The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has named Alexis Kuiper of Fairfax and Alicia Harder of Reston as the top youth volunteers in Virginia for 2004.

The national program sponsored by the insurance company recognizes young people for their commitment to volunteering.

Kuiper, a sophomore at Woodson High School, was nominated by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital for developing an exposition and training program to encourage Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to consider conservation issues and related occupations.

Harder, a seventh-grade student at Herndon Middle School, was nominated by her school for organizing an annual holiday cookie and fundraising event for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter in Reston. She has been conducting this project since she was 6 years old; over the years, her project has provided the shelter with 250 dozen cookies and more than $10,000 in donations.

Each student received a $1,000 award and an engraved medallion.

Ten students from Fairfax County are participating in the 11th annual Dance Theatre of Harlem residency program. They were selected by the Kennedy Center and Arthur Mitchell, founder of the dance company.

The program, held on weekends February through June, gives young people of all dance levels the opportunity to study with the prestigious dance company. Mitchell founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969 after 15 years as a dancer with the New York City Ballet.

The participants, selected through applications and auditions, were Alexa Allen, 9, of Word of Life Christian Academy; Clara Dombroski, 10, of Fairhill Elementary School; Francesca Dombroski, 8, of Fairhill Elementary; Jonathan Earley, 12, of Daniel's Run Elementary; Idil Mohamed-Bray, 16, of Fairfax High School; Jessica Rennert, 10, of Forestville Elementary; Samantha Smith, 7, of Fairhill Elementary; Stephanie Somerville, 12, of Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac; Brenna Surette, 7, of Fairhill Elementary; and Sam Surette, 11, of Mantua Elementary.

Students will perform June 12 in the Kennedy Center Opera House during the Dance Theatre of Harlem's annual engagement there. The free event is open to the public.

A four-student team from Annandale High School has won the annual Black History Forum for the second year in a row and the third time in five years.

Sirak Teodros, Elsa Mekonnen, Mahlet Girma and Ubah Hamud answered questions from 12 categories: Blacks in the Bible, education, science, inventions, poets and writers, military heroes, politics, business, media giants, sports legends, gifted entertainers and history.

In addition to winning the competition, the school won a trophy for school spirit for having the largest contingent of supporters among the competing teams.

The forum is sponsored by the Burke-Fairfax Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., a leadership and service organization.

Ricki Harvey, principal of Dogwood Elementary School in Reston, was named Virginia's 2004 National Distinguished Principal by the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals.

The National Distinguished Principals program is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. One principal is chosen annually from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Harvey has been principal of Dogwood since 1999, when the school was considered an at-risk school. From 1999 to 2003, the number of students enrolled in English for speakers of other languages at Dogwood rose by more than 300 percent, and the number of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals rose from 30 percent to 55 percent.

In November 2000, Dogwood was destroyed by fire, and its students were bused to six other county schools. During the 14 months it took to rebuild the school, Harvey hosted neighborhood coffees, established activities to involve parents in their children's education, built and nurtured a strong faculty and instituted innovative instructional programs, school district officials said.

Harvey has been an educator since 1974 and a principal since 1990.

Nine Fairfax County school students have been named winners of National Scholastic Art awards. The program is administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers in New York.

The winners are Will Akridge, Annandale High School, American Visions Award in the computer art category; Mariya Pantyukhina, Hayfield Secondary School, Silver Award, art portfolio; Shirin Aranee, South Lakes High School, Gold Award in the painting category; Victor Carlstrom, Centreville High School, Gold Award in the animation category; Paul Thompson of Fairfax Academy and Fairfax High School, Gold Award in the digital imagery category; Anubhav Bist, Longfellow Middle School, Silver Award in the drawing category; Blake Bredehoft, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Silver Award in the drawing category; Emily Do, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Silver Award in the drawing category; and Katherine Wingrove, Langley High School, Silver Award in the computer art category.

National winners will be recognized June 10 at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York. Gold Award art will be exhibited from June 19 to Aug. 2 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW in Washington.

National awards are given to 1,100 artists and writers out of more than 250,000 entries at the regional level and 30,000 who qualify for the national contest. For more information, visit

Four county students recently swept top honors in all four individual divisions at the Virginia State Scholastic Chess Championship in Fredericksburg. In addition to the individual championships, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville won top team prizes at the competition.

Division winners were Jeevan Karamsetty, Lake Anne Elementary (third grade and under); Darwin Li, Forest Edge Elementary (fifth grade and under); Edward Lu, Frost Middle School (eighth grade and under); and Ruixin Yang, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (12th grade and under).

The Fairfax County government received first place in the America Recycles Day award contest, which recognizes organizations for what the judges called extraordinary community recycling events held last fall. More than 850 events were held throughout the nation Nov. 15.

The county was awarded $7,500 for its recycling day events that included the launch of the Recycle Guys awareness campaign, a community recycling road show featuring collections of computers, shoes, cell phones and bicycles to benefit local community organizations.

America Recycles Day Inc. is a national all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that sponsors the annual event with the goal of educating and encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.


To Submit an Item


Fax: 703-273-2836

Mail: Names in the News, Fairfax Extra, The Washington Post, 4020 University Dr., Suite 220, Fairfax, Va. 22030

Details: Photos are encouraged, sent as digital jpeg files (minimum 300k) or by mail.

The photographer's name, e-mail address and telephone number must be included.

Alexis Kuiper Ricki Harvey, Dogwood Elementary principal, has led the school through a difficult time that included a fire and reconstruction.