School Notes

Here’s a rundown of future and recent activities at your Fairfax County Public Schools.

Fifth and sixth grade boys and their parents from the South Lakes High Pyramid have been invited to attend the Boys’ Leadership Conference at Dogwood Elementary this Saturday, December 3, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.  The boys will be treated to three hands-on workshops designed to inspire interest in positive choices in school and out, such as career awareness, communication, nutrition, creative problem solving, music, and leadership skills.  Parents will attend adult workshops on topics such as adolescent development and academic opportunities in FCPS and listen to a panel discussion presented by high school boys. Parents with a fifth or sixth grade son at Dogwood, Forest Edge, Hunters Woods, Lake Anne, Sunrise Valley or Terraset Elementary can sign up their child via walk-in registration on the morning of the event.

The PTSO at South County Secondary kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, December 3, with a Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair featuring over 90 booths.  The fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., features music, a silent auction, and concessions; general admission is $2, students and teachers are $1, and children under 12 are free.  Proceeds benefit the All Night Grad Party for the class of 2012.

What happens when a mild-mannered florist encounters a plant with an unusual appetite?  South County Secondary middle school students will tell the story in their production of the rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors, December 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and December 5 at 3 and 7 p.m.  Set in Los Angeles in the 1980s, the show will feature clothes and hairstyles of the era.  The middle school theater department is tackling the full show — not a junior version — challenging students with all levels of acting, singing, dancing, and technical elements.  Tickets are available at the door.

The Warm Hands, Warm Hearts Mitten Drive will be held at Fairview Elementary during the week of December 5.  Students are encouraged to bring in mittens, hats, scarves, gloves, and socks for families in need.   Collection baskets will be in a central area of the school, and all donations will be given to a local charity.

Toys for military families will be collected by students at Franklin Sherman Elementary during the week of December 5.  Students can donate new toys for families connected with Fort Myer’s Army Community Service (ACS) division.  During the holiday season, ACS holds a holiday share program in which unwrapped toys are collected for military families in need.  The project is an effort by Franklin Sherman to support the community and recognize members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Annandale High will present Arsenic and Old Lace on Saturday, December 3, at 7 p.m.  This classic comedy centers around two elderly ladies who rent out rooms in their home to lonely gentlemen, poison them, then bury them in the cellar.  The Saturday performance will be reviewed by critics for the Cappies.  Tickets are available in advance and at the door.

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, Langley High will host a flag raising ceremony at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, and is inviting any Langley parent who is an active duty member of the military to participate.  The ceremony will be videotaped and aired on Wednesday, December 7, during the Langley morning video announcements.  The South Lakes High ROTC and veterans of several wars will also be included in the ceremony.  Langley parents who want to participate are asked to wear their uniforms.

Members of the Japanese Honor Society at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) will perform the artistic presentation of calligraphy on paper measuring 12’ x 16’ on Friday, December 9, at 2:20 p.m.  The performance will also incorporate Japanese pop music and dancing.  This event is open to TJ students and invited guests.

Student members of the Falls Church High Bike Club rebuild, repair, and recycle donated bicycles in conjunction with a nonprofit community bike shop, Phoenix Bikes.  Bikes that are in good condition are rebuilt and repaired; other bikes are taken apart and recycled or used for parts for other bikes.  Students have the option of joining Phoenix Bikes and participating in its earn-a-bike program, or participating in rides or other events.  A student who works for 25 hours on club bikes can select one of the bikes to repair and customize for him or herself.  Some of the fixed bikes are donated to Phoenix Bikes, which are then sold with profits going to support both programs.  The club helps students develop confidence in their own abilities; many join the club with few repair skills and soon are able to perform a basic tune-up on a variety of bikes, and some of the students learn to modify or build bikes from scratch.  Andrew Zlatnik, the teacher who sponsors the club, emphasizes safety in the shop as well as safe riding techniques.

At the suggestion of a seventh grade student, a class at Glasgow Middle created a family budget with one minimum-wage income, an exercise in learning about homelessness.  Students were surprised to see how little money was available for rent and how such families are at risk for homelessness.  The program was part of Wesley Housing’s homelessness education exercise as part of the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless program.  Glasgow students also participated in the Help the Homeless Walk with their registration fees covered by Capital One, raising more than $20,000 to benefit Wesley Housing.

Visit Fairfax, the county’s tourism office, has dubbed 16 students in the Hotel Marketing program at Marshall Academy as Fairfax County Junior Tourism Ambassadors.  The students attended a two-hour seminar at the academy, which is similar to the full ambassador program conducted by the county for hospitality professionals.  The four-year partnership with Visit Fairfax has helped students gain detailed knowledge about Fairfax County attractions and learn how to work with visitors to maximize their experience.

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at South County Secondary recently held a cell phone drive, in conjunction with Operation Gratitude, to benefit U.S. troops currently serving overseas.  FBLA members collected more than 60 old cell phones from students and staff members and sent them to GRC Wireless Recycling, which donates $30 per phone to Operation Gratitude.  Operation Gratitude uses the money — approximately $2,000 from the South County FBLA drive — to create care packages for the troops.