the District 14 SkillsUSA Competition. The team of Tyler DeCourt, Taylor Pearson and John Wilson IV received first place for a piece titled Extreme Skipping, and the team of Brooks Eaton, Reid Scholar and Will Shankles earned second place for an entry called US Bowling. All students will advance to the state-level competition in Richmond in April.

Alexandria has five schools that offer a limited number of openings for students outside of its attendance zone. Students may apply to these schools through a lottery. The five schools are: Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology; Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics; John Adams Elementary Dual Language Program; Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy; and Mount Vernon Community School. Lottery applications must be received by March 2. Applications can be downloaded from the ACPS Web site at http://www.acps.k12.va.us/lottery.php and will be available in schools by mid-February. Parents who are unsure of the school to which their child is assigned can call 703-824-6710.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Alexandria Sunrise Optimist Club honored three winners of its tenth annual Optimist International Essay Contest. Three students read their essays at the club's meeting on this year's topic, "I Want to Make a Difference Because…" The first place winner was Lauren Ellis of Falls Church, a student at Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School, second place winner was Chris Timmons of Alexandria, a student at T. C. Williams High School, and the third place winner was Mia (Marie) Brown of Alexandria, a student at T. C. Williams High School. Each of the winning students received a medallion, a participation certificate and a U.S. Savings Bond.

Support T.C. Williams High School athletics by donning official Titan attire. An ongoing fundraising project, the T.C. Williams Titan Gear Web site – www.tcwgear.com – showcases a variety of merchandise featuring Titans logos. Profits go to the new T.C. Williams Athletic Boosters, an umbrella organization started this year to promote T.C. athletics in the community, to raise money for projects that will benefit multiple sports and to facilitate communication between sports groups. The site features a wide range of apparel and other items, including shirts, jackets, hats, gear bags and more in sizes ranging from infant to adult. "Substores" include items geared toward alumni and parents, as well as fans of the 1971 "Remember the Titans" team. Merchandise bears traditional T.C. Williams logos as well as new logos designed for the T.C. Williams Athletic Boosters. Contact Jane Harrington at janefharrington@msn.com or

703-836-0299.

Fresh from his appearance in the NBA All-Star Game, the Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas scored 38 points, earning $3,800 for Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. Nearly 200 Cora Kelly staff, students and families traveled by school bus to the game to cheer on Arenas, who earned $100 for Cora Kelly with each point scored.

Alexandria City Public Schools will offer four informative and instructional "Get More Out of Life" sessions from February to May for students in grades nine through 12, parents and teachers who wish to obtain creative tools and techniques for greater life balance, easier social interactions and improved time management and personal organization. The free workshops will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. March 22, April 10 and May 8 in the Media Center at Minnie Howard School, 3801 West Braddock Road, Alexandria. E-mail karen.parker.thompson@acps.k12.va.us or call 703-824-6639. Register on line at www.acps.k12.va.us. The sessions, each of which focuses on a different book, include the following:

* Thursday, March 22, Session 2: "The Price Of Privilege" by Madeline Levine explores the effect of material possessions on our lives.

* Tuesday, April 10, Session 3: "Crazy Busy" by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. deals with time management skills in a hectic world.

* Tuesday, May 8, Session 4: "It's So Much Work To Be Your Friend" by Richard Lavoie looks at the importance of social skills in our lives.

Awards went to four units representing Alexandria City Public Schools in the 2007 George Washington Birthday Parade, held in Old Town Alexandria on Monday, Feb. 19. In the Youth Bands category, first place went to the T.C. Williams High School Titans Marching Band, second place went to Francis C. Hammond Middle School's Marching Admirals and third place went to George Washington Middle School's Presidents Band. In the Youth Military Units and Drill Teams category, the T.C. Williams High School Jr. ROTC and Color Guard received third place.

Fifth-grade students at Patrick Henry Elementary School are learning ballroom dancing during a 12-week extracurricular program taught by a professional teacher from the Alliance Dance Institute in Alexandria. The 24 students enrolled in the program, spearheaded by fifth-grade teacher Eileen Greenberg, are learning such dances as the Fox Trot, Salsa, Waltz and Rumba. The culminating project will be a formal ballroom dance as part of the Fifth Grade Graduation Celebration for the entire fifth-grade class.

The professional book club at Francis C. Hammond Middle School is accepting donations of new and used elementary- and middle-school-level books from now until the end of March. Convenient drop-off boxes are available in the main office and in all grade-level offices at the school, 4646 Seminary Road, Alexandria. Community members and businesses may arrange for pick up of their donated books. Contact Jodie Peters at 703-461-6559.

The Alexandria Education Partnership is accepting nominations for outstanding K-12 teachers to be honored at the Excellence In Education Awards Dinner in May. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, March 14. To nominate a teacher, visit www.alexandriaedpartnership.org. The Excellence in Education Awards Dinner is one of Alexandria's only public events dedicated specifically to honoring educators who play a vital role in shaping Alexandria's future. This year's event will take place at Belle Haven Country Club. The event will also include a silent auction. Contact AEP Executive Director Kerri Rogers at 703-606-1193 or e-mail krogers@alexandriaedpartnership.org.

We Are the Titans: A Profile of Diversity at One American High School can be ordered now for a presale price of $15. Created by T.C. Williams High School photography students, the book will feature approximately 100 fine art documentary portraits of current T.C. students, each accompanied by a quote or some text about the student pictured. The book showcases the school's rich diversity and the students many unique stories and talents. Once the book is published in May, the price will be $20, but the book can be ordered at the presale price through PayPal at the Web site www.wearethetitans.com or by sending a check made out to "We Are the Titans book" to T.C. Williams High School, care of Taki Sidley, Room D6, 3330 King St., Alexandria, Va. 22302.

Saint Rita School in Alexandria, was selected from more than 650 kidsÌ gardening programs nationwide to receive a 2007 Youth Garden Grant from the National Gardening Association. This award-winning youth gardening program will receive an assortment of books donated by the National Gardening Association and a $250 gift card from the Home Depot.

Nine Bishop Ireton High School students were selected by competitive audition to participate in this year's All-District Concerts held at local high schools in January and February. Andrew Hickman (baritone), Audrey Hueg (clarinet), Zachary Martini (clarinet), and Cassandra Poulos (percussion) performed with the 57-member 2007 Wind Ensemble. Amanda Howells (clarinet), Ben Martini (percussion) and Saznin Mehta (clarinet) performed with the 104-member 2007 Senior Symphonic Band under the direction of Mr. Denton Stokes.

The All District Jazz Band Concert was held at Episcopal High School on Saturday, Jan. 27. Jack Tierney (guitar) was the sole Bishop Ireton representative, having been selected by competitive audition from approximately 100 students from District Ten schools.

The All District Orchestra performed at West Potomac High School on Jan. 6 and included Bishop Ireton's Tim O'Brien (bass) in the Senior Honors Orchestra.