Send announcements to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, by e-mail to, by fax to 703-917-0991 or by mail to 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102. Deadline is Friday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos are encouraged. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Northern Virginia Community College's Alexandria Campus, 3001 Beauregard St., is partnering with the United States Postal Service to host a Passport Fair on Feb. 6 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in room 158 of the Bisdorf Building. Pre-register for NOVA's Passport Fair by noon Feb. 5 at or 703-933-5073. The cost (including photos), is $97 for anyone under 16 (children under 14 need parental consent) and $112 for those 16 and older. Applicants who bring two identical, color passport photos can save $15 per application. Expedited service is available for an additional $60 per passport. Applicants must provide proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate/old passport) and of identification (government- issued I.D.) and should receive their passports within three weeks. For more information on the passport application process and requirements visit

The Substance Abuse Education and Violence Prevention Advisory Committee to the Alexandria City School Board is hosting a community presentation on how to keep methamphetamine from taking hold in Alexandria. The program will take place from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the auditorium at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, 4646 Seminary Road, Alexandria. Presenters from the Alexandria Police Department and Alexandria Community Services Board will facilitate the “Meth 360” presentation. For more information on methamphetamine, visit For more information on the presentation, contact Committee Chair David P. Cheney at 703-614-3277, ext. 1079.

A team of three T.C. Williams High School students will compete against teams from Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Md., and Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, on “It’s Academic,” the long-running, weekly televised quiz show featuring schools from throughout the metropolitan area. John Artmel (captain), Rhiannon Knol and Michael Montiel will be the team for the TV taping. The team also includes Millie Cleven and Sheila Martin. “It’s Academic” will be taped before a studio audience on Saturday, Feb.3, and will air at 10 a.m. on NBC Channel 4 on Saturday, March 10. The team welcomes support from family, friends and community members, who are welcome to attend the taping. Audience members driving to the taping need to arrive by 1:15 p.m. at the NBC-4 studio at 4001 Nebraska Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., across the street from American University. Additional parking is available at a neighboring church. For further information, contact Miller at 703-824-6800.

To help ease the transition as students move up through the secondary grades, Alexandria City Public Schools will hold orientation meetings for parents of rising sixth- through 12th-grade students. During these events, counselors and administrators will discuss with parents the middle- and high-school educational programs and explain the courses available at each grade level. They also will explain the course selection and registration process as it will be implemented from February through May.Course selection orientation meetings are scheduled as follows:

* Wednesday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., parents of rising sixth through eighth graders, George Washington Middle School Auditorium.

For more information, please contact the schools' guidance department offices: T.C. Williams, 703-824-6820; Minnie Howard, 703-824-6755; Francis C. Hammond, 703-461-4117; and George Washington, 703-706-4528.

Queen of Apostles fifth and sixth grade classes had the opportunity to learn first hand about Chinese culture and the celebration of the Chinese New Year when the education staff of the New Tang Dynasty Television station visited the school on Jan. 11. Queen of Apostles fifth grade students are in the middle of exploring the geography and culture of the continent of Asia in Social Studies class; and the sixth grade has just completed studying the history of ancient China. Students were also treated to a video of last year's award winning presentation of their Chinese New Year Spectacular program of dance and music and a traditional New Year's snack of sunflower seeds and special candy. One fifth grade girl eagerly retold the legend of the New Year to the Principal, Mrs. West. A sixth grader chimed in that it was cool to learn Chinese words and find out about the custom of each year being named after an animal. Beth Killion, the fifth grade teacher, told other teachers that both classes thoroughly enjoyed the exciting and colorful presentation and were proud that they were able to answer many questions.

Jessica Killeen, a 2003 T.C. Williams graduate, has been named the 2007 Woman of Distinction at James Madison University. She is the daughter of John Killeen and Dr. Marie Steinmetz.

The Westminster-George Mason Tutoring Program needs tutors and substitute tutors to work one-on-one with elementary school children who need extra help. Tutoring takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 2:35-3:35 p.m. in the library at George Mason Elementary School. Tutors are asked to make a commitment of one hour per week from October through May, excepting school holidays and snow days. Substitute tutors are also needed to be available once or twice a month to fill in for weekly tutors. Contact Kathy Hart at 703-706-4470 or to learn more.

A new Online Career Center, school-based community college career coach and community college outreach counselor are helping Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students plan for life after high school. An Online Career Center created for ACPS students includes sections related to career exploration, researching occupations and colleges, job search skills, employment Web sites and more. The site also features a section for employers, parents and community members who are looking for opportunities to become involved with the schools. The Online Career Center can be found at: For more information about Career Center-related opportunities at T.C. Williams, contact the school at 703-824-6800.

The Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association's Educational Outreach Committee will present the final round of the 2007 WMPA Concerto Competition on Saturday, March 17, 2007, from 10 am-3:30 p.m. at Episcopal High School, 1200 North Quaker Lane. Finalists in each division (strings, winds, percussion and piano) will perform live before a panel of expert judges. The grand prize winner will be awarded the opportunity to perform live with the WMP during the 2007-08 season. First and second place winners in each division will receive a cash prize and Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic (WMP) season tickets. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. the day of the performance. Open to applicants of 21 years of age or younger (there is no minimum age requirement), WMPA's Concerto Competition requires participants to submit a recording of 15 minutes of music from a concerto. Applications are due by Feb. 3, 2007, and can be found at Finalists are selected based on the recorded performance and are then invited to perform live for judges. Admission to the final round is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact the office directly at 703-799-8229.

George Washington Middle School will receive $6,000 from the Washington Wizards, thanks to All-Star Guard Gilbert Arenas' record-breaking scoring on Dec. 17. Arenas scored 60 points, setting a franchise record for high scoring during a game and leading the Wizards to a 147-141 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers. During every Wizards game this season, a school previously chosen through a random drawing receives $100 for each point Arenas scores. George Washington was the designated school for the game on Dec. 17. George Washington is the first of six Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) included in the 82 schools chosen to participate in the "Gilbert Scores for Schools" promotion. Other upcoming games in which Arenas will score for ACPS schools include:

* Feb. 7 Wizards versus San Antonio Spurs at home for Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics

* Feb. 20 Wizards versus Minnesota Timberwolves at home for Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology

* Feb. 28 Wizards versus Miami Heat at home for the Secondary Training and Education Program (STEP)

* March 30 Wizards versus Toronto Raptors at home for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School

For further information about "Gilbert Scores for Schools," contact the participating schools or visit the Wizards' Web site at

Zeta Phi Beta is sponsoring an scholarship/essay contest for City of Alexandria students in grades 10-12. The deadline for the submission is Feb. 20. the topic is "What impact did Hurricane Katrina have on you or your family?" Winner will receive $1,000 and will be announced at a reception on March 24. Mail essays to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Nu Xi Zeta Chapter - Scholarship, P.O. Box 25961, Alexandria, VA 22313. For information visit or call 703-802-0621.

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.

During a school assembly on Friday, Jan. 19, the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) presented Alexandria's Charles Barrett Elementary School with an award for the highest percentage of runners (based on total school population) at the "2006 Healthy Kids Fun Run" held in conjunction with the annual Marine Corps Marathon in October. MCM staff, along with "Miles the Mascot," presented the school with the award and $1,000 for the physical education department. Fifty-four students – approximately 23 percent of the school's enrollment – ran in the one-mile event on Oct. 28, along with parents and Kevin McGrath, Charles Barrett's physical education teacher.

The Fort Hunt Preschool in Alexandria, will hold an open house for prospective families on Saturday, Feb, 3 from 10 a.m.-noon. We will be accepting applications for the 2007-08 school year for 2, 3, and 4-year-olds. Come meet the teachers, tour the school and learn more about the parent-run cooperative preschool. Refreshments will be available and children are welcome. The school is located just three miles from Old Town Alexandria, at 1909 Windmill Lane, on the grounds of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church. For directions and more information about Fort Hunt Preschool, visit or call 703-768-7584.