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McLean/Great Falls Notes, 5/15/24 roundup

News of community interest from around McLean and Great Falls

McLEAN DAY CELEBRATION APPROACHES: The annual McLean Day festival, sponsored by the McLean Community Center, will be held Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, at Lewinsville Park.

See for details. A special section highlighting the festivities was included in the May 9 issue of the GazetteLeader.

YOUNG ARTISTS LAUDED BY McLEAN COMMUNITY CENTER: Twelve young local artists were awarded 2024 James C. Macdonald Performing Arts Scholarships by the McLean Community Center.

The annual scholarship competition began with preliminary auditions in February and culminated with a final competition on stage at the Alden Theatre on April 17. A panel of distinguished judges reviewed each performance.

First-place honorees were Melina Turnage, McLean High School (dance); Lea Kung, McLean High School (instrumental music); Samantha Carey, McLean High School, theater; and Alex Valencic, McLean High School (vocal music).

Second-place finishers were Yunseo Lee, McLean High School (dance); Sophia Lin, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (instrumental music); Aashna Kapur, McLean High School (theater); and Kasimir Rastogi, Langley High School (vocal music).

Third-place honorees were Sophie Zhang, McLean High School (dance); Ryan Chun, McLean High School (instrumental music); Abby Joe, Langley High School (theater); and Valentina Sedan, McLean High School (vocal music).

Scholarship prizes of $1,200 were awarded to students first-place finishers, with second-place recipients receiving $800 and third-place recipients $400.

McLEAN AAUW LAUDS STUDENT’S ‘STEM’ PROWESS: Gabriela Konde, a junior at George C. Marshall High School, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the STEM Excellence Award, given annually by the McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The award is presented to a female student or team from a high school in the McLean area with an outstanding project in the field of engineering that was entered in the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Phyllis Yoshida and Hamideh Soltani-Ahmadi served as judges for the branch at the science fair. Konde’s project was “Optimal Sound Frequencies for Targeted E. coli Biofilm Eradication on Medical Devices.”

In addition to receiving the STEM Excellence Award, Konde was selected as a first-place category winner in microbiology, which qualified her to attend the Virginia State Science Fair. There she again took first place in her category (and fifth place overall), making her eligible to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.

For more information on the McLean area branch of the AAUW, see the Website at

PORCELAIN SPECIALIST HOSTED BY McLEAN ART SOCIETY: The McLean Art Society will host local artist Sherry Matini, president of the Northern Virginia Porcelain Artists, at its monthly meeting on Friday, May 17 at 11 a.m. at the McLean Community Center.

Matini’s affinity for porcelain art blossomed during her formative years at St. George’s School in Montreux, Switzerland. There she discovered a way to communicate and express the universal language of art, a revelation that ignited her lifelong artistic journey.

Her studio in Great Falls Village serves as a sanctuary for her artistic endeavors, hosting seminars for artists from diverse backgrounds, guiding fellow artists on their creative journeys.