Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Graduation from high school is one of those noteworthy life events that marks a significant transition from one phase of life to the next. Last week’s graduation ceremonies for Annandale, Falls Church, and Justice High Schools celebrated the hard work of nearly 1,500 seniors, many of whom were the first in their family to graduate high school. At Justice High School’s first commencement (since the school’s name was changed last year), 313 of the approximately 434 graduates rose to their feet when principal Maria Eck announced that they were the first in their families to attend college. The Eagle Bank Arena erupted in lengthy cheers at that announcement, and again when she confirmed that the Class of 2019 had received more than five million dollars in scholarship assistance this year.

The celebrated diversity of Fairfax County was reflected in the simple announcement of each student’s name as they crossed the stage to receive a diploma from their principal. If “all the world’s a stage,” a la Shakespeare, then last week’s graduations had all the world on the stage. Regardless of background, the graduates still were kids at heart. No backflips this time, but lots of camaraderie and high fives, a little nervousness, and broad smiles were the order of the day. Congratulations to all the graduates, and to their support teams — parents and guardians, families, and teachers alike!

Segueing from high school seniors to senior citizens, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads (GHBC) has provided as outstanding range of services for senior citizens in a continuum of care facility that includes independent living, assisted living, and nursing home services. A driving force behind GHBC, and its sister facility, Goodwin House Alexandria, has been the 17-year leadership of Kathleen Anderson as Chief Executive Officer. Kathleen announced her retirement earlier this year, and will be remembered for her passion for the field of aging services, her grace and good humor, and overseeing the expansion and repositioning of GHBC to continue to serve Northern Virginia residents. Kathleen’s commitment to GHBC residents, its staff, and the entire community is laudable, and she has earned a long and happy retirement.

Spotlight by Starlight, the free summer concert program at Mason District Park and Ossian Hall Park, begins this Saturday, June 15, with Taiwan Cultural Heritage Night, featuring dance and music from the Hai Hua Community Center, at Ossian Hall Park, 7900 Heritage Drive in Annandale (adjacent to Annandale High School). The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or folding chair, and enjoy an hour of live entertainment geared to the whole family.

On Sunday night, June 16, the City of Fairfax Band will kick off the season at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Bench seating is provided, but many concertgoers bring folding chairs to sit in the open “loge” area. The Friends of Mason District Park will serve cake and lemonade prior to the opening performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Concerts are cancelled in the event of inclement weather. Call 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to showtime for updates. The full schedule is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances. See you at the park!


  • Penny Gross

    Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov