June is graduation season, as high school seniors leave the nurturing environment of friends and classrooms, and embark on the next phase of their lives. Annandale, J.E.B. Stuart, Falls Church, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology all conducted graduation ceremonies this week, as proud parents and friends cheered for their students.
Congratulations to all of our fine graduates!
There were other commencement ceremonies this past week, too. The Falls Church Academy – Governor’s Health Science Academy, based at Falls Church High School, recognized students who have completed courses in practical nursing, early childhood careers, fire and emergency medical sciences, pharmacy technician, and criminal justice. The Academy programs offer students more than a taste of a potential future career. In some cases, the students can earn a technical certification that will translate to a full-time job after graduation. It was heartwarming to watch the interaction between the students and their teachers at an emotional awards ceremony on June 10. They truly shared an enduring bond during the course of studies.
A graduation of a different sort celebrated the completion of an arduous 22-week training course for new Fairfax County firefighters and emergency personnel. June 12 marked the end of classes and start of new careers for 44 men and women in the 138th Recruit School graduation. Was it luck or coincidence that a structure fire occurred across the street from Woodson High School at precisely the same time as the ceremonies were scheduled to step off? Fortunately, the fire was contained quickly, but it demonstrated just what kind of life our firefighters and paramedics face when the alarm sounds and they respond.
The recruits hail from all over the country – California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, as well as Virginia. Three women graduated in the class, and several new recruits are bi-lingual, enabling them to more quickly communicate with limited-English speakers. The fire services personnel certainly reflect the diversity of our community. Four of the new recruits were assigned to Mason District fire stations. As the program ran a little long, one of the new firefighters noted that it was past his bedtime. He was assigned to a shift that began the next morning at 7 a.m. in Annandale. I suspect that, in all the excitement of graduation, he probably didn’t sleep much that night. Congratulations to all of our new firefighters and paramedics. They are joining the best trained and best equipped fire and rescue service in the nation!
The unprecedented Mason District Democratic Primary campaign was spirited, to say the least. I was gratified with the results of last Tuesday’s election, and I look forward to the campaign for the general election in November. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as Mason District Supervisor, and I deeply appreciate the confidence and support of so many Mason District voters.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]