(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Summer vacation starts tomorrow for high schoolers in Arlington Public Schools, and that means it’s officially graduation season.
The rest of the county’s schools aren’t far behind; middle schools will let out for the summer next Tuesday (June 19) and elementary school students will have their last day Wednesday (June 20).
Graduation and promotion ceremonies for APS are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, June 14 (today): Comprehensive high schools at DAR Constitution Hall
- 10 a.m. — Washington-Lee
- 2:30 p.m. — Yorktown
- 8 p.m. — Wakefield
Friday, June 15:
- 5 p.m. — H-B Woodlawn Potluck and Graduation Celebration (H-B Woodlawn students receive diplomas from their home schools)
Monday, June 18: Middle school promotion ceremonies, multiple locations
- 8:30 a.m. — Gunston, Williamsburg, Kenmore and Swanson
- 9 a.m. — Jefferson
Tuesday, June 19: Alternative programs in Washington-Lee cafeteria
- 9:30 a.m. — Arlington Community High School (formerly Arlington Mill)
- 1 p.m. — Langston High School Continuation Program
Bishop O’Connell, a Catholic school in Arlington, held its graduation ceremony May 31. Today is the last day of school for non-seniors.
New Directions, an alternative APS program, held its graduation yesterday (June 13) in the Arlington Central Library.
The first day of the 2018-19 school year for all K-12 students in Arlington Public Schools is Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Fedorchaks on Why They Love Arlington — Mark and Stephen Fedorchak — the brothers behind Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern — reveal in a Q&A why they built their lives and restaurant empire in Arlington, and whether they’ll stay. [Washingtonian]
Hula Girl Makes Best Restaurants List — Shirlington’s Hawaiian-influenced restaurant, Hula Girl, made the list of the 30 best restaurants in America, according to Yelp reviewers. The restaurant, whose owner competed on the cooking show “Chopped” last year, came in at #27. [The Daily Meal]
Fire Recruit Graduation — The Arlington County Fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony tonight for more than two dozen fire and EMS recruits. Class members will receive their badges and helmets after being sworn in. The ceremony takes place from 6-8 p.m. at the Founders Hall Auditorium (3351 Fairfax Drive) on the George Mason University campus in Virginia Square.
At a ceremony in Arlington Thursday evening, ten students graduated from La Cocina, a bilingual culinary school for the unemployed or underemployed.
The culinary job training program holds classes for 12 weeks. The students then complete a four week paid internship at different hotels and restaurants.
The majority of students, 85 percent, graduate with a job at a local restaurant or hotel. Employers of program graduates include Washington’s Sfoglina restaurant, National Harbor’s MGM Casino and supermarket chain Wegmans. La Cocina has a partnership with 30 businesses, which take on program graduates.
Current La Cocina students are all Latino immigrants from across Central and South America. The program is hoping to soon expand its student body to include refugees, military veterans, and non-Latino immigrants.
This graduation marks almost 100 program graduates over 11 graduating classes since its inception in 2014. Patricia Funegra, La Cocina’s founder and CEO, was inspired after volunteering in 2012 at DC Central Kitchen, which trains low-income people for cooking careers.
“I just fell in love with the model and how the program was transforming lives, but at the same time I thought, ‘Oh my god Latinos are already in kitchens and they are not receiving this training,” said Funegra.
The graduates receive three certificates degrees after completing the program — in culinary arts workforce development from Northern Virginia Community College, in food safety from the National Restaurant Association, and in food allergy prevention.
Students walked into their graduation ceremony at Ballston’s Mount Olivet Methodist Church to Pharrell’s “Happy” before listening to speeches that touched on the importance of hard work and perseverance.
“It wasn’t easy for you to get here,” said Daniela Hurtado, La Cocina’s program manager. “Each of you had a goal, each of you had a vision, and you gave it your best.”
One graduate, Jose Cordova, originally from Peru, shared his experience at La Cocina during the ceremony.
“Standing up every morning and coming here was hard,” he said. “But we [did not] give excuses and we are not to give it now nor ever.”
For Cordova, who will be working at Crystal City’s Hyatt Regency hotel, the classroom became his home and the professors were like family.
Another graduate, Luisa Gil, who was born in Honduras but immigrated to the United States nine months ago, feels very connected to the other students in the program. She told ARLnow.com that she’s excited to start a new challenge as a Sfoglina chef.
“Everyday I have to learn many, many things. I have to be at the same level as my coworkers, improving my skills and learning or discovering new ingredients and techniques,” Gil said.
The ceremony concluded with a reception of American, Mexican and Peruvian food made by the 12th class in the program. Throughout the program, as food is prepared and graded, it is boxed up and donated to shelters and affordable housing units.
“It’s kind of a circle of sustainability using those resources to feed our neighbors in need,” said Funegra.
Car Fire on 23rd Street N. — A car was engulfed in flames on 23rd Street N. near the Overlee pool last night just before 6:30 p.m. The fire department arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the fire. [Twitter]
Local Tech Firm Benefiting from Trump — Giant Oak, a low-profile data mining firm based in Clarendon, has been awarded nearly $3 million in contracts from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since President Donald Trump took office. Most of the contracts are for “social media data analytics.” [Forbes]
Arlington On-Time Grad Rate Dips — “Arlington Public Schools’ on-time-graduation rate dipped slightly in 2017, remaining roughly on par with the state average, according to figures reported Sept. 27. The school system’s on-time-graduation rate of 90.8 percent was down from 91.1 percent a year before and the lowest since 2012.” [InsideNova]
No ‘Code Red’ Days This Year — Summer is over and the D.C. area got through it with no “code red” and fewer “code orange” low air quality days. “We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the region’s air quality thanks to more than a decade of action and coordination at all levels of government,” said Hans Riemer, chair of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. [MWCOG]
Road Closures for Shirlington Oktoberfest — Campbell Avenue and part of S. Randolph Street in Shirlington will be closed most of the day Saturday for the annual Shirlington Oktoberfest, which runs from noon to 7 p.m. [Arlington County]
County Awarded for Economic Development Efforts — “Arlington Economic Development (AED) has been honored with three Excellence in Economic Development Awards by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The awards were presented at a ceremony earlier this month during the IEDC Annual Conference in Toronto.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Rough Day on the Roads — An already rain-soaked Thursday was made worse after a tree fell across the eastbound lanes of I-66, blocking the highway during the morning rush hour. Later, the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway were closed near the Key Bridge due to a crash. [WJLA, Washington Post]
Arlington Helps Out With Falls Church Graduation — Arlington voluntarily shifted its high school graduation schedule to help Falls Church’s George Mason High School get a graduation ceremony spot at D.A.R. Constitution Hall last month. [InsideNova]
Nearby: Affordable Housing Decline in Alexandria — There was a 90 percent drop in affordable housing units in Alexandria between 2000 and 2017 and the decline is likely to continue without the construction of more dedicated affordable units. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Alamo Drafthouse Coming to Crystal City — An Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be coming to Crystal City to anchor a residential redevelopment by the JBG Smith. The redevelopment will convert the aging office building at 1750 Crystal Drive to a gleaming glass-and-metal residential building while topping it with a six-story addition. Also planned is an as-yet unsigned “specialty grocer” — think: Trader Joe’s or something similar. [Washington Business Journal]
Home Prices Rise in Arlington — “Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. says the median selling price in Arlington County last month was $613,500, up 15 percent from May of 2016. The change was based on 350 closed sales in Arlington in May.” [WTOP]
County Looking for More Tech Grant Recipients — Arlington Economic Development is looking for more tech companies to lure to Arlington with its $1 million “Gazelle Grant” program. AED is seeking another 8-13 companies that are growing by at least 30 percent over a three year period and are willing to commit to at least a three year lease. [Technical.ly DC]
All 15 high school graduates from the pilot year of AHC Inc.’s new college guidance program will progress into higher education.
This year, the seniors applied to 71 schools and were accepted into 54. Together, they received nearly $500,000 in scholarship money, including full rides to Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania. Many of the students are the first members of their family to attend college.
AHC, an Arlington-based affordable housing provider, hosted a celebration Monday night at the Lyon Park Community Center for the graduates, their families and mentors.
The free mentoring program is part of AHC’s resident services program, which began in 1993. The initiative is designed to provide students of all ages with something productive to do in their afternoons.
The program includes after-school activities for elementary school students, tutoring for middle and high school students and now a mentoring program to help high school seniors with the college process.
Each senior is paired with an adult for an entire year. The mentors aid their students with the college process, including financial aid, essays and scholarship applications.
Jasmine Connor began working with her mentor, Marjorie Macieria, in the fall.
“Working with Marjorie was the best. We clicked,” Connor said.
The two met weekly, primarily focusing on scholarship applications, of which Connor has received two: the “We Are the Dream” oratorical scholarship and the Arlington School Administrators Spirit Award. The scholarships will help fund Connor’s ambition to graduate debt-free from Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.
Connor plans to pursue a major in Early Childhood Development with a minor in Special Education. She has been inspired by her own teachers to help students with learning disabilities.
“Just because you have a learning disability, that doesn’t mean anything,” she said. ”I have one and I got two scholarships and I’m going to college.”
Kyle Yapching-Galang began working with his mentor, Carter Vaden, in the seventh grade. Initially, she tutored him in French and then branched out to help him with English. While Vaden did not help Yapching-Galang with his college applications, she has been a part of his school career for six years.
“She’s a really good friend who helps me when I’m struggling or when I’m angsty,” Yapching-Galang said.
Vaden said she has seen Yapching-Galang grown from a shy middle-schooler into a confident adult. Yapching-Galang plans to attend Northern Virginia Community College in the fall.
Zanab Farooq has been attending AHC’s programs since pre-school. Yet, she credits her mentor of the past year, Joseph Maltby, for helping her get into college.
“I don’t think I would’ve gotten into college without him,” Farooq said. “He knew what to do, what not to do and how to stay on top of things.”
Farooq will be attending the University of Mary Washington in the fall, where she hopes to major in Marketing. With various scholarships secured, all she has to pay for is textbooks and a meal plan.
During the celebratory dinner, guest speaker and local Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) said he was proud of the graduates’ achievements.
“You are what we need. You are medicine,” he said. “You are the source of pleasure and accomplishment and hope for everything that ails every community. Your thirst for education and knowledge and the fact that you’ve done it, says so much about you.”
Arlington Public Schools will begin to mark the end of the 2017 school year over the next week with graduation and promotion ceremonies.
Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for the following times and places.
- Arlington Career Center PEP (Friday, June 16, 10 a.m. in the Career Center)
- Stratford (Friday, June 16, 1 p.m. in the H-B Woodlawn auditorium)
- Arlington Career Center GED (Friday, June 16, 7 p.m. in the Washington-Lee High School little theatre)
- New Directions (Monday, June 19, 11 a.m., Arlington Central Library)
- H-B Woodlawn (Tuesday, June 20, 5 p.m., H-B Woodlawn cafeteria)
- Comprehensive high schools (Wednesday, June 21, DAR Constitution Hall – Washington-Lee at 10 a.m., Yorktown at 2 p.m., Wakefield at 8 p.m.)
- Arlington Community High School (Thursday, June 22, 9:30 a.m., Washington-Lee auditorium)
- Langston Continuation Program (Thursday, June 22, 1 p.m., Washington-Lee auditorium)
The last day of school for APS is as follows.
- Tuesday, June 20: High schools
- Thursday, June 22: Middle schools (promotion ceremonies that day)
- Friday, June 23: Elementary schools (a number also have celebrations that day)
The first day of school for the next school year is Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Arlington Public Schools high school students will have an early dismissal today, their last day of the school year.
The last day of school for APS middle school students is Thursday; it’s Friday for elementary students. All schools will have early dismissals on their last day.
(Barcroft elementary ends its school year early — it had its last day yesterday. Private, Arlington-based Bishop O’Connell High School had its last day of school on Friday, June 10.)
The graduation and celebration schedule for Arlington Public Schools is as follows.
- Wednesday: Williamsburg Middle School (8:15 a.m.), Gunston Middle School (8:30 a.m.), Kenmore Middle School (8:30 a.m.), Swanson Middle School (8:30 a.m.), Jefferson Middle School (9 a.m.), H-B Woodlawn (6:15 p.m.)
- Thursday: Washington-Lee High School (10 a.m.), Yorktown High School (3 p.m.), Wakefield High School (8 p.m.)
- Friday: Arlington Mill High School (9:30 a.m.), Langston High School Continuation Program (1 p.m.)
Seven Arlington students graduated Friday from a culinary program that trains individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the skills necessary to get a job in a commercial kitchen.
This was the sixth incarnation of the D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program, which meets locally at the Fairlington Community Center. The graduation ceremony was held in Rosslyn Friday afternoon and the Arlington students were joined by eight other students from the Central Union Mission, a homeless shelter in D.C.
One of the speakers at the ceremony was Napolean Boakye, a graduate of the fifth Arlington class. He first found out about the program while living in the Carpenter’s Shelter in Old Town Alexandria. As a result of the program, he was offered two jobs in the culinary field and he now works with the National Youth Escape Arena in Maryland.
“This job training sponsored by Arlington County positively influenced me and prepared me to change my way of thinking and my life,” said Boakye. “I said to myself, never again. I’m tired of failure. I’ve been there, done that, I’m moving on to success.”
Two students won the program’s Ron Swanson Life Skills Award: Bryce Churchman from the Arlington program and Gary Lucas from the D.C program.
Along with culinary classes, the students also receive self-empowerment classes and get to train outside of the classroom, with each student receiving a month-long internship. Some of the internship sites included the Key Bridge Marriott, Mess Hall in D.C. and Nando’s Peri-Peri.
The graduation rate for Arlington students ranges between 85 to 90 percent and graduates have an 90 percent job placement rate.
Photos by Jackie Friedman
Here’s what the website had to say about Arlington and its No. 1 spot.
“If you’re looking to live near other educated people, this Washington, D.C., suburb is the place to be. A whopping 71.5% of Arlington’s 25-and-older population holds at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage on our list. Arlington also is tops for the number of jobs in management, business, science or arts occupations, as well as for salaries.”
“Arlington, Virginia, stands out in our analysis because 67.1% of its workforce find jobs in management, business, science or the arts. These fields have the most jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher.”
“However, if you move here, be ready to give up a big chunk of your salary for housing. The median rent is one of the highest among the 100 cities in our analysis, and it would take up nearly a third (31.4%) of that paycheck.”
The report analyzed a number of data points, including:
- Percentage of population 25 and older with bachelor’s degree or higher
- Percentage of population ages 20 to 29
- Median earnings of residents 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree
- Jobs in management, business, science and arts occupations
- Rent as a percentage of income
- Unemployment rates