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Mount Vernon School Notes March 21

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West Potomac High School student Zachary Cohen was one of 17 Fairfax County Public Schools students recognized as state winners at the Virginia DECA State Leadership Conference held March 9-11 in Norfolk. He is now eligible to attend the DECA International Career Development Conference, scheduled for April 28-May 2 in Salt Lake City.

Belle View Elementary School recently received two grants that will be used to continue restoration of the wetlands on school property and provide environmental education for students. The school received a 2011 FCPS Schoolyard Stewardship mini grant for $3,000 and a Virginia Naturally partner grant from the Virginia Office of Environmental Education for $1,000. Belle View is also home to a rain garden, a vegetable garden, and flower gardens which offer hands-on learning experiences to students.

Groveton Elementary School teacher Lauren Schweitzer recently received a $600 grant from www.donorschoose.org to fund a leveled classroom library for her first grade students. Schweitzer’s classroom library was previously made up of discarded library books, many of which were too difficult for her students, especially her beginning English learners, to read. She wrote a proposal that included a description of the school, the demographics in her classroom, and the importance of providing the students with books that they were able to read and were interesting to them. The grant enabled her to stock her library with 10 different books on each reading level.

Six local students received awards in Virginia History Day District V competition, held recently in conjunction with the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day program. Winners and second place finishers have qualified to compete in the state contest, scheduled for April 21 in Williamsburg. The theme of 2012 National History Day is Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History.

Top finishers in the Junior Division included:

  • Kylee Bush, Whitman Middle School, first place, Junior Individual Exhibit, “Suck It Up and Drive on Soldier — PTSD”; Mary Fee, teacher.

  • Afrina Niha, Whitman Middle School, second place, Junior Individual Performance, “Take a Stand and Take A Seat — The Revolutionary Actions of Rosa Parks”; Mary Fee, teacher.

  • Rebecca DeVille, Whitman Middle School, second place, Junior Individual Exhibit, “Dorothea Dix and the Asylum Movement: Improving America’s Mental Hospitals”; Erin Sogolow, teacher.

  • Alexander Naff, Whitman Middle School, third place, Junior Individual Documentary, “Relativity: A Revolution of Light, Time, and Space”; Brandon Gladney, teacher.

  • Yaphet Elaias, Mount Vernon High School, third place, Senior Individual Website, “Anesthesia”; Katie Rippy, teacher.

  • Kim Tran and Rachel Wong, Mount Vernon High School, third place, Senior Group Website, “Television: A Revolution”; Katie Rippy, teacher.

History Day challenges students to use libraries, historical societies, and museums in their research and project creation.

Catherine Martinez recently represented Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School at the West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference for Middle Schools for eighth grade students. Martinez was the only sixth grade student to participate in the conference, which is designed to introduce leadership development to students and explain the decision-making processes students can use when faced with ethical challenges. Cadets from West Point facilitated the students’ small group discussions on ethical situations. Other objectives of the conference were to help students be better prepared to make good choices — especially when confronted with every day societal challenges—and to serve as a role model for their peers in their schools, communities, and beyond.