Students who made a difference in 2016

The students of Loudoun School for the Gifted have been working to restore the Ashburn Colored School for over two years as part of the Ashburn Colored School rehabilitation project. The photos show the school when the students began the project (top) and some students who were part of the project at a community event when graffiti was removed from the school (bottom). (Courtesy Sharon Knipmeyer)
Restoring community treasures The students of Loudoun School for the Gifted have been working to restore the Ashburn Colored School for more than two years as part of the Ashburn Colored School rehabilitation project. “Built in the late 1800s, the Ashburn Colored School (ACS) served the African-American community of Ashburn for over 60 years,” said Sharon Knipmeyer, of the Loudoun School for the Gifted. “After closing its doors in 1959, the building fell into disrepair and was being used as a storage area when our students found out what it was and made it their mission to restore it.” The photo shows students who were part of the project at a community event when graffiti was removed from the school (bottom). (Courtesy Sharon Knipmeyer)
The students had a chance to meet and interview two former ACS students. This picture was taken after their lunch with one of the past students, Ms. Yvonne Neal. This is just one of the many amazing opportunities that the students have had as part of this project. (Courtesy Shannon Knipmeyer)
Restoring community treasures “Over the first two years of the project, they raised almost $20,000 to help restore the old school,” Knipmeyer said. “They had just completed the rebuilding of the foundation and the installation of the restored windows when the old school was vandalized. Thanks to the incredible reaction to the vandalism and the generous support of the community and donors worldwide, they have enough funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Ashburn Colored School by the summer of 2017, and can begin focusing on phase two of the project, the Museum of Education, the following school year.” The photo shows the students involved with the restoration project after lunch with Yvonne Neal, a former students at the Ashburn Colored School. (Courtesy Sharon Knipmeyer) (Courtesy Shannon Knipmeyer)
Harnessing the power of words Students at Floyd T. Binns Middle School raise $300 a month to publish the school paper by selling advertisements, and give the paper out to the entire student body for free. It’s their way of bringing positive news to the school, creating a method to prevent bullying, and getting information out to the community. (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard) (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard)
. The students wanted to bring positive news to the school, create a method to prevent bullying, and create a way to get information out to the community. (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard)
Harnessing the power of words “The school newspaper staff volunteers their time after school with me to create and publish this paper monthly,” said Cathleen Beachboard, chairwoman of the English department at Floyd T. Binns Middle School. “This paper has affected a lot of people and lives. They are changing the school climate, getting students reading and making students proud of their individuality one paper at a time. We also feature guest writers in our literary section, and the students who have been published have felt a lot of pride with their writing.” (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard) (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard)
Students of Temple Baptist School visit a senior care facility in Herndon. (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Giving the gift of music On Thursday, Dec. 8, students from Temple Baptist School visited a senior care facility in Herndon. They wanted to interact with the residents and play Christmas music — hand bells and flutes — for the seniors. (Courtesy Sam Dalton) (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Students of Temple Baptist School visit a senior care facility in Herndon. (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Giving the gift of music “The elderly residents love it,” said Dr. Sam Dalton, administrator at Temple Baptist School. “The students seem to get a great deal of pleasure at making them happy and it helps them think about others. And the music is beautiful. It’s a win-win.” (Courtesy Sam Dalton) (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Teens from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas who ventured to Charlotte, North Carolina in June, 2016. (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
Spreading cheer outside their hometown In June, teens from All Saints Catholic Church, in Manassas, traveled near and far from home to lend a helping hand. The church sent a dozen teens to the Dominican Republic; 20 teens to Spotsylvania; 30 teens to Charlotte, North Carolina, and 60 middle-school kids to do service right in Manassas. (Courtesy Rob Tessier) (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
Teens from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas who ventured to Charlotte, North Carolina in June, 2016. (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
Spreading cheer outside their hometown “While there, they went out each day for a week to repair homes and bring hope to residents struggling with disabilities and poverty,” said Rob Tessier, director of youth ministry at All Saints Catholic Church. “Our teens spent the first part of 2016 raising money to pay for their trip that culminated in a week of service and faith!” The photo shows Carolyn Karcher, Marie Tessier, Rachel Habib (top left to right) and Rachel Rollins, Ricardo DiRivero (bottom). (Courtesy Rob Tessier) (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
One of our students, Mia Enriquez (age 11), is passionate about helping endangered wildlife. This is a long-term cause for her, but for her birthday in October, she invited her friends from school to play games so that they could learn about the animals and instead of asking for gifts, she asked her friends to donate to the WWF, where she raised her goal, which was matched by her grandparents. (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Recognizing the importance of all living creatures “Mia Enriquez, 11, is passionate about helping endangered wildlife,” said Juliana Heitz, of Ideaventions Academy. “For her birthday in October, Mia invited her friends from school to play games so that they could learn about the animals and instead of asking for gifts, she asked her friends to donate to the World Wildlife Fund, where she raised her goal, which was matched by her grandparents.” On her birthday page, Mia wrote: “I believe that every living creature has the the right to live without fear of extinction.” (Courtesy Juliana Heitz) (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Inventions Academy students partnered with the Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) Head Start Preschool in Arlington and engineered STEM toys for disadvantaged preschoolers to teach them about Science, Engineering and Math.  (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Teaching younger generations in creative ways Ideaventions Academy students helped disadvantaged preschoolers by engineering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys. As part of a partnership with the Northern Virginia Family Service Head Start Preschool, in Arlington, all of the kids at Ideaventions Academy first learned about the Head Start program and tried to remember what it was like to be 4 and 5 years old. “[The students] worked in groups and imagined card games, puzzles and wooden games to teach the preschoolers different concepts,” said Juliana Heitz, with Ideaventions Academy. “They then built and tested them and finally went to the preschool in May and taught the preschoolers how to use the games, which were left for the preschool to use.” (Courtesy Juliana Heitz) (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Fourth, fifth graders at Inventions Academy working on building a server-sized food computer. (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Experimenting for the greater good Students at Ideaventions Academy are working as a school to build a server-sized food computer. They are at the beginning stages of the project, with a prototype built, and say they should be producing vegetables in March. “The initial goal was for them to grow the veggies that we consume in school, but after realizing that we’ll have veggies left over, they’ve decided to integrate the project into our annual community service project and donate the food we grow to a food pantry or shelter,” said Juliana Heitz with Ideaventions Academy. “Figuring out the rules and logistics and finding an organization that will partner with us will be part of the work that the kids will have to do, in addition to the construction and experimentation.” The photo shows fourth- and fifth-graders of Ideaventions Academy working on the casing of the food server. (Courtesy Juliana Heitz) (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Golden Pond School student, Kendall Leitch, age 6, has a home in the mountains of West Virginia. This area was devastated by flooding last June and Kendall witnessed firsthand some of the tremendous loss people endured. Kendall conceived a bake sale as a way of helping those most in need. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Baking a big difference Kendall Leitch, 6, is a student at Golden Pond School. She has a home in the mountains of West Virginia. Last June, the area was devastated by flooding. Kendall, who witnessed firsthand some of the tremendous loss people endured, ran a bake sale as a way of helping those most in need. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace) (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Golden Pond School student, Kendall Leitch, age 6, has a home in the mountains of West Virginia. This area was devastated by flooding last June and Kendall witnessed firsthand some of the tremendous loss people endured. Kendall conceived a bake sale as a way of helping those most in need. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Baking a big difference “I saw that West Virginia flooded and then I wanted to raise money to give out to the people who lost everything so they can go and buy whatever they need [to rebuild],” said Kendall. Kendall raised more than $1,500 and donated the money to the Greenbrier Resort’s Loving Neighbors Campaign. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace) (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Rocky Run SCA students organized a hat drive in memory of their classmate, Cecilia Nguyen who passed away 2 months ago from cancer. (Courtesy Esther Bae)
Remembering to spread cheer Student council members at Rocky Run Middle School organized a hat drive in memory of their classmate, Cecilia Nguyen, who passed away two months ago from cancer. “The students worked with Ellie’s Hats, a nonprofit organization near to Cecilia’s heart, that collects and donates hats for children with cancer and pediatric cancer facilities,” said Esther Bae, counselor at Rocky Run Middle School. “The SCA team did an amazing job of collecting hats from students and faculty at the school, and also received a large donation of hats handmade by Cecilia’s aunt [in the photo].” (Courtesy Esther Bae)   (Courtesy Esther Bae)
2016 BOV meeting.  Photo by:  Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University
Young leaders taking charge The photo shows students of the Mason Student Leadership Consultants Team, who won the George Mason University Jack Wood Award for 2016. The team worked with Godwin Middle School, a Title I school in Prince William County, coordinating various efforts for community engagement at Godwin, including leadership development workshops, a teen night and a large-scale leadership conference. “They have worked with the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, where they facilitated workshops focusing on leadership, communication, and conflict resolution that have been designed to develop physical and social skills for young adults with special needs,” said Traci Kendall, executive director of community and local government relations at George Mason University. The team members include Kayla Vaughan, Courtney Metcalf, Amber Falls, and Taylor Sprague. (Courtesy Traci Kendall) (Photo by: Ron Aira/Creative Serv/Ron Aira)
Constance volunteers with the Montgomery County Victim Assistance Program, a Montgomery County program (which operates out of the Health and Human Services Department) and assists victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. (Courtesy Fritzi Bodenheimer)
Giving the gift of time The 900 community service hours Constance Roberts has racked up over the past year and a half is just a small portion of how she’s giving back to the community. She volunteers with the Montgomery County Victim Assistance Program, helping victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. “I became motivated to volunteer after realizing that one person can truly make a difference, even if it is a small difference,” Constance said. “To me, volunteering has the power to cause long-term systematic social change. I also believe that volunteering for a good cause fulfills a part of the human need to connect and help others. Once you realize how good it feels to help someone else, it opens your heart to do more and more for others.” Constance also volunteers regularly on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, participates in service activities with The Humane League, helps out the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless and works part-time as a service learning assistant at Montgomery College. (Courtesy Fritzi Bodenheimer) (Courtesy Fritzi Bodenheimer)
Nathan Egeland collected 260 pairs of socks for the homeless in 2015, and over 600 pairs of socks in 2016. (Courtesy Jean Egeland)
Spreading warmth Last year, 7-year-old Nathan Egeland collected 260 pairs of socks for the homeless in D.C. This year, he surpassed his goal and collected more than double that amount, to personally pass out to homeless people at the end of January. (Courtesy Jean Egeland) (Courtesy Jean Egeland)
Spreading warmth “Nathan’s wish was to raise awareness and [provide] socks for the homeless in Washington, D.C.,” Jean Egeland wrote. “With the help of our church — Marshall United Methodist Church — our friends and family, our neighbors, TOPS and WG Coleman Elementary School, Nathan was able to collect over 600 pairs of socks for the homeless this year!” (Courtesy Jean Egeland) (Courtesy Jean Egeland)
They young adult ministry of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church spend time giving food and ministering to the homeless. (Courtesy Richard Castillo)
Feeding and ministering They young adult ministry of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church spends many hours giving food and ministering to the homeless. The photos are of the Young Adult Homeless Ministry and the Youth Festival of Praise Food Collection. (Courtesy Richard Castillo) (Courtesy Richard Castillo)
Marissa Perilla and Peyton Turek, two Tyler Elementary third graders in Prince William County Schools, feel passionately about helping others.  On June 3rd, 2016, they teamed up with Stop Hunger Now to host a meal-packing event at Tyler Elementary. (Courtesy Jennifer M. Perilla)
Leading the charge against hunger Marissa Perilla and Peyton Turek, two third-graders in Prince William County, recruited more than 50 volunteers and raised $3,000 hosting a meal-packing event at their school. “By the end of the evening, their team had packaged over 10,000 meals to be shipped to countries in need around the world,” said Principal Jennifer Perilla, of George T. Tyler Elementary School. “They are excited to begin planning their next Stop Hunger Now event for this spring.” (Courtesy Jennifer Perilla) (Courtesy Jennifer M. Perilla)
Carolyn Ziegler She is an amazing scholar, athlete, and person.  She volunteers with a number of organizations in Fairfax County.  She is a volunteer with the Fairfax County Park Authority Adaptive Aquatics Program, where she is a swim instructor for special needs children. (Courtesy Anthony Copeland)
A role model for us all Carolyn Ziegler is a senior at Westfield High School and an indispensable member of the Fairfax County community. She volunteers as a swim instructor for special needs children, juggles multiple leadership positions at her school and cares for her mother, who is being treated for Stage Four breast cancer. “One of her greatest acts of charity and demonstration of her character was her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, where she created the Kids Achieving in Technology and Education Center at the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter in Fairfax, Virginia,” said Principal Anthony E. Copeland of Westfield High School. “As a direct result of Carolyn’s efforts, the family shelter school was able to provide its’ resident children with equipment and resources needed to promote their learning and academic success.” Carolyn, who has received numerous awards for her athleticism, volunteerism and academic achievement, wants to pursue a career as an officer in the U.S. Army, following the footsteps of five brothers and sisters who have preceded her into the military or are currently cadets at West Point. (Courtesy Tony Copeland) (Courtesy Anthony Copeland)
The Hill School of Middleburg’s Student Council led two school-wide efforts during this holiday season. The Thanksgiving Food drive resulted in over 500 pounds of food that was donated to the Seven Loaves Food Pantry. (Courtesy Kelly Johnson)
Driving schoolwide contributions Student council members of The Hill School, in Middleburg, were especially busy this holiday season. They led the school in a Thanksgiving food drive and were able to donate more than 500 pounds of food to the Seven Loaves Food Pantry. The Hill School community also contributed more than 100 gifts and 40 stockings to the families of Windy Hill, a community that provides housing for families in need from the surrounding area, said Kelly Johnson, director of enrollment at The Hill School. (Courtesy Kelly Johnson) (Courtesy Kelly Johnson)
Aidan Montessori School’s Girls on the Run team raised over $300 to buy sleeping bags for DC’s homeless population this past month. (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Teaming up to serve Aidan Montessori School’s Girls on the Run team raised more than $300 to buy sleeping bags for D.C.’s homeless population this past month. “After nominating five potential beneficiaries for a community impact project, they voted to fund Martha’s Table, an organization that supports under-served children and families in D.C.,” said Cassie Sherman-Marks, director of communications and marketing at Aidan Montessori School. “Each team member baked goods at home to be sold for 50 cents each – and raised $300 in a one-hour bake sale during Aidan’s morning arrival period.” Students Anna Antinolfi, Lucy Cooper, Alexandra Cohen, Emelin Franklin, Brooklyn Montgomery, Julia Rose Provinse and Maria Ridge worked on the project. (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks) (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Aidan Montessori School Upper Elementary Student Graham Vinyard raised over $3000 for Save the Children’s efforts in Syria this year. (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Aiding children across the world Graham Vinyard,  an Aidan Montessori School upper elementary student, has been raising money to help children in Syria since he was 8 years old. This year, Graham raised more than $3000 for Save the Children’s efforts in Syria. “After learning about the plight of a family friend who is a Syrian refugee, he started raising money to help children in Syria … with a raffle among neighbors for five hours of yard work,” said Cassie Sherman-Marks, director of communications and marketing at Aidan Montessori School. “This year’s effort was a similar raffle – but of homemade soup, cooked by Graham and inspired by Barbara Massaad’s cookbook ‘Soup for Syria.’ Graham sold 271 tickets, many of them by going door-to-door during a snowstorm last winter, and also received matching funds from a neighbor inspired by his hard work.” (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Yvonne Reyes, a first grade student at Beacon Heights Elementary School in Prince George's County,  was nominated by her Kindergarten teacher for the Spirit of Service Award at the School District's annual Board Awards. (Courtesy Daniela Bravo)
Helping people big and small Yvonne Reyes, a first-grader at Beacon Heights Elementary School, isn’t the type of person to pass by those in need. “At the end of the day, while mom is working [at the school], Yvonne makes her time useful by helping teachers and staff,” said parent engagement assistant Daniela Bravo. “Every workshop that is hosted at Beacon Heights, Yvonne is present, and she assists with the handouts and guiding parents to their designated  locations. “Even small acts of kindness don’t pass her by. She is the type of first-grader to walk a toddler it was not safe for him to be walking alone.” Yvonne received the Spirit of Service Award at the school district’s annual board awards. (Courtesy Daniela Bravo) (Courtesy Daniela Bravo)
At DC Prep’s Benning Middle Campus, located in Ward 7, students in 4th-7th grade are participating in the school’s inaugural Student Council during this 2016-17 academic year. (Courtesy Amber Walker)
Gearing up for the year ahead Student council members selected by their classmates will host a fundraiser for a local charity in addition to coordinating many service events for their campus community in 2017. “One of D.C. Prep’s core values is ‘Good Minds and Good Hearts—inextricably linked,’ [and] the Benning Middle Student Council certainly has that in spades!” said Amber Walker, director of marketing and communications at D.C. Prep. (Courtesy Amber Walker) (Courtesy Amber Walker)
Filling pantries far and wide The students at Farmington Elementary, in Culpeper, Virginia, collect food and raise money for those in need. In the past two months, they collected a truckload of food for the Community Christmas Basket program and 400 pounds of food for the Culpeper Food Closet, and donated more than $1,000 to the Power Pack program, which gives food to students for the weekend, said Karen Dugger, of Culpeper County Schools. (Courtesy Karen Dugger) (Karen Keller-Dugger)
Students at Farmington Elementary School in Culpeper, Virginia decorated these snowmen for their classroom. (Courtesy Karen Dugger)
Filling pantries far and wide The students “make a difference in their community helping those who need to fill their pantries and cupboards with food items,” Dugger said. In addition, “students purchased ‘pieces’ such as cotton balls, cloves and scarves for their classroom snowmen.” (Courtesy Karen Dugger) (Courtesy Karen Dugger)
7th -12th grade went offsite to serve in 11 different projects around Northern Virginia, partnering with organizations like Keep Prince William Beautiful, Prince William County Animal Shelter, Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center, and Potomac Place Assisted Living.  (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
R.A.C.E.-ing for education (Reach. Act. Care. Engage.) Christ Chapel Academy launched their first annual Service Week, with the goal of involving all students in community service and creating a launching point for other service projects throughout the year. More than 150 7th- to 12th-graders went offsite to serve on 11 projects around Northern Virginia, partnering with organizations such as Keep Prince William Beautiful, Prince William County Animal Shelter, Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center and Potomac Place Assisted Living. The photo shows seventh-graders cleaning at the Prince William County Animal Shelter. Younger students stayed on campus and completed projects such as writing cards to policemen, firemen and soldiers, and participating in a food drive, said Brian Citizen, marketing and communications director of Christ Chapel Academy. (Courtesy Brian Citizen) (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
Fifth grader, Lydia Darville teamed up with her 5th grade friends, Seanna Gandam and Kyla Dawdy, to do a Cancer Bake Sale over the summer. (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
Acting on inspiration Fifth graders Lydia Darville, Seanna Gandam and Kyla Dawdy ran a Cancer Bake Sale over the summer, raising more than $110 for cancer research. “Lydia Darville was reading a book one morning and wondered how she could make an impact on her community,” said Brian Citizen, marketing and communications director of Christ Chapel Academy. “Fighting cancer came to mind, and she thought of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.” The girls made made T-shirts and posters and baked treats for the sale. (Courtesy Brian Citizen) (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
Lizanne Passaro is a leader in service, a dedicated member of The Academy of the Holy Cross and the surrounding community. (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
Spending countless hours in service Faith may as well move into the Sunrise Senior Living in Silver Spring, where she spends hours there each week, says Danielle Ballantine, with the Academy of the Holy Cross. “During her four years at The Academy of the Holy Cross, she has performed nearly 1,000 hours of service at Sunrise,” Ballantine said. “Faith, who is an AP Scholar with Distinction, [also] served as a freshman retreat leader and was nominated to also serve as a junior overnight retreat leader — a true honor in our community.” (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine) (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
During her four years at The Academy of the Holy Cross Faith Frayman has performed nearly 1,000 hours of service at Sunrise. (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
Championing personal talent for a public cause As team captain for Swim Across America – Baltimore Open Water Swim three years running, senior Lizanne Passaro (second from the left in the photo) translates her love for the sport into a good cause. “In 2016, the team raised more than $5,400 for the cause,” said Danielle Ballantine, with the Academy of the Holy Cross. “The five-mile open water swim is a brutal event that requires many months of training.” Lizanne is also active in her church and spiritual community teaching, serving, leading and volunteering with a number of organizations. She has been the recipient of the Holy Cross Beatitude Award, given to students with more than 75 hours of service, each year during her time at Holy Cross. (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine) (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
Caroline Hammer (K) and Amanda Hammer (3rd) organized a bake sale to raise money for an orphan with special needs through an organization called Reece's Rainbow.  They raised $101.79!! (Courtesy Sharon Ferralli)
Raising money, raising awareness Kindergartner Caroline Hammer and third-grader Amanda Hammer organized a bake sale to raise money for an orphan with special needs through an organization called Reece’s Rainbow, said Principal Sharon Ferralli of Four Seasons Elementary School. They raised $101.79. (Courtesy Sharon Ferralli) (Courtesy Sharon Ferralli)
Thomas Wilbur (Barnesville School Class of 2015) was recently awarded the Eagle Scout honor from the Boy Scouts of America. (Courtesy Jan Hyland)
Growing a helpful spirit
Sophomore Thomas Wilbur at Poolesville High School is the designer behind the planting stations at his former middle school’s greenhouse.
“For his Eagle Scout Project, Thomas conceived, designed, built and installed planting stations,” said Jan Hyland, of Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences. “To help with the final installation, Thomas recruited former classmates he’s known since preschool and kindergarten. The planting stations have been put to use starting vegetable seedlings that are growing in the greenhouse.”
The photo shows Thomas and friends who helped the project take root.
(Courtesy Jan Hyland)
(Courtesy Jan Hyland)
Anjeleice Davidson along with Layna Rush and Mason Szczeszek. The children all volunteered and walked at the “THE WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’s” here in Annapolis Maryland. 5K (Courtesy Fatimallah Westdavidson)
Bringing joy, joyfully Fifth-grader Anjeleice Davidson, from Odenton Elementary School, participates in community events throughout the year. Anjeleice (far right), along with Layna Rush and Mason Szczeszek, volunteered and walked at the The Walk to End Alzheimer’s 5K in Annapolis, Maryland. She also appeared in a music video by local gospel rapper Cyrus “King Cyz” Alexander in Delaware. (Courtesy Fatimallah Westdavidson) (Courtesy Fatimallah Westdavidson)
Leah Barash, right, is involved in her community through girl scouts. (Courtesy Praneetha Arthur)
Scouting for ways to help Leah Barash isn’t just a talented student at Ballet Petite & Youth Performing Arts School — she’s also a Cadette Girl Scout, often seen performing community service with her Rockville-based troop. “This past September, Leah and members of her troop volunteered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) for a clean up at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens as part of SCA’s 9/11 National Day of Service,” said Praneetha Arthur, of Ballete Petite. “Leah also volunteers after school every Friday at her former elementary school.” The photo shows Leah (right) and another troop member volunteering at the at the gardens. (Courtesy Praneetha Arthur) (Courtesy Praneetha Arthur)
Attached is a picture taken yesterday of the Fairfax County and Vienna Police Department visiting Wolftrap students to thank them for donating toys for children in the hospital. It’s through a program called Santa’s Ride. (Courtesy Chris Bussanich)
Santa’s little helpers Students at Wolftrap Elementary School donated toys for children at the hospital through a program called Santa’s Ride. The photo shows the Fairfax County and Vienna Police Department visiting Wolftrap students to thank them for the donation. (Courtesy Chris Bussanich) (Courtesy Chris Bussanich)
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The students of Loudoun School for the Gifted have been working to restore the Ashburn Colored School for over two years as part of the Ashburn Colored School rehabilitation project. The photos show the school when the students began the project (top) and some students who were part of the project at a community event when graffiti was removed from the school (bottom). (Courtesy Sharon Knipmeyer)
The students had a chance to meet and interview two former ACS students. This picture was taken after their lunch with one of the past students, Ms. Yvonne Neal. This is just one of the many amazing opportunities that the students have had as part of this project. (Courtesy Shannon Knipmeyer)
. The students wanted to bring positive news to the school, create a method to prevent bullying, and create a way to get information out to the community. (Courtesy Cathleen Beachboard)
Students of Temple Baptist School visit a senior care facility in Herndon. (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Students of Temple Baptist School visit a senior care facility in Herndon. (Courtesy Sam Dalton)
Teens from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas who ventured to Charlotte, North Carolina in June, 2016. (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
Teens from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas who ventured to Charlotte, North Carolina in June, 2016. (Courtesy Rob Tessier)
One of our students, Mia Enriquez (age 11), is passionate about helping endangered wildlife. This is a long-term cause for her, but for her birthday in October, she invited her friends from school to play games so that they could learn about the animals and instead of asking for gifts, she asked her friends to donate to the WWF, where she raised her goal, which was matched by her grandparents. (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Inventions Academy students partnered with the Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) Head Start Preschool in Arlington and engineered STEM toys for disadvantaged preschoolers to teach them about Science, Engineering and Math.  (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Fourth, fifth graders at Inventions Academy working on building a server-sized food computer. (Courtesy Juliana Heitz)
Golden Pond School student, Kendall Leitch, age 6, has a home in the mountains of West Virginia. This area was devastated by flooding last June and Kendall witnessed firsthand some of the tremendous loss people endured. Kendall conceived a bake sale as a way of helping those most in need. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Golden Pond School student, Kendall Leitch, age 6, has a home in the mountains of West Virginia. This area was devastated by flooding last June and Kendall witnessed firsthand some of the tremendous loss people endured. Kendall conceived a bake sale as a way of helping those most in need. (Courtesy Margaret R. Grace)
Rocky Run SCA students organized a hat drive in memory of their classmate, Cecilia Nguyen who passed away 2 months ago from cancer. (Courtesy Esther Bae)
2016 BOV meeting.  Photo by:  Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University
Constance volunteers with the Montgomery County Victim Assistance Program, a Montgomery County program (which operates out of the Health and Human Services Department) and assists victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. (Courtesy Fritzi Bodenheimer)
Nathan Egeland collected 260 pairs of socks for the homeless in 2015, and over 600 pairs of socks in 2016. (Courtesy Jean Egeland)
They young adult ministry of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church spend time giving food and ministering to the homeless. (Courtesy Richard Castillo)
Marissa Perilla and Peyton Turek, two Tyler Elementary third graders in Prince William County Schools, feel passionately about helping others.  On June 3rd, 2016, they teamed up with Stop Hunger Now to host a meal-packing event at Tyler Elementary. (Courtesy Jennifer M. Perilla)
Carolyn Ziegler She is an amazing scholar, athlete, and person.  She volunteers with a number of organizations in Fairfax County.  She is a volunteer with the Fairfax County Park Authority Adaptive Aquatics Program, where she is a swim instructor for special needs children. (Courtesy Anthony Copeland)
The Hill School of Middleburg’s Student Council led two school-wide efforts during this holiday season. The Thanksgiving Food drive resulted in over 500 pounds of food that was donated to the Seven Loaves Food Pantry. (Courtesy Kelly Johnson)
Aidan Montessori School’s Girls on the Run team raised over $300 to buy sleeping bags for DC’s homeless population this past month. (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Aidan Montessori School Upper Elementary Student Graham Vinyard raised over $3000 for Save the Children’s efforts in Syria this year. (Courtesy Cassie Sherman-Marks)
Yvonne Reyes, a first grade student at Beacon Heights Elementary School in Prince George's County,  was nominated by her Kindergarten teacher for the Spirit of Service Award at the School District's annual Board Awards. (Courtesy Daniela Bravo)
At DC Prep’s Benning Middle Campus, located in Ward 7, students in 4th-7th grade are participating in the school’s inaugural Student Council during this 2016-17 academic year. (Courtesy Amber Walker)
Students at Farmington Elementary School in Culpeper, Virginia decorated these snowmen for their classroom. (Courtesy Karen Dugger)
7th -12th grade went offsite to serve in 11 different projects around Northern Virginia, partnering with organizations like Keep Prince William Beautiful, Prince William County Animal Shelter, Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center, and Potomac Place Assisted Living.  (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
Fifth grader, Lydia Darville teamed up with her 5th grade friends, Seanna Gandam and Kyla Dawdy, to do a Cancer Bake Sale over the summer. (Courtesy Brian Citizen)
Lizanne Passaro is a leader in service, a dedicated member of The Academy of the Holy Cross and the surrounding community. (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
During her four years at The Academy of the Holy Cross Faith Frayman has performed nearly 1,000 hours of service at Sunrise. (Courtesy Danielle Ballantine)
Caroline Hammer (K) and Amanda Hammer (3rd) organized a bake sale to raise money for an orphan with special needs through an organization called Reece's Rainbow.  They raised $101.79!! (Courtesy Sharon Ferralli)
Thomas Wilbur (Barnesville School Class of 2015) was recently awarded the Eagle Scout honor from the Boy Scouts of America. (Courtesy Jan Hyland)
Anjeleice Davidson along with Layna Rush and Mason Szczeszek. The children all volunteered and walked at the “THE WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’s” here in Annapolis Maryland. 5K (Courtesy Fatimallah Westdavidson)
Leah Barash, right, is involved in her community through girl scouts. (Courtesy Praneetha Arthur)
Attached is a picture taken yesterday of the Fairfax County and Vienna Police Department visiting Wolftrap students to thank them for donating toys for children in the hospital. It’s through a program called Santa’s Ride. (Courtesy Chris Bussanich)

WASHINGTON — While most of us have to be reminded of the holiday spirit and the season for giving, some students across the greater D.C. area have been spreading joy all year round.

From bringing cheer to senior citizens with the gift of music to creating a newspaper for their local community, students in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. have been busy in 2016.

Here’s a look at how local students have made a difference in their communities this year.

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