Media Tips

December 1, 2015 Media Tips

Author Adam Rubin will hold an interactive assembly for students in grades K-3 at Deer Park Elementary on Wednesday, December 2, at 1:30 p.m. and at Daniels Run Elementary on Friday, December 4, at 9 a.m.  Rubin, who has written best-selling picture books such as Dragons Love Tacos and Darn Squirrels Trilogy, plans to share his newest book, Robo-Sauce, with the students, and talk about the writing process. The author, known for his quirky and silly books, formerly worked in advertising; he attributes much of his success to collaboration with his illustrator Daniel Salmieri. The two have published a total of six books and have more in the works. Contact principal Carol Larsen at 703-802-5000 or or event liaison Lori Shea at

Ten FCPS middle schools will compete in the annual Ha Ha Holiday Show on Friday, December 4, at 7 p.m., at Kilmer Middle.  Middle school theater sports teams will compete in fun and impromptu improvisation games for the right to claim the county title in middle school theater sports.  Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door. Contact principal Ron James at 703-846-8800 or or news liaison Debra David at

The Madison High Band and Color Guard will present its 36th annual Tiny Tots Holiday Concert, featuring holiday music, on Thursday, December 3, at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. (a “pajama-friendly” event), and Friday, December 4, at 10 a.m.    Costumed student musicians will perform a wide variety of seasonal music, and some special surprise guests will make an appearance.  Audience members are invited to sing along, clap along, and dance along with the band as children are introduced to the wonderful world of music and symphonic instruments.   Tickets are $8 per person and may be purchased in advance online. For more information, e-mail  Contact Linda DeViney at

Do re me fa sol la ti do! Come enjoy the classic music and lyrics from The Sound of Music, presented by Falls Church High, on Friday, December 4, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 5, at noon and 7 p.m. The family-friendly presentation is being performed in celebration of 50th anniversary of the Tony-award winning musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Based on the true story of the Von Trapp family singers, the Sound of Music follows the family’s quest to hire a new nanny for the seven children of a widower and their escape from Nazi Germany at the onset of World War II. Tickets are available in advance by calling 703-207-4059 or at the door.  Contact principal Michael Yohe at 703-207-4000 or or event liaison Beth De Marco at

 A special interactive Fairfax Academy event, the Academy Adventure, is planned for Friday, December 4, during intervention time periods and A lunch (9:46–11:50 a.m.); enabling students to attend without affecting their classroom instruction time, and specifically to  allow all English language learners to attend with their teachers. This event is an opportunity for students to learn more about the specialized classes offered through the Fairfax Academy for Communication and the Arts, located within Fairfax High. Students will be able to browse the classes the academy offers, and set up a tour or class visit before they meet with their school counselors to plan their schedule for next year. Exhibits for each class will provide information about student performances and feature slide shows of academy student accolades alongside displays of student work.  Prospective academy students can view and handle equipment of the trade, including cameras for Professional Photography, video cameras for Television Production, and mannequins wearing student designed clothing. Academy students, staff members, and administrators will be on hand to field questions. Through these interactions, students will have the chance to explore academy courses that they may be interested in taking, learn about the skills each class and career entails, and understand future educational and career opportunities. Contact academy administrator Diego Wilson at 703-219-2226 or or news liaison Erin Bloom at

 As part of a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) unit, Rocky Run Middle seventh grade science students will present their Ferret It Out projects on Friday, December 4. The assignment requires students to act as part of a black-footed ferret recovery team that is trying to successfully reintroduce black-footed ferrets to Ft. Collins, Colo.  Student teams will present their ideas to a panel of experts who will make up the black-footed ferret recovery implementation team, consisting of scientists, parent volunteers, and teachers.  After hearing the student presentations, recovery implementation team members will ask follow-up questions while judging the validity of each team project. Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Megan Hudson at

Eighteen students from Freedom Hill Elementary are participating in a 10-week running program, Kids Run the Nation, and are preparing to run the Jingle Bell 5K in Arlington on Saturday, December 5.  This national program, affiliated with Road Runners Club of America, promotes fitness and healthy living. Together, the students have run over 600 miles this fall and raised over $745 for the race's cause, the Arthritis Foundation. Music teacher Gretchen Lynch coaches the team.  Contact principal Scott Bloom at 703-506-7800 or or news liaison Gretchen Lynch at

Fifth and sixth grade choral students from Wakefield Forest Elementary have been invited to perform at the National Zoo's Zoo Lights Festival at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 5. Among other musical selections, the chorus will sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” "A Perfect Winter Day,” and "Peace I Leave with You."  Admission is free, but there is a parking fee for those who drive.  Contact principal Sheri D’Amato at 703-503-2300 or or event liaison Alisa Kieffer at

Deer Park Elementary students in grades K-5 will be participating in the Hour of Code Week December 7-11, and will continue into the following week during their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Lab time. Last year, FCPS adopted the global effort to expose students in grades K-12 to beginning computer science skills. These skills help hone problem-solving skills and develop logical thinking and creativity. They also are the foundation for 21st century career paths and support the county’s Portrait of a Graduate. The Hour of Code week coincides with Computer Science Education Week. Contact principal Carol Larsen at 703-802-5000 or or event liaison Kaitlin Phucas at

U.S. history students at Frost Middle will experience the real life struggles of immigrants who arrived on America's shores in the late 19th and early 20th century during a simulation on Wednesday, December 9, and Thursday, December 10.  Students will navigate a series of simulated medical, literacy, and character evaluations before being "admitted" into the United States. Teachers and parent volunteers will run multiple stations to help students understand the fears, difficulties, and setbacks that immigrants encountered in their attempt to become American citizens.  Contact principal Eric McCann at 703-426-5700 or or news liaison Amy Smith at

In recognition of Computer Science Education week, Oakton High will hold a schoolwide Hour of Code on Friday, December 11, beginning at 10:36 a.m.  Every student, no matter their ability or language, will take part in the Hour of Code. The students are hoping to share this experience with as many people as possible. This event will take place in every class, including the library. Contact principal John Banbury at 703-319-2700 or or event liaison Liz Smith at

The Rocky Run Middle Players will present William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream during the weekend of December 11-13. A cast and crew of 80 students will thrust the audience into the magical world of Athens, Ohio. Wait. What?! Yes, Rocky Run has set this show in and around the University of Athens so don’t be surprised if the actors show up in some crazy, exotic location like Starbucks. Like Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet, the setting has been updated but the language has remained essentially the same, illustrating the enduring universality of Shakespeare. The show runs Friday, December 11, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 12, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, December 13, at 3 p.m. All tickets are $7. Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Trena Weiss at

Herndon High will host a Holiday Vendor Sale from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 12. The sale, which is open to the public, will provide a morning of shopping, fun, and prizes.   There will be a silent auction, gift wrapping station, and holiday craft table.  Crafters or vendors interested in reserving a spot at the holiday sale should contact Stephanie Stewart at  or call 703-810-2389.

Aldrin Elementary has established a partnership with HoneyBaked Ham of Reston, including a holiday PTA fundraiser and donations by the company of cases of soup, pasta, and vegetables to the Aldrin backpack program.  HoneyBaked Ham of Reston owner Roxie Curtis focuses on philanthropic efforts with an emphasis on helping women and children in the community.  As part of the partnership, Aldrin and HoneyBaked Ham will work together on the promotion of mutually beneficial projects for the good of the school and community. HoneyBaked Ham joins Giant of North Point; Worldgate, LLC; Middleburg Bank; and the Rotary Club of Reston as Aldrin business partners. Contact principal Shane Wolfe at 703-904-3800 or

Colvin Run Elementary has a new playground shade structure, the first in FCPS, that was recently installed on the preschool playground.  The shade structure was made possible through a grant sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology. The structure will help block up to 90 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and keep the outdoor space cooler for students.  Contact principal Kenneth Junge at 703-757-3000 or

Sixty-eight Marshall High students visited Shrevewood Elementary to teach students about various business topics, including those related to finance and economics. These students, who are members of Marshall’s FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) chapter, partnered with Junior Achievement (JA) to plan, prepare, and carry out this event. Students prepared for the two weeks leading up to the event with lesson plans and activities provided by JA.  Contact principal Jeff Litz at 703-714-5400 or or news liaison Shelli Farquharson at

Latin students from South County High posted the second highest scores of any FCPS team at the Virginia Junior Classical League convention held last weekend.   South County students won a number of awards in academic and creative contests; senior Nick Harman created a life-sized replica of a chariot, and senior Carley Kastner won third place in overall showcase awards for seniors, based on her strong showing in the graphic arts category, which included a best in show for her charcoal drawing.  Winners included:  in creative contests, Sarah Benson, first place in modern myth; Tabatha Kargbo, second place in storytelling; Jacob Yamamoto, third place in costume contest; and Mollie Maglich, fourth place in English oratory. Winners in graphic arts included Carley Kastner, first place and best in show, charcoal; first place in pencil and cartoon; second place in ink, color pencil, pastel, and greeting card; third place in small model; and fourth place in felt pen, oil, and poster; Nick Harman, second place in small model; Christopher Kile, second place in small model; Mollie Maglich, third place in watercolor; Charlotte Bradsher, fourth place in ornament; Claire Kollhoff, fourth place in photography; Emily Jillions, fourth place in greeting card; and Megan Schipono, fourth place in computer enhanced photography.  Winners in academic tests included Jacquelyn Bryant, second place in mythology and third place in reading comprehension and Latin derivatives; Tabatha Kargbo, third place in mythology; Tim Cammarata, fifth place in Latin literature; and Jacob Sanders, fifth place in Latin literature.  Contact principal Matt Ragone at 703-446-1600 or or news liaison Paula DiSalvo at

The Bionic Junkyard Dragonaires team of Colvin Run Elementary earned the highest ranking in a field of 24 teams, seven of which were middle school teams, in the regional 2015 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Trash Trek Challenge held at McKinley High in Washington, D.C.  The team won the first place trophy for Robot Performance, and the second place trophy for the Champions Award that recognizes a team that embodies the FLL experience by fully embracing the core values (sportsmanship and teamwork) while achieving excellence and innovation in robot design and a research project.  Team members Viraj Ganguli, Arnav Kadam, Conner Tadlock, Jashwanth Puvadi, Nikhil Chintalapati, and Aedan West custom designed, built, and pre-programmed a LEGO EV3 robot to accomplish various missions on a 4' x 8' game field and score as many points as possible in 150 seconds. Additionally, the group has done extensive work to learn about trash and how to manage it through reduction, recycling, and other methods. As part of their research, they toured the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October, visited the I-66 transfer station, and conducted firsthand research in the cafeteria to measure food waste. At the tournament, they presented their findings and solution proposal to judges. Team members now advance to the state tournament at James Madison University on December 5 and 6. Contact principal Ken Junge at 703-757-3000 or

Aldrin Elementary recently kicked off the first “Aldrin READS!” program, an effort to extend students’ home libraries while supporting Aldrin literacy goals.  Staff members visited students at their homes to give away donated books (from staff and the community), as well as school supplies and healthy snacks. Students were happy to have more books to read at home, and the event gave staff members and parents the opportunity to strengthen their partnership. Aldrin hopes to continue the program with additional “Aldrin READS!” events two times a year.  Contact principal Shane Wolfe at 703-904-3800 or or news liaison Lesley Aschenbach at

Six eighth grade students from Frost Middle joined a delegation from Woodson High to participate in the Virginia Junior Classical League Convention in Richmond recently. They spent two days learning about Latin and ancient culture, competing in academic and artistic contests, and being positive representatives for both schools. The Frost students brought home one top ten prize in creative writing, two top three prizes in graphic arts contests, and eight top ten prizes in academic contests. They also took part in the legendary VJCL spirit contest, which entails wearing costumes and waving props that relate to a chosen theme and screaming silly Latin cheers for 20 solid minutes at 7:45 a.m. Contact principal Eric McCann at 703-426-5700 or or news liaison Amy Smith at

Glasgow Middle students Jonathan Villarroel, Danny Lara, Maria Rivera-Damiao, and Fikir Mekonnen earned a first place award in division 2 for their research project at a recent First Lego League (FLL) tournament.  The students, who make up the Waste Kicker Bots, demonstrated their knowledge of robotics, core values, and presentation skills at the tournament.  Angela DeHart, who teaches family and consumer sciences and business, and is the lead sponsor of the school’s Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Chapter, worked with the Waste Kicker Bots to help them prepare for the tournament.   Contact principal Shawn DeRose at 703-813-8700 or or news liaison Anntoinette Lee at

Herndon Elementary second grade teacher Laura Picarelli and librarian Nancy Bronez, both avid gardeners, came together with students to plant tulip bulbs in the library courtyard in response to a creative idea that Picarelli had after reading to her second grade students.  At the beginning of the year, Picarelli read Teach us Amelia Bedelia to her class, who asked her to keep reading the Amelia Bedelia books. This fostered conversations about how silly Amelia is, and how the same word in English can mean different things, because Amelia is always mixing things up.  One of words the students could not understand was “bulbs,” particularly the difference between tulip bulbs and light bulbs.   Picarelli went to Home Depot and picked some tulip bulbs to show them. The students planted their bulbs and will be able to watch them grow in the spring. They ended the tulip planting by reading The Great Tulip Trade.  Contact principal Ann Gwynn at 703-326-3100 or or news liaison Laura Santini at

Jackson Middle seventh grade students participated in a VIVA Technology Great Minds in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) day, sponsored by Northrop Grumman. The students were divided into teams, each paired with a Northrop Grumman employee that guided the groups in completing three different projects. Teams worked on catapults and electric circuits during the day.  Contact principal Chad Lehman at 703-204-8100 or or event liaison Deb Wargo at

Members of the Lane Elementary school community (staff, students, parents) participated in a night of giving back to the community by assembling bags of food for "Blessings in a Backpack," an organization that helps feed children on the free and reduced lunch program by providing food packs for the weekend and school breaks. Food for the bags was donated by Lane families through a school food drive organized by the Student Council Association and the PTA.  Contact principal Eleanor Contreras at 703-924-7700 or or event liaison Karen Cunningham at

Lee High student Cameron Ostersen received the Lee District 2015 Champion of Character Award presented by the Fairfax County Athletic Council and Neighborhood and Community Services.  Osterson received the award for demonstrating good sportsmanship and character in youth sports.  She plays field hockey, basketball, and soccer at Lee High, where she is known as a positive role model and leader. Contact principal Deirdre Lavery at 703-924-8300 or or news liaison Dave Arthur at

Marshall Academy students enrolled in cyber security toured the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) in Linthicum Heights, Md.   DC3 provides digital and multimedia (D/MM) forensics, cyber investigative training, technical solutions development, and cyber analytics for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).  Academy students learned about the latest 3-D x-ray technology and its application in digital forensics.  By using a 3-D x-ray machine, a forensic technician can look inside an object without damaging it.   A DoD expert explained how today’s automobiles, armed with Internet-connected technology, have opened the door for hackers to control some functions of the automobile and potentially access private information.  Cyber security experts highly encouraged the high school students to earn their A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications and reiterated the tremendous demand for highly qualified personal in cybersecurity.  Contact academy administrator Jeff McFarland at 703-714-5582 or or news liaison Shelli Farquharson at

May Kyaw and Virginia Sun, seniors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology  (TJHSST), have been named the first-place winners of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) inaugural Teen Genes Video Challenge.  Three TJHSST juniors—Amee Kapadia, Selina Cheng, and Aaron Gu—received honorable mentions.  Entrants were asked to submit a 3-5 minute video describing any current application of genetics and explaining how it works.  Kyaw and Sun, whose video described research into the human microbiome and potential implications for health, will share a $1,500 monetary prize. In addition, they will participate in a video chat with Rick Guidotti, an award-winning former fashion photographer and founder of Positive Exposure. Honorable mention recipients will receive a $150 monetary prize. Winning videos can be viewed online.   Contact principal Evan Glazer at 703-750-8300 or

Woodson High Latin teacher Ariel Baska has won the A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Award and Scholarship from the National Association of Gifted Children. This award recognizes an individual who has shown excellence in teaching gifted students, the ability to meet the needs of gifted students, and a commitment to furthering the development of their teaching skills. Over the last 11 years, Baska has taught all levels of Latin from middle school to Advanced Placement. She received her master's degree in curriculum studies with an emphasis in gifted education at George Mason University, and presents regularly at foreign language and gifted education conferences. Baska wrote a Latin curriculum guide targeted for elementary and middle school gifted students with her mother, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, titled Ancient Roots and Ruins. In addition, she also co-wrote a chapter on the role of the arts in the affective development of the gifted in Social and Emotional Curriculum for Gifted Students. Baska will use her scholarship to attend the TAVP (Teaching Advanced Placement) Program in Advanced Placement studies, offered online by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Contact principal Scott Poole at 703-503-4600 or or event liaison Ariel Baska at

Five Fairfax County public schools have received Healthy Kids grants from the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.  These grants are designed to support programs that encourage more physical activity or better nutrition for students during the current school year.  Grant winners are Cameron Elementary, Vegetable-Fruit of the Month project, to teach students to enjoy and appreciate fruits and vegetables;  Lake Anne Elementary, Backpack Fitness program to purchase backpacks and fitness equipment; Herndon Elementary, Girls Run Herndon after-school running club; Lynbrook Elementary, Trailblazers Outdoor Exploration After-School Club, promoting biking, hiking, kayaking, and fishing while connecting to nature; and Westfield High for Girls Only Fitness Class, to educate non-athletes about healthy diets and physical activity.  Contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.







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Last Updated

December 1, 2015