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Cascades and Countryside Blog: American Legion observes 40th Memorial Day
American Legion Post 150, serving eastern Loudoun, presents its 40th Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. May 30 at the Veterans Memorial at the southwest corner of Sterling Boulevard and Holly Avenue in Sterling.

Del. John Bell (D-87th), who retired from the Air Force in 2007 after nearly 26 years of service, will be the keynote speaker. Boy Scout Troop 965 will assist with wreath-laying duties and a performance of echo taps offered by two trumpet players. The choir from the Sterling United Methodist Church will perform a medley of patriotic music. The event is open to the public. Parking is available nearby at Sterling Middle School, on the street and at various business locations.

In 40 years, the observance has been moved indoors only once due to the weather. Signs and directions will be posted at the memorial site if the event must be relocated indoors.

215 years of teaching

Seven eastern Loudoun educators, with a total of 215 years of classroom service among them, were recently honored for their work as Loudoun County Public Schools educators. The seven received LCPS 2016 service awards honoring from 25 to 40 years of service.

Seneca Ridge Middle School is home to the two longest-serving honorees in the area. Laura Null, chair of the art department at Seneca Ridge, was recognized for 40 years as a teacher in LCPS classrooms. Physical education teacher Sarah Murphy, who has been at the school for 24 years, was recognized for 35 years of teaching with LCPS.

Three eastern Loudoun educators were honored for 30 years in LCPS classrooms: Earth science and computer technology educator Thomas Pascoe of Dominion High School, special education teacher Susan Waffle of Countryside Elementary School and social sciences and adult education teacher David Wagner of Park View High School.

Two area educators were recognized for 25 years with LCPS: River Bend Middle School math teacher Cindy Giese and Park View High School technology assistant Mary Alice Hummer.

LEF honors

Toula Mitrakas, chair of the English/Language Arts Department at Seneca Ridge Middle School, was one of 19 Loudoun County Public Schools educators recognized by the Loudoun Education Foundation as one of the county’s top teachers. Mitrakas, who has been teaching at Seneca Ridge for 16 years, teaches seventh-grade language arts at the school.

At the White House

Seven eastern Loudoun students recently attended the International Jazz Day celebration at the White House hosted by first lady Michelle Obama. Four music students from Dominion High School attended the event: Katerina Banks, Nicholas Barron, Miles Dickerson and Luke Ellis. Three music students from Potomac Falls High School also attended: Samuel Durgin, Jessica Endara and Ethan Hamilton.
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Cascades and CountrySide Blog: The fastest folks in eastern Loudoun
The annual Cascades Firechase, a fundraiser for the Sterling Volunteer Fire Co., ended May 14 with a strong finish by a large number of eastern Loudoun residents.

In the 10K event, all of the top nine runners in the female competition who listed a hometown were from Sterling. The top three places were taken by Erin Olia, 14, no town listed, finish time of 43:43; Christina Torpey, 24, 44:44; and Laura Fawcett, 32, Sterling, 47:35.

The next six places were taken by Sterling residents: Christina Davis (48:33), Sara Donohoe (48:59), Bethany Britz (48:59), Sarah Hopkins (49:36), Amy Bouchard (50:05) and Valerie Kerns (50:33).

Nearly half of the top nine finishers in the male's 10K competition were from Sterling. The top three spots went to Jeffrey Gibson, 19, of Alexandria, finish time of 32:34; Robert Osterried, 43, Oak Hill, 39:12; and Bernhard Gallent, 32, Sterling, 39:40.

The Sterling residents among the top finishers also included Robert Antonellis in sixth place at 41:57, Tanner Bryan in seventh place at 42:38 and Brian DeCarli in the ninth spot at 43:15.

A complete list of 10K finishers is online at http://www.tinyurl.com/Cascades10K2016/.

The top three winners in the 5K competition for female runners were: Rebecca Makely, 36, of Aldie, 23:03; Barrett Harrington, 14, no town listed, 23:06; and Deborah Strauch, 48, of Ashburn, 48, 23:14.

Half of the female top 10 finishers were from eastern Loudoun: Kaitlyn Kutz, Sterling, fourth place at 24:46; Cherie Zehner, Sterling, fifth place at 24:46; Zoe Durham, Potomac Falls, sixth place at 24:50; Melanie Bell, Potomac Falls, eighth place at 25:59; and Gina Woodall, Sterling, 10th place at 27:09.

Eastern Loudoun also made a strong showing in the top three winners in the 5K competition for male runners: Matthew Duley, 46, of Sterling, 19:38; Noah Biegler, 16, Potomac Falls, 16, 21:14; and Timothy Williams, 38, no town listed, 21:16.

The male winners in the top 10 from Sterling also included: Luke Hurley in fifth place at 21:58, Nicholas Slovak in eighth place at 22:54 and Peter Weinbrecht in 10th place at 24:00.

The complete list of 5K finishers is online at http://www.tinyurl.com/Cascades5K2016.

All are welcome

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, St. James United Church of Christ, Equality Loudoun and Loudoun Out Loud, presents a benefit concert by The Rock Creek Singers of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington on May 21 at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 22135 Davis Drive in Sterling. The benefit is an annual event in support of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith collaboration that seeks equal rights for all citizens. Doors open at 6 p.m. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Information is available online at http://www.uusterling.org.

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Sterling Blog: Please and thank you
I tell my daughter on a consistent basis that “half of life is please, the other half is thank you.” Unfortunately, she has heard it so often that she now asks me to please not say it to her and thanks me when I don’t. I am currently investigating where this child got her sassiness – expect a follow-up. However, I stand by my mantra. If we said please more often, and thank you as much as we could, imagine how much better our lives would be, not to mention our community. So here are a few pleases and thank yous from your friendly neighborhood columnist.

Please, get your child ready for the Standards of Learning (SOL) test that is this month. We all know that we have the best teachers and schools in the county, and I dare say the state. This is our chance to show off how wonderful our teachers are, how hard they work and just how smart our kids are. Make sure your child reviews the information and – most importantly – gets a good night's sleep. A 2014 study showed that kids who got at least seven hours of sleep the night before a test did 10 percent better than their less fully-rested counterparts. Make sure to check with your child or their teachers on their SOL schedule and let’s send our kids in ready to show off what they know.

Please, show up to community luncheon at St. Matthew’s this Saturday, noon to 2 p.m. Just show up at the parish hall at 201 E. Frederick Drive and enjoy lunch, music and fellowship with your neighbors. This is a free event and a wonderful way to enjoy a good meal with some new friends. Want to do more, though? Please consider volunteering to help put this every-other-month event. Just call the church at 703-430-2121 to learn more or show up a wee bit early and say “how can I help?” I’m sure they’ll say thank you!

Thank you to the recipients of the Sterling Playmakers’ inaugural Spotlight Awards. This past Saturday, the Sterling Playmakers gathered not at a theatre but at the Elks Lodge on Holly to celebrate the year and recognize some outstanding volunteers. The group recognized the contributions and support of a cast member, a crew member, a community supporter and a “legend.” Brian Tepe received the Spotlight Award for a cast member. Tepe was in “Music Man” last year and, when a cast member fell ill, he stepped into the role with just 24 hours’ notice. Sterling resident Bill Fry received the Spotlight Award for a crew member for his endless hours of dedication and expertise. If you’ve seen a Sterling Playmaker show, you’ve benefited from the work of Bill Fry. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was recognized as an outstanding community partner. Last, but far from least, Joe Campanella was awarded the Spotlight Legend Award. Campanella is the brains and talent behind Sterling Playmakers’ “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel” and the recent “A Christmas Carol.” If you’re been to a “Joe show,” you probably have his music still stuck in your head. Congratulations to all the awardees – and thank you!
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Cascades and Countryside Blog: A chorus of champions
Sterling Blog: It’s not easy being green
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Falcons Landing celebrates 20 years in Cascades
Sterling Blog: Locavore
Sterling Blog: The community is a stage
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Polish that chrome, support military service
Cascades and Countryside Blog: A fire truck at the finish line
Sterling Blog: At sword’s point
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Award-winning artists and ‘Schools to Watch’
Sterling Blog: Double-booked
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