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February Student and Staff Recognitions

February Student and Staff Recognitions
Alexandria City Public Schools teachers and students earned their moments in the spotlight this February. We are proud to celebrate their accomplishments.

Principal Lauded at Virginia General Assembly

Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy (Lyles-Crouch) Principal Dr. Patricia Zissios was recognized at the Virginia General Assembly on Jan. 23, 2023, for her five decades of service as an educator and school administrator.
"Her vision and dedication have led Lyles-Crouch to become one of the highest achieving schools in the city, the Commonwealth and the country," Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker stated. “She has touched countless lives through her passion for learning. She has given generations of students the tools and support they need to achieve success in their education and careers.”
Dr. Zissios was also honored in House Joint Resolution No. 554 for her many accomplishments. She helped Lyles-Crouch achieve the 2012-14 National School of Character Award from the Character Education Partnership, demonstrating her emphasis on developing the whole child. As a member of the board of the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Dr. Zissios received the 2017 Don Lacey Award for Excellence, recognizing her unwavering commitment to student achievement and instructional leadership. She was also the Alexandria City Public Schools Principal of the Year in 2009, among countless other awards and accolades.
Matias Palavecino, the president of the Lyles-Crouch parent teacher association, congratulated Dr. Zissios on being recognized by Virginia lawmakers. “I can't think of anyone more deserving than Dr. Zissios,” he said. “One of the things I admire most is her passion and dedication not only to the students and staff but also the community. She makes PTA life fun and rewarding.”


Staff Member Receives Crossing Guard Appreciation Award

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Safe Routes to Schools Program has selected Candance Doran to receive Virginia's Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Award. Doran is the school counselor at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School and also carries out morning and afternoon crossing duties near the school parking garage, helping families safely drop off their children while keeping the flow of traffic moving.

“Ms. Doran is conscientious and reliable,” Ferdinand T. Day Principal Rachael Dischner said. “She takes her extra duty assignment seriously and always approaches the assignment with a smile.”

VDOT honors a select few crossing guards for their dedication to student safety on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, which was held on Feb. 8 this year. The winners receive a certificate and a gift.


ACHS We the People Team Wins Best Unit 2 Award at State Finals

The Alexandria City High School (ACHS) We the People team won the Best Unit 2 Award at State Finals on Jan. 28, 2023, at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The congressional mock hearing competition tested the students across six units of study designed by the Center for Civic Education.

Questions ranged from the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system through the challenges that America's constitutional democracy might face in the 21st Century. JB Brock, Tigran Ceesay, Malik Kunata and Micah Stewart earned the Best Unit 2 Award for their defense of testimony related to "How Did the Framers Create the Constitution?"

"The We the People program is an intense but extremely rewarding in-depth study of six units of study culminating in the regional and statewide competitions,” said Ra Alim Shabazz, ACHS social studies teacher. “I have never been more proud of a group of students who came together and formed a family forged in having the same collective goal of representing Alexandria City High School to the best of their collective ability. They truly embody the idea that the pursuit of excellence and knowledge of the constitution and its applications are not only a worthy goal, but also a key to their personal freedom."


ACHS Choral Director Named 40 Under 40

Director of Choral Activities Theodore Thorpe III is among the 2023 Yamaha 40 Under 40 Excellence in Music Education honorees. The Alexandria City High School (ACHS) instructor empowers students by instilling the importance of discipline and a work ethic. In addition to his roles as a conductor, educator and musical director, Thorpe is also a vocalist, composer, arranger and pianist. On Feb. 4, 2023, Thorpe accompanied Coldplay during the band’s performance on “Saturday Night Live.”

Thorpe first came to Alexandria City Public Schools 13 years ago with just 30 students in the high school choral program. In two years, the program grew to 100 students. His choir now has a long list of impressive performances, including the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016 and the showcase choir at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference in 2017. In addition, the high school choir has been featured in televised performances at the Kennedy Center Honors and Christmas in Washington.

Yamaha launched the “40 Under 40” music education advocacy program in 2021 to celebrate and recognize outstanding music educators who are making a difference by growing and strengthening their music programs. The educators celebrated in 2023 have been singled out for their ability to triumph before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and keep their music programs thriving. This group offers innovative and imaginative solutions to achieve objectives as they implement new and bold ideas to establish, grow or improve music education in their schools and communities.


ACHS Ceramics Student Receives Silver Key at Fairfax County Region of Scholastic Art Awards

Alexandria City High School junior Kalina Kaufmann won a Silver Key for her ceramic sculpture at the Fairfax County Art Region of the Scholastic Art Awards. The competition recognized 395 students with 629 awards for outstanding artworks. Participants included students in grades 7-12 in Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, the County of Fairfax and Falls Church. Artworks were submitted and judged in categories that included drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, digital art, design, architecture, jewelry, fashion, film and animation, mixed media and art portfolios.

The Gold and Silver Key artworks are on display at Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus’ Ernst Community Cultural Center through Thurs., March 23, 2023. An awards ceremony will be held on Wed., March 1, 2023.

The Scholastic Art Awards program — presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers — is the largest, longest-running recognition program of its kind in the U.S. Established in 1923 and celebrating 100 years, the awards have recognized teens who have become some of our nation’s most celebrated artists. 


ACHS Athlete Named Gatorade Virginia Volleyball Player of the Year

Alexandria City High School (ACHS) senior Milan Rex is the Gatorade Virginia Volleyball Player of the Year. Rex is the first ACHS student-athlete to be selected for this honor. The award recognizes Rex for her outstanding athletic excellence as well as her high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court. These characteristics distinguish Rex as Virginia’s best high school volleyball player.

The 5-foot-11-inch senior outside hitter led the Titans to a 32-2 record and the Class 6 State Championship this past season. Rex was the Class 6 Player of the Year and an American Volleyball Coaches Association Second Team All-American selection.

In addition, Rex has maintained a 4.46 GPA and volunteered locally as a youth volleyball and tennis coach. She has also donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through the high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and the National Charity League’s Port City Chapter. Rex has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of California, Santa Barbara this fall.

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  • Student and Staff Recognitions