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Seminary Valley

— At long last I am able to sit down and crank out some news for Seminary Valley … a trip to Italy (Turin) and preparations for high school graduation prevented me from doing this sooner.

This just in from our friend Kassy Benson, who is the go-to person for all news regarding Francis C. Hammond High School. Kassy writes: “My class had its 50-year reunion this past weekend (1962) at the Marriott across from Hammond. It was a terrific event, or weekend of events. On Saturday morning, we chartered a bus to take us on a 3-hour tour around Alexandria, going past all of our old elementary schools, GW where we had our football games, Jefferson (no longer there) where we went to the 8th grade with our GW cohorts, and many of the places which were special to us (including the back parking lot at Hammond). The highlight though, came at the end. We made a surprise stop at the Washington House and I had arranged to have teachers Mickey Moore and Mary Neale Garrett brought out front (neither my classmates on the bus nor the teachers knew we were doing this until the last moment). We sang the Hammond fight song, and the Alma Mater. I don't think there were many dry eyes. Mickey and Mary Neale both started out at Francis Hammond in '56, and then went to T. C. Williams in '71. Mickey became assistant principal, then returned to FCH as principal, retiring as assistant superintendent of schools. They were long time residents on Knox Place just a few blocks from the school before moving to the Washington House.

“Also at our reunion was good friend and fellow grad former Maine Governor Angus King. Angus is now running for the U.S. Senate from Maine to replace Olympia Snowe (as an Independent).” Kassy tells me that Mr. King also held student government positions while at Hammond and served as Governor at Virginia Boys’ State.

Students at Hammond, now a middle school, are no slouches either … Mickayla J. Noel, an eighth-grader in Rachel Payne's Honors Social Studies class at Francis C. Hammond 1 Middle School, for being chosen to participate in the Just The Beginning Foundation's Summer Legal Institute. Mickayla will learn the ins and outs of the legal system and will get to work with judges, lawyers and law students on legal reasoning, case analysis, writing, negotiation and oral argument exercises. In addition, the Hammond Music Department won big last week at the Hershey Music in the Parks Competition; first place awards went to the Concert and Symphonic Bands, the String and Chamber Orchestras, and the 8th Grade Mixed Choir. Well done!

We have several newly-minted high school graduates in the Valley. Congratulations to Abby Cox (University at Mary Washington), Phil Espinosa (The Johns Hopkins University), Michelle Avila (George Mason University), Chelsea Palma (NOVA), Sam Jones (Christopher Newport University), Rebecca Wood-Conover (NOVA) and Franz Vosseler. Franz, Sam, Michelle, Phil, Abby and Rebecca are the products of 13 years in ACPS, starting at Polk Elementary School.