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Stafford Schools 2024 retirees

Stafford County Public Schools: Stafford County Public Schools proudly bids farewell to 80 esteemed educators and service staff members who are retiring after 1,535 collective years of dedicated service with Stafford Schools at the annual Retirement Dinner on Monday, May 20, 2024.

These individuals have been pillars of our community, shaping the minds and hearts of countless students over the years. Their commitment to excellence, passion for teaching, and unwavering dedication to their craft have left an indelible mark on our school district.

Dr. Thomas Taylor, Superintendent, expresses, “The impact of these retiring staff members goes beyond the classroom and school buildings. They have been mentors, inspirations, and role models, shaping the future leaders of tomorrow. We are immensely grateful for their years of service and wish them all the best in their well-deserved retirement.”

Congratulations to the following 2024 retirees:

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Prince William County Public Schools Career and Technical Education program (CTE) aims to empower students by fostering academic achievement, interests, skills, and authentic learning experiences to help them thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Through four interconnected components, CTE programs provide students with opportunities to explore passions, build in-demand job skills through work-based learning, earn industry credentials, and more.

On May 20,, graduating students of the (CTE) signed commitment forms to further their careers via a variety of apprenticeships as well as military service. Representatives from Lockheed Martin, Plumbers and Gasfitters, AlphaBEST, United States Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy spoke about the commitment and dedication of the class of 2024. They praised the CTE program for providing workplace readiness skills through multiple pathways to ensure a thriving future for students.

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Allie Medina, a junior at Colonial Forge High School, will represent Fredericksburg as a National Youth Correspondent.

Allie Medina, a junior at Colonial Forge High School, has been selected to represent Stafford as a National Youth Correspondent to the 2024 Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University.

“I was so excited and really surprised,” said Medina. “I love journalism, so I’m excited to get the chance to make connections and improve my writing.”

Medina joins a select group of students from all over the country for an intensive study of journalism and media. Medina was chosen based on academic accomplishments and a demonstrated interest and excellence in journalism and media studies.

National Youth Correspondents participate in hands-on, experiential learning through decision-making simulations that challenge them to solve problems and explore the creative, practical, and ethical tensions inherent in journalism and media. The experiential portion of the program is complemented by speakers who are well-known leaders in the media community. Presenters include prominent journalists, CEOs of major media outlets, researchers, and recent college graduates successfully entering the field. Past speakers have included Hoda Kotb from NBC, Brian Lamb from C-SPAN, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carol Guzy, and Susan Goldberg from National Geographic.

“Stafford Schools is immensely proud of Allie for being selected as a National Youth Correspondent. Her dedication, leadership, and commitment to excellence inspire our school community,” said Dr. Thomas Taylor. “This achievement not only reflects Allie’s exceptional abilities but also highlights the quality of education and support our schools provide. We congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition and look forward to witnessing her continued success.”

With distinguished faculty, guest speakers, and direct access to elite D.C. practitioners, the Washington Journalism and Media Conference offers aspiring journalists and student leaders an unparalleled experience. The week-long program, held at George Mason University’s state-of-the-art campus, will encourage and inspire young leaders from across the country who desire a unique experience focused on successful careers in this dynamic industry.

The Washington Journalism and Media Conference will be held July 7 to July 12, 2024.

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Skye Auger, senior at Osbourn Park High School, has been named 2024 National Merit Scholarship winner.

Prince William County Schools: The National Merit® Scholarship Corporation named Skye Auger, a senior at Osbourn Park High School, a 2024 National Merit Scholarship winner. Auger was selected from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists and is one of 2,500 students nationwide to win the National Merit $2,500 scholarship.

“Winning this scholarship is the culmination of all the effort I’ve put into my academic life, and I’m really glad my hard work has paid off in this way. To all the underclassmen who are apprehensive about their futures, I’d just like to say that a strong work ethic always comes back to reward you, so keep trying at every opportunity that comes your way because you might be surprised by what you’re capable of. I also attribute this success to the great educational opportunities I’ve had in this county with teachers who have truly pushed me and given me an environment that I can develop in,” said Auger.

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who assessed information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by finalists; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an annual academic competition among high school students for recognition and college scholarships that began in 1955.

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By Morgan Sweeney

[Photo by John Tuesday on Unsplash]
(The Center Square) — More school districts in Virginia are starting to implement school cell phone bans, prohibiting students from using their phones during the school day and, in some cases, even on the bus.

Many districts ban student cell phone usage at elementary schools, and some ban them at their middle schools, but until recently, high school policies have often been more permissive.

Some school districts like Virginia Beach City Public Schools have updated their policies within the past few years. The district revised its cell phone policy for the 2022-23 school year. The school board determined that students could have their phones with them during the day, but they needed to be off or silent, not on the student’s person, and not used in the bathroom or elsewhere during class. They are allowed to use them in the hallways during passing time or during lunch.

The city of Hopewell also updated its phone policy for its middle and high school students for the same school year, though it went a step farther than Virginia Beach. The district used federal COVID-relief funds to purchase locking pouches at a discounted price to hold students’ phones during the day; students cannot use them at all while at school.

“While we have attempted to accommodate student phones over the years and limit their use, we are finding that they are causing much more harm than help during the school day,” the district announced in a press release before the start of the school year.

Students are to store their phones in the pouches once they enter the school and can remove them when they leave. The pouches can only be unlocked using a magnetic unlocking base, which students can access at the end of the school day. If students’ pouches become damaged or go missing, they’re responsible for replacing them.

Richmond adopted a similar policy for three of its middle schools and three of its high schools in January for a trial period.

Fairfax, Franklin, Hanover and Stafford counties all have policies allowing at minimum older students to use their phones between classes and at lunch. But all of these districts are now considering stricter policies.

Fairfax and Hanover are considering the widespread use of locking pouches, as Hopewell has done and Richmond is piloting. Stafford, too, is looking at locking pouches, but only as a disciplinary measure for students who have violated its policies. Otherwise, it may adopt a similar policy to Virginia Beach – that students’ phones must be off or on silent and stored in a backpack or locker during class.

At its most recent board meeting, the Hanover County School Board listened to a presentation on the pouches for elementary and middle school students, revealing that Yondr pouches would cost the district $30 per student.

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Stafford County Public Schools is proud to announce the Valedictorian and Salutatorians for the Class of 2024. The division will host ticketed graduation ceremonies for Brooke Point, Colonial Forge, and North Stafford HS on Thursday and Mountain View and Stafford HS on Friday. All ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be available through a live stream link for those unable to attend.

The school division will graduate 2,530 seniors in total, setting them on their path to success. The Class of 2024 accumulated $18,926,401.00 in scholarships and will go into the workforce, serve in our military, and continue their education.

Brooke Point HS:
Rena Amankwa-Asare, GPA: 4.9191

Rena is a full IB program student and served as an IB Ambassador. She served as Captain of Academic Team, Vice President of National Honor Society, and Publicist for the Multicultural Club along with the Future Health Professionals (HOSA). She was a member of the Dance Team, Vice President of Model United Nations, and participated in Debate Team, Spirit Club and Spanish Honor Society. Rena plans to attend the College of William & Mary and is the recipient of the William & Mary Scholar Award.

Isabella Kang, GPA: 4.9142

Isabella is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. She demonstrated exceptional leadership skills as the Woodwind Captain and Clarinet Section Leader in the Marching Band, and served in a leadership role in Model UN. She also participated in the Academic Team, Latin Club, Taekwondo, and National Honors Society. Isabella will attend Colorado College, majoring in Geology.

Colonial Forge HS:

Aditya Biswas, GPA: 4.912

Aditya is a student in the Commonwealth Governor’s School. As a Colonial Forge student, he is the recipient of the AP Physics II, DE Chemistry, AP Psychology, Honors Math Analysis, AP Environmental Science, and AP Computer Science Principles Top Student Awards. He is also an all-county violinist and a member of the TriM honor society for student musicians. Adi will attend Princeton University where he’ll study computational biology, computational neuroscience, and theoretical physics.

Hannah Jenkins, GPA: 4.803

Hannah is a student in the Commonwealth Governor’s School. She enjoys music, playing both piano and percussion, and is the percussion co-captain of the Forge Marching Band. She also enjoys competitive running, logic games and puzzles, and has won numerous awards in archery. Hannah will attend the University of Arkansas where she will study Food Science and Technology or Agriculture Science.

Mountain View HS:

Delainey Hinson, GPA: 5.006

Delainey is an AP Scholar with Distinction and received Commended Scholar status for the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Delainey was a 4-year starter for the girls’ lacrosse team and was one of the team Captains during her senior year. In 2023, she was named as a USA Lacrosse National All-Academic Player. During her junior and senior years, Delainey played the clarinet in Mountain View’s Wind Ensemble and was selected for All-District Band. She enjoyed participating in many extracurricular clubs and activities while at Mountain View, to include Distributive Education Clubs of America, National Honor Society, Amnesty International, and Model UN. Delainey will attend Southern Methodist University where she is a President’s Scholar and will study Biological Sciences on a pre-med track.

Katherine Buckman, GPA: 4.979

Katherine is also a candidate for the full International Baccalaureate diploma. She authored several publications including a book titled The Art of Women’s Protest and a journal article on women’s unionization, published in The Schola Journal. Katherine was selected to be the first Student Representative to the Stafford County School Board. During her time on the Board, Katherine advocated for mental health, developing a campaign to support mental health awareness. One of her most notable accomplishments is the Green Pin Project, created to foster supportive communities and break down the stigma surrounding mental health among middle and high school students. Katherine will continue her academic career at Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar where she plans to study Political Science and Philosophy.

North Stafford HS:

Andrea Vargas, GPA: 4.865

Andrea is a Commonwealth Governor’s School Student. She served as Captain of the Tennis Team, President of the National Spanish Honor Society, Vice President of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and Vice President of the Hispanic Student Association. She was also a member of the All-County Orchestra and Chamber Sinfonia. She contributed to her community through service and volunteering as a family tutor and interpreter. Andrea will attend Yale University to study environmental engineering and regenerative biology on the pre-med track.

Ella Wendel, GPA: 4.647

Ella has taken several AP classes throughout high school. She was a Future Business Leaders of America member for two years, Spanish Honor Society, and was props manager for the school play. She also competed in the Forensics tournament. Ella also has tutored students while in high school. She plans to go to college after graduation.

Stafford HS:

Richard Oti, GPA: 4.986

Richard is a Commonwealth Governor’s School Student. He spent a large part of his time outside of school working and taking photos as the production editor and then editor-in-chief for Stafford’s yearbook, participating and serving as co-captain for his Science Olympiad team, supporting a co-founded volunteer group called the Unity Project, and serving as associate and then senior chair for Stafford’s Academic Symposium. Richard has been the recipient of the George S. Blume Citizenship Medal, Stanford iGEM Biology Certificate, AP Capstone Diploma and was a finalist for the Questbridge National College Match Program. Richard will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and plans to major in the interdisciplinary course 6-14 that encompasses data science, computer science, and economics.

Mailynn Nguyen, GPA: 4.964

Mailynn is a Commonwealth Governor’s School Student. Mailynn served as president of the Humanitarian Aid Club and ran varsity cross-country for three years. A five-time National Latin Exam gold medalist and two-time SHS Student of the Year, Mailynn was recognized as a National Merit Finalist and an international Coolidge Senator. She has enjoyed getting involved in the community through the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she was founder and chair of a student workforce committee and did data consulting with the Chamber. Mailynn will be studying math at Princeton University next fall.

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The School Board wants to keep it, but the City Council wants it gone.

On Monday, May 13, 2024, Manassas City Council voted unanimously to approve a new alternative condition to the special use permit application for the existing Jennie Dean Elementary School building, rendering the building ineffective and to be demolished following the new construction.

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