As the number of local students who vape soars, Fairfax County Public Schools doubling down on how to decrease the use of e-cigarettes.
In September, Fairfax County Public Schools pursued more stringent measures if a student was caught vaping on campus. Additionally, the school board also classified vaping as a prohibited activity in the school system’s student rights and responsibilities handbook last year.
Lucy Caldwell, the school system’s communication director, said that FCPS also works with the Fairfax County Health Department to develop a toolkit for students to provide educational information about the health impacts of e-cigarettes.
Stemming the rise of e-cigarettes — which some see as a safe alternative to smoking — is a nationwide challenge. The number of youth who are e-cigarette users jumped by 1.5 million between 2017 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No change was found in the use of other tobacco products during this time.
A recent survey administered by FCPS found that one in five students vaped recently.
South Lakes High School held four parent sessions through the Parent Teacher Student Administration or administration-sponsored meetings to help parents partner with the school on addressing this issue, according to SLHS Principal Kim Retzer.
The school also has a substance abuse prevention specialization who provides support for students and resources for parents, Retzer told Reston Now.
“South Lakes deals with students vaping as do other high schools in the area,” she said.
At Herndon High School, Principal Liz Noto says that the school is working with FCPS’s Student Safety and Wellness Office to educate the student body about the issue. Like other schools, HHS also finds ways for students seeking to quit vaping.
Photo via Unsplash/Tbel Abuseridze
The South Lakes High School homecoming parade is scheduled for today (Friday).
The parade, which is set for 5-6 p.m., will feature student organizations, class councils, clubs, team, community groups, elementary schools, and the school’s marching band, The Spirit of Reston.
This year’s theme is “A Seahawk in Hollywood.”
The parade begins at 5 p.m. from Hunters Woods Shopping Center. It will continue north on Colts Neck Drive, turn east onto South Lakes Drive and finish at SLHS. Expect traffic delays along Colts Neck Road and South Lakes Drive this evening.
The football game against McLean High School begins at 7 p.m. shortly after the parade.
Photo via South Lakes High School
The South Lakes High School PTSA is sponsoring a 0.5k run to help support the school’s food pantry this Sunday. From 3-5 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the pantry, which provides students in the SLHS pyramid food and toiletries.
The run is titled, “The Best 650 Steps You’ll Ever Take.” The run begins and ends at the Lake Anne Brew House, with a stop in between for donuts and water.
To prepare for Halloween, organizers will be offering medals for the biggest team, best costume, most exuberant, best-dressed team and any other categories the judges “deem worthy,” according to organizers.
Registration is open online. Individuals can register as a student, adults, teams or families.
Raffle prizes include a diamond necklace with a value of $1,500 that was donated. Aspen Jewelry Designs. Other prices include a gift basket from Custom Ink, peanut putter basket, gift cards and a massage by Meg Donnelly.
The race is sponsored by Lake Anne Brew House, Reston Community Center, Restoration Church, Century 21 Redwood, CustomInk, Aspen Jewelry Designs, Dev Technology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Del. Ken Plum, OmMade Peanut Butter, AKG Designs, and Friends of Lake Anne.
Photo via Roberta Gosling
Reston Association is hosting a community yard sale tomorrow (Saturday). Eighty families will gather to sell a variety of items from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Families will set up their booths at the parking lot behind 1900 Campus Commons Drive.
All sales are final. Space is limited and pre-registration was required to take part in the event. Anyone with questions is encouraged to email [email protected].
- A Conversation with Fran Lebowitz (8 p.m.) — Lebowitz, who is known for her acerbic views on current events and the media, will speak at Reston Community Center. Tickets are $25 for Restonians and $35 for all others.
- Susco 8K (8:30 a.m.) — Tom and Nancy Susco of Reston organize the last 8K race in memory of their son, Tim Susco, who died due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. The race, which has raised more than $500,000 for charity, kicks off at South Lakes High School.
Sunday (Sept. 22)
- DogFest (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — Dog lovers can unite for a one-mile walk to celebrate dogs and raise money for providing service dogs to individuals with disabilities. The event, which is organized by nonprofit Canine Companions, takes place at Reston Town Center.
- High Intensity Interval Training (11 a.m.) — Enjoy free one-hour high intensity interval training at Reston Town Center at 11 a.m. The event is organized by Athlete.
The yearly Susco charity races are around the corner.
On Saturday (Sept. 21), the Susco family will host their 12th annual 8k and 2k in remembrance of their son, Tim, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2007.
All proceeds will go toward brain aneurysm research and organ donation awareness. The event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause so far alongside the Washington Regional Transplant Community, according to a press release.
The races will begin at South Lakes High School (Gate 1, Seahawks Drive) around 8:30 a.m., regardless of weather conditions.
Registration for the event is $20 for participants doing a 2K and $45 for people who want to run the full 8K.
Anyone who cannot attend the event but wants to support the cause can donate online.
Fairfax County is requesting input from community members passionate about the development of Reston as county officials work on the first-ever county-wide strategic plan.
An upcoming event, “Community Conversation: Shaping the Future of Fairfax County Together,” will be an opportunity for people to discuss what they want the area to look like in 10 to 20 years.
Topics of discussion at this public forum will include transportation, public facilities like libraries and community centers, recreation, educational opportunities, safety and security, economic development, health and even government.
“Whether you are new to Fairfax County, have lived here all your life or are somewhere in between, we’re interested in your vision for the future of the county and your community,” said the event’s webpage.
The event will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, at South Lakes High School (11400 Seahawks Drive). It is free and open to the public.
Anyone who needs special assistance with childcare, transportation assistance, interpretation services and reasonable ADA accommodations can contact Angela Jones.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
Local residents and family members are remembering South Lakes High School teacher Simon Chang — who was killed in a motorcycle crash last week — for his spirited energy, enthusiasm and caring personality.
Friends and family have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Chang’s son Benaiah.
Chang, 38, of Ashburn, died after his motorcycle crashed near a wooded area along Alliance Drive in Fairfax. A groundskeeper discovered his body on August 22. He was reported missing on August 19.
So far, the campaign has collected nearly $13,000.
“Simon will be remembered for his spirited energy and enthusiasm. He had a gift of blessing those around him with his encouraging words and humor. His laugh was contagious and brought people together,” wrote Greg Lee, the campaign’s organizer. “He served God with passion and sacrifice wholeheartedly as a missionary for International House of Prayer. He had a passion for positivity influencing the youth as a teacher and basketball coach for South Lakes High School. He was dearly loved by those who knew him.”
Chang was an emotional disabilities teacher and basketball coach at SLHS. Kim Retzer, the school’s principal told Reston Now that Chang will be remembered for his caring personality.
“Mr. Chang was a beloved staff member who touched the lives of the students he taught and coached. He will be remembered by students and staff alike for his caring nature and he will always be a part of the Seahawk family,” Retzer said.
Although Chang had only been with the basketball program for a short time, Andrew Duggan, the school’s assistant director of student activities said he had a big impact on the time.
“He was a valuable person in our program for the last three seasons. While his time in our program was short, he had a big impact on our players. His contribution on the court and classroom will be missed at South Lakes,” Duggan said.
Proceeds from the GoFundMe will facilitate Benaiah’s “healthy growth and development.”
Photo via GoFundMe
As schools go back into session later this month, the Friends of the Reston Regional Library is hosting a book sale for teens, children, and educators this weekend.
The book sale, which began on Thursday, continues through the weekend. Books will be available for purchase tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday (August 18) from 1-3:30 p.m.
It takes place at Reston Regional Library and features books in used condition.
The next book sale — which will not include children’s books — is set for September 25.
Tomorrow (August 17)
- Back 2 School Bash (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) — The bash includes interactive activities and offers information to help children and families prepare for school. The event takes place at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).
- The Arithmechicks Add Up Book Launch (11 a.m.) — Ann Marie Stephens celebrates the launch of her third children’s book “Arithmechicks Add Up.” Refreshments will also be offered.
- Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy tunes from the Ryan Forester Band at the Reston Station Plaza. Parking is free on weekends in the Metro parking garage.
- Reston Concerts on the Town (7:30-10 p.m.) — Underhill Rose brings progressive bluegrass, country and Americana to Reston Town Center’s pavilion. Attendees should bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket.
Sunday (August 18)
- Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy a performance by Interactive Theater of Jef at Reston Station Plaza. The event is free and open for all ages.
- Sunday Art in the Park (7-8 p.m.) — The class of 2020 presents a cabaret-style performance featuring Broadway hits at Reston Town Square Park.
South Lakes High School Students Get Early Start — Students got a head start on math before schools go into session. The program was developed by several SLHS teachers. Students work in small groups to refresh their understanding of algebra. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Farmers and Makers Market is Today — The market returns to Reston Town Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local farmers and artisans will sell a mix of items, including fresh produce, cheese, meats and olive oil. [Reston Town Center]
Leidos to Acquire IMX Medical Management Services — “Reston, Va.-based Leidos, a defense, aviation, IT, and biomedical research company, announced that it is set to acquire Pennsylvania-based IMX Medical Management Services, a commercial independent review organization, and its affiliated businesses.” [Technical.ly]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Parents and students looking to prepare for the new school year can do so at the annual “Back 2 School Bash” next week.
The event, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 17, at South Lakes High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is designed to be a one-stop destination to prep for the return to school.
Local schools, government entities and non-profit provides will be on-site to provide information and resources for local community members.
The bash is co-sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools, Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, YMCA Reston and Fairfax County Neighborhood & Community Services.
The first day of school for FCPS is on Aug. 26.
Students at Herndon and South Lakes high schools will go home with a school-issued laptop in the fall as part of a new countywide initiative when schools begins in late August.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to issue a computer to all high school students in the county through FCPSOn. By 2023, all students in the county could go home with laptops.
School officials say FCPSOn will transform learning for students and educators by providing “equitable access to meaningful learning experience and technology to support their learning.”
“Devices will not replace teachers. Teachers are supported through ongoing, dynamic professional learning for teachers that will result in purposeful, collaborative student learning experiences,” FCPS wrote in a statement.
SLHS and HHS staff plan to distribute laptops during Teacher Advisory classes during the first week of school. A community meeting to discuss the initiative is planned for August.
The program requires an annual $50 fee for high school students. The fee covers technology support services and the potential costs of replacing equipment in need of repair.
Students can use their own laptop instead of a county-issued laptop, but they must receive approval from their school to do so.
A pilot program first began in 2016 for schools in the Chantilly Pyramid.
More information about the rollout of the program in Reston and Herndon will be available over the summer.
Video via FCPS
New art by South Lakes High School’s STEAM team was installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway this month.
The piece, called “Spectrum,” is composed of five wooden interlocking rectangular prism made of different sizes and colors. Wood, paint and metal brackets were used to create the piece.
Public Art Reston issued the following description about the project:
After two years of creating sculptures with strong conceptual origins that featured minimalist color palettes, STEAM decided to change direction and create a sculpture that prioritized an exploration of aesthetic elements over a representation of a tangible theme. To do so, STEAM started out with one of the most basic geometric forms, the cube, with the intention for the emergence of an infinitely more complex, powerful, and unique form. The end result is Spectrum, a celebration of line, form, and color, unleashing the potential and power in the austerity of the formal elements employed in the sculpture. More specifically, basic line accentuated by its rainbow palette; a conglomeration of neon hues, and soft gradients similar to strawberry sherbets and dusky sunsets. The process of constructing the sculpture became a form of beacon for students who had not been involved in the sculpture thus far. In other words, a congregation of students turned out to collaborate in fabricating the sculpture, students that were not the weekly attendees through-out the year.
The project seeks to represent a “proverbial village.” Students involved in the project — which was created under the direction of SLHS art teacher Marco Rando — come from various racial and social backgrounds.
Rando said the vision of the project is embodied by the mission of the SLHS STEAM public art club:
The way the program has developed over its 7 years, I see as a formal meditation. Most people hearing the word meditation would think of a practice to make one feel better. While that might be a wonderful by product, experienced meditators know it’s the process of discipline, which is demanding and requires commitment. While at the same time, one most journey lightly as not to be self-defeating.
Since this is an art project, creative ego’s are essential, however, students learn quickly and become intuitive to the necessity of team work as key to the projects success. This meditative process is challenging students to exert themselves, using their inquisitive minds as an element of practice. In order to be an effective student, one learns to be highly inquisitive.
Students experience firsthand that information is not a foreign element but just a state of furthering their inquisitiveness. This meditative participation involves revealing 2 factors, it relates to the individual and it relates to their world. Their training becomes synchronistic, discovering, seeing, and living their efforts to have a direct impact in their community. Ultimately students are creatively serving their society by developing and exercising multiple disciplines to achieve a work of art. Like most art work, the student project is meant to foster dialogue. For me, the dialogue is about how to create more public art that affords students the opportunity to perform at a professional level; the meditative process of living and experiencing life.
SLHS, Reston Association and Public Art Reston partnered to bring “Spectrum” to the spillway.
Project sponsors include the Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association, Mary and David Prochnow, MOD Pizza, Hope and Hayes McCarty, Priscilla Miller and E.T. Conrad.
Photo 1 and 2 by Russ Evans; Photo 3 via Public Art Reston
Seventeen area high school seniors were recently awarded scholarships by the medical staff at Reston Hospital Center.
The student, who are from Fairfax and Loudoun County high schools, were recognized for academic excellence and excitement for pursue careers in healthcare.
RHC offers $15,000 in scholarships to local schools annually. The program has been in effect for the last 21 years.
“We are thrilled to be able to support these young adults as they venture into the world in search of their dream careers,” Dr. Avisesh Sahgal, president of Reston Hospital Center’s Medical Staff, said in a statement.
This year’s scholarship recipients are below:
- Ansel Sanchez – Briar Woods High School
- Lindsay Marie Burns – Broad Run High School
- Anna Kate Erstling – Chantilly High School
- Ashley Arely Reyes – Chantilly High School
- Lillian Tran – Dominion High School
- Riya Hadvani – Herndon High School
- Christopher Ngo-Khang Nguyen – James Madison High School
- Mariana Fernandes Gragnani – Langley High School
- Yanni George Conomos – McLean High School
- Maxmine Irmhild Ayompe-Mody – Oakton High School
- Jasmine Chiann Foo – Oakton High School
- Allison Armstrong – Park View High School
- Rayness Mollinedo-Rodriguez – Park View High School
- Chelsea Lazatin – Potomac Falls High School
- Nicole Post – South Lakes High School
- Olivia Nicole Chandler – Westfield High School
- Daisy Allison Lopez Rosa – Westfield High School
Photo via Reston Hospital Center
Local Venture Firm Perfects Fundraising Methodology — Reston-based venture firm Proof.VC, which raised $34.5 million in the first round of funding could exceed that total in the second round. The company aims to perfect its fundraising strategy to invest in businesses like Beyond Meat Inc. and Bird Rides, Inc. [Washington Business Journal]
Reminder: Absentee Voting Deadline is Tomorrow — The last day to cast an absentee ballot is tomorrow at the county’s government center. Satellite absentee voting locations will also be open tomorrow only, including the North County Governmental Center. [Fairfax County Government]
South Lakes High School PTSA Nominated for Family Engagement Award — The group was nominated for the 2019 VA PTA Family Engagement Award. Members are thankful for families who volunteer throughout the year. “The recognition of the Virginia PTA is for you,” the group wrote in a statement. [South Lakes High School PTSA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The food pantry at South Lakes High School, which was established by the school’s PTSA in 2017, is now offering healthy eating workshops.
The workshops are funded by a $7,000 Delta Dream Grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and aim to educate students about healthy eating.
Recently, nutritionist Kristen McGill of Giant Food gave a cooking demonstration and answered students’ question about how to eat healthy on a budget. Students learned about differing cutting techniques, how to make vegetarian chili, and the best and fastest way to cook rice. She also walked students through sources of healthy fats.
Students were given goodie bags with coupons, avocados, a wooden spoon, and informational material on healthy eating on a budget.
The pantry was created to help students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals — nearly 30 percent of the student population. The pantry is also open to South Lakes Pyramid students and their families.
Currently, the pantry needs the items below. Drop-offs are accepted at the school’s main office.
- Canned goods
- Boxed or dry goods
- Cooking oil
- Laundry detergent, dish soap
Photo via YouTube/FCPS