0
Votes

Commentary: Making Progress: Transforming T.C. Williams High School

— One thing that we all have agreed upon as a community, especially over the past few years, is that the success of T.C. Williams High School is a priority for our students and the City of Alexandria.

Together we have committed tremendous time and effort, along with significant resources, into the transformation of our high school for the sake of our students. As we near the completion of the school year for the second class of graduates from T.C. Williams since the school received the persistently lowest-achieving designation from the U.S. Education Department in 2010, we have much progress to celebrate as we forge ahead with much work to do.

I encourage you to join me in celebrating the progress we’ve made at T.C. and pledging to continue to support the school and our students in continuing this progress and meeting the challenges to make T.C. great for all students. T.C. Williams High School jumped four spots in “The Washington Post’s” 2012 Challenge Index, an annual list formulated to determine how effectively area schools prepare students for college. T.C. Williams is No. 87 in this year's index, moving up from No. 91 in 2011, and earning its highest ever index score of 2.172, up from 1.884. In the National Challenge Index, ranking schools nationwide, T.C. Williams rose from 923 to 783.

These improvements are tremendous accomplishments for the students, the school leadership, teachers, counselors and the entire T.C. staff.

T.C. also can take pride in two National Merit Scholars: Andrew Dewhurst and Kathryn Gareth Gorsuch Aplin. Both students are seeking futures in engineering. T.C. also has two National Achievement Scholars this year: Aduragbemi Gbopemi Jibodu, who plans to study aerospace engineering, and Saara K. Kaudeyr, who plans to study medicine. They represent the highest standards of academic excellence in the nation, and their excellent education at T.C. Williams has prepared them for great success in college. They are joined by their peers who receive recognition as our Scholars of the Week, students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and contributions to their school and community. Visit our website, www.acps.k12.va.us , to read more about these exceptional students.

The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) is awarding more than $370,000 in first-year scholarships to 166 seniors in the T.C. Williams Class of 2012. The colleges these students will attend this fall include Alexandria School of Practical Nursing, Art Institute of Dallas, Bennett College, Brigham Young University, Case Western Reserve University, Catholic University, Christopher Newport University, Colgate University, College of William and Mary, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Davidson College, Emory University, Ferrum College, George Fox University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Gettysburg College, Hampton University, Harvey Mudd College, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, Longwood University, Marshall University, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, New York University, Northern Virginia Community College, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, Old Dominion University, Philadelphia University, Radford University, Richard Bland College, San Diego State University, Syracuse University, Tulane University, Tuskegee University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

We know that the Class of 2012 has many more success stories and accomplishments than what can be mentioned here, including championship sports teams, most recently our Boys’ Varsity Soccer, Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field and Boys’ and Girls’ Crew teams; and our award-winning bands, orchestras and choirs. We are proud of each student and graduate for your hard work and accomplishments, and we are proud of T.C. Williams as a whole. As a community we can celebrate that we have tackled head-on the challenge of transforming T.C. The message sounds forth loud and clear to the teachers, students, staff, administration and the community: We did not give up on one another, but instead banded together, and that is how we will continue our transformation. Our success at T.C. Williams and throughout ACPS is told one student at a time … adding up to a great education for the children of Alexandria.