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This Saturday, George Mason University will host Future Quest 2013, a college and career fair for middle and high school students with special needs. Organized by the Northern Virginia Transition Coalition, the free event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. in the university’s Johnson Center in Fairfax.

Future Quest features workshops to provide information to students and their families on opportunities available after high school, whether students choose to continue their academic pursuits or jump into the professional world. Topics for the sessions range from the college application process, financial aid packages and school support services to career planning, technical school programs and job interviews.

The event also features a fair with more than 50 representatives from universities, technical schools and resource groups.

Those planning to attend should register online at

Fairfax students plant trees to boost local ecosystem

Students from Lanier Middle School participated in a community work day on Monday to help the local ecosystem. Eighteen students from the school’s Eco-Club came together with volunteers from Accenture consulting firm and Lands and Waters nonprofit organization for planting projects in Fairfax.

One group of volunteers planted blueberry bushes and magnolia trees on Lanier school grounds to reduce polluted runoff from the parking lot getting into nearby streams. Another group went to Kutner Park to remove invasive species and in their place plant native trees and bushes.

“Students learn best when they are able to apply concepts learned in class to real life situation,” said Lanier teacher Faiza Alam in a press release. “And they become good citizens by engaging in community service.”

Local student named to All-America chess team

Justin Paul, a student at Colvin Run Elementary School, has been named a member of the 2014 All-America Chess Team by the United States Chess Federation.

Paul is one of 89 chess players age 18 and younger selected for the national team, and just one of 10 students in the age 9 group. The students were selected based on their rating, an estimate of the strength of a chess player, as well as their performance in matches and tournaments throughout the year, similar to the selection process of all-conference sports team.

The All-America Team will be honored at the 2013 National K-12 Grade Championship in December in Orlando, Fla. Each team member will receive a team jacket and a plaque as an award for their selection, which is one of highest national honors a young chess player can receive.

Paul is the only student from Fairfax County to make the team, one of just two players from Virginia to be selected.