Seminary Valley

Seminary Valley

If it’s spring … the Austrian Exchange Program must be getting underway at T.C. Williams! Probably not the first thing you thought of … but our neighborhood teenage population is about to swell. Of 22 Austrian students about to descend on Alexandria, six are going to live in Seminary Valley: Andreas (Philip Espinoza is hosting), Simon (Emma Augustine), Armin (Brendan Zack), Marie (Maria Jones), Anja (Kaycee Schulman) and Daniel (Jen Hatstat). In June, the Austrians will reciprocate by hosting their friends in their hometowns of Spittal, Sachsenburg, Ferndorf, Pusarnitz, Einöde, Möllbrüke, Ferstritz, Baldramsdorf, Seeboden, Radenthein and Mühldorf.

T.C. Williams seniors have completed their applications to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, and now it’s time for us to do our part. Please consider purchasing a raffle ticket to win a new Toyota Camry or $25,000. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased from yours truly, neighbor Stephanie Clayton ( or from the Fund ( The winning ticket will be drawn at this year’s Annual Gala, set for April 28. Go to for information on attending the Gala or to donate an item to the silent auction.

The Annual Science Fair is not the most popular activity in the Jones house. However, three neighbors made it their priority and their efforts paid off. Caroline Chamberlain, a Junior at T.C. Williams, placed second in this year’s Regional Competition. Caroline investigated whether children could visually discern between liquid medicine and candy. Colleen Cox and Zoe Gildersleeve, both freshmen, tested water quality in a nearby creek and they too moved on to the Regional Level. Congratulations, ladies. Kudos also to Hammond 1 student Andrew Reese. Not only did Andrew win first place in the 2011 Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Festival this month, but he also qualified to represent Alexandria in the state-level National Geographic Bee on April 1. This is Andrew’s fourth year as Alexandria champion and his third to qualify for the State Bee. Fingers crossed, Andrew!

Lois Brown updated me on her daughter Mia’s latest exploits. Mia, a junior at UVA, is spending a "Semester At Sea." Lois reports that so far Mia has visited Ghana (where she witnessed some pretty horrific poverty), Brazil, South Africa and Mauritius. She has had her first celebrity sighting: while doing homework in an otherwise deserted mess hall, she was joined by none other than Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and her husband, Chuck, who are travelling on the ship from Cape Town to Shanghai. The Robbs and Mia had a good conversation about public service and working for human rights.

We are blessed in the Valley to have two libraries within walking distance. It is time to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Burke Library (well, 10 years in its refurbished state). Come to the library on Saturday, March 17. There will be games, activities and programs all day long.

Last but not least, keep those car door locked! Neighbors on the Seminary Valley Listserve ( are reporting the ransacking of their cars, most of which were unlocked … even while parked in their driveways. Our proximity to major roads and highways makes getaway easy, so take the minimal step of locking your cars.

Mia Jones