Media Tips

Media Tips are listed in chronological order.                     April 16, 2014

Robinson Secondary will hold its fourth annual Earth and Oceans Day Festival from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22.  Students enrolled in oceanography, honors geosystems, and International Baccalaureate (IB) environmental systems and societies are hosting the event.  Students have researched individual topics and will share their interactive presentations.  Contact principal Matt Eline at 703-426-2100 or or event liaison Kristen Marker at

The fun and wonder of science will be featured at Weyanoke Elementary’s Science Night on Wednesday, April 23, beginning at 6 p.m.  Students of all ages have been discovering the fun of science in a hands-on way; they will be sharing their projects and be available to discuss them with guests that evening. Photos of the event will be on display at the George Mason Library.  Contact principal Annette Almedina-Cabrera at 703-813-5400 or

Thoreau Middle presents Seussical, a journey from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus, April 24-26.  This musical follows Horton the elephant who tries to protect the Whos in Whoville while guarding an egg left in his care by Mayzie La Bird.  The powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on April 24, 25, and 26, and at 3 p.m. on April 26.  Rising seventh grade students interested in the Thoreau drama program are encouraged to come to the Saturday matinee and meet the cast and crew after the performance.  Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.  Contact principal Greg Hood at 703-846-8000 or or event liaison Beth Malone at

Herndon Middle students are preparing for the annual Battle of the Books, set to take place on Thursday, April 24, at 3 p.m.  Students created teams with their friends under the guidance of a teacher-coach, and discussed facts about the 25 pre-selected titles they have read during the current school year.  Working in teams, they will compete in a game show-style competition to answer questions about the books they have read.  This year, nine teams and more than 150 students will compete for bragging rights and the first place trophy.  Contact principal Justine Klena at 703-904-4800 or or event liaison Jan Killian at

McLean High’s theater company presents the musical Catch Me If You Can, the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who becomes a world-class con artist, April 24-27.  With nothing more than his boyish charm, big imagination, and millions of dollars in forged checks, Abagnale passes himself off as a doctor, lawyer, and commercial pilot, all before the age of 21.  With FBI agent Carl Hanratty on his trail, the audience is treated to a jet-setting chase with a score from the 1960s.  Shows are at 7 p.m. on April 24, 25, and 26, and matinees will be performed at 2 p.m. on April 26 and 27.  Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.  Contact principal Ellen Reilly at 703-714-5700 or or event liaison Amy Poe at

The Robinson Secondary Pyramid Art Show is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, in the field house.  This annual event features more than 1,000 pieces of artwork from middle and high school art students, and will also include an exhibit of elementary artwork from Robinson’s six elementary feeder schools.  Some students have designed their own art booths to house their shows, and some work will be for sale.  Artwork will include paintings, drawings, photography, computer graphics, sculpture, pottery, and ceramics.  The exhibit will be open until 8 p.m. Contact principal Matt Eline at 703-426-2100 or or event liaison Asha Jones at

The eighth grade science department at Rocky Run Middle will hold its 13th annual Experimental Design Exhibits on Thursday, April 24, beginning at 8 a.m. Students will display projects that involve the formulation of an original problem and demonstrate that they have worked through the entire process of the scientific method.  Each student has created a hypothesis, written an experimental design display, charted their procedures, conducted an experiment, gathered and analyzed the data, graphed the results, written a lab report, and communicated the results through a back board display.  The exhibits will be on display in the school library during the day and will be open for parents from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Ileana Rodriguez at

Rocky Run Middle will host its fourth annual Science Night on Thursday, April 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m.  This evening focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) presentations with more than 20 scientists participating, ranging from engineers and forensic scientists to statisticians and astrophysicists.  Each scientist has prepared a 20-minute presentation and demonstration to show the students what they do every day in their jobs.  They also plan to discuss the job opportunities available in science fields as well as the requirements to become a professional scientist. Seventh and eighth grade students are invited to listen to three presentations from any combination of these professionals.  Former Rocky Run student Vishaka Ravishankar, who is now a medical student at Georgetown University, will discuss her interest in STEM topics along with her background.  Ravishankar graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and attended Virginia Commonwealth University as a presidential merit scholar in the honors college, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics. She is currently taking a semester off to do research, service, and work in her capacity of Miss Hill City 2014, part of the Miss Virginia pageant.  Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Megan Hudson at

The Moxie Strings, a professional fiddling duo, will present workshops for orchestra students in the Hayfield Secondary Pyramid on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m.  This American cello and fiddle duo is known for foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms and putting a fresh spin on Celtic and Americana music.  Both performers hold bachelor of music degrees in music performance and music education.  Their program introduces young string players to new genres, styles, and techniques, and help students learn to use their instruments creatively.  Students will perform a grand finale with the professional musicians.  Admission is $5 in advance, $8 at the door.  Contact Lane Elementary principal Eleanor Contreras at 703-924-7700 or event liaison Kerri Shelfo at

Friday, April 25, is College Day at Rocky Run Middle, where students will hear from local high school students about how they have structured their high school experience to prepare for college.  Beginning at 11 a.m., a panel of six seniors from Chantilly High plan to discuss their high school experiences, including the courses they took, clubs and activities they took part in, and how they researched and applied to colleges.  They will discuss how many college visits they took and what factored into their decision to pick the school they plan to attend. Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Kathy Palmer at

Shrevewood Elementary will present Family Science Night on Friday, April 25, at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Children’s Science Center.  Activities will include wind power, autumn leaves, balloon rocket cars, chemical reactions, engineering a lunar lander, fossils, and strong bubbles.  Students can participate in hands-on experiments that are specially designed to provoke interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics.  Contact principal Michelle Eugene at 703-645-6600 or or event liaison Roberta French at

Spring Hill Elementary instrumental musicians will rosin up their bows for the Solo and Ensemble Festival at Herndon Middle on Friday, April 25.  Forty-five soloists, two duets, and six groups from Spring Hill will participate.  The school’s Chamber Orchestra will perform “Sinfonia in G Major” by Del Borgo; the Strolling Strings will play “Contradanse en Rondeau,” by Mozart; and two Silver Strings groups will play “Jamaican Holiday” or “String Explosion.”  The fourth grade Advanced Strings will play “March of the Metro Gnome,” and the elite Liya Ensemble will perform the Welsh folk song, “The Ash Grove.”  Adjudicators will listen to hundreds of students from District 12 schools and will award medals to the best performers.  Contact news liaison Ruth Donahue at

Lake Anne Elementary will hold its first Dolphin Dash, a way to build school spirit and emphasize the importance of good health and physical fitness, on Friday, April 25, at 8:50 a.m.  Each class will be assigned a 15-minute time slot when students will be required to run laps and keep moving during the time period.  Students will learn about the importance of making smart food choices and getting regular exercise to stay strong and fit.  The event will also serve as fundraiser for the school.  Contact principal Brendan Menuey at 703-326-3500 or or news liaison Sue Garrison at

Westbriar Elementary will host the annual run-walk of Fairfax Friends Forever, a school-based, student-led mentoring program, on Saturday, April 26, at 7:45 a.m.  Students, parents, staff members, and members of the community can participate in the 5K run or 1 mile fun walk.  Proceeds will go to the National Federation of the Blind.  Contact principal Lisa Pilson at 703-937-1700 or or event liaison Deborah Alsado at

The Vienna Elementary PTA will host the 10th annual 5K Run for Fun on Sunday, April 27, beginning at 8 a.m., in partnership with DC Road Runners. This annual run, while providing motivation to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and improve general fitness, funds many activities and improvements for the school.  By working with DC Road Runners, the capital region's premiere running club, participants can use secure online registration, and times will be certified by a chronotrack timing system to chip time the 5K race.  Participants are welcome to walk, run, or stroll the course.  Entry fees are $25 in advance for adults, $30 after April 20; and $15 for children 14 and under for the first or second child in a family, then $5 per child.  Online registration is available through April 20. Contact event liaisons Matt Hartley or Joey Remondino at

Eighth grade history teacher Cindy Burgett has been named winner of the John Marshall Foundation Teacher of the Year award.  Burgett, who teaches at Carson Middle, was recognized for her knowledge and enthusiasm for the U.S. Constitution as evidenced through activities inside and outside the classroom.  She will receive her award and a $2,500 prize at the Richmond Bar Association’s luncheon on May 1.  Contact principal Augie Frattali at 703-925-3600 or or Cindy Burgett at

Edison Academy Automotive Collision and Automotive Technology students recently took a tour of the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) automotive program labs and met with instructors and current students thanks to a grant provided by the members of the Old Dominion Region Vintage Chevrolet Car Club of America.  The trip allowed students to see the bridge between high school and higher education and training in a field in which they have an interest, giving them an opportunity to see what is available to them beyond high school. Students also learned about the vintage car club and the club members; Edison Academy leaders are exploring how this could lead to future opportunities for the two groups, who share an interest in automobiles, to collaborate together. Guest speakers from the car club may be invited to speak to the students about their passion for cars and car club members who also work in the field of automotive repair, sales, or distribution, may be asked serve on the Automotive Program’s local advisory board.  Contact Edison Academy administrator Brad Rickel at 703-924-8100 or or event liaison Genie Williford at

Fairhill Elementary third grade teacher Dennis Stephens has been named Virginia’s 2013-14 National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  Stephens was selected by local VFW Post 8241 in McLean as its nominee, then was named winner of the Northern Virginia District and Virginia state competitions.  He was recognized for promoting citizenship education, civic responsibility, and patriotism in the classroom. The VFW annually recognizes the nation’s top classroom teachers who exemplify and teach citizenship education. This year marked the second consecutive nomination of Stephens by McLean Post 8241.  Contact event liaison Amy Spector at

The Falls Church High Orchestra and Choir competed in the WorldStrides Heritage Performance in New York recently, and both groups brought home gold earning ratings over 90. The chorus won the gold for Mixed Ensemble, and the orchestra earned a gold rating for the Adjudicator’s Award and received first place in the chamber orchestra division. Both groups performed in the Riverside Church. Senior Mark Gianopoulos received the Maestro Award for his work with the orchestra. The orchestra is led by Drew Lisowski and the choir is led by Anna Robinson.  Contact principal Mike Yohe at 703-207-4000 or or news liaison Colleen Lally at

Robinson Secondary’s Business Management and Business Law students placed third in the Best Booth category at the Virginia State Virtual Enterprise Trade Fair and second in the Virginia Future Business Leaders of America Partnership with Business event. The students developed a partnership with a local business,, to create a t-shirt design company for the Virtual Enterprise program, that required them to start and operate a virtual company in a simulated business environment as part of a global, virtual economy including schools all over the country. As part of the project, Jeff Gregory of spoke to business classes and offered a tour of the company’s new offices. To prepare for the Virtual Enterprise Trade Fair, the entire class created brochures, sales contracts, order forms, and name badges. Three students—Erin McClendon, Marcel Ferriero, and Nate Smith—served  as company representatives, then used the materials to work a trade fair booth, taking orders for products and answering questions from potential clients. For the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Partnership with Business Event, Robinson’s FBLA officers used’s Booster program to raise funding and awareness throughout the school and local community for their state service project, the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation. Members in the project class wrote a 15-page report detailing the partnership activities and presented an oral summary followed by a question and answer session to a panel of judges comprised of business professionals. The presentation team consisted of Michael Freeman, Karenna Oner, and Monica Wuher who will next travel to Nashville for the FBLA National Leadership Conference.  Contact principal Matt Eline at 703-426-2100 or or news liaison Ashley Faaborg at

The Woodson High Robotics team received a Judges Choice Award for Best Subsystem at the Greater DC Regional Tournament for Botball held recently.  Botball is a competition sponsored by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics in which each student team programs two robots to work autonomously to perform tasks on a game board against (and sometimes with) other student teams. In a contest where the robot has to start and move solely by relying on pre-programmed routines and input from various sensors, there are times when the robot doesn’t work as planned. While the team was not one of the top finishers, it received recognition for creative programming on the smaller robot, named Martha. The Martha robot was a small robot designed to find, pick up, and deposit different colored poms into a specified area, one of several ways a team could score points. Points were multiplied if the robot sorted the poms by color. Woodson’s Martha robot drew the poms in with combination a of wheels and rubber treaded belts before transporting them to the area they were to be placed. The most novel feature of the operation was the use of a mini camera to distinguish between the pink and green poms, enabling the robot to place the different colors correctly in their places.  A video from the competition is online.  Contact principal Jeff Yost at 703-503-4600 or or event liaison Marty Farmer at

Second grade students at West Springfield Elementary recently completed a unique diorama project using marshmallow Peeps candy to recreate the characters and the setting from one of their favorite books. The goal of the project was to reinforce the significance of setting and characters to a story’s plot in a fun and creative way. Students were encouraged to think about their favorite book and to pick a part of the book that best illustrates the story’s setting and characters. The students presented their dioramas to their classmates, highlighting the importance of the scene they depicted in their diorama to the book’s storyline. The dioramas will be on display in the school library allowing all West Springfield students the opportunity to see the three-dimensional candy creations. For more information, contact principal Erin Jones at 703-912-4400 or, or event liaison Sarah Spalding at



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Mary Shaw

Last Updated

April 16, 2014