‘We Are the Piranhas’: Waxpool Elementary Celebrates Inaugural Year

By Amira Zaidi

Waxpool Elementary School is the 57thelementary school to open in the county, bringing together 740 students who earlier attended Moorefield Station, Hillside and Mill Run Elementary. During Friday’s formal dedication ceremony, the principals from those schools joined the celebration of the new school community.

“It has always been a dream of mine to open a school,” said Waxpool Principal Mike Pellegrino.

While he acknowledged the scale of the challenge—”lesson learned, watch what you wish for,” he said to laughter—he thanked his staff for their hard work.

“To build a culture from the ground up; that’s the sweet spot of a school. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. Watching a plan that you spend countless hours in preparing, come to life, has been the greatest experience of my career,” Pellegrino said.

He noted Loudoun County Public Schools’ mission to produce graduates who are communicators, creators, collaborators, critical thinkers and contributors and said Waxpool students will begin developing those skills through project-based learning and computational thinking experiences in their elementary school classrooms.

Waxpool Elementary School Principal Mike Pellegrino [Cuong LeNguyen]

Pellegrino thanked the architects, the Loudoun design team and everyone who contributed to the making of the school, including the Tillet family, who sold the land to the school division.

A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation by fifth graders of the school song they wrote, “We are the Piranhas.” The process of creating the anthem was described as an example of the computational thinking and project-based learning carried through this school.

Among those attending the program were Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams, School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles), School Board members Beth Huck (At-Large) and Chris Croll (Catoctin), County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), and Del. David A. Reid (D-32).

“As difficult as it is to open a new school, the teachers and staff have risen to the challenge facing construction challenges with heroic efforts,” Morse said. “The school is alive, and your dedication breathes beauty into the minds of our children. I believe you refer to this as the Waxpool warmth. Thank you, teachers and staff.”

Waxpool Elementary School Principal Mike Pellegrino cuts the ribbon during the schools dedication ceremony on Nov. 1, 2019. [Cuong LeNguyen]

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