Local Commentary

Editorial: Mason High Gets Recognized

Major kudos are in store for the City of Falls Church school system and its high school, George Mason, which was ranked 19th out of 22,000 in the nation for its excellence by U.S. News and World Report in an extensive survey, and the top-ranked regular (non-magnet) high school in the Washington D.C. region and in all of Virginia.

It has been gratifying running this newspaper in Falls Church that we’ve been able to chronicle this success story for over 20 years now, including through the era when adequate funding for the schools was a matter of considerable heartburn among local political leaders.

We are proud of our unbroken record of full-throated editorial support for the needs of the schools since Day One of our founding in 1991, even as we are fully aware of others in this community who’ve fought that good fight for years before we showed up.

We are proud of our role initiating Challenge Days at the high school, a superior program to draw out qualities of empathy among students to diminish tendencies toward cruelty and bullying.

In recent years, even through the toughest fiscal years, the School Board was able to tighten its belt without compromising the basic integrity of the system, and found a City Council willing to support that effort.

The excitement and pride in the faces of members of George Mason’s robotics team, operating one of its prize-winning robots in front of the School Board this Tuesday night was the perfect accent to the day’s report on Mason’s extraordinary ranking among the nation’s finest public high schools. The ‘bot has quite a set-shot.

The same goes for the production of “The Elephant Man” by the school’s theater department last weekend. It was not the same kind of box office smash that popular musicals have been in the past, but the weighty and thought-provoking subject matter made it a well-executed performance to be proud of.

The level of student participation in fine art and music programs is another highlight. This includes an outstanding jazz band that features three dozen student musicians doing more than playing popular hits, but mastering the finer nuances of the jazz and swing genre.

This high school, and the school system as a whole, is not only developing the nation’s creative leaders of the future, it is good for the overall quality of life of everyone in Falls Church, with or without children. There is no doubt that the school system’s reputation is a significant “value added” factor for all real estate in the City, and Tuesday’s news will drive property values higher.

The desire of more and more families to move into the City for the schools will add to the pool of customers seeking local services for everything from dry cleaners to restaurants, which will boost tax revenues to improve the City’s infrastructure and keep its tax rate low. What a “win-win” it is!