Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Education notebook: William Fleming, Blacksburg high school seniors honored for community service projects

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Two high school seniors in the Roanoke and New River valleys have been honored for their community service.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognizes middle and high school students who have volunteered significant amounts time serving their community.

William Fleming High School senior Ollie Howie and Blacksburg High School senior Jessica Vance have both been honored. Howie was awarded the Certificate of Excellence and the President's Volunteer Service Award, and Vance was dubbed a distinguished finalist.

Both students created their own service projects. Vance started the "One Square at a Time" project where she crocheted 3,000 baby hat and bootie sets and 700 blankets for mothers and babies in need.

Howie formed his own service group, the My Brother's Keeper Club in 2001 as a 6-year-old in response to the 9/11 attacks. He said he wanted to give back. This year the club did a back-to-school drive.

"It feels great, special," Howie said of the award, which included a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama. "It's always important to invest in the community. That's where you are, who built you up. ... It's important to give back."

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Two upcoming jazz concerts will serve as fundraisers for local schools.

In Roanoke, the Patrick Henry High School Jazz Ensemble will host a jazz concert Thursday night to benefit Forest Park Academy's annual trip to Washington, D.C.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at Forest Park. Admission is $10 and $5 for students. Light food will be served.

In Roanoke County, the Cave Spring schools' bands will hold their seventh annual Jazz Cafe on March 12.

The yearly fundraiser will feature the Cave Spring Middle and Cave Spring High schools jazz ensembles. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, located at 4608 Brambleton Ave.

The event's headliner will be Jon Metzger from Elon University and emceed by John Carlin. There will also be a silent auction.

Tickets in advance are $12 each or $100 for a table of eight. Tickets at the door will be $15 each. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information contact Lisa Conroy at 989-4357 or

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Roanoke County's Bandfest 2013 is set for Saturday.

The annual event features local student bands and activities. It is a partnership between the Roanoke County Public Schools Student Advisory Council, the Roanoke County Prevention Council, the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition and local businesses.

According to a news release, the event is intended for students to showcase their music and learn about the importance of avoiding risky behaviors.

Bandfest begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Northside High School gym. Admission is $5 or $3 with a donation of two cans of food. Food will be donated to the Feeding America of Southwest Virginia food bank.

For more information, visit

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