South Lakes High School Boys State Champion Soccer Team Embodies ‘International Spirit’

Over the weekend, South Lakes High School won its first state championship in boys’ soccer. School officials attribute the team’s success to partnership and cooperation between a team that is mostly composed of first and second generation immigrants.

Many of the players are English Language Learners who are assimilating into the general student body. 

“Not unlike its broader student body, the soccer team has drawn its strength from its diversity to bear the odds to make history,” Emily Burrell, an SLHS news liaison, wrote.

Last Friday, the halls of South Lakes high school were resonating with sounds of cheer and support as the community gave the team a royal send off to their semi-final and final games. This victory will resonate in the hearts and minds of the students as they build on their experience as part of the South Lakes soccer family and move ahead in pursuit of their version of the American dream. One can but wonder if this is not what Robert Simon envisioned when he spoke of creating an equitable community where “the importance and dignity of each individual be the focal point for all planning, and take precedence for large-scale concepts.”

Students are from more than a dozen countries, including Taiwan, Nigeria, Sudan, Japan, Guatemala, Turkey and Afghanistan — a testament to the international nature of the sport itself.

The program was built by Coach Marty Pfister over the past 12 years. Because many students have jobs to help with family expenses, the team’s coaches were flexible throughout the year to help economically disadvantaged students balance school, work, and sports.

Assistant Coach Aanand Vasudevan says the struggle to juggle jobs and schools has helped make the students stronger on and off the field.

Photos via SLHS

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Herndon School Earns Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence

Carson Middle School is among four schools in the state to earn the 2019 Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence — the highest recognition awarded for schools that excel in academics in the state.

The recognition, which is part of the Virginia Index of Performance awards, recognizes schools that go beyond state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals set by the governor and the Board of Education.

The school met all state and federal achievement benchmarks and checked off on goals for elementary reading. Two schools in McLean — Chesterbrook Elementary School and Cooper Middle School — also got a nod from the governor, along with Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church.

In the county, 28 schools were named recipients of the Board of Education Excellence Awards and 22 schools earned the Board of Education’s Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Photo via FCPS

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Renovations for Armstrong Elementary School a Few Years Away

Renovations for Armstrong Elementary School are in the works, but it’s going to be a few years.

A 10-year forecast shows the renovation process spread out from fiscal years 2022-2026 in the Fairfax County Public School CIP.

Planning for the project is expected to start in FY 2022 with funding from a 2021 bond, with permitting beginning the next year.

The school first opened in 1986 and since then, according to county documents, there’s been no substantial renovations except for capacity enhancements in 1990.

The Hunter Mill District’s School Board Representative, Pat Hynes, noted in a newsletter that Armstrong, Crossfield and Louise Archer elementary schools are all planned for additions and renovations over the next 5-10 years.

Photo via Facebook

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With End of School Year in Sight, South Lakes HS to Host Teen Job Fair

The end of the school year is approaching, which means that many students are thinking ahead about summer jobs.

South Lakes High School will host a job fair for teens on Thursday (March 28) to help connect students to potential employers.

The fair is set to take place in the main corridor outside of the cafeteria during the school’s four lunch sessions, according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

Reston-area employers will set up tables to offer applications and answer students’ questions about part-time employment.

Employers that have signed up already include:

Some of the employers are looking to hire teachers during the summer, according to FCPS.

File photo

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Virginia Lottery Surprises Aldrin ES Student with Prize for Art Contest

An Aldrin Elementary School student received a surprise celebration in front of her classmates today (March 21) for her artwork.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m., Aldrin students assembled in the lobby of the school for an announcement by Principal Shane Wolfe. The Virginia Lottery then surprised fifth-grader Elizaveta G. with the news that she is one of three winners statewide in the “Thank a Teacher Art Contest.”

Jennifer Mullen, the public affairs and community relations manager at Virginia Lottery, told the students that the lottery started the artwork contest last year as an addition to its notecard writing to thank teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. Three students’ pieces were selected from 700 entries, Mullen said.

The Virginia Lottery presented Elizaveta with a $150 gift card along with $1,000 for Aldrin’s art department.

Elizaveta’s original design will be used on thousands of thank you notes that will be distributed to public school teachers in Virginia during National Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

Wolfe facilitated a Q&A between Elizaveta and her classmates, who asked questions about her favorite color (“blazer blue and red”), how long it took to make the art (“one to two hours”) and who told her about the contest (her mom).

The other two winners have not been announced yet.

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South Lakes High School Teen Earns Silver Medal for Self-Portrait

A South Lakes High School teen was among the 21 students from Fairfax County public schools who earned national medals in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program.

Gabrielle Baughman will receive a silver medal for a painted self-portrait, FCPS said in a press release.

In June, an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City will honor the national medalists, according to the press release.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognize student artists with categories including architecture, ceramics and glass, comic art, design, digital art, drawing, editorial cartoon, fashion and more.

Image via Scholastic Art & Writing Awards/Facebook

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Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Two Hours Late Friday

Public schools in Fairfax County will open two hours late tomorrow as wintry weather sweeps the county tonight and tomorrow morning.

FCPS announced the decision on Twitter around 6 p.m. today (Feb. 27) “based on the winter weather advisory in effect overnight.”

Locals can expect 1 to 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

File photo

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McNair ES Partners with College Board for Student Art Contest

Calling young artists. Sixth-graders at McNair Elementary School in Herndon have the chance to show off their masterpieces and compete in a contest.

Fairfax County Public Schools recently announced that the school partnered with the College Board to host an art competition.

Contestants can send their portraits to the College Board’s office in Reston Town Center (11955 Democracy Drive), where the art will get displayed. (The College Board is a McNair Elementary School partner, according to FCPS.)

After the votes are in, a representative from the College Board will deliver a certificate to the winner, who can expect to receive prizes and art supplies during the school’s graduation ceremony in June.

Image via Google Maps

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Fannie Mae Volunteers Give a Helping Hand Around McNair ES

You may have noticed some new faces this February around McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive).

About 15 volunteers from Fannie Mae’s Reston office have been helping out at the school.

“As a new partner, the firm has offered to provide volunteers on a monthly basis as a way to give back to the Reston and Herndon communities,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

The volunteers have been busy supporting read-aloud initiatives and the school’s holiday luncheon, according to FCPS.

The school community can expect the volunteers to help through the end of the year.

Image via Google Maps

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Scholarship Application Opens Today for South Lakes HS Students

Starting today (Feb. 15), South Lakes High School students can apply to the Reston Scholarship Fund of the Community College of Northern Virginia.

Liz Blankespoor, a Restonian and co-founder of the scholarship fund, told Reston Now in an email that the scholarship is currently supporting 22 graduates of South Lakes High School who are working on their post-secondary degrees.

The scholarship awards 10 scholarships each year to seniors planning to attend the community college before transferring to a four-year college.

South Lakes High School senior graduating in June must:

  • be attending the Northern Virginia Community College in this fall
  • have a GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • demonstrate financial need

The scholarships vary amounts, with a possible award of up to $16,000. They are spread over the course of six years and are renewable for students who maintain a GPA at or above 2.75 and continue to demonstrate financial need, Blankespoor wrote.

Submissions are due by May 1.

File photo

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Delayed Opening for FCPS Due to Ice Concerns Monday Morning

Fairfax County public schools are planning to open on a two hour delay Monday due to possible snow and freezing rain overnight.

A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect, as forecasters caution of a potentially difficult morning commute.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY… * WHAT…SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALONG WITH PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND, CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation is urging Northern Virginia residents to expect icy conditions and, if possible, telework Monday morning.

“VDOT asks that drivers be alert to a potential mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to impact roads,” the transportation department said Sunday afternoon. “Crews have brined roads which will assist at the onset of the storm, but drivers are asked to prepare now for impacts to the morning rush hour.”

“If you must drive” in the morning, VDOT said, “add in extra time to drive slower.”

More via social media:

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New Private Preschool Now Open on North Village Road

Primrose Schools, a private preschool franchise, expanded its reach with a newly opened location in Reston.

The school announced on Instagram last Monday (Jan. 28) that the Reston location officially opened. Neighboring the North Hills tennis courts and pools, Primrose School of Reston takes the former site of the North Village KinderCare at 1309 N. Village Road.

The new facility is part of a franchise that has more than 400 schools in 29 states and is accredited through AdvancED. The Reston one is the 16th Primrose School in Virginia, with nearby ones in Chantilly and Ashburn. The schools in the D.C. area provide year-round full and part-time education for infants and children as young as six weeks old, according to the website.

The school, which is owned by Rina Patel and Beau and Urvi Athia, was originally expected to open in the fall, Reston Now previously reported

Earlier last month, the Reston location faced criticism concerning the size and color of its red plastic fire truck.

Reston Association’s Design Review Board ultimately OK’d the playground equipment, along with signs for the school.

The school will host an open house on Saturday (Feb. 9). A grand opening is set for April 6.

Images via Google Maps, Primrose Schools and Reston Association/YouTube

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‘Bake for Good’ Program Heading to McNair Elementary School

An upcoming program at a Herndon public school is going against the grain of conventional education by teaching students the value of community service and baking.

Students at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive) can expect the Bake for Good Program to arrive at their school next month.

Meant for fourth- to sixth-graders, the free program teaches students “the value of giving back to their community while learning to bake bread,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools. Representatives from King Arthur Flour, the sponsoring organization, will present the cross-curricular program, which has three main goals: learn, bake and share.

“Students will use practical applications of math, science, and comprehension skills while learning how they can make a positive impact in their local community,” according to the FCPS announcement.

Each student will then bake two loaves of bread — one to take home and one to donate to LINK, which provides emergency food and financial help to people in the western part of the county.

The program begins at McNair Elementary School on March 12.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston, Herndon Schools Join Program Giving Students Free Snacks

Four schools in the Reston and Herndon areas are part of 39 Fairfax County public schools taking part in a new after-school food program that provides free meals or snacks to any student.

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services announced the sponsorship of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program yesterday (Feb. 4).

One school in Reston and three in Herndon requested that the program provide them with meals. They include:

  • Herndon Elementary School (630 Dranesville Road)
  • Herndon Middle School (901 Locust Street)
  • Hutchison Elementary School (13209 Parcher Avenue)
  • Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive)

Alexandria topped the list with the most requests from 16 schools, followed by 10 in Falls Church.

The program is part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is managed by the Virginia Department of Health’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Photo via @fcpsnews/Twitter

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New Salad Bar Adds Leafy Greens at Dogwood ES

Dogwood Elementary School is set to have a salad bar — the third public school in Reston to recently add leafy greens to their cafeterias.

Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive) joins 18 other public schools in the county slated this year to open a Real Food for Kids Salad Bar by May. In the fall, Terraset and Sunrise Valley elementary schools added the salad bar along with 11 other schools.

Principal Mie Devers said that the salad bar stemmed from the Office of Foods and Nutrition Services, which creates healthy programs that get implemented by Fairfax County Public Schools.

“Dogwood worked collaboratively with Food and Nutrition Services to plan the addition of this program,” Devers said. “Based on the conversation with staff and families, the continued focus around nutrition and healthy eating is so important!”

Dogwood Elementary School is adding the Real Food for Kids Salad Bar and Summer F.E.E.D.S (Food for Every Child to Eat During Summer) to its current list of program offerings, including Breakfast in the Classroom and Super Snack.

The salad bar will offer fruits, vegetables and protein such as eggs and hummus to top off the salads, Devers said.

Students will receive a salad bar lesson next week, which is meant to help them understand the procedures and food selection, Devers said.

“Working with the teachers and FNS, we are able to provide lessons around the excitement and importance of fresh foods and explain how it works.”

Image via Google Maps

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