Don Sweeney, the county Park Authority's staff photographer, has received an award of excellence from the National Association of Government Communicators for his photographs of natural scenery and recreation activities in Fairfax parks.

Sweeney's award-winning portfolio included photos of a sunset at Lake Accotink and action shots of adapted soccer games for disabled athletes.

The communicators association represents federal, state and local government employees, and each year it honors outstanding work by editors, writers, graphic artists, videographers, broadcasters, photographers, information specialists and spokesmen.

The county Board of Supervisors recently named 10 Fairfax County employees winners of the 2004 Onthank Awards, the highest honor given to county workers.

The winners are: Thomas P. Biesiadny, transportation planner; John J. Caussin, fire and rescue battalion chief; Donald T. Lacquement, engineer; Andrea Lomrantz, management analyst; Kenneth M. Pedigo, police sergeant; Jeffrey M. Smithberger, engineer; Boyd F. Thompson, police second lieutenant; John Coleman, safety and security assistant, South Lakes High School; Maria Demarest, office assistant, Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences; and William T. Young, building supervisor, Herndon High School.

The Onthank Awards, established by the Board of Supervisors in 1966, honor the memory of Col. A. Heath Onthank, the first chairman of the county Civil Service Commission and the architect of the county's career merit system. The awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in advancing and improving public service.

Lauren Lewis, a rising senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, has won a $2,500 Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship. The scholarship honors leadership and community service. The program is sponsored by Discover Card in cooperation with the American Association of School Administrators.

The Virginia "Letters About Literature" reading and writing contest has named Kelly Mulquin, a rising sixth-grader at Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, as its elementary school winner for 2004.

Mulquin's letter, one of 790 submitted by elementary school students in the state, was written to Priscilla Cummings, author of "Saving Grace," and described how Cummings' book had inspired Mulquin.

"Letters About Literature" is sponsored by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in partnership with Target stores and in cooperation with state centers for the book and the Weekly Reader Corp. Winners receive a Target gift certificate and are invited to read their letters at the annual Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville.

Katherine Aull, who graduated last month from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, has won a gold medal in the International Biology Olympiad, held in Australia. Her three U.S. teammates also won gold medals.

Aull's accomplishments in science include conducting SARS research in Canada, leading five academic teams and winning two national science bowl championships. She plans to attend MIT in the fall to study bioengineering.

Aull qualified for the team by winning a gold medal in the USA Biology Olympiad, sponsored annually by the Vienna-based Center for Excellence in Education.

Deana Coast, a fifth-grade teacher at Churchill Road Elementary School, has been named the county's outstanding first-year teacher for 2003-04.

Coast joined the Churchill staff at the end of the 2002-03 school year as a reading resource teacher and moved to the fifth-grade team this year, specializing in science.

Candidates were evaluated on academic and teaching performance, instructional skills, and interaction with students, faculty, staff members, parents and other community members.

Thuy-Van Tina Ho, a 2004 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, received this year's Laura Ashley Piper scholarship.

The county School Board established the scholarship in 1994 in honor of the former student representative to the board and graduate of Robinson Secondary School. Piper, a second lieutenant in the Air Force, was killed in action over northern Iraq in 1994.

Ho, who plans to enter William and Mary College next month, is a National Merit Scholarship finalist and recipient of the Advanced Placement Scholar With Distinction Award, among other honors. She participated in field hockey and track and field, earned six varsity letters in those sports and received state, regional and district honors in field hockey.

Ho also served as president, vice president and secretary of the school's Keyettes club and was a tutor, yearbook editor and member of the National Honor Society.

-- Compiled by DIANE MATTINGLY


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KATHERINE AULLThis image of Lake Accotink was among the photos that earned a national award for Don Sweeney of the county Park Authority.