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Leadership Fairfax: This isn’t your parents’ retirement

Maria Vorel of Alexandria left a successful career in federal service to explore ways to make a difference in Fairfax County. When she discovered Leadership Fairfax’s Lifetime Leadership Program last year, she was “into renewing, refocusing and starting anew,” she says.

After attending an LLP class on county government, Vorel contacted her district supervisor and was appointed to the Fairfax Commission for Women. Vorel says LLP was the springboard she needed to take advantage of the county’s abundant activities and opportunities.

For those newly retired or contemplating retirement, the Lifetime Leadership Program – designed for individuals who have accumulated a lifetime of leadership skills and expertise – can be a key step in defining and creating a meaningful experience.

LLP, offered in partnership with Volunteer Fairfax, is supported by the Positive Aging Coalition and George Mason University. Participants identify and clarify their personal leadership skills and preferences for civic engagement; explore current issues in Fairfax County and opportunities for involvement; and establish a network of lifetime leaders within Leadership Fairfax and the county.

Janice Sutera Wolfe, who graduated with the inaugural LLP class of 2012, said the Lifetime Leadership Program gave her direct exposure to key contacts.

“Actively engaging with other retired leaders expanded my thinking and continues to enrich my decisions,” she said.

The next LLP class begins Sept. 24. The five sessions will convene over 2½ months.

Those interested in learning more can attend one of Leadership Fairfax’s information sessions at its Vienna office at 8230 Old Courthouse Road: 11 a.m. to noon June 25, and 1 to 2 p.m. July 15 and Aug. 13. To register for a session, call 703-752-7555 or email

Leadership Fairfax is accepting applications to its Leadership Fairfax Signature program and Emerging Leaders Institute, as well as the Lifetime Leadership Program. Applications are available at

Vienna’s Attanasi to fill DiRocco’s council seat

During its May 19 meeting, the Vienna Town Council announced the appointment of Emil Attanasi, who will fulfill the unexpired council term of Mayor Laurie DiRocco, which ends June 30, 2015.

DiRocco was sworn in April 8 to fulfill the remainder of the late Mayor Jane Seeman’s term. DiRocco ran unopposed May 6 for a two-year term that begins July 1.

Attanasi, an economist with the federal government, was sworn in as a councilmember May 20.

“Emil’s institutional memory, after serving 27 years on the Planning Commission, will be a real asset to the council,” said Greg Hembree, planning and zoning director for the Town.

A Vienna resident since 1974, Attanasi served on the Vienna Planning Commission from 1983 through 2010, as chairman and vice chairman. He also served the Town Council as its representative on the Hunter Mill District Land Use Task Force.

Library foundation awards 10 scholarships

Fairfax Library Foundation has awarded academic scholarships to 10 employees and volunteers of the Fairfax County Public Library and the library foundation.

Three recipients were awarded a Masters of Library Science Scholarship:

• Thuy Nguyen will attend San Jose State University for a master’s degree in Archives and Record Administration, to help preserve books and documents.

• Bridget Ryan was awarded the Edwin S. Clay III Masters of Library Science Scholarship as she works toward her degree at the Catholic University of America.

• Sarah Wycoff will study at Simmons College for her MLS degree.

Seven recipients received an undergraduate scholarship: Shelby Allen, Rachat Bhagat, Thuy Hoang, Leah Johnson, Michael Sander, Kim Tran and Laura Ung, thanks to the generosity of the Burke Rotary Club.

Fairfax Library Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation committed to providing supplementary support to the county’s library system.

Eight more FCPS students win National Merit Scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. has named eight seniors at Fairfax County public high schools winners of National Merit Scholarships. The students are part of a group of about 2,500 finalists from across the country.

• Benjamin Espey, Langley High School, National Merit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Scholarship.

• Timothy Sheridan, Madison High School, National Merit University of Oklahoma Scholarship.

• Samuel Clayton, McLean High School, National Merit Brigham Young University Scholarship.

• Ashwin Basana, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, National Merit Northwestern University Scholarship.

• Eric Levonian, TJHSST, National Merit University of Southern California Scholarship.

• Christine Nguyen, TJHSST, National Merit University of Central Florida Scholarship.

• Andrew Pan, TJHSST, National Merit University of Alabama Scholarship.

• Tyler Shepherd, TJHSST, National Merit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Scholarship.

Each award provides from $500 to $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the recipient’s scholarship.

This is the second group of merit scholarship winners to be announced. The first group was announced earlier this month; awardees were listed in the May 9 edition of this column.

The final group of NMSC scholarship recipients from the class of 2014 will be named in July.

Greenspring rewards 32 student employees

Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, at its annual Scholars Awards Ceremony on May 21, recognized 31 Fairfax County high school seniors as candidates for $10,000 scholarships.

• Annandale High School: Miriam Kebrom, Sara Khan and CatDzung Tong.

• Falls Church High School: Razan Kheirich.

• Hayfield Secondary School: Jordon Brown, Amari Byrd, Kimberly Gyimah, Moriah Handy, Emanuella Solomon, Ngoc-Hanh Vo and Amber Wihshi.

• Lake Braddock Secondary School: Ayah Alshantir, Ridge Duncan and Matthew Kelliher.

• Robert E. Lee High School: Adam Atienza, Stephanie Flores, Nohamin Gebremichael, Sharanpreet Kaur and Daniel Williams.

• South County High School: Andrew Manson and Nimra Viryam.

• West Springfield High School: Yusra Abdelmeguid, Sarah Cox, Carla Diani, Sherif Elnakhal, Sarah Husseini, Cesia Marquez, Mark Namoco, Tatyanna Neumann, Florence Popal and Pacharaporn Tunsarawut.

The scholarships reward exemplary students who have shown a commitment to serving Greenspring and its residents. Students must have worked at least 1,000 hours at the retirement community during their junior and senior years of high school. They must have achieved satisfactory grades and be planning to attend college or trade school full time in the fall.

These students received donor-designated scholarships:

• Amber Wihshi, Hayfield, Steve and Renie Guback Scholarship ($5,000).

• Sabrina Walizada, Lake Braddock, Kathryn Coleman Scholarship ($3,000).

Student essayist pens winning entry

Richard Merski of Vienna, a senior at James Madison High School, has been named a winner of the 2013 Making Democracy Work Student Essay Contest, sponsored by the United States Capitol Historical Society. Merski was awarded first place in the Senior Division, earning a prize of $1,000.

In his essay, “The Duties of Democracy: Reflections on a Citizen’s Rights and Responsibilities,” Merski wrote, “Liberty is never free. The American democratic experiment remains a fragile test of freedom against the threat of tyranny.”

The 2013 contest, the second in the Making Democracy Work program, drew hundreds of entries from students in grades 6 through 12.