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SLHS Track and Field Team Participates in Liberty Christmas Invitational

South Lakes High School’s track and field team made a strong showing at Liberty University’s Christmas invitational over the weekend.

In her first indoor high school track meet, sophomore Hannah Waller won the girls’ 55-meter race, setting a school record of 6.94. During trials, Waller broke a record of 7.28 set by Nikayla Hoyte during the 2015 season. Both times qualify Waller for the 6A State Championship. Her time in the final is also the fastest in the nation this season, according to a statement issued by the team.

Waller, junior Nicole Post and sophomores Mary Gregory and Rhema Konadu finished second in the 4×200 meter relay with a time of 1:45:54, qualifying the team for the state meet.

Junior Isabelle Gulgert won both the 1,000 meters and 1,600 meters race, qualifying her for the Liberty District championship meet.

Senior Sean Casey finished with a region championship qualifying time of 4:30:87. Casey, who is the Liberty Conference cross country champion, also qualified for the region meet in the 1,000-meter race, during which he finished fourth.

Other highlights include:

  • Senior Ronak Cuthill finished fourth, earning a qualification for the region meet.
  • Junior Stevie Jones qualified for the region meet in the preliminaries of the boys’ 55-meter.
  • Juniors Sophie Halkett, Jordan Anderson and seniors Reagan Tobias and Aly Rayle won the first running event of the meet, the girls 4×800 meter relay, in 10:17.72.
  • The boys 4×800 meter relay team of senior Peter Delmolino and juniors Calvin Warstler, Webb Nims and Alex Lawson finished third (8:45.87).

Photo by Traci Waller

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Washington Post: Former NBA Player Visits SLHS

Retired NBA player Grant Hill visited South Lakes High School for his jersey retirement ceremony where he appreciated his Reston roots. The Washington Post published a recap of the ceremony this weekend.

Grant played four teams in his 19-year professional career as a basketball player in the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. He was a seven-time NBA Allstar. As an eighth grader, Grant wore a tie to Langston Hughes Middle School in order to match the dress code of South Lakes High School’s basketball team, which had a dress code on game days.

According to the Post, Grant said:

“The last thing on my mind was the NBA or college, I just wanted to play here at South Lakes. That was what I wanted to do,” Hill said. “It was a different time . . . you spent your Friday nights watching high school sports and that was entertainment for a whole community, so I just wanted to play at South Lakes and that was pretty much it.”

No Seahawks basketball player with wear No. 32 again after the retirement ceremony. Local teachers and attendees told the Post the Grant’s presence brought closure to the community.

“Not only athletically but socially as a citizen of Reston, Grant brought a lot to the community with his overall demeanor in everything he does,” said Wendell Byrd, who stepped down as South Lakes coach in 2007. “Grant went away and continued to blossom and tonight he shared with the Reston area that ‘I’m still a Reston kid.’ “

Junior point guard Cameron Savage told the Post that he felt like Grant opened up to the community in a cordial manner.

“For him to come back, it means the world for us,” Savage told the Post. “He had so much success, but he came back and treated us like we’ve known him for 30 years, he treated us like we were his best friends. Tonight was special.”

Photo via the Washington Post

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SLHS Seniors to Take Part in 25th Annual Ethics Day

Seniors at South Lakes High School will get a taste of the gray world of ethics tomorrow.

Students are participating in this year’s Ethics Day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheraton Reston. The day, which is led by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is designed to encourage the business community to collaborate with local youth. Chamber members will facilitate and lead discussion with youth involving four complex, real-life scenarios.

The event is marking its 25th anniversary tomorrow. It was launched by Charles Veatch, one of Reston’s key business leaders, in order to help local youth understand the importance of integrity in action. Similar programs happen across Fairfax County and the area.

More than 550 students will participate in the program. Roughly 75 chamber member volunteers will guide students through discussions about real-life scenarios.

Topics that will be discussed include bystander responsibility, unconscious bias, organ transplants and driving. Students will analyze each scenario and reach a conclusion based on the discussion.

For more information, contact the chamber via email or by phone at 703-707-9045.

Photo via Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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SLHS Cross Country State Champion Signs with Syracuse University

Olivia Beckner, a senior at South Lakes High School and state champion in the Liberty District, Region D and CA in cross country, signed with Syracuse University this week.

Beckner led the SLHS girls cross country team to its first district championship since 2001 earlier this year. She also helped the team finish third in the regional games and advance to the state championship.

Just last week, Beckner won the state title after finishing second last year. Beckner has also competed in SLHS indoor and outdoor track and field teams. There, she was named an 11-time All-State competition and was also named to the Washington Post All-Met team.

Beckner’s skill is well-documented in the record books of SLHS. In January, Beckner capped off the regular season with a school record in the mile at the Virginia Showcase Invitational indoor track and field meet in Lynchburg. She ran a 4:45.30 mile.

Photo courtesy of SLHS/Valerie Lister

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How UVA’s Block Party Boosted a SLHS Grad to a Million-Dollar Idea

Josh Anton/Credit: Drunk ModeJosh Anton was a South Lakes High School graduate and a University of Virginia student a little over two years ago when he found inspiration at UVAs annual beer-and-booze soaked Block Party.

“A girl I had a huge crush on drunk-dialed me,” said Anton, a Herndon resident who graduated from SLHS in 2009.

That led to Anton to develop an app, Drunk Mode, in 2014. Drunk Mode accesses your contacts upon request to prevent you from using your phone to send regretful calls and texts.

Drunk Mode AppToday, Drunk Mode — the app that” let’s you get crazy and stay safe” — has 1.3 million downloads, a staff of 14 and a recent investor infusion of more than $1 million.

Anton says about 10,000 people downloaded Drunk Mode in its first year. Drunk Mode was a paid product then ($1 per download), so he was able to put money back into the company to add more features.

Those features now include:

  • The ability to group contacts on a “should not call list” (i.e, your boss, your ex-girlfriend, your mom). The app then requires you to answer a set of math problems before making a call.
  • A “Find My Drunk” feature that allows you to see where your friends are in real time their social media accounts.
  • It  quickly syncs with Uber and Lyft to get you a ride.
  • It has a trail of “virtual breadcrumbs” to show you where you were the night before.
  • If someone is reported missing, their info can be pushed to everyone in a five mile radius.

Anton says he had an offer from a major tech company to sell the app, but instead decided to focus on it as his career. His capstone project from UVA (he graduated in 2014) was on entrepreneurship and how to get the product to the next level.

Ironically, Anton does not drink. He said the ideas to add more safety features to the app came from his friends and their adventures.

“I had friends who were camping in Garrett County Maryland,” he said. “They walked five miles to bar, crashed a bachelorette party, and ended up getting a ride home from a nice lady. The next morning, they did not remember anything. It was like the movie ‘The Hangover.’ “

“They said, ‘you should add an feature that shows where you were.’ So I did. Now it is one of our most popular features.”

But Anton knows there are critics who say, “how about just encouraging people to drink responsibly?”

“People have been telling college students for years not to drink too much,” he said. “But people are going to do what they are going to do. We are selling safety features in the form of a party app. Our goal is to target the [half of all] college students who think they are invincible. We want them to consider it like a virtual best friend.”

Photos: Josh Anton/Credit: Drunk Mode; Drunk Mode via Google Play.

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Tuesday Morning Rundown

Sunset over Reston, Nov. 22, 2015/Credit: Chase Suddith

Thank-You Concert Tonight At SLHS — The South Lakes High School Band is performing its annual Tag Day concert on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. in the SLHS Little Theater. The concert is the band’s way of saying thank you to for all of the support that comes from the Reston community. The performance is free and open to the public.

Thanksgiving Tail Run/Walk — Reston Runners is sponsoring a Thanksgiving Day Trail Run/Walk at Lake Fairfax Park. This event is non competitive and involves no registration. Just show up at the picnic pavilion at 9 a.m. [Reston Runners]

Chanukah Fun At Home Depot — As soon as Thanksgiving ends, it is nearly time for Jews to celebrate Chanukah (which begins Dec. 6). Chabad Reston-Herndon is sponsoring a Chanukah Fun event at Reston’s Home Depot at 1651 Reston Parkway. The free event is from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and will feature a menorah building workshop, as well as latkes, donuts and chocolate gelt. [Facebook]

Photo: Sunset over Reston, Nov. 22, 2015/Credit: Chase Suddith

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Weekend Pick: Sing Strong a Cappella Festival at SLHS

The Funx featuring Reston's Nate Tao are among the headliners at SingString/Credit: The FunxSingStrong — the three-day a cappella festival that raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association and local music programs — returns to South Lakes High School this weekend.

The event features some of the best-known a cappella singers, including gospel-pop group Ten, runners up on this season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off”; Blake Lewis, runner up on Season 6 of American Idol;  The Funx with Nate Tao, a Reston native and a contestant on last season’s American Idol; Grace McLean, NYC live looper; Kaila Mullady, top-ranked female beatboxer at the this year’s American Beatbox Championships; Classic Sounds, an award winning doo-wop group, among many others.

There will be five concerts at SLHS’ Little Theatre, including shows throughout the day on Saturday, Feb. 22. Visit the SingStrong site for the exact schedule as each show will have a different lineup. Friday’s 7 p.m. show is “ACA-Idol,” an “American Idol”-style competition for pro and college groups.

Saturday’s 7 p.m. Main Event show features several  multiple professional a cappella groups, including  Blake Lewis, Blue Jupiter, Stiletta, The Funx with Nate Tao and Amy “Bob”  Engelhardt.  The 9:30 p.m. Saturday show  features  Ten, Classic Sounds, Grace McLean, Kaila Mullady, and others.

Matinee concerts include Saturday’s finals of the High School Competition, with awards for performance, arranging and composition and Sunday’s show featuring Ten, The Capital Hearings, The Alexandria Harmonizers, The Funx, Kaila Mullady, Grace McLean and more.

Also at SLHS: A wide variety of classes and coachings for singers. The workshops are part of weekend pass or class pass admission.

Need more? There will be open mic sessions at the Westin Reston Heights each night.

Tickets range from $15 to $35. Discounted passes are available for seniors, students and groups of 10 or more. Parking is free.  For more information, visit www.SingStrong.org.

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