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March Student and Staff Recognitions

March Student and Staff Recognitions

The achievements of Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students and staff are featured each month in the ACPS Express newsletter. Just a few of our division’s accomplishments are included in this month’s recognitions article!

ACHS Debate Team Concludes Successful Season

The Alexandria City High School (ACHS) Debate Team completed the season competition in their league and took home the third place trophy for overall points for the year. Alena Cooper and John Brock qualified to compete at the national tournament while Apollo Zebre and Sophia Bassingthwaite competed in the junior varsity division of the metrofinals tournament.

The ACHS debate team competes in the Washington-Arlington Catholic Forensic League, a league open to all public and private schools in the area. The students explored whether or not the United States should increase security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in artificial intelligence, biotechnology and/or cybersecurity. Throughout the season, the debate team learned to argue both sides of a topic, developing the ability to see the complexity of these types of questions while building research and critical thinking skills.

Stellar ACHS Satellite Student Accomplishes Early Graduation Mission

Alexandria City High School (ACHS) Satellite Campus student Isaiah Robinson set his sights on graduating early, and he will. In addition to earning his high school diploma after grade 11, he has also been accepted to several colleges. Marymount University offered Robinson a four-year scholarship.

“Isaiah has worked hard during his time at ACHS Satellite to complete his courses so that he could accomplish his goal of graduating early,” Satellite Campus Administrator Fredericka L. Smith said. “He is an example of how our program positively impacts students who want to engage in an alternative pathway to graduation. I am very proud of Isaiah's accomplishment.”

Robinson is considering business as his area of study.

ACHS Senior Advances to National Merit Scholarship Finals

Alexandria City High School senior Nathaniel Burkhead recently received a Certificate of Merit and advanced to finalist standing in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Burkhead plans to pursue post-secondary studies with a concentration in physics and mathematics.

More than 15,000 finalists are being considered for the approximate 7,250 National Merit Scholarships this year. The recipients will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

John Adams Teacher Selected for Prestigious Military Scholarship

Haley Padgett, a fifth grade teacher at John Adams Elementary School and a military spouse, has been selected for the prestigious Tillman Scholars program from the Pat Tillman Foundation. This program supports our nation’s active duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in their education and lifelong leadership development to make an impact on both local and global scales.

“I'm so proud to be able to represent the critically important work we are doing in Alexandria City Public Schools every day,” Padgett said. “I plan to use this opportunity to continue to work towards bettering outcomes for our students by supporting their mental health and well-being.”

Padgett’s long-term goals are to increase access to counseling services in communities suffering from intergenerational poverty and violence, as well as to recent immigrants and refugees. Learn more about Padgett’s scholarship online.

ACPS Secondary Students Advance in Virginia History Day Competition

Forty-seven Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students competed in the Virginia History Day District 5 Competition on March 4, 2023. The students listed have advanced to the statewide competition on April 29-30, 2023, to share their projects with a wider audience.

Alexandria City High School:

  • Anna Bronwyn Turney: first place, individual paper: “The Oxford English Dictionary: A Landmark in Language.”
  • Violet Planey: third place, individual documentary: “Earth's Greatest Hits: Voyager and the Golden Record.”

Francis C. Hammond Middle School:

  • Luniva Desar: second place, individual website: “The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Exploring a New Frontier.”
  • Lily Regler: third place, individual documentary: “Battle of Bull Run.”

George Washington Middle School:

  • Hope Keber and Page Vogel: first place, group performance: “The Match Girls Strike of 1888.”
  • Genevieve Dalton: second place, individual performance: “Educated Necessary Independent Advanced Computers and the ENIAC: The Women of the World's First Modern Computer.”
  • Alice Halloran and Claire Walsh: second place, group performance: “A Comfortable Frontier; Coco Chanel’s Fashion Revolution.”
  • Sophie Whelan: second place, individual exhibit: “Samuel Tucker's 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-in.”

Virginia History Day is the state affiliate of National History Day, a project-based learning program for students in grades 4-12. This interdisciplinary research project helps students develop historical thinking and literacy skills while making the study of history engaging, relevant and fun.

ACHS Students and Staff Earn Honors from International  Entrepreneurship Organization

Thirty-nine Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students competed at the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) State Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia, this month. Ten students claimed titles and eight qualified for the International Career Development Conference that will be held in Orlando, Florida, in April.

The following students were state finalists:

  • Jasmine Bailey and Adair Gabriel, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making.
  • Alex Cirmo, Entrepreneurship Series.
  • Adair Gabriel, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making.
  • William Reilly and Caleb Ward, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making.
  • Sada Seman, Principles of Finance Exam.
  • Saif Shannag, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism.

The following students will compete at the international conference in Florida:

  • Jasmine Bailey and Adair Gabriel, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making.
  • Anibel Dawson, School Based Enterprise — Titan School Store.
  • Molly Hill, School Based Enterprise — Titan School Store.
  • William Reilly and Caleb Ward, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making.
  • Jacob Sanchez, School Based Enterprise — Titan School Store.
  • Sada Seman, #2 in the State of Virginia for the DECA Principles of Finance Individual Series Role Play Event.

Fashion Marketing Teacher Teresa Chavis and Catherine Lewis, dual enrollment instructor/adjunct professor for Entrepreneurship I and Advanced Entrepreneurship II, were awarded Outstanding DECA Advisor Awards.

DECA also recognized the ACHS Titan School Store as an outstanding school-based enterprise. It is among 461 school-based enterprises achieving gold level re-certification for the 2022-23 school year, and it will be recognized during the international conference as well.

DECA is an organization for students in high schools and colleges around the globe. With more than 224,000 student members, DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Additional information is available in the Virginia DECA State Leadership Conference Top 20 list.

ACPS Students Recognized at Regional Science Fair

More than 70 Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students participated in the 2023 Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair held on March 4, 2023. Nine ACPS students took first place honors. In addition, there were 14 second place recipients, 21 third place recipients and 19 honorable mentions.

"Thank you to all the science teachers who supported students throughout this year's science fair season,” Alexandria City High School (ACHS) Science Fair Lead Erin Striple-Barker said. “Your hard work and dedication to our students is very much appreciated.”

Four George Washington Middle School students have been named for the 2023 Thermo Fisher Junior Innovators Challenge. They are Thomas Burks, Karsten Tregaskis Gordon, Amelia Hazlett and Siena Lester.

Three projects, executed by five high school students, have been recommended to advance to the 2023 Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair. They are Arianna Espiritu and Grace Hettinger from ACHS-Minnie Howard Campus and Bridget Baron, Julia Sayre and Mary Winn from ACHS - King Street Campus. This event will be held in person, April 14-15, 2023, at Old Dominion University.

“We are inspired by the innovative thinking, creativity, and dedication of our ACPS students. Congratulations, and thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair,” STEM Coordinator and Elementary Math Instructional Specialist Julia Neufer said.

ACHS Wrestlers Compete in VHSL State Championship

Three Alexandria City High School (ACHS) wrestlers competed in the Virginia High School League State Championships in February. Calvin Weidemer placed third in the competition and Bassem Sliti and Juelz Peters both won a match.

Under the guidance of Wrestling Head Coach Chris Marshall, all three wrestlers have accomplished so much. Weidemer will continue his wrestling at Washington and Lee University next year. Bluefield University and Marymount University have both shown interest in Sliti. Peters is a sophomore, and Marshall is excited to continue to work with him as he returns to the team next year.

  • 2022-23
  • Alexandria City High School
  • Francis C. Hammond Middle School
  • George Washington Middle School
  • John Adams Elementary School
  • Student and Staff Recognitions