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Congratulations to the Class of 2010

By Janice Miller, Chairman
City of Fairfax School Board

This school year ended with much celebration at each of our four City Schools. Many of our students achieved at high levels this year in academics, activities, athletics and the arts. We are proud to be able to share some of these accomplishments in this issue of Close-Up Online.

The graduation at Fairfax High School was once again a very special event. I am always happy to sit on the stage and look out at the senior class, ready to go on to the next phase of their lives – so different from the children they were just a few years before.

Scott Mattock, the student graduation speaker selected by his peers, spoke of how much he, his classmates, and the world had changed in the four years that they had attended Fairfax High School (read his speech below).

A Time for Change

His words made me reflect on the changes that have happened during that time in the City Schools. When the class of 2010 entered as freshmen in the fall of 2006, they came from Lanier, which was in its first phase of a complete renovation, to Fairfax, in its final year of renovation.

These students saw their schools change around them on a daily basis.

In 2006, there was a different superintendent in the City Schools, a different principal at Fairfax and Providence, and only two of the current School Board members were serving in this capacity. All this change has made us continue to examine the ways in which we support and serve our special schools.

As the City schools have been transformed from the inside out and leaders have come and gone, we have maintained our commitment to what matters most – providing quality educational programs in a safe and secure environment.

As another school year comes to a close, I am grateful to all those in the schools and in the community who work to make our schools as successful as they are. I know that we will face new and different challenges in the future, and that change is inevitable, but our City's commitment to its schools will not diminish.

Looking Ahead

I have two new and two returning colleagues on the School Board whom I know will be ardent and effective advocates for the City Schools.

Incumbents Toby Sorenson and Jon Buttram were re-elected to the Board. We also welcome newcomers Mitch Sutterfield and Carolyn Pitches, who will bring fresh perspectives.

If you call the School Board Office, you will hear a different voice – that of School Board Clerk Susan Wiszalkowski, who recently joined Superintendent Ann Monday and Assistant Superintendent Mary Ann Ryan as staff.

We have said good-bye to some very special people in the last few years in the City School Board Office, but even as these changes occurred, we have been fortunate that good people want to work in support of our schools.

I wish everyone a restful summer.

It will be Back-to-School time again before we know it! We'll talk to you in September.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, send me an email: jmiller@fairfaxva.gov

What a great year!

By Ann Monday, Superintendent
City of Fairfax Schools

Congratulations to the students in the Class of 2010 at Fairfax High School. The graduation ceremony was both dignified and warm. I loved seeing the students support each other and the pride that they seemed to be feeling as part of this special class.

From state championships in athletics, to national awards that demonstrate talents across the spectrum of academic and artistic endeavors, to acceptances at some of the best colleges and universities in the country, the Class of 2010 left its mark.

This end of the year issue of Close-Up Online is a celebration of our students, their principals and teachers, and everyone else who helped make this a successful school year in all of our City Schools. There were challenges, of course, and sadly a few tragic events that made this year unique.

But there were many moments of simple joy and great success that show, once again, the quality of our schools and the strengths of our students. I join Mrs. Miller in thanking everyone, but especially Kathy Mullenix, Jesse Kraft, Scott Poole and Dave Goldfarb, our principals, for the work that they did this year.

School may be out but our office is open. As always, please do not hesitate to contact the School Board Office with questions or concerns at 703-293-7132.


We invite you to join us for upcoming School Board Meetings:

Monday, September 13, 2010 – Regular Meeting #2 (Rm. 111)
Topics: Tuition Bill and FCPS Fiscal Forecast, School Opening; Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan

Monday, September 20, 2010 – Work Session #1 (Rm. 111)

Monday, October 4, 2010 – Regular Meeting #3
Topics: Governor's Budget Update FY11 and Governor's Budget Forecast FY12

Monday, October 18, 2010 – Work Session #2 (FHS Library)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Topics: Joint Meeting w/FCPS SB (6:00 p.m.)

Monday, November 1, 2010 – Regular Meeting #4

Monday, November 15, 2010 – Work Session #3

Monday, December 6, 2010 – Regular Meeting #5
Topics: Legislative Program Report from FCPS, Superintendent's Proposed FY12 Budget

The entire 2010-2011 meeting schedule is posted here.

Note: All Regular Meetings are held at City Hall in Fairfax and Work Sessions are held at Fairfax High School, unless otherwise noted. All meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.

Coming up in the next issue of Close-Up Online...


Be on the lookout in September for for our Back-to-School issue of Close-Up Online.

Dates to remember:

September 7: First day of school

Contact Us

City of Fairfax School Board

Chairman Janice Miller

Vice Chairman Jon Buttram

Carolyn Pitches

Toby Sorensen

Mitch Sutterfield

Victoria Tran
Student Rep

You can also send an email to the entire School Board at schoolboard@fairfaxva.gov

City Schools Staff

Superintendent Ann Monday

Mary Ann Ryan
Assistant to the Superintendent

Susan Wiczalkowski
Clerk of the Board

Hope Katz Gibbs
Director of Communication

Daniels Run Elementary

Daniels Run Elementary School
3705 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030

Extra-Curricular Programs Help Close the Achievement Gap

By Kathy Mullenix, Principal
Daniels Run Elementary School

We are so proud of all of our students at Daniels Run and thank our teachers and staff for their incredibly hard work this year.

In the photo on the right, you'll find some of the true helping hands in our school. Each is a real leader in his or her classrooms. Their dedication to good work and their kindness to others are a great example for all of our students. They include: Matthew Trivett, Elise Wenberg, Ashley Fleming, Sara Latimer, Tamira Colbert, Stephanie Santos, Huy Tran, Tabatha Ryberg, Erika Rodgers, Allie Kendrick, and Jessica Moskowitz.

Congratulations, also, to our sixth grade award winners!

Most Outstanding Sixth GradersMatthew Trivett, Jessica Moskowitz
Classroom Outstanding StudentsErika Rodgers, Allie Kendrick, Sara Latimer, and Stephanie Santos.

"I didn't know they gave this award, and I can't believe Ms. Stephenson remembered so much about this year," Erika Rodgers says. Jessica Moskowitz adds: "I tried my best to get good grades and my work done. It was really nice to be recognized!"

The Citizenship AwardElise Wenberg, Tamira Colbert, Huy Tran, Ashley Fleming, and Tabatha Ryberg.

"This was a really nice award to receive and I wasn't expecting it," says Elise Wenberg. "I only try to help others because it is something you should do every day."

Providence Elementary School

Providence Elementary School
3616 Jermantown Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Providence Students Make the Grade

By Jesse Kraft, Principal
Providence Elementary School

Congratulations to all of our students! They never cease to impress us here at Providence Elementary. Some of our award-winners from this year include:

Challenge 24 Competition – Providence winners who competed at the Cluster 7 Competition were Chase Hutson (4th grade), Joseph Kim (5th), and Alex Tapia (6th). Joseph Kim took home the top honor for all of the 5th graders who participated in Cluster VII. In fact, Joseph made it into the Final Four at the county-wide tournament.

All-County Chorus – Congrats to LeAnn Crosby, Rylie Cute, Nicole Dabney, Melody Guitz, Heegyung Kim, Diana Medrano, Sarah Myers, and Scarleht Sanchez.

Band and Solo & Ensemble Festival winners – Our musicians all received superior ratings, including Taylor Bronaugh, Keith Brown, Rylie Cute, Alison Dombrowsky, Meghan Intermill, Kelvin Ramos, Hannah Smith,
and Maddie Stroud. Here's to the Area Honors Orchestra participatant, Gillian Sullivan.

Fairfax County Student Safety & Wellness Bookmark Contest – Way to go Any Ahn, our 6th grade student who won 1st Place in this contest and received a $200 savings bond.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Boy of the Year – We are so proud of 4th grader Andrew Luckabaugh, who was selected for helping raise awareness and money to help others fight this disease.

Providence's Candidate for the Fairfax City Rotary Educator of the Year Award – This honor went to Math Focus Teacher Larry Cook. Although he was not selected, he is still recognized at Providence for his amazing contributions to math enrichment and remediation school wide, his positive coaching of teachers, and leading the efforts to make our courtyard dream a reality this year.

Lanier Middle School

Lanier Middle School
3801 Jermantown Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
Tel: 703.934.2400

Five Students Take Home Top Honors from Lanier

By Scott Poole, Principal

Congratulations to Brian Pereira, who embodies the spirit of the Lanier Eagle Award.

His teachers, who nominated the award-winner for the school's most prestigious honor, said he is "a smart, hard-working student, a natural leader, athlete, friend, performer, and all-around good guy."

An example of his excellence could be seen through an English project where Brian interviewed his dad, then wrote and performed an original rap about what he learned.

While demonstrating his expert ability to craft lyrical rhymes interwoven with figurative language, Brian demonstrated the art of thoughtful reflection. He rapped about his dad's struggle to leave Portugal at 21 to find a better life for himself and future family. Brian went on to explain that his dad's sacrifices inspire him to work hard in school and life. He wants to honor his dad's life choices by making the most of every opportunity his dad has opened up for him.

"There is no doubt that Brian makes the most of every educational opportunity," his teachers told me. "He maintains a 4.0 GPA while taking all honors courses including Algebra I honors and Spanish. Anyone, student or teacher, who has patiently waited for Brian to finish checking over a test, can attest to his legendary meticulousness. He refuses to rush his work, insisting on ensuring the most perfect product every time no matter how small the assignment. This focused academic attention clearly pays off, as evidenced by his perfect test scores, elaborate projects, and thoughtful participation in class discussion. There is no question that Brian's academic achievement is noteworthy."

Joshua Williams, 7th Grade Winner of the John Harris PTA Award

From the first day that I met Josh in September, I could easily tell that he was a wonderful student. Polite to his teachers and classmates, Josh was always eager to lend a hand and offer a warm grin. He worked hard, but also was willing to share his great sense of humor through his writing and the occasional dance move before class. Josh was accepting to all students and even helped a student who was upset one day. Josh is a responsible student and has always been consistent with turning in work. He is a delight to have in the classroom.

Outside the classroom, Josh continues to be helpful. He volunteers with Neighborhood Watch. He cares about the environment and has helped with the community service trash pick on a regular basis. Josh is a good friend at school and makes wonderful choices. I am honored to have had the pleasure to teach him this year.

Sara Nabizadah, 8th Grade Winner of the John Harris P.T.A. Citizenship Award

On a fateful January day, the lives of over three million people were drastically changed forever. A massive earthquake struck close to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, destroying homes and businesses, taking the lives of 230,000 people, injuring 300,000, and leaving one million people homeless. While the Lanier Middle school family discussed this tragedy in classes, one student thought, "I don't want to talk about this! I want to do something!"

Helping out in the community is not just a class requirement for Sara Nabizadah; it's a way of life. After school, Sara can be found in her teachers' classrooms doing anything she can to make their lives easier. She has been spotted filing papers, cleaning boards, and even organizing bookshelves. On snowy afternoons, Sara is outside shoveling the sidewalks and driveways of her family and neighbors. Unlike most kids her age, Sara completes this arduous task without expecting payment and with no complaints.

Leah Haugen, Mary Hovan Humanitarian Award Winner

Leah Haugen exemplifies kindness, understanding, and selflessness; while possessing an intelligence and a commitment to excellence. Her focused and mature approach to middle school is unique in a microcosm that values uniformity and punishes those who stand out and stand up for what is right and just. In a population where everyone tries to fit in, Leah acts on her conscience and pays little or no attention to whom might criticize her actions. Soft-spoken and gentle, she'll lend a hand to a friend, a teacher, or a classmate.

Teachers and students like and respect Leah. She is quiet and unpretentious, but careful, always prepared, and respectful of students and adults. In the classroom, she asks the questions others are either afraid to ask or unable to articulate. She is willing to be led by the teacher to a higher level of understanding for the benefit of all. She works to the best of her ability, always clarifying directions and making sure that she understands the assignment.

Kyle Wilkinson, Mary Hovan Humanitarian Award Winner

It is challenging to articulate just how good someone is without sounding trite; therefore, if anyone has not had the privilege of working with, or even just meeting, Kyle Wilkinson, it might be difficult to fully appreciate just how good he is. English teachers may also cringe at the application of the overused and seemingly weak adjective "good" to describe someone, but every once in a while you come across someone who is just so sincerely and thoroughly good, that the word is too fitting to pass up.

Teachers clearly recognize this goodness in Kyle. In 7th and 8th grade, Kyle has participated as a peer mediator, having been recommended by his 7th grade teachers as a student who is compassionate, trustworthy, and able to relate well with others. He has been very responsible and reliable with serving in this role. He also took on a leadership role by helping to train new 7th grade peer mediators.

Congratulations to all of these fine students!

Fairfax High School

Fairfax High School
3501 Rebel Run
Fairfax, VA 22030
Tel: 703.219.2200

From a Graduate's Point of View

By Scott Mattock
Fairfax High 2010 student graduation speaker

A former governor once said, "A speaker at a graduation is like the body at an Irish wake, they need you there for the party but they don't expect you to say much." So with that in mind I'd like to begin with a word of thanks.

I'd like to start by thanking my peers for choosing me as today's honor student speaker, as it is an absolute privilege to be standing in front of you here today. I'd like to thank my parents for their support, and the faculty here at Fairfax for their relentless inspiration over the last four years. Most notably, I'd like to thank the entire class of 2010 for allowing me to be a part of the journey that's brought us all here this morning.

Three years, nine months, and thirteen days ago, we walked in the front doors of Fairfax High School on the first day of freshman year. To say the least we were young, immature, and covered in acne. And although none of that has changed, the 550 of us sitting here today have experienced something truly amazing over these past few years.

As of that first Tuesday of September, 2006, Shakira had just told the world her hips don't lie, the characters on LOST still thought they'd be rescued, Snakes on a Plane was a box office hit, and Steve Irwin had been dead for only 24 hours.

Barry Bonds was still chasing Hank Aaron, Myspace was the best thing since sliced toast, the Nintendo Wii would be unheard of for another month, iPod's were just getting video, and, yes, facebook was still in its infant stage. Lil' Wayne was being featured in famous rappers' music, not the other way around, and Britney Spears was still married to Kevin Federline.

The economy was booming, we were only just beginning to face the Inconvenient Truth, we didn't have the Snuggie or the Sham-wow, and Fairfax High School had no state championships.

But as the world has changed, so have we. As technology has developed and pop culture has transformed, so have our relationships. As society has advanced, so have our hearts and minds. We've grown in every aspect of our lives – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not only have we learned algebra, chemistry, and American history, but we've matured as students, as athletes, and as friends. We've loved, we've laughed, and we've cried, sometimes all at once.

We've stood in this very gymnasium watching Lauren Burford climb up ESPN's top 150 list. We've gawked at every one of Kevin Dowd's new personal best mile times. We've held our heads high after countless victories and in our hands after heartbreaking losses. We've laughed as administrators have made fools of themselves at pep rallies, and we've cried as administrators have taken away our cell phones.

We've swum, cheered, and acted our way to state championships, spent countless hours in the weight room, and countless more doing homework well past our bedtimes. We've crowned Fairfax Idols, Dancing with the Teachers champions, and Mr. Fairfaxes. We've fought our way through the academic stresses and laughed our way through the senioritis. We've encouraged one another through thick and thin and we've mourned over the loss of those classmates whose seats hold only roses today, but whose spirits will never leave us.

And that's just it. That's the whole point. It's what we're here for today and why we can be confident in where we will go tomorrow. This ceremony is not only a symbol of our success to this point, but also a telling sign as to what we can accomplish. All of us will leave here and enter new worlds. For many that means college, others will go straight into the work force, and some will pursue athletic careers. But wherever the high seas of the future take us individually, we can all say we set sail from the same place. From this place.

It's been said not only by today's graduates, but by parents, teachers, and administrators, that the Fairfax High School Class of 2010 has been nothing short of special. The accomplishments, the state rings, the Ivy League acceptance letters, and the artistic performances are unprecedented. From Division 1 athletes to Harvard students to future Broadway stars, we have done it all and then some. But the true magic of this group is not found in individual achievements, rather, it is found in what we can achieve together. In what we have achieved together.

Graduates, look around you. As you set your eyes on the classmates here today, what stories comes to mind? What inside jokes do we share? What images will we never forget? The walk down memory lane will leave your legs sore.

The relationships run 'Grand Canyon' deep. And the sense of community among these students is unmistakable and indelible. As we leave this gymnasium today for the last time, we will look around and laugh, cry, hug, and chest bump. We'll dap up our bros for one last time, hug our high school sweetheart for one last time, and shake hands with that special teacher, for one last time. We'll say goodbye to more than just a building full of students, but to a community, to a place we've called home.

To a truly unique atmosphere in which we have all blossomed individually, and united collectively.

So let us take that idea of camaraderie, that feeling of accomplishment, that sensation of success, and never let it fade. Let this day not be an ending, but a beginning. Think about the changes in the world over the past four years and ask yourself, where will the world be four years from now? Four years after that?

Whether the picture in your head is utopian or dystopian, today, the graduates of Fairfax High School can find solace in the fact that because of this building, because of these parents, these teachers, and these classmates, we have achieved true excellence. It is the hearts, minds, and bodies of this family that will be sculpting a more perfect future for America.

The authors, the inventors, and the dreamers that we will become who will determine what the world will become. May we never doubt that we can weather the storm, may we never doubt that we will change world, for we are now Fairfax High School graduates.

Thank you and God bless.

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