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April 2024 Student and Staff Recognitions

April 2024 Student and Staff Recognitions

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) takes great pride in recognizing the many accomplishments of our students and staff. Here are some of their latest achievements:

ACHS Students Among those Awarded an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship

Amazon had an amazing surprise in store this month for 23 Virginia students during a ceremony at Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington. Little did two Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students know that they really were not there for a conference. The students were actually part of a group who would find out they are among the 400 recipients nationwide this year to receive an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship. William Gomez-Palacios and Zuha Hassen have been awarded scholarships through this program, which provides up to $40,000 (up to $10,000/year) toward an undergraduate degree in engineering or computer science and an offer to complete a summer internship at Amazon. Amazon Future Engineer students have the opportunity to boost their future for themselves and their community with the support of college funding, paid internships and industry mentors.

High Honors for Two Students Named Lester

Photo courtesy of Theogony Editor Chloe Yokitis

 The 2024 recipients of the Madelyn Anderson Memorial Scholarship just happen to be two Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students named Lester. The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) proudly announced that Lester Hernandez Aleman and Lester Tercero have been awarded this highest value scholarship at $10,000 a year, for a total of four years. Aleman is a visual artist who is headed to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Tercero is a performing artist and plays violin with the high school orchestra and will be attending the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“In keeping with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria's 2023-24 ‘Tapestry’ theme, celebrating these remarkable students and SFA recipients with the community that supports them, was truly fitting and such a joy,” SFA Executive Director Jasmine Milone said. “We are honored to help Lester Hernandez Aleman and Lester Tercero launch into their post-secondary journeys and we are committed to supporting them every step of the way.”

This scholarship, established by former Washington Post Writer John W. Anderson in memory of his wife Madelyn, who was an Alexandria City Public Schools teacher, was first awarded in 1992.

Dell Scholarship Awarded to ACHS Student Artist

The Alexandria City High School (ACHS) Class of 2024’s Iris Rodriguez Rivera is a Dell Scholarship recipient. The Dell Scholarship is a highly competitive, national scholarship that provides students with a flexible $20,000 scholarship, laptop, textbook credits and access to their mentoring, health and wellness and career supports.

“Iris is a remarkable student who I have had the great pleasure to work with for the last three years,” AVID Elective Teacher and Department Chair Jessica Durante said. “Her growth as a person and as an artist has been a joy to witness and I am incredibly proud of her for everything she has accomplished!”

Rivera applied to six art schools and was accepted to all of them. She plans to major in animation. Rivera has been in the AVID program for five years, starting in eighth grade at George Washington Middle School. She is Alexandria City Public Schools’ sixth Dell recipient in the last eight years.

ACHS Teacher Recognized with Prestigious Milken Educator Award

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” Alexandria City High School (ACHS) English Teacher Eva Irwin is among 75 recipients nationwide of the 2023-24 Milken Educator Award. She is the first Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) teacher to earn this high honor.

“With Ms. Irwin’s focus on instructional excellence, equity and social-emotional supports for our students, she exemplifies the best of leaders in our classrooms. I know the School Board and senior leadership team join me in congratulating Ms. Irwin and thanking her for all she does for our high school and our students,” ACPS Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt said.

Irwin has spent nine years in education and her instructional practices are hailed as being engaging, meaningful and aligned with standards, and result in mastery of student learning outcomes. Irwin’s involvement in ACHS’ instructional leadership currently includes being the advisory committee chair for the high school and serving on the Culture and Climate Committee, as well as the English department representative to the Staff Advisory Council.

As a Milken Educator Award recipient, Irwin  received $25,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles, California, in June.

GW Students Advance to National History Day State Competition

Five George Washington Middle School (GW) students advanced to the National History Day state competition. Among the students who placed first in the district group documentary category are Paul Loberg, Theodore Marvin and Callen Ohlandt with their documentary on the Battle of Trafalgar. Ruby Atkisson and Nora Plunkett placed third in the group exhibit category with a project on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

"Congratulations to all of the students that participated in National History Day this year. Best of luck to our two groups participating in the state level competition in April, your hard work and dedication is a shining example of Prexie Pride,” GW Civics and Economics teacher Dana Parks said.

The state competition will be held April 27-28, 2024, at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond, Virginia.

Prexie Robotics - Making a Name for Itself

George Washington Middle School’s (GW) robotics program, Prexie Robotics, is making strides since its launch in 2020. This year, three of its four SeaPerch underwater robotics teams advanced to the international competition based on their results in the regional event at the United States Naval Academy. These GW teams now go onto the SeaPerch International competition at the University of Maryland, College Park, May 31-June 1, 2024, where they will compete against hundreds of teams from within the United States and around the world.

SeaPerch is a competitive underwater robotics program. This event allows students to explore the engineering design process, circuitry and real-world applications of remote-operated vehicles.

Prexie Robotics VEX IQ team competed in the Manassas regional competition last month and one of the four teams made it into the final rounds. VEX IQ is a program that allows students to apply the engineering design process and build/code a robot to address specific obstacles in a competitive environment. GW’s VEX IQ robotics initiative just got underway last year. 

In 2020, Prexie Robotics launched with a single team of six students and has since blossomed into a robust STEM program initiative. “Prexie Robotics currently boasts four FLL teams, four VEX IQ teams, four SeaPerch teams and a drone team initiative with approximately 30 members,” Robotics, Remote Operated Vehicle and Drone Coach Richard Clemmons said. “This is a testament to the program's exponential growth and the dedication of our student members.”

Titan Robotics Team Advances to FIRST Robotics World Championship

The Titan Robotics Team at Alexandria City High School (ACHS) came up with a big win at the 2024 For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics District Championship hosted by Virginia State University. The team was awarded the FIRST Impact award at the district level for the third consecutive year. This prestigious award honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. By winning the Impact award at the district level, the Titan team qualified to compete for the fourth time at the FIRST Robotics World Championship held this month in Houston, Texas.

ACHS Teams Qualify for VHSL Policy Debate Final

Two Alexandria City High School (ACHS) teams qualified for the Virginia High School League State Final Tournament in policy debate. Senior Alena Cooper and junior Sophia Bassingthwaite, as well as junior teammates Harlow Babic and Andrew Bell, both advanced. These teams will now take part in the competition set for April 26-27, 2024, at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

ACHS Student Advances to National Forensics Meet

Congratulations to Alexandria City High School’s (ACHS) Quinn MacBride who placed third at the Virginia High School League State Forensics meet. The ACHS Athletics and Student Activities Office called this achievement an exceptional honor. MacBride will now participate in the National Forensics meet in Chicago, Illinois, in May.

ACHS Washington Post Winter All-Met Honorees

Three Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students are among the Washington Post Winter All-Met honorees:

  • Alisha Jackson, first team (indoor track).
  • Kye Robinson, third team All-Met.
  • Darius Bivins, honorable mention.

Local media and coaches honored these athletes as being the best high school athletes in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area in both public and private schools.

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  • Student and Staff Recognitions