“Growing Our Own” Senior Recognition Ceremony

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The Fourth Annual “Growing Our Own” Senior Recognition Ceremony, held recently at Forest Park High School, showcased graduates who are heading toward careers in education, honored instructors and advisors, and commended scholarship recipients. More than 150 students from Colgan, Forest Park, Freedom, Gar-Field, Hylton, Osbourn Park, Patriot, Stonewall Jackson, and Woodbridge High Schools, attended, along with their parents.

Through the “Growing Our Own” initiative, PWCS identifies, recruits, and mentors middle and high school students who, after college, may return to Prince William County classrooms as teachers and school leaders. Students who participate in their school chapters of Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow, Educators Rising, Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers™; and those enrolled in Early Childhood Education and Training I and II, are the focus of the “Growing Our Own” program.

Representatives of the following organizations awarded scholarships to selected students and educators: Apple Federal Credit Union (AFCU) Education Foundation; SPARK, the PWCS Education Foundation; Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), and Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers (TSTT).

Three students, Xavier Smith (Colgan), Karen Cortez (Hylton), and Emily Johnson (Colgan), received a Dr. Edward L. Kelly scholarship. Sylvia Chan (Hylton) and Caitlin Toor (Osbourn Park) received a scholarship from the AFCU Education Foundation for their early commitment to the education profession. Austin Chapman (Gar-Field) and Madison Moore (Osbourn Park) received a NVCC-Growing Our Own Teachers scholarship. Karen Woloszyn (Gar-Field) received the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Keith J. Johnson, associate superintendent for Human Resources, received the Growing Our Own Distinguished Service Award for significant contributions to the promotion and development of the Growing Our Own program at both the school and Division level.

“I am honored to play a role in helping young students to become teachers,” Johnson said. “Our School Division is fortunate to have some of the very best teachers as members of its faculty. To continue to provide our students with this level of excellence, we must attract the finest educators to the teaching profession and into our School Division.”

By Prince William Living

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