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Sterling Blog: The holidays are upon us
Driving down Sterling Boulevard, there’s simply no way to miss that it is the holiday season in Sterling. Let’s face it, this community throws down the gauntlet when it comes to lighting up the December nights. I could read a book by the glow of the decorations in most of our neighborhoods. It’s simply wonderful. To everyone who puts up lights, risks life and limb on ladders, and looks at the electric bill with fear and loathing, thank you.

With the new year comes new opportunities to get involved around our community. Did you know that we have our own cabaret-style singing group? On That Note is part of the Sterling Playmakers and performs around the area at a number of venues from wineries to senior living communities. They are looking for a few good voices to join their merry band. Auditions are available by appointment on Friday, January 5, 2018. Sign up online to reserve your spot to show off your musical chops at http://bit.ly/OTNSing2018. The auditions will be held at the Sterling Community Center, so you don’t have to travel far to sing for your part in this wonderful organization. To learn more about On That Note, visit http://www.sterlingplaymakers.com/on-that-note/.

Wondering what to do with the kids while they are off from school? Sterling Community Center has just the thing for children ages 8-12. Take them over to the center on Enterprise Street for Spy School Dec. 27 to Dec. 29, where they can learn to put their sneakiness to good use. The cost is only $40 per kid and the camp runs the full day, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more by calling the Community Center at 703-430-9480.

While you’re out and about this holiday season, it’s hard to fit in the time to donate blood. Sadly, injuries and conditions that need blood donation don’t take any time off during the holidays. Conveniently, there’s a donation center right by the mall, you can get your holiday shopping done and help others with out leaving the area. The Inova Donor Center, 45745 Nokes Boulevard, #160, is open all weekend long and it doesn’t take much time to help someone in need. Almost every blood type has low inventory currently, so no matter what you are, they could use it. You can even make an appointment so you don’t have to wait to give a very vital gift to someone this year. To make an appointment or learn about the requirements of being a donor, visit http://www.inova.org.
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Cascades Blog: Thank you, Mr. Shafferman
This week, Bruce Shafferman, the principal of Lowes Island Elementary School for the past 12 years, begins a well-earned retirement.

Shafferman built a love of music and a career start as a choral music teacher into a 42-year career in education.

If you’ve attended any of the events at the Lowes Island school, you’ve seen Shafferman in action. He’s always been on hand, with a smile that shows how proud he is of “his kids”—whether riding a bicycle during an environmentally focused electronics recycling event or hosting the school’s annual Turkey Trot fun run and walk.

Shafferman and his wife, Jane, a reading specialist at Meadowland Elementary School in Sugarland and Ball’s Bluff Elementary in Leesburg, both retired from their education careers last week on the same day. Their next stop is a new start in central Virginia, where they will live near family members including their first grandchild, nearly old enough to start school.

So long, and thanks for all the news

I grew up with a father who often found opportunities in the course of family life to quote long-dead philosophers, playwrights and politicians. One of the quotes frequently heard in our house was: “The only thing constant in life is change.” This turned out to be very good training for the future.

In the newspaper business, change happens every day. Beginning in 2018, the Loudoun Times-Mirror will be implementing a planned change—and the community columns will no longer be published.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my news reports, to take action on the things you read about here and for all of the news you’ve shared with me. I’ve enjoyed writing this column, which I took over in 2004, in more ways than I can ever say.

I couldn’t have done this without all of you.

The good news is that I will continue to pitch stories and write for this newspaper. I hope you will keep sending news my way. You can reach me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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Cascades Blog: Top High School Scholars Honored
A total of 30 high school seniors representing Dominion and Potomac Falls high schools were recognized at the annual Excellence in Education Banquet held Dec. 10 at the National Conference Center in Leesburg. The banquet honored area high school students who ranked in the top five percent of their class academically during their first three years in high school, as well as those who were selected as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists or as National Hispanic Recognition Scholars.

The Dominion High School honorees are: Matthew Armstrong, Victor Corja, Nneka Ezera, Faduma Khalif, Kaitlyn Kutz, Allison Lane, Yanni Leondaridis, Pranavi Pallinti, Julia Pimentel, Catherine Renick, Kelvin Shen, Connor Smith, Daniel Soong, Emily Wajsgras, Brett Wells, Rebecca Williamson, Rena Wolinski and Emily Wong.

The Potomac Falls High School honorees are: Reem Al-Humadi, Shahira Ali, Ramin Avin, Christos Chen, Emily Clemm, Erica Collins, Kevin Cox, Tashfia Emdad, Lucy Greenman, Charlie Groscup, Sina Keramat, Isha Liu, Nicole Luz, Sanjay Parhi, Molly Pierro, Richard Robles, Joe Shangraw, Asha Silva, Smriti Simlot, Rohan Singh, Luc Teyssier and Claire Wang.

Innovative educator: Josh Ajima, Dominion High School instructional facilitator for technology, is the Virginia Society for Technology in Education 2017 Innovative Educator of the Year. Ajima received the award in recognition of his work in bringing makerspace technology into the classroom. His recent projects include designing a mobile makerspace cart for use in multiple classrooms, collaborating with a team of teachers on a successful grant application from the U.S. Department of Education for makerspace tools, and working in various capacities—fundraising, installing technology and providing training—on a project that helps students use real-world technology tools to solve challenging problems.

Holiday lights: The CountrySide Proprietary’s annual Holiday House-Decorating Contest takes place Dec. 18 and 19, offering some of the best nights to see the community’s holiday spirit. The first round of judging begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18, with final judging starting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19. One winner will be named for each type of home (single family, townhouse or condo) in each of the seven CountrySide neighborhoods. If you know of a home that deserves a spot in the winner’s circle—including your own—call Loretta deLamare at the CountrySide Proprietary office at 703-430-0715, ext. 3016, or contact her by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

‘Ugly’ attire: The After Hours Teen Center at the Loudoun County Public Library at Cascades hosts a make-your-own “Ugly/Tacky Holiday Shirt” party on Dec. 15, beginning at 7 p.m. Gaming, computers and art supplies also will be available.
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Sterling Blog: When in Need
Cascades Blog: Cake changes everything
Sterling Blog: Helping others for the holidays
Cascades Blog: 18 Local Students Named to Honors Ensemble, Orchestra
Sterling Blog: We Rock the Spectrum
Cascades Blog: Sterling Rotary Helps Build a Diaper Bank
Sterling Blog: Middle Schoolers on the Move
Sterling Blog: Craft Show This Weekend
Cascades Blog: Tai chi for everyone, in Sterling
Sterling Blog: The Impossible Dream

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