Civil War artifacts donated

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Capt. Edward Todd’s haversack

In 1861, Union Army Capt. Edward Todd of the 2nd Vermont Infantry was wounded at the Battle of First Manassas. He went home to Vermont for two years to recover before returning to fight in several more Civil War battles in Virginia.

More than 150 years later, Todd’s wartime haversack — a large, purselike bag he used to carry personal belongings — has returned to Manassas. The haversack is part of a collection of Civil War artifacts donated to the Manassas Museum in the summer by Northern Virginia Community College and retired history professor Charles Poland Jr.

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Washington Post, November 29, 2015

Manassas-area children’s choirs

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Becky Verner conducts children in grades 5 through 8 in a new Manassas-area singing group for children.

About 70 Manassas-area children are joining their voices in song as members of a new choral group that began rehearsing last month.

The Greater Manassas Children’s Choir, an offshoot of the Manassas Chorale, is divided by age into two singing groups, each with a director. Becky Verner leads about 50 children in grades 5 through 8, and Susan Dommer is head of a smaller group of children in grades 2 through 4.

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Washington Post, October 11, 2015

A glimpse into an astronaut’s life

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Forget packing for a jaunt to the beach. Kids visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly are setting their sights on a much more ambitious destination: Mars.

At the Astronaut Academy, the latest offering in the TechQuest program at the Northern Virginia offshoot of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, children are using an alternate-reality game to get an idea of what it’s like to be an astronaut.

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Washington Post, October 4, 2015

Theater students perform at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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A group of 11 theater students from Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn took their act to the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland last month.

All the students performed at the festival — including in an original one-act play written by one of the students — and they saw at least 10 other shows, their teacher, Tony Cimino-Johnson, said.

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Washington Post, September 13, 2015

Q & A with Riverside H.S. principal

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Doug Anderson, principal of Riverside High School

Riverside High School in Leesburg will open Aug. 31 as the 15th high school in Loudoun County. The school is in the Lansdowne development, near Belmont Ridge Middle School and the National Conference Center.

Riverside, which has a capacity of 1,600, will open with 820 freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

Doug Anderson, 48, is Riverside’s principal. A graduate of Radford University, Anderson has been an educator for 21 years. Most recently, he was principal of Broad Run High School for four years. He began his career as a social studies teacher in Fairfax County, where he taught for 11 years before coming to Loudoun in 2004 as an assistant principal at Broad Run.

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Washington Post, August 23, 2015

Chris Yung Elementary School to open

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Kathy Notyce, Principal of Chris Yung Elementary School

When Prince William County schools start the new year Aug. 31, Chris Yung Elementary School in Bristow will open to students for the first time, with an emphasis on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The school is named in honor of Chris Yung, a Marine Corps veteran and Prince William police officer who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Bristow in 2012 while responding to a call.

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Washington Post, August 23, 2015

Teachers start summer bookmobile

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Several teachers from Herndon Elementary School are volunteering their time this summer to get kids reading.

Every Wednesday, the group brings a self-styled bookmobile to two apartment complexes in Herndon, where the teachers lay out boxes of donated books on the lawn. Children are encouraged to look through, choose books that appeal to them and take them home to read. Best of all: The books are theirs to keep.

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Washington Post, August 5, 2015

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Nonprofit helps with school supplies

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Two decades ago, Susan Ungerer was volunteering at a Fairfax County nonprofit group that helps financially strapped families when she noticed a pattern: Parents tended to fall behind with their finances in August and September, just when they had to buy school supplies for their children.

That realization, combined with 23 years of experience as an elementary school teacher, motivated Ungerer to start Kids R First, a nonprofit group that provides basic school supplies to families in need. The organization has been growing ever since. This year, Ungerer anticipates that Kids R First will help 25,000 students in 96 schools across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

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Washington Post, July 29, 2015

Fighting childhood obesity

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Children will be able to learn more about where their food comes from — and how eating locally grown food contributes to a healthy lifestyle — through a program that is coming to the Mosaic Central Farm Market in Merrifield on Sunday.

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s Market Explorers program is part of a larger effort to combat childhood obesity.

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Washington Post, July 15, 2015

Walk for Teen Suicide Awareness

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Hundreds of walkers took part in a six-mile trek along Spriggs Road in the mid-county area last weekend to raise awareness about teen suicide.

Prince William County school officials estimated that more than 400 people participated in the walk, a round trip between Forest Park and Hylton high schools. Although most of the walkers were high school students, participants included young children, adults — some pushing strollers — and even a few dogs.

Students in Advanced Placement government classes at Forest Park organized the event as their final project, which their teacher, Shannon Geraghty, allowed them to do in place of a final exam.

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Washington Post, May 31, 2015