Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Vienna Woman's Club Awards Scholarships

Vienna Connection

Vienna Woman's Club Awards Scholarships

Program honors three seniors, local elementary schools. -By Donna Manz

June 07, 2011

For 29 years, the Vienna Woman's Club has given scholarships to local college-bound high school seniors. On May 18, the tradition continued as the club handed out three scholarships of $1,000 each to three students from James Madison High School. The Vienna Woman's Club donated $400 each to four Vienna elementary schools, as well, to use for school-initiated intervention programs. Del. Mark Keam (D-35) gave the keynote address.

"The awarding of scholarships to high school students is our annual outreach to the community and is at the heart of our club's mission to serve the community," said Vienna Woman's Club education Chair Cindy Stewart.

Alexandra Court, Breanne Harris and Jania Leonardini, all James Madison High School students, accepted their awards with words of gratitude and optimism. The $1,000 will help defray college costs next year, they said.

THE VIENNA WOMAN'S CLUB holds one big fundraiser each year, the fall Holiday Bazaar at the Vienna Community Center. The proceeds of the fair fund the scholarships and school gifts. Ten years ago, the club created funding awards for the Town of Vienna elementary schools for their remedial programs. The individual schools identify the children as in-need of extra focus and attention in reading and math. Principals and other school representatives are invited to come to the awards program to be recognized for their accomplishment.

Over its lifetime, the scholarship program has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to Vienna students.

Heidi Scalzott, owner of Silpada Jewelry, donated sterling silver bracelets denoting "hope, dream, joy," to each of the three scholarship winners.

"When we interviewed them, I was impressed that they were very clear about their dreams," Scalzott said. "They had such great hope and they were able to find joy in their lives."

KEAM, whose own children are in Vienna-area elementary schools, said he is "deeply indebted to everything the community, the Commonwealth and the country" has given him and his family. Keam called himself and his family the "picture of the American dream."

Referring to the work of the Woman's Club and other civic groups, Keam said, "Even though we have economic wealth in our community, we also care about the community. We don't forget we have to give back.

"Real wealth is measured by how well we take care of others."

Cunningham Park, Louise Archer, Marshall Road and Vienna Elementary Schools were each awarded $400 to use in programs geared toward children who need a little help or attention, said Stewart.

Cunningham Park Elementary School will apply the funds to computer programs used in Casey's Clubhouse, a before-school intervention program.

At-risk readers get help at Marshall Road ES with a summer reading school bag, and the donation from the Woman's Club will help fill those bags. Louise Archer ES has a math intervention program that will benefit from the donation.

"Always take a piece of Vienna and Fairfax County with you," Keam told the scholarship recipients. "That spirit of giving back is contagious."

The Vienna Woman's Club meets September through May, on the third Wednesday of each month, at 1p.m., at the Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St. S.E. All Vienna women are welcome to attend. The membership fee is $30.

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