School Notes

School Notes

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Katrina M. Gumbinner, homeschooled in Great Falls, has been named as a 2009 National Merit scholarship semifinalist.

William M. Brumas and Jennifer H. Suh, both of Langley High School, have been named as 2009 National Merit scholarship semifinalists.

Paul Capp, Anthony M. Charles, Zachary B. Charles, Adam N. Scott, Athreya J. Tata and Miles A. Zinni, all of McLean High School, have been named as 2009 National Merit scholarship semifinalists.

Rachel Lauren Brown of Great Falls, a senior majoring in religious studies and history, has been named to the spring 2008 dean’s list at the University of Rochester, Rochester N.Y. Brown is the daughter of Steven and Beth Brown.

Piper Edwards of Vienna has graduated with a bachelors degree in art from Pacific University of Oregon in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Several students from Fairfax County high schools have been named finalists in the 2007-08 Virginia High School League Writing, Photo, Design Contest. Winners will be announced at the 2008 VHSL Championship Journalism Workshop, Oct. 18 and 19. in Richmond. The finalists include:

Group AAA Magazine:

Chantilly High School in the Concept Packaging category.

Alex Ott of Chantilly High School in the Cover category.

Alex Ott of Chantilly High School in the Table of Contents category.

Christina Paladeau of Chantilly High School in the Drawing category.

Matt Sparacino of Chantilly High School in the Prose Spread category.

Group AAA Newspaper:

Chris Weil of Oakton High School, in the News: Straight News, News Feature, Sports News category.

Danielle Olson of Chantilly High School, Matt Johnson and Erica Wohlleben of Oakton High School, and Erica Wohlleben of Oakton High School in the Feature: In-Depth, Informative (Including Sports) category.

Newspaper staff of McLean High School, in the Editorials category.

Bonnie Fishel of Madison High School and Dan Copans of Madison High School in the Bylined Personal Opinion, Column category.

Marguerite Schauer of McLean High School, and Dan McEnrue and Ben Chun of Madison High School in the Review category.

Tehrim Umar of Langley High School and Cranley Lockhart of McLean High School in the Photo: News, Feature category.

Talia Roth of McLean High School in the Photo: Sports category.

Annie Kim of Madison High School in the Front Page Layout category.

Stephanie Browning of Langley High School in the Advertising category.

Group AAA Yearbook:

Oakton High School in the Concept Packaging category.

Erin Callahan of McLean has been named to the spring 2008 dean’s list and received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ithaca College of Ithaca N.Y. Callahan is the daughter of Walter and Joan Callahan of McLean.

Brian Rita of Vienna has been named to the spring 2008 dean’s list at George Mason University. Rita is an information technology major, and a 2006 graduate of Bishop O'Connell High School. Rita is the son of Fred and Virginia Rita of Vienna, and grandson of Virginia McGavin of Vienna and George and Patricia Rita of Alexandria.

Learn Swedish at the Swedish School-Svenska Skolan: Saturday mornings 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Sept.-June; five different levels. Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, Falls Church. Call 703-538-7308 or visit

Starshine Theater of Great Falls is now enrolling its Fall Performing Arts Workshops for ages 1-18 years. The full-production play for ages 6-18 is the Greek classic, "The Odyssey." All enrolled students receive speaking roles and leads in song, dance and action scenes. Rehearses in Great Falls and performs in late January. Contact Patricia Budwig for additional classes. 703-790-9050 or

Spring Hill Elementary is reducing trash by composting cafeteria waste. After burying cafeteria trays for the winter, last year’s 3rd grade students discovered that all fruits and vegetables decomposed into the soil. With an award for selling compact fluorescent light bulbs, the students chose to use the money to purchase a compost bin. The bin is now installed and the students are sorting their lunch leftovers. Each class fills a container at the lunch table as they clean up, then students from each class take the scraps outside to the compost bin. Once the compost is finished it will be used to fertilize the gardens and habitats in the Spring Hill outdoor classrooms. Spring Hill’s science teacher, Alison Bauer, has received a great deal of support from Carol Hunt, a kindergarten teacher at Westlawn Elementary, which has been composting their cafeteria waste for two years.

Siena Academy (Preschool and Elementary) celebrates its fifth year of operation. The school also welcomes many new Montessori trained teachers/guides this year. Siena Academy is the parish school of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Great Falls. Many celebratory activities are planned for the students and parishioners during the parish picnic, which is scheduled for September 27.

Siena Academy takes pride in being the only Montessori Catholic diocesan parish school in the U.S. The school opened its doors in Sept. 2004, and completed the necessary Virginia requirements as a licensed center for children that Nov. It strives to adhere to the Association Montessori Internationale school standards, and currently offers two Children's House environments which serve a mixed-age grouping of children from 2-1/2 through 6 years, and an Elementary program for ages 6 -12 years. The school’s program incorporates Dr. Maria Montessori's prepared environments where specially trained teachers guide the spontaneous activities of children in all areas of their development. Presently the school has approximately 145 students with a small wait list, and continues to strive to offer the best to children, making education the highest priority.

Saint John Academy in McLean was one of four diocesan schools received Blue Ribbon School of Excellence awards by the U.S. Department of Education. These schools were the only private Virginia schools selected for the award this year.