This article was written by Audrey Batcheller
Whether they’ve spent the past 18 years in the county or have just been around for high school, these young adults have unique perspectives on life in Arlington.
Devon Brown, a lifelong Arlingtonian, will be attending Wake Forest University this year and has mixed feelings about leaving Arlington.
“It’s been really easy to get involved in the community here,” said Brown, who was a member of the Teen Network Board. Aside from her time involved in the community, however, Brown does complain that there’s not much to do in Arlington for high school students.
“Recently I’ve felt like the only option when going out with friends to do something is getting something to eat,” said Brown.
Nicole Collantes, an upcoming Radford University freshman, disagrees with Brown on that point.
“It’s their own fault if people are bored,” she said. “Around Arlington, there are so many places to go to and shop. Also, there’s always an art or music festival going on if you know where to look. And even if people don’t think there’s anything to do around here, the metro takes you all around D.C., where there’s even more things to do.”
Alec Schadelbauer, who will be a freshman at Virginia Tech, said he stayed active in Arlington through volunteerism.
“There are so many ways to get involved in the community through leadership and service,” said Schadelbauer. “The Leadership Arlington Youth Program was one of the best experiences of my life so far.”
The county’s proximity to Washington, D.C., has been the best part of the Arlington experience to many students. Justin Snow and Maggie Burgos, who will be attending George Mason University and Colby College in Maine respectively, have taken advantage of living near the political hub of the country.
“Growing up near D.C. has helped me have opportunities to see government happen,” said Burgos, who went to President Obama’s first inauguration and hopes to work on Capitol Hill.
Snow interned on Capitol Hill and said he and other local high school students “[have] access to a lot of things that other [areas] don’t.”
As privileged as all its graduates feel about being able to live in Arlington, a few common criticisms arose among the students: the traffic, the dreaded “Arlington Bubble,” and the weather.
Gondola From Rosslyn to Georgetown? — The Georgetown Business Improvement District has floated the idea of running a gondola from Georgetown to Rosslyn in order to make it easier Metro riders to shop and dine in the D.C. neighborhood. Georgetown businesses are worried about competition from other, more trendy neighborhoods. [Washington Post]
Job Fair Today — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is holding a job fair for his Eighth District constituents this morning. The job fair is taking place from 9:00 a.m. to noon at T.C. Williams High School (3330 King Street) in Alexandria. [Rep. Jim Moran]
Award for Half-Cab Half-Cop Car — A combination police car / taxi cab, created by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) in partnership with Arlington County Police and Red Top Cab, has been honored with the Virginia Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for its role in deterring impaired driving. [WRAP]
High School Graduation Recap — The Sun Gazette has published recaps of each of the three Arlington public high school graduation ceremonies last week. According to the paper, Washington-Lee grads were “encouraged to reach for the stars, stay true to beliefs;” Yorktown grads were “urged to embrace challenges, take setbacks in strides;” and Wakefield grads were “urged to build on the past to create the future.”
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
An early release is planned for Arlington’s high schools today, the start of students’ summer breaks. An early release will be held tomorrow (Thursday) for middle school students and on Friday for elementary school students, the end of their respective school years.
Commencement ceremonies will be held for APS high schools on Thursday, at DAR Constitution Hall in the District. The graduation for Washington-Lee will be held at 10:00 a.m., Yorktown at 3:00 p.m. and Wakefield at 8:00 p.m. Each ceremony will be broadcast live on the APS website, on Comcast channel 70 and Verizon FiOS channel 41.
Bishop O’Connell, a private Catholic high school in Arlington, has already held its 2013 graduation ceremony.
A listing of other APS graduation events, including middle school graduations, is available here.
Board Approves New Hotel — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a new 168-room hotel on the former Colony House furniture site at 1700 Lee Highway. As part of the site plan approval, developer B.F. Saul agreed to make a $510,000 contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, $62,546 to the utility undergrounding fund, $75,000 to the public art fund and $70,000 to pay for a widened sidewalk on a portion of N. Quinn Street. [Arlington County]
Diener Murder Case In-Depth — Writer Kris Coronado takes an in-depth look at how Arlington County police cracked the Carl Diener murder case, including how a hunch and DNA evidence played a pivotal role, and how one of the suspects rapped about the case against him. [Arlington Magazine]
County Floodplain Maps Updated — Arlington County has updated its floodplain maps for the first time since 1982. The new maps “reflect the best available data on flood risks,” removing 230 land parcels from the 100-year floodplain while adding 81 parcels. [Arlington County]
Airfare Drops at DCA — The average roundtrip airfare at Reagan National Airport was $370 in 2012. That’s down 4.6 percent from a year prior and down 20.1 percent compared to the year 2000. [Sun Gazette]
AHC Seniors Headed to College — All 11 high school seniors in the AHC Inc. Teen Program graduated this year and are going to college. “Many are the first in their family to achieve this milestone,” said Celia Slater, communications director for the Arlington-based affordable housing developer. “Together, the group earned more than $20,000 in scholarships”. The students’ families are from 9 different countries. [AHC Inc.]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Va. Budget Standoff — There’s a standoff in Richmond as the 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats in the state Senate remain evenly divided over the state’s two-year budget. Democrats say their opposition stems from the budget’s inadequate funding for public education, transportation and health care. Republicans, meanwhile, are accusing Democrats of obstructionism and “Washingtonian behavior.” The budget needs at least 21 votes to pass. The last vote was 20-19. [Washington Post, Washington Times]
High School Graduation Date Moved — The graduation date for Arlington public high schools is now Wednesday, June 20. The date was switched from the 21st because the graduation venue, DAR Constitution Hall, was not available that day. The last day of school was also moved back a day, to Tuesday, June 19. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington Au Pair Recognized — An au pair from Arlington has been named the winner of the national ‘Ultimate Au Pair’ contest. AuPairCare, an agency that places international au pairs with host families in the U.S., says they selected Mariana Moujan, of Buenos Aires, as the Ultimate Au Pair “for her compassion and dedication to the Edwards family in Arlington, Virginia.”
Newly-minted high school graduate Rachel Wilburn was a two-time high school dropout with a kid and another on the way when she entered the Langston High School Continuation Program. This morning, she was given the honor of addressing about 150 fellow Langston and Arlington Mill high school continuation graduates at the Washington-Lee auditorium.
“Despite everything that has come our way, there is a voice in our unconscious minds that said ‘I will not give up on myself,’” she said. “I thank God for giving us the strength to make it through this.”
Wilburn credited her parents, her husband and her parents-in-law with helping her to find Langston and make it through the teen parenting program. With their support, she even achieved perfect attendance in her third trimester.
Wilburn said she now plans to attend college to study business and human resource, so that she can give her kids “the best possible future.”
For Arlington Mill graduate Joel Diaz, who turned 21 today, going back to high school in his 20s was “embarrassing.” But, he said, he was able to overcome that initial trepidation and thrive.
“After I began going to Arlington Mill… I realized that a lot of us, we’re just different. We all have different stories, we’re all on different paths, we all have different goals,” he said. “Going through this has made me a stronger person. Our paths do not have to define our future.”
“I have been waiting for this day so long,” Diaz continued. “I hope you realize that this is not the end but the beginning.”
More photos, after the jump. (more…)