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Here Comes South Lakes High School’s Homecoming Parade

The South Lakes High School homecoming parade is scheduled for Oct.26 (Friday), and students are taking advantage of the opportunity to fundraise for a good cause.

The school’s leadership class will fundraiser for Hungry for Music, an organization that buys instruments for children who cannot afford their own. The class aims to raise $1,000 to purchase 20 instruments for an after-school program. Collection baskets and tables at homecoming activities will be open for donation throughout the week of the parade.

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. Student-built boats will reflect the theme of “Tune in to South Lakes.” Each grade will select a music genre and the grand marshall this year is SLHS teacher Chris Moorhead, according to information provided by the school.

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. A small food court will be set-up in the stadium-side parking lot with food trucks from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The football game against Yorktown High School begins at 7 p.m. shortly after the parade. Admission is $5 and the Class of 1998 will also be on-site to celebrate their 20th reunion.

Photo via Lyn Fiscus

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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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With New Cooking Classes, South Lakes High School’s Food Pantry Charts New Future

The food pantry at South Lakes High School is moving beyond the typical scope of community pantries that give students in need a chance to discreetely shop for food and toiletries. In the coming weeks, the pantry, which currently caters to students in the SLHS pyramid and is run by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, will begin offering cooking skills classes.

The after-school cooking workshops will give students a chance to learn more about healthy eating. Through eight sessions during the school year on Wednesday afternoons, students will learn how to make one recipe using healthy ingredients and meal kits that do not rely on processed ingredients, according to Roberta Gosling, one of the founders of the pantry.  The initiative is made possible by a $7,000 grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

The idea began to take root when Alana Pudner, a Girl Scout, approached pantry organizers with a three-meal pack she prepared to earn her Silver Award. Students began ordering the meal kit, which includes ingredients for veggie chili, lentil stew, and a tuna pasta casserole, as part of their weekly orders.

To take that further, we also looked at some of the broader trends and felt that if we could help students learn to cook healthy, budget-friendly recipes that it would equip a broad group of people with life skills and take students a step closer to nutritious choices,” Gosling said.

Recipes will contain ingredients available in the pantry and through SNAP and WIC benefits. At the end of each session, students will get bags with recipes and ingredients, including a kitchen starter kit with basic tools like a cutting board, measuring cup, a pan, and spices used in multiple cuisines. Although the classes are open to all students at the school, organizers plan to market the class through the pantry to reach students most in need.  Each session will accommodate about 20 students.

Organizers are also making an effort to focus on foods from around the world. Shopping lists are available in English, Spanish and Arabic and participants will get a chance to try different cuisines in the classes.

Roughly 30 percent of all SLHS students experience food insecurity, according to pantry organizers and volunteers. Every Thursday, students in need turn in their shopping list for the week. Volunteers pack shopping bags and distribute them to students as they head out on Fridays. Students can also shop at the pantry on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. and on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. The pantry is also open in the summer on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m.

Since April 2017, the pantry has filled more than 2,500 orders and weekly order averages are also increasing.

Now, pantry organizers and volunteers are looking for new ways to make the initiative more sustainable and comprehensive. On September 30, the school’s PTSA will partner with Lake Anne Brew House to present the “Do It Your Way 0.5K.” All proceeds from the event, which is set for 4-6 p.m. at Lake Anne Brew House, will go to the food pantry.

The pantry is led by Gosling, Abbe Pascal, Andy Sigle, Amy Shaw, and Sherri Pudner. Items in high demand include rice, beans, jelly, canned fruit, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. Monetary donations are also accepted online.

Photos via Roberta Gosling

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South Lakes High School Food Pantry Receives Award from Washington Nationals Dream Foundation

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and Delta Airlines presented South Lakes High School’s food pantry with a “2018 Delta Dream Grant.”

The $7,000 award was given during an on-field ceremony at Nationals Park on August 21. Grants support nonprofits that provide services for children and teens in the Washington, D.C. area. Ten other recipients received awards in the program, including Martha’s Table, Capitol City Little League and Kid Power, Inc.

This year’s grants are dedicated to improving local programming focused on healthful nutrition, as well as the refurbishment of youth baseball fields and/or the purchase of substantial baseball equipment. We are confident that the 2018 Delta Dream Grants will go a long way to improve the lives of children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region,” said Tal Alter, Vice President, Nationals Dream Foundation & Youth Baseball Academy. 

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation is a nonprofit organization created in 2005 to improve the lives of children and teens in the region.

The pantry at SLHS accepts toiletries, canned goods, boxed and dry goods, cooking oil, laundry detergent, and dish soap. Donations can be dropped off at the school’s main office during school hours.

Since March 2017, the pantry has distributed more than 4,500 bags of groceries to about 50 families per week. Students in the South Lakes High School Pyramid can shop for food and toiletries at the pantry.

 

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Friday Morning Notes

Lorton teen accused of killing Reston couple incompetent to stand trial — The teenager accused of killing his girlfriend’s parents in their Reston home in late December is incompetent to stand trial. The now 18-year-old Lorton teen was charged as a juvenile in connection with the murders of Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, and Scott Fricker, 48, on December 22. A judge ruled that brain damage caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound impacted the teen’s ability to understand the trial. [The Washington Post]

Back to school bash — Get your school spirit back to prepare for the return to school at Saturday’s event at South Lakes High School. Information about resources, programs and services will be available for the family. [Reston Community Center]

EXO-itement — The apartment building on 1807 Oracle Way is gaining more attention for its color-changing facade. [The Washington Post]

Uniting against crime — Local residents gathered in Reston neighborhoods to celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide crime-prevention event held the first Tuesday of August. [The Connection]

Summerbration concert tonight — Enjoy a world jazz concert tonight at Reston Station Plaza from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Parking is free from 6:30-9:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Schools and Future Development Come Under Focus at PRC Workgroup Meeting

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. to remove unclear information about the number of total available seats in the South Lakes Pyramid.)

Local citizen representatives pressed county and school officials on how the school system will mitigate the impact of planned and future development on Reston’s public schools Tuesday night.

The meeting, the third in a series on the county’s proposal to increase the community’s population density, highlighted a major obstacle in managing increased school enrollment: limited and uncertain funding to meet future needs.

Kevin Sneed, who oversees design and construction services for the school system, said new development is not expected to generate many students because of the style of new multi-family units.

Two residential buildings recently built in Tysons generated only 21 students, Sneed said. Student enrollment from new residential development in Reston is expected to increase in the next 20-25 years, he said. Meanwhile, the school system must balance the need for renovations at several schools. 

The site for a new high school in the area — especially along the Dulles Suburban Corridor where McNair, Coates and Hutchison Elementary Schools are served — is critical. However, the school system is constrained by lack of funding to purchase a new property. And current plans to mitigate the future impact of development on schools likely will not kick in until development actually takes place, Sneed said.  Development may go live years after it is approved by the county, he said.

Stu Gibson, a former school board member of 16 years, said building capacity only once the students impact the system is a “disturbing” strategy. Gibson said he was concerned that the county is planning for additional residences before the infrastructure is in place to handle additional growth — a mode of operation that he said goes against Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Instead of purchasing land, the county and the school system are relying on proffers from developers and negotiating with applicants to see if land for a new high school can be provided, according to Leslie Johnson, the county’s zoning administrator. So far, those negotiations have been unsuccessful. But talks are underway on the county-level to change the formula used to determine how much developers pay based on the expected impact of the development on area schools.

Others worried that viable land for a new school may be limited, especially when parking lots and aging office parks that could be the site for a future school are redeveloped into mixed-use projects.

Johnson said the county is closely evaluating the impact of each development proposal on fire services, schools, parks and other public infrastructure.

“We are keeping track of the cumulative impact, but, at some point, there will be a trigger for some type of development,” Johnson said.

When and how that trigger comes forward remains unclear.

File photo

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Art Project by South Lakes High School Students Installed on Lake Thoreau

“Connie’s Quilt,” an art project by students at South Lakes High School, now blankets a portion of Lake Thoreau.

The structure was created by the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club. It is made of galvanized metal, airplane cables, tubing, connectors and cable ties.

The project aims to represent community connections and the notion that the self-made man does not exist, according to Public Art Reston. Reston Association, Public Art Reston and SLHS partnered to make the project possible.

A series of videos about the project are available online:

Photos via Public Art Reston

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Feedback Sought on Proposed Toll Increases at Dulles Toll Road in 2019

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will hold a public hearing in Reston on July 17 to hear feedback on proposed rate increases along the Dulles Toll Road.

Under the proposal, commuters would pay fifty cents more at ramp plazas and seventy-five cents more at the mainline plaza beginning in 2019. According to the MWAA, rate increases are necessary to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road.

The public hearing is scheduled for July 17 from 5-8 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). Two other hearings will be held at Spring Hill Elementary School in McLean and Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn.

Attendees are encouraged to comment on how the planned toll increase of $1.25 for a typical Dulles Toll Road trip should be allocated between ramp and mainline plazas. The MWAA is also seeking comments on whether toll plaza lanes that allow customers to pay with cash should be converted to “E-ZPass only” tolling.

Comments on other operational improvements, including whether or not credit cards should be accepted at toll plaza lanes, are also encouraged.

MWAA representatives will be on site to discuss the proposal. Translators will also be available at each public hearing. The public engagement period will run from July 2 through August 3. Comments can be submitted to [email protected].

The MWAA’s board is expected to vote on planned toll increase later this year.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School pantry recognized — More than 700 students are on free and reduced lunches at South Lakes High School. A food pantry created by parents and students aims to address growing needs. [ABC7]

Give blood — More than 250 units of blood are needed daily to meet the needs of area patients. INOVA will hold a blood drive from 1:30-6 p.m. at Reston Regional Library today. [Reston Regional Library]

Three days left — Herndon’s Arts Crawl series has three dates left before the initiative, which features local artists and artisans who sell their artwork, ends. The event is free and open to the public. [ArtsSpace Herndon]

Nearby: Goodbye, biological gender — Fairfax County Public Schools’ curricula will no longer refer to “biological gender” as part of its official language. [Fairfax County Times]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill 

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South Lakes High School Seniors Honored with Scholarships from Local Fund

Ten graduating South Lakes High School seniors received scholarships from the Reston Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

Awards, given for the second time, ranged between $1,000 to $4,000. The fund plans to award up to $16,000 to each of the students distributed over a maximum of six years as the students pursue their undergraduate careers.

A reception for students was held on June 16. Speakers included Kim Retzer, principal of South Lakes High School, Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, and Monica Gomez, a NOVA Pathways Counselor.

Recipients of the award are below:

  • Diseye Fiobotei
  • Sohale Hessavi
  • Abdi Hobor
  • Emily Huaroco
  • Carla Jovel
  • Alexis Lemus
  • Abita Mahdi
  • Hamdi Shariff
  • Hebron Wakjira
  • Luis Zevallos Garate

This year’s scholarships were funded by The Sallie Mae Fund and Quadrant, Inc. and other local individuals and companies.

Photo via Elizabeth Blankespoor

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Graduations Held at Herndon and South Lakes High Schools

Hundreds of students from Herndon High School and South Lakes High School graduated this week. Herndon’s graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena.

For the second year, graduates of South Lakes High School held a graduation walk through the halls of feeder schools and SLHS.

Local students are headed to colleges throughout the country. The following is a breakdown of schools and places graduates are planning to soar off to. The school declined to release counts for each school.

2018 College Name — SLHS by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

Photo by Kevin N.

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Robbery Reported Along Wooded Path in Stoneview Square

An armed man robbed a purse from a woman as she and her five-year-old son walked home along a wooded path near the 11600 block of Stoneview Square yesterday at 3:20 p.m.

The incident forced Terraset Elementary School and South Lakes High School to go under “secure the building” status — a condition in which individuals are not allowed to enter or exit the building.

Police said the man was armed with a handgun and jumped out of the bushes. He took the woman’s purse, pushed both victims to the ground and ran into the woods.

The woman and her son were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Police believe the suspect is a 30- to 35-year-old black man with a mustache. He was last seen wearing a white sweater with “USA” on the front, black pants and white shoes.

Anyone with information about the incident should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

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Updated: Security Procedure Lifted at Two Reston Schools

The “secure the building” status has been lifted at both schools, according to an alert issued at 4:09 p.m.

Earlier: 

Dismissal has been delayed at Terraset Elementary School and South Lakes High School as both schools enter into “secure the building” status.

“All students and staff are safe and free to move around the building, however we cannot let people in or out at this time,” according to Terraset Elementary School’s Facebook page.

“Secure the building” alerts are issued in the following circumstances, according to the Fairfax County Public Schools’ website.

Used if the danger is outside the building, e.g., a robbery near the school.

  • No students allowed outside of buildings and trailers (no P.E., recess, etc.).
  • All building and trailer exterior doors are closed and locked.
  • People in locked trailers remain in locked trailers.
  • Staff members and students are free to move about inside buildings and trailers.
  • Staff member posted at building main entrance to control visitor access, issue passes, and direct to reunification area, if necessary.

This story has been updated.

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Art Project by South Lakes High School Students Planned Over Lake Thoreau

An art piece by students at South Lakes High School will be suspended over Lake Thoreau this month. The project, called Connie’s Quilt, is made of rings of white tubing strung together to convey one central theme: community is defined by the connections we have with those around us.

Students from the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club created the sculpture, with help from the school’s photo, art and design teacher Marco Rando.

Public Art Reston offered the following description of the work:

Connie’s Quilt, is made from rings of white tubing strung together to create an organic and kinetic sculpture suspended over the lake. The artwork, comprised of many parts, is representative of our societal fabric and the importance of connectivity between people. Connie’s Quilt sets out to dispel the myth of the “self-made man” and identify the reality that nobody gets where they are without support from family and friends. Interdependence is crucial to the survival and prosperity of any community, which is represented by the supportive and holistic nature of the rings.

In testimony submitted to Reston Association’s Design Review Board, some residents said that while they appreciated the student’s efforts, the art sculpture was not a welcome addition to the lake.

The proposed sculpture at first glance looks sinister and immediately brought memories of jails and detention centers to my mind – quite the opposite of a peaceful lakeside collection of communities,” wrote Teri-E Belf, a Reston resident.

Echoing similar concerns, Reston resident Najwa Margaret Saad wrote the sculpture evoked unpleasant images that were not appropriate “at a time when our current American public narrative is about refugees, deportations and such.”

“The design size and aspect are not in harmony with the expansive, peaceful, natural, flowing environment of our Lake Thoreau,” Saad added.

On Thursday (June 14) at 6 p.m., the artwork will be on display before it is installed at the Lake Thoreau Spillway. Students will also offer their thoughts on the project. The reception will be held at SLHS in Room 367. RSVPs are requested at [email protected].

Photos via Public Art Reston

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South Lakes High School Track Teams Compete in State Championships

The South Lakes High School’s girls track team closed out the 6A State Track and Field Championships with a fifth place finish over the weekend.

Hannah Waller finished second in the 100 meters (12.13) and third in the 200 meters (24.64). Mary Gregory was second in the 400 meters (54.91). Two sophomores teamed up with Nicole Post and Danielle Spears for a third place finish in the 4×100 meter relay (3:57:26).

The boys’ team had an 18th place finish at the state championship. Sean Casey, Alex Loukili, Nicky Gryski and David Ramirez teamed up together to finish third in the 4×800 meter relay (7:55:63). Casey, Loukili and John Eggeman and Alex Wallace finished fifth in the 4×400 meter relay (3:24:11).

Waller and Gregory will compete at the New Balance National on June 15-17 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C.

Photos by Milestat

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