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Fairfax County high school students earned top honors at the 57th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which took place this past weekend at Robinson Secondary School.

Winning individual grand prizes were:

ŸCynthia Li, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Cellular and Molecular Biology for “CSC Characterization at 50 percent and 100 percent Confluency.”

Ÿ Arrush Choudhary, Chantilly High School, in Energy and Transportation for “Improving Lipid Yield in Algae.”

Ÿ Gina Li, Langley High School, in Environmental Management for “Novel Apparatus for Catalytic Oxidation.”

Ÿ Soniya Pateriya, Chantilly High School, in Medicine and Health Sciences for “Effect of Asafoetida and Chia in CNT on Cancer.”

Ÿ Jason Cui, Langley High School, in Medicine and Health Sciences for “Cancer Combination Therapy: Cordycepin Synergy.”

Winning team grand prizes were:

Ÿ Kelvin Niu and Daniel Park, Langley High School, in Biochemistry for “Zinc-based Detection of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.”

Ÿ Benjamin Cobb and John Moran, Chantilly High School, in Cellular and Molecular Biology for “Effect of Cortisol on the Occurrence of Cancer.”

Ÿ Steven Gillen and Devon Papanicolas, Fairfax High School, in Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical for “Research and Development of SMES Devices.”

Ÿ Daniel Jang, Hansen Qian and Matthew Rudin, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Energy and Transportation for “Investigating Gold and Palladium Nanoparticle Catalysts.”

Complete results can be found at

56 Fairfax students place first at DECA conference

Students from 17 Fairfax County high schools were declared state winners at the Virginia DECA State Leadership Conference from March 9 to 11 in Norfolk. Of those 264 finalists, 56 were first-place winners.

First-place winners are

Ÿ Chantilly High School: Elizabeth George

Ÿ Fairfax High School: Samuel Weaver, Peter Lam and Kim Rowland

Ÿ Lake Braddock Secondary School: Alec Johnson, Ryan Charchian, Claire Kingdale, Kelly Plescow, Karan Baboota and Ashley Baboota

Ÿ Langley High School: Meredith Meeks, Alicia Underhill, Aimee Cho and Grace MacDougall

Ÿ Madison High School: Henry Lewis, Nathan Mancini, Daniel Schwab, Brendan Karp, Mason Gardner and Ransom Holliday

Ÿ Marshall High School: Becky Felter, Claire Fogarty, Bailey Jarriel, Haley Butterfield, Jeta Krasniqi, Omar Yousef, Maggie MacDonnell, Becca Toser, Jessica Gentile, Aleena Gharib, Nick Nelson, Cindy Pham, Jessica Taylor and Emma Heiden

Ÿ McLean High School: Karna Malaviya, Zachary Spahr, John Heberton, Gabe Levine, Cole Oldenburg and Chris Dozier

Ÿ Oakton High School: Allisa Delgado, Colleen Gleason and Emily Richey

Ÿ Robinson Secondary School: Hayley Aguayo, Teresa Tedrick, Jana Abutayeh, Ana Guled, Emmanuel Roque, Jocelyn Gilbert and Patrice Pannell

Ÿ South County Secondary School: Jonathan Dupont, Stephanie Lauria, Alex Avis and Kelsey Cummings

Ÿ West Potomac High School: Zachary Cohen

Ÿ West Springfield High School: Kyler Moore

Two state officers were elected from Fairfax High School: Alicia Campos will serve as secretary, and Allie Lerner will serve as region 2 vice president.

All finalists are eligible to attend the DECA International Career Development Conference, scheduled for April 28 to May 2 in Salt Lake City.

For 60 years, DECA has prepared emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

For the complete list of FCPS winners, visit

Fairfax couple honored for Alzheimer’s work

The Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter recognized 13 individuals as Inspiring Champions at a Feb. 29 reception at its corporate offices in Fairfax. The Inspiring Champions Awards recognize "above and beyond" contributions of time, talent and resources to the chapter.

Among the honorees were Fairfax residents Tim and Ilissa Belanger, who were applauded for outstanding leadership for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Tim Belanger, senior project manager at Abacus Technology, is a member of the chapter’s board of directors and serves on the committees for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Ilissa Belanger, associate director of Career Services at George Mason University School of Law, is chair of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Northern Virginia, which she co-chaired last year. She also serves as a committee member for the Walk in Washington, D.C.

The Belangers are active in community outreach and can be found frequently at local groceries, Metro stations and other places sharing information about the association and the walks. Both have spoken at public input sessions regarding development and implementation of a National Alzheimer’s Plan. Tim and Ilissa Belanger lost their mothers to Alzheimer’s.

The 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Northern Virginia is Sept. 30 at Reston Town Center. To learn more, visit

Military salutesAir Force Senior Airman Darek Baczewski, a 2005 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, won first place in two categories in the Pacific Air Forces Media Contest.

Baczewski is a radio and television broadcaster assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base in Korea. He finished first for TV Spot Production and TV News Report. The senior airman has served in the military for three years.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Legra has returned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., after being deployed to Iraq serving in support of Operation New Dawn, which officially came to an end Dec. 15.

Legra, the command sergeant major with the 275th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Fort Lee, has served 27 years in the military. He is an Alexandria resident.

Air Force Reserve Airman Fabian Claure graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Claure, son of Judy Claure of Annandale, is a 2009 graduate of Falls Church High School.

Army National Guard Pvt. Tiffany Walker graduated from One Station Unit Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Waynesville, Mo. She is the daughter of William and Alexandra Walker of Lorton.