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Longfellow Middle School, TJHSST win Virginia Science Olympiad titles

Teams from Longfellow Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology captured first place in Divisions B and C, respectively, in the 2013 Virginia Science Olympiad, which took place April 27 at Virginia Tech.

Competing for the Longfellow team were Will Baxley, Zuhayr Choudhury, Shannon Chu, Stephanie Do, Alex Fried, Eric Liu, Alvand Moini, Josh Mosier, Neeraj Prasad, Gerald Wu, Tim Wu, Sarah Zhou, Scott Becker, Nina Chung, Katherine Du, Alex Howe, John Krause-Steinrauf, Shreya Ramesh and Laith Samamreh. Susan Boomer coaches the team.

Members of the TJHSST team are Amy Chen, Jake Cui, Ryan Gottwald, Sparsh Gupta, Katie Hsia, Ava Lakmazaheri, Avand Lakmazaheri, Jonathan Lee, Billie Males, Christine Nguyen, Emma, Puranen, Austin Ralls, Sunlee Stechuk, Sashank Thupukari and Andy Zhao, and alternates Abha Agrawal, John Park, Tarun Punnoose and Gerry Wan. Aubrie Holman is the coach.

Other top finishers in Division B were the teams from Jackson Middle School, which took second place, Lake Braddock Secondary School — middle school team — in third, and Kilmer Middle School in fourth.

Louise Archer Elementary School took fifth place in Division B — the highest rank scored by any elementary school. Competing against 23 other elementary and middle schools, Louise Archer students brought home the school’s first team trophy in a state Science Olympiad.

Top finishers in Division C included the teams from Langley High School in second place, Madison High School in third, McLean High School in fourth and Fairfax High School in fifth.

Forty-four teams from the Commonwealth – culled from the best teams to emerge after three regional competitions – competed in 24 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) events.

Science Olympiad is a national science and technology school-based program for students in grades four through 12 who compete in a wide range of topics – from building mousetrap-powered vehicles to solving crimes by testing forensic evidence. Members of the two first-place teams will represent Virginia at the national tournament in Dayton, Ohio, May 17-18. For results, visit

Fairfax third-grade teacher is Lottery pick

Katherine Ollinger, a third-grade teacher at Mosby Woods Elementary School, is one of eight teachers statewide to win the 2013 Virginia Lottery Super Teachers award. Ollinger received the award May 1 in a surprise presentation at the school, in front of students, faculty and guests.

This is the sixth year for the super teacher awards, which honor outstanding K-12 public school educators. This year the Virginia Lottery received 800 nominations. Eight teachers were then selected — one from each geographic region across the state — to win.

Veronica Bonaccorsy, a physical education teacher at Mosby Woods, nominated Ollinger, who taught Bonaccorsy’s daughter in third grade.

Schools Superintendent Jack Dale, Dels. David Bulova and Mark Keam, Cluster 8 Assistant Superintendent Fabio Zuluaga, FCPS School Board member Patty Reed, School Board Member-at-Large Ted Velkoff and School Board Chairman Ilryong Moon attended the ceremony.

The award is sponsored by the Virginia Lottery, the Virginia PTA and Virginia-based The Supply Room Cos.

ArtSpace Herndon focuses on Top 3 photographers

Photographer, artist and juror Barry Schmetter announced the winners of ArtSpace Herndon’s 2013 Fine Art Photography Competition during a reception and awards ceremony April 27. They are

Peter Toth: first place for “Solitude”

Rahshia Linendoll-Sawyer: second place for “We Are Not Made Of Wood”

D.B. Stovall: third place for “Ocean City, Maryland (2).”

Honorable mentions went to Lan Nguyen for “The Burgeon,” James Torrenzano for “Drifting Memory,” Rhiannon Shaub for “black sand shell beach” and Beamie Young for “Working Memory.”

The first-, second- and third-place winners received cash awards.

This year 76 photographers submitted more than 200 entries. The show, featuring the images of the 35 finalists, is on display through May 26 at ArtSpace Herndon.

McLean Chamber honors its high schools’ best

The Greater McLean Chamber honored students, staff and educators from McLean and Langley high schools May 9 at its annual Education Awards Breakfast.

Award winners from McLean High School Award were Christine Spaulding as Employee of the Year, Ayesha Faisal as Student of the Year and Claire Silva as Teacher of the Year.

Langley High School recipients were Norma Jamsheed as Employee of the Year, Jackie Ryan as Student of the Year and Jennifer Bonafide as Teacher of the Year.

Del. Barbara Comstock, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, Dranesville school board member Jane Strauss and Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Brough presented the awards.

The breakfast, which took place at J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks and Seafood, was sponsored by Middleburg Bank.

County’s student journalists win for ‘write’ stuff

Fairfax County Public Schools’ journalism programs were well represented at last month’s National Scholastic Press Association/Journalism Education Association Convention in San Francisco.

• The Clan Yearbook of McLean High School (Meghan Percival, adviser) was one of 25 high school books nationwide recognized in the Yearbook Pacemaker competition.

• The Paragon Yearbook of Oakton High School (Lauren Luna, adviser) was a finalist in the Yearbook Pacemaker competition.

• The A-Blast Online of Annandale High School (Alan Weintraut, adviser) was a finalist in the Online News Pacemaker competition.

In the Best of Show competition, the following publications placed:

• Threshold, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Emily Orser, adviser), first place for Literary Magazine.

• Odyssey Yearbook, Chantilly High School (Mary Kay Downes, adviser), second place for Yearbook 325 or More Pages.

• The Clan Yearbook, McLean, third place for Yearbook 275-324 Pages.

• The South Lakes Sentinel, South Lakes High School (Phil Dignan, adviser), third place for Newspaper Broadsheet 13-16 Pages.

Competing against 1,482 participants in the write-off competitions, 15 Fairfax County students brought home superior and excellent ratings and honorable mentions.

Superior ratings went to Ellen Kan, TJHSST, for feature writing; Alexander Amico, West Potomac High School, for broadcast commentary; Lily Weisblatt, West Potomac, for review writing; and Andrea Martinez, West Potomac, for portrait photo.

Excellent ratings went to Shayna Hume, TJHSST, for editorial writing; Alexis Williams, TJHSST, for news writing; and Jack Wilson, West Potomac, for photography portfolio.

Andrea Camille Delgado and Allen Harris, McLean, Sunny Kim and Sandy Cho, TJHSST, and Joe Quinn, Carrie Hebert, Ariel Dunay and Kathryn Schwabacher, West Potomac, received honorable mentions.

Scholarship opportunity

NVTA, an association of nonprofit, volunteer theaters in the Washington Metropolitan Area, is offering scholarships to graduating high school seniors planning to study theater in college. Applications for the 2013 NVTA Thousand Dollar Scholarship program are due May 17; forms are available at Interviews and judging take place June 1. For more, call NVTA president Zina Bleck at 703-615-6626 or email