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Young Republicans to Hand Out Mock Obamacare Flyer Sunday

by Ethan Rothstein | November 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | 2,118 views | No Comments

Mock Obamacare flyer Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans plan to distributeWhen President Barack Obama stumps for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Arlington Sunday, young Republicans will be handing out a mock flyer telling people their health insurance has been terminated.

The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans will be outside Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) Sunday afternoon when Obama plans to campaign with McAuliffe, two days before Election Day (Nov. 5).

The flyer, which has a red, faux-stamp “TERMINATED” at the top, warns that many Americans have had their policies cancelled or made more expensive after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It also reminds potential voters that McAuliffe has supported the healthcare law during his campaign.

Democratic groups dispute some of the claims about health insurance terminations and cost increases.

McAuliffe is the Democrats’ candidate for governor, running against Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.

Yorktown Wins Without Star, W-L Falls in Non-District Game

by Ethan Rothstein | October 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm | 576 views | No Comments

Wakefield logoThe two best high school football teams in the National District played their final non-district regular season games Friday night against Fairfax County powers. Yorktown was without star running back M.J. Stewart but still secured a win, while Washington-Lee was manhandled by Centreville.

Stewart, the senior North Carolina recruit leading the Patriots with 1,266 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, was on the sideline Friday night with a sprained ankle, according to the Washington Post. That didn’t stop the Patriots (7-1, 5-0) from coming back from a double-digit second-half deficit and beating Chantilly (5-3, 2-1), 30-28. Stewart’s backup, Da’Jhuan Short, carried the ball for 90 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the third quarter. The Patriots play this Friday night on the road against Mount Vernon.

Yorktown’s companion atop the National District standings, Washington-Lee, lost its first game since Sept. 12 Friday night, 53-7 against Centreville. Centreville (8-0, 3-0) is the Post’s top-ranked team in Northern Virginia, and it has won all of its games by at least 21 points. The Generals (6-2, 5-0) got their only score in the first quarter on an 89-yard pass play from Sam Appel to Noah Harrington, who caught three balls for 111 yards on the day. The Generals next play on the road at Wakefield Friday night.

Wakefield (2-6, 0-5) continued its late-season swoon Friday night with a 41-7 loss to J.E.B. Stuart (2-6, 1-4). Stuart had previously been winless in the National District, so Friday night’s game looked like a shot for Wakefield to get its first win since its second game of the season. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they couldn’t stop Stuart’s rushing attack, allowing 259 yards on the ground. The Warriors didn’t score at all until a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown. They host the Generals Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

The Bishop O’Connell Knights also couldn’t find their way back in the winner’s column. They took on powerhouse Good Counsel and fell, 35-10. The Knights are now 4-5 and 1-4 in the WCAC. They got their only touchdown of the game on a 52-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by lineman Tylar Thompson. The Knights’ last game of the season is Saturday afternoon at home against Bishop McNamara, which has lost four straight games.

Image via Wakefield Athletics

Local Ultimate Frisbee Teams To Host Youth Clinic at W-L

by Ethan Rothstein | October 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 513 views | No Comments

Ultimate Frisbee clinic (photo courtesy of Scandal)The area’s two premier Ultimate Frisbee teams will host a youth clinic at Washington-Lee High School this Sunday.

Truck Stop, the most competitive men’s club team in the area, and Scandal — a women’s team that has reached the finals in several national competitions the last few years — will host the clinic to educate area youths about the sport.

The clinic runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and costs $5. Participants can register online or pay when they get to the high school. The three-hour clinic will consist of warm-ups, drills, and scrimmages. It’s open to kids from ages 8-20 and all skill levels.

Scandal and Truck Stop, which feature some Arlington residents on their rosters, are using the clinics to “give back to the local Frisbee community and fundraise” for the USA Ultimate National Championships, which are next weekend. Both teams have qualified for the 16-team tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that has grown rapidly in the past 10 years, combines major elements of soccer, football and basketball and has become a fixture on college campuses across the country.

Photo courtesy of Molly Roy

W-L, Yorktown Keep Winning Streaks Alive

by Ethan Rothstein | October 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 697 views | No Comments

Yorktown vs. Washington-Lee on 11-4-11The Washington-Lee and Yorktown High School football teams, after last Friday’s games, are tied for first place in the National District halfway through the season.

Washington-Lee (4-1, 2-0 district) won a statement game Friday night against Falls Church (3-2, 0-2), which had been 3-1 with its only loss coming to Yorktown last week. The Generals won 21-14, holding on after leaping out to a 13-0 lead. Duquay Harris, the running back that’s been leading the Generals this season, scored a touchdown, and quarterback Sam Appel threw for two scores. The Generals have won three straight games and seek their fourth consecutive win this Friday at Mount Vernon.

At the same time, Yorktown was riding its star running back, senior North Carolina commit M.J. Stewart, to its third-straight win. Stewart carried the ball 16 times for 230 yards — a ridiculous 14.4 yards per carry — and four touchdowns to lead the Patriots (4-1, 2-0) to a 42-7 victory over J.E.B. Stuart (0-5, 0-2). The Patriots scored all of their points in the first half, and didn’t allow Stewart to score a point until the fourth quarter, when the game had essentially been decided. Yorktown’s next game will be Friday at home against Hayfield.

After starting the season 2-0, Wakefield (2-3, 0-2) dropped its third consecutive game Friday night, 50-13 against Hayfield (1-4, 1-1). The Warriors fell behind 50-0 before scoring a pair of garbage-time touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one by Andrew Tuttle and another by Chris Robertson. Wakefield will try to get back on the winning track this Friday on the road against Falls Church.

Bishop O’Connell (4-3, 1-2), had perhaps the toughest matchup in the entire D.C. area, going on the road to Hyattsville, Md. to take on No. 1-ranked Dematha. The Knights lost to the Stags (6-1, 3-0), 49-14. The teams were tied at the end of the first quarter and O’Connell had a brief 14-7 lead, but DeMatha, in the end, was simply too much for the Knights, scoring 42 unanswered points to clinch the victory. The Knights will try to snap their two-game losing streak this Saturday at Gonzaga.

File photo

Yorktown, W-L Win Nail-Biters While Wakefield, O’Connell Fall

by Ethan Rothstein | September 30, 2013 at 10:30 am | 496 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School logoThe football teams of Yorktown and Washington-Lee high schools each pushed their 2013 record to 3-1 with narrow victories last Friday night, while Wakefield lost its second straight game and Bishop O’Connell was defeated Saturday afternoon.

Yorktown (3-1) delivered National District foe Falls Church (3-1) its first loss of the year, a huge victory for potential playoff seeding in November. The Patriots jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead with two touchdowns from senior running back M.J. Stewart, an held on to win, 17-14, despite allowing Falls Church a fourth quarter touchdown. Yorktown will trying to push its record to 4-1 next Friday night on the road against J.E.B. Stuart.

Washington-Lee (3-1) was in serious peril of dropping its second game of the season to Hayfield (0-4), but scored 23 second-half points to storm back for a 23-21 victory. The Generals got a game-winning, late fourth-quarter touchdown from running back Daquay Harris, who is having a breakout year as a junior. Next week they host Falls Church to try to keep pace with the Patriots.

After starting the season with back-to-back victories, Wakefield (2-2) lost for the second straight week Friday night, 45-14 at home against Edison (2-2). The Warriors allowed 32 unanswered points before finally crossing the plane of the end zone with a running score by junior quarterback Riley Wilson. The Warriors will try to get back on the winning track this Friday at home against Hayfield.

Bishop O’Connell (4-2) also dropped its game this week, 17-7 to St. John’s. The Knights and the Cadets were tied, 7-7 at halftime after Knights quarterback Michael Galvan hit George Hawkins for an 11-yard touchdown pass, but St. John’s pulled ahead in the second half and O’Connell couldn’t come back. The Knights face a major challenge this Saturday, facing DeMatha (5-1), the Washington Post’s top-ranked team in the D.C. area.

Yorktown, W-L, Wakefield at 2-1 After Friday’s Games

by Ethan Rothstein | September 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm | 417 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School running back M.J. Stewart (photo by Dan Friedell)Yorktown and Washington-Lee’s football teams won their first National District games Friday night — against Edison and J.E.B. Stuart respectively — while Wakefield dropped its first game of the season.

Yorktown beat up on Edison, 44-18, to get back in the win column a week after losing its first regular-season game in years. Senior star running back M.J. Stewart rushed 22 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns, raising his season total to 621 yards in three games. Quarterback Will Roebuck threw just three incomplete passes and ran in a score of his own. The Patriots got past an unexpected speed bump and put their foot on the gas starting National District play. The Patriots will host 3-0 Falls Church Friday night.

Washington-Lee also bounced back from its first loss of the season with a district win, sneaking by Stuart, 15-10. Running back Daquay Harris ran for 202 yards and a touchdown while the Generals defense smothered the Generals’ running backs. The Generals, like the Patriots, are now 2-1 and 1-0 in the National District, and should go 3-1 next week when they visit 0-3 Hayfield.

Wakefield, after an 0-10 2012 season, suffered its first loss of 2013, losing 22-7 to Thomas Jefferson. The loss drops the Warriors to 2-1 after previous wins against Marshall and George Mason. The Warriors’s defense bended to allow Jefferson’s Nathan Kim to run for 270 yards, the third most in the D.C. area, and two touchdowns. Wakefield’s first home game against a National District team will be Friday night against Edison.

Bishop O’Connell thumped WCAC foe Archbishop Carroll, 42-6, in the Knights’ conference opener Saturday afternoon. The Knights moved to 4-1, putting more distance between themselves and their season-opening loss to McDonogh. Quarterback Michael Galvan threw just one incomplete pass while also leading the Knights in rushing with 37 yards and three touchdowns. The Knights next play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on the road against St. John’s.

File photo

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 16, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,300 views | No Comments

Salsa dancing at Crystal City's Sip and Salsa event on Sunday

Arlington Tests ‘Drug Court’ — Arlington is testing out a “drug court,” a program that allows non-violent felons with drug addictions to have their offenses expunged if they successfully break their addiction and stay away from crime. The program is closely overseen by a circuit court judge. [Sun Gazette]

W-L Sets Ambitious AP-IB Goal — Washington-Lee High School has set an “exceptionally ambitious” goal of every graduating senior next spring having taken at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate class. [Washington Post]

Arlington Cyclist Struck in Vienna — An Arlington bicyclist on the W&OD Trail was struck by a car in Vienna on Friday evening. The man did not appear to be seriously injured. [FABB Blog]

Morning Poll: Should Washington-Lee HS Be Renamed?

by ARLnow.com | August 13, 2013 at 8:35 am | 4,518 views | No Comments

Washington-Lee High SchoolA speaker at last week’s Arlington School Board meeting wants the school system to remove “Lee” from Washington-Lee High School.

Virginia Square resident John Schachter said Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general during the Civil War, deserves “no positive recognition for his appalling record [of] treason, racism, hatred and dishonor,” according to the Sun Gazette.

Despite his impassioned plea, School Board members seemed unmoved and even the head of the Arlington branch of the NAACP was “at best ambivalent” about the idea — preferring to stay “focused on dealing with current issues, not reopening old ones,” the Sun Gazette reported.

Do you think Lee’s name should be removed from the school?

 

High School Students Required to Take Online Classes

by Ethan Rothstein | August 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm | 2,557 views | No Comments

High School students in a computer labStarting this year, incoming freshmen in Virginia high schools will need to take at least one class online in order to graduate, as a result of a law passed by the General Assembly last spring.

Arlington Public Schools has been offering online classes for some time now — last year, APS offered 25 classes, mostly foreign languages like Arabic, Chinese and Japanese — but the portfolio of offerings will need to greatly expand to accommodate the new state law.

With less than a month to go until the school year, APS Director of Instructional and Innovative Techonologies Pat Teske said the decisions on which classes to offer online and how many are still being made.

“We’re looking at programs we want to offer to build a program,” Teske said. “We’re looking at it as more than just a graduation requirement.”

About 400 students took online classes last year, Teske said, many of whom took classes not in APS’ portfolio, but offered by Northern Virginia Community College and other institutions. The state Department of Education maintains a list of approved online educators, but before APS allows students to take any classes, school staff vets the educator for county standards.

While the rollout of the state policy takes place, some may be questioning whether forcing students to take an online class is a good idea. Brittany O’Grady, a recent graduate of Washington-Lee High School, took English 12 online as a way to get college credit simultaneously.

“I would have learned better in a classroom environment,” O’Grady said in an email. “I really enjoy making connections with people. The material becomes more engaging. Looking at a computer screen and learning the confusing material on my own was absolutely exhausting and not fun. I just wanted to get the class over with.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell argued when pushing for the law that it prepares high school students for the modern marketplace. Teske said so much business is done online — and so many colleges offer and/or require online classes — that the requirement is a logical one. The program will be called Virtual@APS, Teske said, and she and her staff have been working long hours trying to put it in place.

“The way of the business world today, you do online collaborations, online projects,” Teske said. “You have to be an effective online learner and collaborator… You can’t go to college today without taking many online classes. There are online degrees as well. We’re really giving our kids the skills they need to be productive beyond the 12th grade.”

Delaying College, W-L Grad Prepares For Year of Service in Brazil

by ARLnow.com | August 6, 2013 at 11:45 am | 1,770 views | No Comments

This article was written by Maddy Berner

Libby Parker-Simkin (courtesy photo)At the end of this summer, hundreds of graduates will leave Arlington and embark on a college experience of some kind. But Libby Parker-Simkin won’t be one of them.

“I was looking at choosing colleges and I wasn’t sure of about that level of intensity,” she said. “I felt like I needed more time to figure that out.”

This fall, Parker-Simkin will begin a year-long journey with Global Citizen Year, a gap-year program that allows students to do service work in a developing country before college. Parker-Simkin will spend what would be her freshman year of college in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, in the city of Florianópolis. The recent Washington-Lee graduate has already started a blog about her experiences.

She writes in her first blog post: “After reading a friend’s Global Citizen Year blog posts over the course of his term, I decided to apply to the program. It seemed like a perfect intersection of self-discovery, adventure, and service. I am excited to be going to the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil.”

Global Citizen Year is a non-profit organization that aims to create a different kind of educational pathway for its recruits. The program selects a diverse group of high school graduates and sends them to communities in Africa and Latin America. Through their own immersion and hands-on training, the students help the communities’ education efforts, as well as gain their own entrepreneurial experience and self-awareness.

In 2008, founder Abby Falik pitched the idea for the program to a Harvard Business School startup competition. A year later, the program launched with 11 participants. In just four years, Global Citizen Year has grown to include more than 200 alumni.

And in a year, when she finishes the program and heads off to college (school as yet undetermined), Parker-Simkin will be one of those alumni.

Parker-Simkin said she initially chose the GCY program because of its service- and community-oriented agenda, something she’s used to. In Arlington, she volunteered at the Central Library and Arlington Food Assistance Program.

“I like that it’s not just sending kids to go fix problems,” she said. “I think it’s good that it’s very community-based.”

After a week of training in California later this month, Parker-Simkin will head to Florianópolis and stay with a host family. She said she’s never traveled extensively before, and is excited about the new experiences and culture that await her. She said she’s been learning Portugese all summer, and can’t wait to further her knowledge of it.

But mostly, she’s thrilled about her upcoming service work and helping those in her new Brazilian community.

“It’s going to be exciting to do something really big,” she said.

Photo courtesy Libby Parker-Simkin

Countdown to High School Football Kickoff

by Ethan Rothstein | August 6, 2013 at 10:45 am | 811 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School football player (file photo)The summer is almost over, and with the changing of the seasons will come the unofficial start of the fall: football season.

Fall practices for Arlington’s high school football teams began Monday, officially ending the summer for fall sports athletes. In about three weeks (August 29), defending National District champs Yorktown will open play. One month from today — Sept. 6 — will be the opening night of the season for Washington-Lee and Wakefield.

Those who want to get the chance to see one of the best football teams in the country should head to Bishop O’Connell on Oct. 26 to watch the team play Maryland’s Good Counsel. The date many in Arlington will want to circle on their calendars will be Nov. 8, the last game of the regular season, when Washington-Lee takes on Yorktown.

Below are the football schedules for each of the Arlington high schools.

Wakefield
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: Home vs. Marshall
Sept. 12: Home vs. George Mason
Sept. 20: Away vs. Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 27: Home vs. Edison
Oct. 4: Home vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 11: Away vs. Falls Church
Oct. 18: Away vs. Yorktown
Oct. 25: Away vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Nov. 1: Home vs. Washington-Lee
Nov. 8: Away vs. Mt. Vernon

Washington-Lee
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: Away vs. McLean
Sept. 12: Home vs. South Lakes
Sept. 20: Home vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Sept. 27: Away vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 4: Home vs. Falls Church
Oct. 11: Away vs. Mt. Vernon
Oct. 18: Home vs. Edison
Oct. 25: Home vs. Centreville
Nov. 1: Away vs. Wakefield
Nov. 8: Away vs. Yorktown

Yorktown
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 29: Home vs. Coolidge
Sept. 6: Away vs. Langley
Sept. 20: Away vs. Edison
Sept. 27: Home vs. Falls Church
Oct. 4: Away vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Oct. 11: Home vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 18: Home vs. Wakefield
Oct. 25: Home vs. Chantilly
Nov. 1: Away vs. Mt. Vernon
Nov. 8: Home vs. Washington-Lee

Bishop O’Connell
All games at 2:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Away vs. McDonogh
Aug. 31: Home vs. Paul VI
Sept. 7: Away vs. Bishop Ireton
Sept. 13: Away vs. St. Christopher’s
Sept. 21: Home vs. Archbishop Carroll
Sept. 28: Away vs. St. John’s
Oct. 5: Away vs. DeMatha (2:30 p.m.)
Oct. 12: Home vs. Gonzaga
Oct. 26: Home vs. Good Counsel
Nov. 2: Home vs. Bishop McNamara

League Shakeup To Impact Arlington Schools

by Ethan Rothstein | July 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm | 1,656 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School football player (file photo)

This article was co-written by Audrey Batcheller

As fall sports season approaches for Arlington’s high schools, varsity athletes must adjust to the new Virginia High School League realignment and reclassification for post-season competition.

The athletic departments of Arlington schools have been aware that this shakeup was coming, but now that the plan is finalized and the 2013-14 school year is quickly approaching, many are wondering what exactly this means for their teams.

Virginia high schools had previously been organized by districts that were grouped by proximity. These districts were then classified based on enrollment size. The highly populated schools were in Group AAA, schools with average populations were in Group AA, and the smallest schools were in Group A. All three Arlington high schools were members of the AAA National District of the Northern Region.

While the National District is staying intact for regular season play, the playoff system is getting a major overhaul. The three statewide groups are being split into six, the smallest schools in Group 1A and the biggest in Group 6A.

Each group will crown its own state champion in each sport, except lacrosse, which will now crown two state championships as opposed to the one, unified championship given out since it became a VHSL-sanctioned sport in 2006.

Washington-Lee and Yorktown will continue to play the state’s biggest schools in Group 6A and will be joining National District rival Hayfield as part of Conference 6. Wakefield, with several hundred fewer students, will be in Conference 13 with the other local Group 5A schools.

“The reclassification offers those schools with a smaller student enrollment a fair shot at playing similar sized schools,” Noel Deskins, the Director of Student Activities at Wakefield High School, said in an email.

Bishop O’Connell High School is not affected by the reclassification because it is not a member of the VHSL. O’Connell competes against the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

Previously, the regular season was followed by a three-round, single elimination district playoff, where teams would compete against schools within their district for the title of district champions. The top four teams from each district then advanced to a Regional tournament, where the top two teams would advance to an eight team state championship.

Now, with the introduction of the conferences a new playoff system has developed. The playoffs start off similarly to the previous procedure, but schools will now be competing to be conference champions. After the conference playoffs have concluded, only the top two teams will advance to the regional tournament and the state tournament now will consist of only four teams.

Football is the only exception; the conference playoffs are bypassed and the top 16 teams will go straight into regional playoffs. Wakefield, which ended last season winless, will no longer play in the Northern Region with Yorktown and Washington-Lee — renamed the 6A North Region — instead, they will be in the 5A North Region.

Football is the sport perhaps least affected by the reclassification. Because teams can only play just one game a week, they were already divided into six divisions for state tournaments. Last year, Yorktown went undefeated until it fell to Stone Bridge in Ashburn in the Northern Region championship.

All three high schools will match up against each other and the rest of the National District during the regular season in an effort to maintain rivalry games.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | July 15, 2013 at 8:50 am | 2,475 views | No Comments

Shirlington Rainbow (Flickr pool photo by Christopher Skillman)

Arlington Mill Community Center Modifications Approved — The County Board approved modifications to the Arlington Mill Community Center project that are being called safety and utility upgrades. The county will use already approved project reserve funds for improvements such as parking garage security doors, an in-building wireless system antenna to aid first responder communication and a revised design for the intersection at 9th Street S. and Arlington Mill Drive. As reported last week, a Pan American Bakery and Café will open in the structure. Construction is on track to finish by early August, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 28. [Arlington County]

Arlington Receives Funding to Fight Childhood Obesity — The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has granted more than $36,000 to the county to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy living. This is the second year of a two-year grant. The money will help continue to fund community gardens, healthy school vending machine options and active recess. [Arlington County]

APS Hiring Hundreds of Staff Members –  More than 260 full time and part time employees have been hired ahead of the Arlington Public Schools 2013-2014 year. That’s about two-thirds of the more than 350 open slots APS aims to fill. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of the school year. [Sun Gazette]

Alexandria Approves BRT Station Design — Alexandria approved the design for its Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway stations. The seven stations include real-time bus arrival displays and will cost about $200,000 apiece. Construction of the bus dedicated lanes in the middle of Route 1 began in July 2012 and is expected to finish late this year, with the line becoming operational early next year. The BRT will eventually cover a five mile stretch to connect the Braddock Road Metro station with the Pentagon City metro station. The Arlington portion of the line is expected to open in summer or fall of 2014. [Del Ray Patch]

Father of Deceased Skateboarder Found Dead — Friends and family of 18-year-old John Malvar — a Washington-Lee High School student who died following a skateboarding accident — were supposed to gather at a memorial service for the teen on Saturday, but his father never showed up. Several friends visited the man’s apartment and had a maintenance man unlock the door, where they found George Malvar dead on his bed of natural causes. After learning of George Malvar’s death, the friends and family decided to continue on with the memorial service for his son. [Washington Post]

Snake Causes Power Outage — More than 10,000 Arlington and Alexandria residents experienced a power outage on Saturday night and Dominion says it was caused by a snake. The reptile apparently slithered into some electrical equipment and knocked out electricity at a substation on Four Mile Run. Power was restored by Sunday morning. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Christopher Skillman

Washington-Lee Community Holds Vigil for Deceased Student

by Katie Pyzyk | June 6, 2013 at 10:15 am | 3,045 views | No Comments

Hundreds gathered on the lawn at Washington-Lee High School on Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to remember John Malvar, who died in a skateboarding accident on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old had been holding on to a truck while skateboarding, but fell and hit his head. He died from injuries sustained during that fall, which included significant head trauma and cardiac arrest.

At the student organized vigil, tables were set up around the perimeter with candles and ribbons for attendees. Students cried, hugged and comforted each other, while others passed around water jugs for donations to cover the family’s expenses. Some also laid items — such as flowers and skateboards — at a makeshift memorial along the stage.

As attendees passed the flames from candle to candle at the vigil, members of the school’s choir sang “Lean on Me.” Speakers focused on John as a skateboarding enthusiast, member of the swim team and overall kind individual. Speaker after speaker noted Malvar’s positive attitude and frequent encouragement of others.

“In this time of sadness and grief, it is important to remember that John was always the kind of person who was smiling and looking for the best in life no matter the circumstances,” said student Daniel Sharp, Jr.

Malvar was in Rob Summers’ anthropology class this year, and clearly left his mark on his teacher.

“I used to call John, ‘Big John.’ It wasn’t because of his stature, it was because of his heart. You never heard John saying anything negative or bad about a person, about the day, about what we were trying to learn. John had the most unique attitude of positivity,” said Summers. “John had that ear to ear grin and those eyes that always looked at you and told you no matter what was going on, there was another way to look at it.”

Similar to nearly all the other speakers, student Nicolas Suarez choked up while at the podium. He spoke of the times spent skateboarding and swimming with his good friend, and the enormous impact Malvar had on his life.

“I’m sure we can all say he was truly one of a kind. I can genuinely say that John was one of the most honest and caring souls I’ve ever met,” said Suarez. “He taught me so much about perseverance, honesty and most importantly above all, integrity. I think it’s safe to say that John embodied all aspects of what integrity means. John was a good friend of mine. His footprints on my life will forever guide me in the right direction.”

Students Organize Candlelight Vigil for Deceased W-L Classmate

by Katie Pyzyk | June 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm | 3,373 views | No Comments

John Malvar (photo via Instagram)(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Students at Washington-Lee High School have joined together to organize a candlelight vigil for classmate John Malvar, who was killed in a skateboarding accident yesterday (Tuesday).

18-year-old Malvar had been skateboarding while holding on to the back of a truck driven by a 17-year-old friend. He sustained significant head trauma and went into cardiac arrest after falling to the ground.

The vigil will take place tonight at 8:30 on the Quincy Street side of school, in the green space near the new softball field, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. Students organized the vigil and sat down with the school’s principal this morning to finalize details. Attendees are encouraged to walk or carpool due to lack of parking for all the people expected to attend.

According to Washington-Lee PTA President Kathi Driggs, as of 6:30 a.m. more than 700 students had signed up to attend the vigil. Attendees have been asked to wear black to the ceremony. Driggs also said that donations for the family are being accepted at the school.

Washington-Lee High School Principal Gregg Robertson issued the following statement today:

“Yesterday, Washington-Lee lost an incredible young man. I know things like that are often said of individuals that pass away; however for John, it could not be a truer statement. I will never see a brighter smile than that of John Malvar. He was thrilled last week when he received his perfect attendance award. I think that is very telling of his determination and dedication to himself and others. I’m very proud of the Washington-Lee community during this difficult time. Students in particular are coming together to celebrate John’s life and the contributions he made to his fellow classmates and to our school. In the coming days and weeks, all of us will remember John’s life in many ways. John will always remain close to our hearts and be remembered for the caring, outstanding young man he was.”

Malvar was supposed to graduate later this month. Right now, it’s unclear whether there will be any further vigils or a special recognition of Malvar at the graduation ceremony.

“I think the students, staff and administrators are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened,” said Bellavia.

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