From my first breath at Virginia Hospital Center to walking across DAR Constitution Hall for high school graduation, Arlington has been my home since birth. Despite the county’s growing hype around millennials, 18.5% of Arlington’s total population is 18 years or younger. That’s over 40,000 children, 27,000 of which are enrolled across Arlington’s nearly three dozen public K-12 schools.
There’s no complicated way to go around it: it has been a fantastic privilege to grow up in Arlington and I am not alone in this thought. Along with many of my friends and classmates, I was born here. I attended a private daycare, spent many of my childhood days swinging at the Harrison Street playground and went to preschool at The Children’s School in Westover.
When I was ready to attend kindergarten, my parents faced no qualms about a waitlist for a private education. Arlington’s public schools are as great as they come. Even a quick glance at national school rankings makes it clear why so many parents choose to live in Arlington and commute elsewhere for work.
I lived the first ten years of my life in Westover in a quaint two-bedroom home. I shared my bedroom with my little sister and attended McKinley Elementary School, where I received a great education. When my youngest sister was born, we decided it was time to move. We moved when I was in the fifth grade to a four-bedroom house in the Williamsburg neighborhood, which meant that I would have to attend a different middle school than all of my peers.
At eleven years old, that’s about as devastating as it comes. Yet looking back, I simply moved from a great neighborhood to another great neighborhood. In both middle school and high school there was never a day where there wasn’t something to do, whether in the county or across the river in the nation’s capital.
Now I’m 20 years old and attend college at Boston University. My high school friends are all over the map, some up north like me and many others still here in Virginia. However we’ve all looked back fondly at our time growing up in Arlington and come to the realization that we’ve all had it very, very good.
“I’ve had a chance now to see a little bit more of the country and I realize how lucky and privileged I’ve been with just about every aspect of my upbringing here,” said Maddie Donley, a rising junior at the University of Virginia. “People always say that they want to escape [Arlington], but I’ve come to see it as a great networking resource and an incredible place to call home.”
Kimberly Estoque, a 20 year old student at George Mason, said Arlington’s growth and prosperity helped to drive and motivate her as she transitioned to adulthood.
“Growing up here gave me a sense of what true innovation is, it’s truly a place that is always thriving to grow in order to make the community better,” she said.
Though a major component of it, public school attendance alone does not define the Arlington born-and-raised experience. Paulie Jesukiewicz is a student at High Point University who grew up in Arlington but attended Bishop Ireton High School, a private school in Alexandria.
“I still hang out with my best friends from kindergarten even though we went to different high schools, but I definitely think the biggest perk of growing up here is the proximity to the city,” said Jesukiewicz. “It’s given me bigger goals in life.”
Across the board, myself included, the true privilege of growing up in Arlington wasn’t completely known until it was finally seen from the outside. Agreeing with this is Rhys Davis, a student at St. John’s College in Maryland, who also grew up here.
“Growing up in Arlington feels like a prototypical suburban experience, until you meet people from other suburban cities in America,” said Davis. “In a university away from Virginia, I’ve learned how to appreciate the good in Arlington and recognize its flaws.”
I don’t think I would be the person I am today had I not grown up in Arlington. I am tremendously thankful for the opportunities and memories this county has presented me (including a fantastic internship writing for this very publication), and I carry it with me every day.
Kalina Newman is a ARLnow.com summer intern. Screen capture (above) via Arlington TV.
Settlement in Jail Death Case — “Relatives of a man who died in the Arlington County jail and their attorney would receive about $1.3 million in exchange for dismissal of…
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers — open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.
In the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village