As the mother of three, Christine Morin has more than a passing interest in what Fairfax County Public Schools has to offer. Since moving to the area in 2004, she has become involved in the ongoing effort to build a South County Middle School. Here, she shares a little about her past and what motivated her to become an education activist.
Number of years in the community.
I grew up in Springfield and attended Bush Hill and Garfield Elementary, Key Middle School, and Lee High School. After graduating from college, I spent four years in Charlotte, N.C. then moved back to Burke and then Laurel Hill in 2004. I’m a native and I love it here.
My husband, Topher, and I met at Virginia Tech and have been married for 14 years. We have three boys who attend Silverbrook Elementary Alex, 8; Ben, 6; and Chase, 6. My mom also still lives in Springfield.
I attended the business school at Virginia Tech and graduated with a B.S. in business management and minor in international studies.
Your first job.
I started working at our Greek family restaurant in Old Town Alexandria when I was 8. I went in early with my mom and my dad would pick me up on his way home from work. I answered phones, ran the carryout window, chatted with customers and helped wherever I was needed. I spent every summer working there until my mom sold the restaurant in 1986. It was a great experience that taught me the importance of a strong work ethic and customer service.
I love to cook, read, ride bikes with my kids, walk, travel, spend time with our friends and go to concerts. I'm a foodie at heart, but don't have a lot of free time to eat out. We are huge Virginia Tech football fans and try to visit Blacksburg often during football season. Also, over the last few years, I've become an education activist and have been involved in several local school issues. I have served as the South County Federation Education chair for the last three years.
Favorite local restaurants.
Our go-to restaurant is Mike’s American Grill. Closer to home, Five Guys has the best burgers, Pane e Vino and Dixie Bones are also very good.
Silverbrook Road used to be a quiet two-lane road surrounded by trees; now it’s a bustling Main Street. The growth has brought families, businesses and traffic to the area. The biggest concern for me is completing the South County school pyramid and building a middle school. Safety is also a concern and a police substation is needed for our area since we are currently served by three different police precincts. Local roads are sometimes a problem and need to be maintained; it would also be very beneficial if Silverbrook Road were widened.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a marketing or business executive. I also thought about becoming a writer or restaurant owner.
Community "hidden treasure" you think more people should know about.
One of my favorite places to spend time at is Burke Lake. I grew up fishing there with my dad, riding the train and carousel and buying goodies from the candy store, which is no longer there. The park has so much to offer — bike trails, fishing, picnic and camping areas, paths, kid’s programs, putt-putt and several fond memories.
My family is the most important thing in my life and I hope to guide our children to become good people and citizens with compassion, faith and respect. Some day soon, I’d also like to get back to the gym and get my M.B.A.
How did you get involved with the South County middle school group?
When we bought our new home in 2003, we were shown a neighborhood map that had an elementary, middle and high school on it with dates. I was not familiar with the School Board, CIP, or the budget process and assumed the schools would be ready and built as promised. I learned quickly that was not the case and became involved with the group during the first boundary process in 2005. I started attending meetings that summer and have been going non-stop ever since.
It has been a long road, but we are making tremendous progress and I’m cautiously optimistic that a South County Middle School will become a reality. The middle school group is comprised of a phenomenal group of people who are passionate about this issue and doing what’s right for our kids and the community — it has been a privilege and very fun getting to know all the "activists" from all over South County.
What should people know about this effort?
The South County community is strong and committed to having a stand-alone middle school built, and although we have made great progress over the last few years, our work is not done. The community has come out many times in support of this effort but until the first shovel of dirt is moved, we need to continue to persevere with all levels of government and county staff. Please visit our Web site [www.southcountymiddleschool.org] and get involved.