Area schools and the Irish spirit turn up the volume


Silent Auction makes noise. Staff and parents of Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy filled the Campagna Center last week for their annual auction. School nurse Rita Coyle laughed good-naturedly when she learned husband Ed was bidding behind her back on a package for lunch with Principal Dr. Patricia Zissios, someone with whom Coyle works long days. Giddy excitement prevailed over items ranging from Adirondack chairs painted by 3rd graders to the Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica; and some guests were lucky. At the behest of her two persuasive school girls, parent Patricia Scroggs persisted and won the bidding war on lunch with the principal. With facility costs covered by Commerce Bank, Co-Chairs Cynthia Collins and Marty DeVine together with scores of worker-bee parent volunteers tirelessly pulled together a community effort which yielded $18,000. Rare is a successful evening lacking great food and drink, and local restaurateurs and Lyles-Crouch parents, Stephanie Babin and Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group which includes Rustico, Star Catering and Planet Wine donated both.

On the glockenspiel at the Kennedy Center. The Orff Ensemble, a John Adams Elementary percussion group will be performing March 29 at the Kennedy Center at 6 p.m. as part of the free Millennium Stage series. The only grade-school group selected, the Orff Ensemble will be using newly purchased instruments purchased through a $25,000 Janice Baker Cook Fund gift.

Christened Harmony. Last week, Browne Academys 8th grade science class won the distinction of naming NASAs Node 2 with their name proposal of Harmony, an honor they share with five other schools who chose the same name. Science teacher Paul Cummins says that Browne students will be personally congratulated by an astronaut through a videoconference in April.

Maury students gettingmoves from a champion. Students at Maury Elementary are about to engage in the new pilot project Mystics in Training thanks to the dedication and personal attention of Sheila Johnson, the owner of the Washington Mystics Womens National Basketball Association team. Johnsons recent visit to the school helped launch the program which stresses the implementation of practical, ongoing healthy habits.

Dubliner teaches Martha Stewart a lesson. A native of Dublin, Alexandria Chef Cathal Armstrong of Eamonns A Dublin Chipper and Restaurant Eve taught Stewart and her audience the art of frying cod last week on the Martha Steward Show, a lucky break for those wondering just how he does it. Go to for Armstrongs recipes.

Dolan discovers pot of gold is Ireland. Last November, Moira Dolan of Alexandria found herself on a dream vacation to Ireland made possible through the Alexandria Times and Isle Inn Tours, a sweepstakes package which included airfare, car rental and 6 nights in hotels, which were downright luxurious. Go to Ireland Travelogue at for a full account.

Speedy recovery. About Town extends get-well wishes to Marian Van Landingham. Recently, Van Landingham underwent surgery to repair a broken hip from a fall and is now in recovery at a rehabilitation center.
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