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News of the achievements of local students and members of the Armed Forces:

* John Eggers of Vienna was named to the dean’s list for the spring semester at The Citadel.

* Sophia Lin, a seventh-grader at Longfellow Middle School, has been named a division finalist in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Junior Piano Competition.

Lin, who has been studying piano for seven years, has won international and national competitions throughout the U.S. She had her concerto debut with Amadeus Orchestra as the piano soloist in May and is selected to perform at the Young Artist Piano Musicale program at George Mason University this coming January.

Lin also is an active volunteer who performs at local community centers and the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Center.

* Students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology cybersecurity club placed third at the fifth annual MetaCTF (capture the flag) at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

A total of 36 high schools and 65 colleges and universities were represented at the competition. In addition to Thomas Jefferson, another Fairfax County team (from Centreville High School) earned fifth place.

Students worked on challenges and learned new techniques and concepts related to cybersecurity from technical skills such as reconnaissance, cryptography, binary and web exploitation, reverse engineering and forensics to legal and business skills, such as risk management and incident response.

Solving challenges granted teams digital “flags,” which were then exchanged for points over the nine-hour event.

* Student-journalists from nine different publications at six Fairfax County public schools have been named Crown Award finalists by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for work produced during the 2018-19 academic year.

All nine of the nominated publications will receive either a Silver or Gold Crown Award at an award ceremony at Columbia University next March.

Among schools in the Sun Gazette coverage area, McLean High School (Meghan Percival, adviser) and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (Erinn Harris) are finalists in the yearbook category and McLean High School (Lindsay Benedict) and Thomas Jefferson (Erinn Harris) are finalists in the hybrid-news category.

* Student-artists from three Fairfax County high schools will have their work displayed in the “Visions” exhibition at Marymount University in Arlington.

The exhibition runs Nov. 8 to Dec. 7, at the Cody Center at Marymount’s Ballston campus, 1000 North Glebe Road.

From the Sun Gazette coverage area, Maria Mendoza Blanco of George C. Marshall High School will have artwork displayed. Works by students from Lake Braddock Secondary School and South Lakes High School also will be on display.

A variety of media – including painting, drawing, photography, ceramics and sculpture – was accepted for the exhibition, which is held in conjunction with the university’s Department of Fine Arts. The exhibition juror is Meaghan Kent, curato of exhibitions at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Fla., and a former director of the Cody Gallery.

Exhibition hours are Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For information, call (703) 908-7782 or e-mail

* The 2019 “Collect for Kids” campaign on behalf of the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools exceeded its goals by supporting more than 27,000 students with donated backpacks and school supplies.

More than 80 supporting organizations worked together to bring thousands of school supplies and backpacks to students. Apple Federal Credit Union was key to the success of this year’s campaign by hosting collection boxes at each branch location, organizers said.

Donations to the foundation’s Kids in Need/Collect for Kids campaign raised more than $28,400 in 2019.

* For the second year in a row, the James Madison High School marching ensemble has won the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative State Championship.  

The theme of the 150-member band’s performance was “Dusk ’til Dawn,” which used music, costumes, stage make-up, props and scenic backdrops to perform a show that earned a first-place rating in all three categories – music, general effect and visual – at the November competition.

* The James Madison High School Marching Ensemble will be competing in the Bands of America Grand National Championship Nov. 14-16 at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

It will be “the opportunity of a lifetime,” band parent Elizabeth Copeland said. “To compete on a national stage with so many other talented bands from around the country will be the highlight of [students’] high-school band experience.”

The 150-member Madison ensemble warmed up for the trip by winning the Bands of America Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition in October. It was the first time in more than 40 years that a Virginia entry has won the competition.

Advancing to the national competition will be a unique experience, band director Michael Hackbarth. “It is a very prestigious competition,” he said.

Band members and others have been working to cover the $100,000 cost of the trip with a variety of fund-raising activities. Those interested in supporting the effort can see the Website at

* Students Claire Goldhush of McLean and Diana Suk of McLean were cast in the James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance’s production of “Vinegar Tom,” described by the university as a masterpiece of feminist theatre by Caryl Churchill.

“One of the most important and decorated contemporary playwrights, Churchill pushed gender boundaries by advocating for females in lead roles when she entered the British theater scene in the early 1970s,” university officials said.

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