Races This Saturday Raising Money for Aneurysm Research

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.

Photo via Susco 8K and 2K: Running With Tim/Facebook

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Fairfax County Seeking Input on New Strategic Plan

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

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Community Remembers SLHS Teacher Who Died in Crash for ‘Spirited Energy’

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

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Back to School Book Sale And More This Weekend in Reston

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.
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Tuesday Morning Notes

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

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‘Back 2 School Bash’ to Prepare Parents for the New School Year

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.

File photo

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Local High School Students to Receive School-Issued Computers This Fall

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.

FCPS also allocated $4.3 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget for the initiative. The budget was approved on May 23.

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

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New Prismatic Art Installed on Lake Thoreau Spillway

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

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Reston Hospital Center Awards Scholarships to Local High School Graduates

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

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Friday Morning Notes

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

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South Lakes HS Food Pantry Offers Healthy Eating Workshops

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.

  • Toiletries
  • Canned goods
  • Boxed or dry goods
  • Cooking oil
  • Laundry detergent, dish soap

Photo via YouTube/FCPS

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Relay for Life Returns to Reston Next Week

For the 22nd year, Reston is preparing to host its annual Relay for Life Fundraiser to fight cancer next week.

This year’s event will be held on May 18 at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). All proceeds raised from the event are donated to the American Cancer Society to support local community programs and research.

The event kicks off at noon with a luncheon for cancer survivors and caregivers. To RSVP, email Anna Ungar.

The opening ceremony starts at 2 p.m. by recognizing cancer survivors and organizers who helped this year’s relay season. The ceremony will be followed by a walk in honor of survivors and their caregivers. Other planned activities include zumba, a pie eating contest, a talent show, and a lip sync battle.

More information about the initiative is available online.

Photo courtesy of American Cancer Society

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Wednesday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School Among Best Schools in the State — SLHS was ranked the 39th best high school in Virginia, according to rankings by the U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were released Tuesday and evaluate more than 17,000 schools across the country. [Reston Patch]

Police Investigate Shots Fired in Parking Lot — Last night, officers were on the 1500 block of Cameron Crescent Drive after receiving a report that a man fired shots in a parking lot. No one was hurt and the police department is investigating the incident. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Semi-Annual Book Sale at Reston Regional Library — Reston Friends get first dibs on the book sale today from 5 to 8 p.m. Thousands of books will be available for purchase. [Fairfax County Public Library]

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves Budget — The board “gave preliminary approval to the $4.4 billion 2020 fiscal year budget. The proposed budget fully funds the operating budget request from Fairfax County Public Schools and holds the real estate tax rate at its present level.” [Fairfax News]

“Black America Again” and “Letter to the Free” Tonight— Enjoy a free screening at CenterStage at 7:30 p.m. “Black America Again” explores the perseverance of the black community and “Letter to the Free” documents the stories of talented jazz musicians at the Queens Detention Complex. The film is presented with promotional support from the Washington West Film Festival. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Wade Gilley Sr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Farmers and Makers Market Kicks Off Today — Local farmers and artisans will sell a mix of items in Reston Town Center today. The market is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through November. [Reston Town Center]

County Weighs More Housing for Amazon Workers — “Fairfax County officials are weighing new steps to beef up their investments in affordable housing programs, with the promise of even more ambitious spending next year. The Board of Supervisors’ budget committee signed off on the changes at an April 26 meeting, ensuring they’d be included when officials vote on a full spending plan for fiscal year 2020 next month.” [Washington Business Journal]

South Lakes High School Sophomores Learn About Careers — Around 50 career professionals came to the high school to talk to sophomore about education, training, and career experiences. The event was coordinated by the career center and local parents. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Guide: It’s Snake Season — “Fairfax County is home to an array of snake species, most of which are non-venomous and pose no threat to people. Among the most frequently observed resident snakes are the Eastern rat snake, Eastern garter snake, Dekay’s brown snake, Northern water snake and Northern ring-necked snake; common and important predators in our ecosystems. These snakes, and others, are beneficial and provide a valuable service in our communities in the way of pest control.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via Charlotte Geary 

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Wednesday Morning Notes

“Explore the Universe” — A program at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls will offer people ages 9 to 18 an opportunity to learn about stars and galaxies; dark matter and dark energy; and the physics that helped shape the universe from 7:30 to 8:25 p.m. The cost is $8 per person. [Fairfax County]

Students heading to All-Virginia Honor Groups Concert — Four students from South Lakes High School and six from Herndon High School have been named along with more than 200 students from Fairfax County public schools to the 2019 All-Virginia Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The groups will perform on Saturday, April 6, at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. [FCPS]

Absentee voting map — The Virginia Public Access Project has a data visualization showing where Virginians cast the most absentee ballots. [VPAP]

License plate database — “A Fairfax County judge on Monday ordered the Fairfax police to stop maintaining a database of photos of vehicle license plates, with the time and location where they were snapped, ruling that ‘passive use’ of data from automated license plate readers on the back of patrol cars violates Virginia privacy law.” [The Washington Post]

Photo courtesy Tim Boone

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