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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Fun away from the sun in Sterling
    While it may be hot, hot, hot outdoors, cool things are happening indoors throughout steamy eastern Loudoun.

    Off to the air races: The After Hours Teen Center at the Cascades Library hosts an evening of paper airplane races on Friday, July 18, from 7 to 10 p.m. Pre-flight activities include some instruction in flight and aerodynamics, followed by experimentation with paper airplanes and competition racing with prizes. Ground crew members are welcome to attend: gaming stations, computers and art supplies also will be available. Teens must arrive by 7:30 p.m. and must be picked up by 10 p.m. All attendees must have a signed permission slip on file. For information: 703-444-3228.

    Indoor playground: Dulles Town Center presents Playdate Thursdays weekly at 11:00 a.m. Toddlers can explore the indoor Nationals Play Park, a new baseball-themed toddler park in the food court. On July 24, the little ones can rock out with live music from area favorites Rocknoceros.

    The Wicket Club: Sterling is home to the first indoor cricket facility in the metropolitan Washington area, a 10,000-square foot training facility known as The Wicket Club. The club offers its final 2014 youth cricket summer camp for ages 6-13 from July 28 through Aug. 1. Club memberships and walk-in rates for cricket and badminton for all ages are available. For information: or 571-276-7600.

    Twist and shout:
    The Cascades Senior Center celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s “other” British Invasion—in the days when British pop music ruled the world—with a Beatles party and dance on Tuesday, July 29, from 2 until 4 p.m. Dust off those ‘60s threads or dress up like your favorite Beatle and show up ready to dance to your favorite Beatles tunes. Transportation will be provided after the party. Tickets are $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. For information, call 571-258-3280.

    LINK up: The area’s LINK food pantry, a resource for those in need, can use some help with donations during the summer months. The top needs are dried soups such as ramen noodles, canned chicken, boxed meal helpers such as Hamburger Helper, canned fruit, tomato products, cleaning products, laundry detergent, feminine products and toiletries. The organization also needs volunteers in the summer to deliver food on Tuesdays through Saturdays to families living in Sterling, Ashburn and Herndon. To volunteer, call 703-973-4444. Information is available online at

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Drama camp for everyone
    When you’re struck by the acting bug, you live to be on the stage. But for some kids in our area, that may be harder than you think. Going to drama camps and participating in theatre productions can sometimes simply not be in the family budget.

    Hannah Ratcliffe, a junior at a high school in Ashburn, was working as a drama counselor at the Pickwick Players drama camp, when she was speaking to a camper who was on scholarship. The thought struck her: “What if there were more kids who wanted to do drama camp and just couldn’t afford it?” Rather than waiting around for someone else to solve the problem, she stepped in and created Charitable Act, a drama camp that provides the experience to under privileged students in our area. Hannah enlisted friends as well as a teacher at Sully Elementary School, Kim VanArtsdalen, to help her make Charitable Act a reality. She also sought sponsors and created her own website,

    For 20 rising third through sixth grade students at Sully and Guildford elementary schools, Charitable Act is giving them the full camp experience. Starting on Monday, July 14, the campers will spend four hours each day for the next two weeks learning about all the work that goes into putting on a show, something that Hannah knows well, as she just finished up being in Sterling Playmaker’s production of “Peter Pan” in the part of Tiger Lily. From stage direction to improvisation, Hannah and her team of friends will take the kids through every step of taking a play from script to stage.

    Now obviously something this awesome doesn’t happen without a lot of help – and that’s where you come in. Although Charitable Act has been getting a lot of support, including getting costumes loaned through the Sterling Playmakers, it could still use your help. Simply go to the Charitable Act website at and find out how you can help kids getting bitten by the bug. Who knows, you might be creating the next Keanu Reeves. OK, maybe we can aim a bit higher than that.

    Speaking of Sterling Playmakers, be sure to mark your calendars for their production of “Anything Goes,” which opens July 25 for a three weekend run at Potomac Falls High School. Tickets are available at and t,o correct my previous mistake, there is no additional charge for buying online.

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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Eastern Loudoun Students Rock
    Students in eastern Loudoun have racked up a trophy case full of honors while working to hone their skills in a variety of fields.

    Michelle Castro of Dominion High School and Julia Groves of Park View High School graduated last month from the Young Adults Project, a high school degree program for students who find their footing best in a nontraditional setting. Castro received the program’s English and Leadership awards. Groves received the program’s Science award.

    Three eastern Loudoun students have been selected to serve one-month terms on the Loudoun County School Board during the 2014-2015 school year: Marcus Luangrath of Park View High School (December 2014), Devin MacGoy of Potomac Falls High School (January 2015) and Ashley Koranteng of Dominion High School (May 2015).

    Five area students won honors in the Loudoun County Public Schools Social Science and Global Studies Academic Awards: Francesca Babetski (Dominion High School), Madeline Beckelhimer (River Bend Middle School), Arvind Ravipati (River Bend Middle School), Madee Sadozai (Seneca Ridge Middle School) and Alexandra Sarkis (Dominion High School).

    Local music students were recognized in a variety of settings for their performance skills.

    Tanvi Thatai of River Bend Middle School was selected to participate in the American Choral Directors Association Middle School All-State Chorus, held at Harrisonburg High School.

    Siddhi Kodolikar and Ashlyn Rock of Dominion High School and Markus Ellis and Abby Firsching of Potomac Falls High School were chosen as participants in the Virginia Music Educators Association All-Virginia Chorus, also held at Harrisonburg High School.

    Six eastern Loudoun students were selected by audition for the All-Virginia Band and Orchestra sponsored by the Virginia Music Educators Association. Dor Friedman and Jeromy Myers represented Dominion High School. Monica Do, Mina Kang, Soyoung Park and Logan Rice represented Potomac Falls High School.

    In addition, the Potomac Falls High School advanced and artist guitar ensembles directed by Hart Wells were featured in concert at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. The trip was the fourth New York concert performance since 2006 for the PFHS guitar department. During the school year that ended in June, the artist ensemble received its sixth consecutive superior rating at the Loudoun County Public Schools Guitar Festival District Assessment.

    LEGO Teens: The Cascades Library is looking for high school student volunteers to help run a "LEGO Fun" program for younger kids on July 21 and Aug. 4 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Participants earn volunteer hours. For information, call 703-444-3228.
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Happy Birthday America
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: A flag-waving fourth of July
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Cascades Green Team needs some helping hands
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Get schooled
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Falcons Landing raises $147,728 for emergency services, students
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: 11 Tips for Personal Safety
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Writing for fun (maybe not for profit)
    CountrySide/Cascades/Sterling: Moms and Kids Making a Difference
    Cascades/CountrySide/Sterling: Memorial Day stories from Eastern Loudoun
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