Men, women and students, decked out in suits and dresses, poured into the National Conference Center March 8, some rubbing their eyes from the early hours. Prominent local business leaders sat next to educators as 600 community members joined to celebrate at the annual Loudoun School-Business Partnership Recognition breakfast.
The Loudoun School-Business Partnerships Executive Council honored five businesses and their school partners at the event, which was started during the 1997-1998 school year.
After a brief introduction, the program kicked off by honoring 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Mees of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office with the “Make a Difference Award.” In addition to sponsoring Job-for-a-Day, which allows high school juniors to get a taste of work in various careers, Mees works with the Sherrif's Office's Training Section, which partnered with C.S. Monroe Technology Center to create “Lessons in Law Enforcement.” The program students learn about topics in law enforcement.
Next, the Loudoun School-Business Partnership Council Recognition Committee honored five school and business partnerships: Abernathy and Spencer Nursery and Lincoln Elementary School, George Mason University and Sterling Middle School, J10 Church and Farmwell Middle School, Loudoun County Farm Bureau and Woodgrove High School and Wal-Mart Supercenter -Sterling and the Head Start program.
The ventures ranged from allowing Sterling Middle School kids a look at University life to packing backpacks for of food for underprivileged students at Farmwell.
“Our students are more excited than ever about going to college,” Sterling principal Nerida Gonzalez-Sales said.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter donated clothing and supplies to the Head Start program and during the holidays, gave the preschoolers, who come from lower income families, $25 gift cards to spend at the store.
“He [Wal-Mart manager Alland Anderson] stayed back but I could see the twinkle in his eyes,” said Carol Basham, the director of Head Start.
One of the members of the Executive Council, Cheryl Marin, became the third person to win the J. Hamilton Lambert Award. Named for the Executive Director of the Claude Moore Foundation, the award celebrates exemplary service in education and community service.
The final awards were presented by the Times-Mirror's own Peter Arundel for the 2013 Future Leaders. The Future Leaders program celebrates 15 outstanding Loudoun students selected by a panel of judges from both the Times-Mirror staff and community members. The Claude Moore Foundation and local businesses help provide scholarship money for the selected students. (To read more about this year's Future Leaders, check out the Loudoun Times-Mirror's feature here)
Superintendent Dr. Edgar Hatrick, who graduated from Loudoun County High School in 1963 and has been employed by Loudoun County Public Schools since 1967, concluded the event, saying that the partnership between Loudoun County schools and local businesses has made Loudoun one of the best places in the country to grow up.