News of the achievements of local students and members of the Armed Forces.
** The following local students have been inducted in the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines:
– East Carolina University: Jacqueline Fraley of Vienna.
– Virginia Tech: Akshita Jha of Dunn Loring, Elizabeth Kennedy of McLean, Caitlin Nguyen of McLean.
– Marymount University: Abigail Anderson of McLean, Elizabeth Pierce of McLean, Perry O’Neil of Vienna, Matthew Rosenberg of Vienna.
** Piper Phillips of McLean, a student at Emerson College, has been inducted into the Gold Key Honor Society at the institution, based on academic achievement.
** William Eggers of Vienna earned a Gold Star and has been named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at The Citadel.
** Robert Hage, the son of Nabil and Diana Hage of Great Falls; George King, the son of Doug King of McLean; Bridget Scalia, the daughter of Eugene and Patricia Scalia of McLean; James Lucky, the son of Mark and Amy Lucky of Oakton; Emily Martens; and Frances North, the daughter of Michael and Ellen North of Vienna have been named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Furman University.
** Yaman Koudmani of McLean has been named to the dean’s list for the winter term at Knox College.
** Heili Deaton of Oakton, Emma Lavoie of Vienna and Julia Topetzes of McLean have been named to the dean’s honor list and Jacobus Hoetmer of Oakton and Declan Sheeran of McLean have been named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Gettysburg College.
** Emily Van Court of Vienna has been named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Bard College of Simon’s Rock.
** Three local students recently were recognized for their winning entries in the NSDAR (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution) American History Contest, sponsored by the Freedom Hill DAR chapter of McLean.
All three students earned bronze medals and received a certificate for their efforts.
– McKenzie Watt of McLean, a fifth-grade student at Potomac School, won at the local level, then advanced at the district and state levels. She received a silver medal and a special certificate at the state level, and her essay is now in contention for the Eastern Division and national contests. If she wins at the national level, she will garner a monetary award and a gold medal.
– Zachary Vlissides of Great Falls, a sixth-grade student at St. Luke’s School in McLean, captured top honors for his grade level.
– Nicco Gozzi of McLean, a seventh-grade student at St. Luke’s School in McLean, also won for his grade level.
“We were so delighted for these three local students and we were so impressed by their respective essays. We are wishing McKenzie success as her essay continues to contend for the National DAR contest,” Freedom Hill chapter Regent Linda Abravanel noted.
The backdrop for the 2020 essay contest was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Students were asked to imagine what it was like to live in Boston, to witness the events, and then to describe their family’s discussion about the events and what role they played in organizing the colonists against the British king and Parliament.
Watt and Gozzi were honored at the April 3 Freedom Hill chapter meeting for their accomplishments. They each read their winning essays and enjoyed conversation with the Freedom Hill Chapter members. Vlissides will be recognized later.
“I liked writing my story for the DAR writing contest because I was able to learn more about an interesting event in our history,” Watt said. “It was able to think about what it might be like to grow up at that time. Because of COVID, I have not been able to do much during the weekends, and writing my story gave me something to look forward to. I was nervous to read my story to so many people on Zoom, but felt really good once I did because I didn’t mess up, and I had my brother with sound effects for the story to bring it to life.”
“Our chapter was indeed honored to receive and read these essays, and are so pleased that our local students have an appreciation of the events that shaped this wonderful country that we call our home, America,” noted Jill Cook, first vice regent of the Freedom Hill chapter.
** After a tumultuous year for quiz-bowl competitions, which forced most tournaments to migrate to videoconferences for matches, National Academic Quiz Tournaments held its middle-school division of its Individual Player National Championship Tournament online on April 25.
Two Longfellow Middle School students – Abigail Lee and Deven Hagen – competed in the 60-player field representing 17 states. They finished tied for 11th.
After five seeding rounds, the top players will compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine the overall winner. The competition was won by Arin Parsa of Redwood City, Calif., a student at Stanford Online High School.
The Individual Player National Championship Tournament was first held in 2018; the 2020 championships were not held due to the pandemic. This year’s tournament will be contested after Saturday’s Small School National Championship Tournament, where top teams from small schools will compete for the title.
** With its championship win at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Tournament, the quiz-bowl team from Longfellow Middle School has proved itself worthy to play on a national stage.
On Saturday, May 1, the team will represent its school in a 112-team national competition, the National Academic Quiz Tournaments’ Middle School National Championship Tournament.
All of this year’s NAQT championship tournaments will be held online through videoconferences.
Topics include science, math, history, literature, mythology, geography, social science, current events, sports, and popular culture, and the matches feature a blend of individual competition and team collaboration, since no individual player is likely to be an expert in all subject areas.
Longfellow has attended the Middle School National Championship Tournament nine times before.
Longfellow may face familiar foes in the online tournament, as BASIS McLean, Colvin Run Elementary (from Vienna), and Cooper Middle (from McLean) also will be competing.
The Longfellow team comes in with some nationals experience: Deven Hagen and Abigail Lee played the 2021 Middle School Individual Player National Championship Tournament, which was also held online; and Abigail Lee played the 2019 Individual Player National Championship Tournament in Rosemont, Illinois (near Chicago).
Longfellow Middle School will send two teams to the 2021 MSNCT. The A team will consist of Deven Hagen, Abigail Lee, Ryan McKenzie and Anthony Zhao. The B team will consist of Aarushi Kanigicherla, Hudson Keeler, Edward Lin and Sarah Trainer. The teams are coached by Eugene Huang.
The Cooper Middle School team will be captained by Amy Key, who will be joined by Claire Guo, Ian Liao, Mia Tripathi, Anthony Xu and Ella Zhang. The team will be coached by Lisa Walsh and Qun Zhang, who will be assisted by Jane Li.
Tournament results will be updated throughout the two days of competition at http://www.naqt.com/go/stats/11800.
** Things have not yet returned enough to normal to enable Northern Virginia Community College to hold an in-person commencement ceremony.
So the college – Virginia’s largest institution of higher education – will offer three days of “virtual” commencement celebrations for those students who have earned degrees over the past year.
Events will run May 5-7, with a variety of speakers in an online format.
“I am excited to help celebrate [NVCC] graduates in this upcoming commencement,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, himself a graduate of the institution. “This year has been a difficult year, but graduates have demonstrated incredible strength, dedication and tenacity as they have worked toward this important milestone.”
Other speakers will include college president Anne Kress; U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine; and U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer and Gerald Connolly.
In addition, the Northern Virginia Community College Foundation will award six scholarships over the course of the three days, which can be used by recipients to transfer to a four-year institution or for completing a career-studies certificate program.
Traditionally, NVCC commencement ceremonies have been held at large venues, including EagleBank Arena at George Mason University and Jiffy Lube Live, an amphitheater in Prince William County. But health conditions have not eased enough to provide an in-person option this year, university officials said.
The commencement ceremonies will be accessible on the college’s Website, officials said.