Event Lauds School-Biz Partnerships

It takes a village to raise a child. That was the underlying theme of the Loudoun County Public Schools’ School-Business Partnership Breakfast Friday.

And hundreds who are counted as part of that village that supports local students gathered at the National Conference Center to celebrate the work the business community does to help Loudoun’s schools.

The event recognized a total of 240 partnerships between the local business and nonprofit communities and the schools. Among those, five were chosen for special recognition and Partnership Awards.

Donna Fortier, executive director of Mobile Hope and vice chairwoman of the School Business Partnership Council, said it was a daunting task to narrow down the submitted entries to just five award winners.

“We really are a community that gives back and is engaged,” she said.

The award winners are as follows:

Developmental Connections was praised for its work with Rosa Lee Carter Elementary. The nonprofit organization, that serves children with developmental disorders, has worked closely with the school to raise money for Marvin’s Club, an after-school program that teaches developmentally delayed students social and recreational skills.

Rosa Lee Carter Principal Ann Hines acknowledged that the relationships between schools and businesses benefits all involved, especially the students.

“As educators we are charged with the challenge of preparing our students to enter the workforce. And we know you are asking, as business leaders, that we equip all our children with the skills needed so your employees may be creators, collaborators and problem-solvers,” she said.

George Washington University was recognized for its work with the school system’s Art and Science departments. The university works with the county’s public schools in a variety of ways, among them its annual invitation to 150 high school students to tour its Ashburn campus. The day of workshops is designed to teach students about STEM-related careers.

Zach Pracher, 13, accepts the Making A Difference Award for his work to provide Kindles for low-income students. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
Zach Pracher, 13, accepts the Making A Difference Award for his work to provide Kindles for low-income students. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

Orbital ATK was praised for its consistent support of the annual countywide science fair. Odette D. Scovel, science supervisor for the school system, said anytime she has asked the Sterling-based company for help—even to cover the cost of plane tickets for students to compete in an international fair in Russia—they’ve been there.

Rockwell Collins was applauded for consistently opening up its doors to students from Park View High School. The avionics and IT company invites students to visit its Sterling division to experience science and math in aeronautics design, engineering, and simulation.

Women in Technology was recognized for its work to help spark interest in science and technology among girls at Belmont Ridge Middle School and Park View High School. The organization helped fund robotics teams and worked with students to teach them about future job opportunities.

Other awards announced at the ceremony included the Make A Difference Award, which went to 13-year-old Zach Pracher for his work to provide Kindles to low-income students; the Legacy Award, given to Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation for helping to fund Park View High School’s artificial turf field, among other support; and the J. Hamilton Lambert Exemplary Leadership in Education and Community Service Award, given to Wagner Grier.

Grier, who retired in December after 14 years as principal of C.S. Monroe Technology Center, described the recognition as “icing on the cake” after a rewarding career in education.



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