Kristopher Brennan Lee, Stephanie Marenco, Wade Rice, Amanda Thomas and Caitlin Thomas are future leaders. To recognize their outstanding high school achievements, the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce awarded each of the students a 2005 Mount Vernon-Lee Education Partnership Scholarship. All of the students attended the Excellence in Education Dinner on Monday at Cedar Knoll Inn.
Lee and Caitlin Thomas are graduating from Hayfield Secondary School and will attend Virginia Tech; Marenco is from Mount Vernon High School and will attend Marymount University. West Potomac students Rice and Amanda Thomas will attend Neumann College and University of Denver respectively.
Also in attendance was Brad Center and Dan Storck, Fairfax County Public School board members from Lee District and Mount Vernon District respectively. Each spoke briefly, Center, highlighting an email that he had recently received. The sender of the email was critical of some of the School Board’s actions. Center said that he was prepared to send him a “canned” response, and then he paused. He paused because he wanted more time to reflect on some of the issues the sender addressed — some of which were legitimate.
“I didn’t want to respond with facts and figures,” Center said. “Fairfax County school system is not perfect, but it’s about individuals succeeding. Here are five students who are succeeding and I want to recognize the accomplishment of those students.”
Storck also addressed the students, saying, “Each of you have a strong interest in business. You have the opportunity to reach your potential.”
Storck was recognizing the fact that Lee and Rice participated as Future Business Leaders of America; Lee and Marenco were members of the National Business Honor Society; and Amanda Thomas and Caitlin Thomas both were involved with DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America).
Storck went on to talk of his entrepreneurial spirit, saying how 10 years after starting his own business, he’s still wondering when he’s going to get out of start-up mode.
“You have been in start-up mode for 12 years, and will probably be in start-up mode for another four years,” Storck said to the students. “You need to focus on the investment you’re making. Your success is determined by the success and ability of the people who are attracted to you. Take advantage of the investments people are willing to make in you. It’s the beginning of a new beginning.”