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Schools Feb. 28-March 5

Send announcements about school achievements to the Mount Vernon Gazette, by e-mail to gazette@connectionnewspapers.com. Deadline is Friday at noon for next week's issue. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Scholastics Arts Competition is an art and writing competition that students, grades 7-12, can participate at the school, regional, and national level. This year, almost 20 Mount Vernon High School art students advanced to participate at the regional level.

Four students were recognized at the regional level, three of which were awarded gold keys, the highest award in the competition. Gold key winners will go on to participate at the national level of adjudication. Wil Sheppard was awarded a Certificate of Merit in computer art, Kristina Pham was awarded a gold key in painting, Sterling Toppings was awarded a gold key in ceramics and glass, and Annie Palgutt was awarded a gold key for her work in photography.

Tim Gaffga, Mount Vernon High School and Whitman Middle School Orchestra Director, was given the outstanding new string teacher award by the Virginia chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Mr. Gaffga was recognized for his work with The Youth Orchestra of Fairfax www.tyof.org, and for his work with the entire Mt. Vernon Pyramid. Mr. Gaffga was also recognized for being invited to conduct at James Madison University’s annual Spring String Thing 2007. Mr. Gaffga is actively involved in his professional association, and has been nominated to run for president elect in the coming term.

Senior students enrolled in the Honors World War I and World War II classes attended the American Veteran’s Conference in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 9. Students in the course submit an essay for the Annual American Veterans Center Essay contest. This year, two Bishop Ireton seniors won awards for their essays written for this nationwide contest. This year's first place winner (with a $600 prize) was Becky Mitsch for her essay on "Captain Newbold: An Unsung Hero." The third place winner (with a $400 prize) was Patrick Weingart for his essay on Sergeant Donald Stottlemyer, a USMC Recruiter who demonstrated more than just a goal of staffing the Marine Corps.

Katherine Perkins of Alexandria, has received a scholarship from NIAF Lido Club of Washington, DC. Perkins attends College of William and Mary and is majoring in English/Government.

West Potomac’s It’s Academic team competed in the Patriot District and Northern Region tournaments on Jan. 5 at Thomas A. Edison High School. The Wolverines first finished as Patriot District Runner-Up, compiling a 6-1 record in district play. The team then finished in the top four of the double elimination egional tournament, ultimately losing two hard fought matches to Robinson Secondary School.

Laura Thoman of Mount Vernon was named to the dean’s list at Coastal Carolina University.

McDonald’s Family Restaurants of Greater Washington, D.C., will honor high school seniors throughout the Greater Washington, D.C., area who have demonstrated leadership, character, exceptional scholastic skills and volunteerism through the McDonald’s Educates Scholarship Program.

The 2008 McDonald’s Educates Scholarship Program recipients are chosen based on an application and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor, or community service leader. Students also submit two short essays detailing lessons they have learned through community service and the importance of education in relation to cultural diversity. Call 703-741-7525 or visit www.McDonaldsEducates.com for an application and additional details. The application deadline is Thursday, March 1. The scholarship winners will be announced in April 2008.

The following students were named to the dean’s list at Coastal Carolina University:

* Laura E. Thoman, Mount Vernon

On Jan. 23 Mount Vernon High School's Drama Department performed at the Virginia High School Theatre Festival. The cast of "Louder I Can’t Hear You" consisted of Rachel Roberts, Torres Hodges, Jody Parker, Conrad Navarro, Jonathan Faircloth and Juliana Johnson. Jonathan Faircloth, a senior, was selected to the District 10 All-Star Cast.

Bishop Ireton seniors Paul Fox and Mary-Catherine Ross have advanced to Finalist standing in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program competition.

The following Mount Vernon residents graduated from Virginia Tech in December:

* Andrej Cerni received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering.

* Myisha Rush received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the College of Science.

* Aaron Grigsby received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

* Andrew Sharbel received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

* Kristin Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the College of Science.

The West Potomac Indoor Drumline took 3rd place honors at Potomac Falls High School for their show "Stages." This was the group’s first performance in the new competition class.

Brandon L Bailey, graduate of Mount Vernon High School graduated from Roanoke College in December with a major in health and human performance.