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    Loudoun celebrates exceptional students

    Tuscarora High School honoree Elishama Michel receives congratulations from Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Edgar Hatrick. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser
    For the last 31 years, the Loudoun Education Foundation and Loudoun County Public Schools have gathered to honor the top students at each of the county's high schools at the Excellence in Education Banquet.

    Only one man has attended all 31 years -- LCPS Superintendent Ed Hatrick.

    First developed by Al and Jane Sowards in 1983, the inaugural banquet was held in Leesburg Baptist Church and honored students in the top 5 percent of their class for their first three years of high school.

    Also honored were National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, National Achievement Scholars or National Hispanic Scholars.

    Hatrick, who has presided over the event as superintendent since 1991, attended his last Excellence in Education Banquet as the schools' chief Dec. 15.

    Speaking at the event, Hatrick said what the day meant to him and what it should mean to the students.

    “Whether you are the parent or grandparent who has been rearing his or her child, or you are the principal who has been teaching, or you are the student of any age who seeks out education, you have each contributed to the achievements we celebrate today,” Hatrick said. “This is a day of pride and accomplishment, but it is more importantly a day to celebrate possibility, because the future of our county, nation and even the world depends on young people and educators such as those we are here to honor today.”

    In the banquet's 31-year history, 4,154 students have been recognized for their academic excellence.

    A total of 276 students were recognized this year from the 13 high schools across Loudoun County as well as Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology.

    Also honored at the event were the Loudoun County Principal of the Year and the County's Agnes Meyer Award recipient. Winning the Principal of the Year for 2013 was Janet Platenburg, principal of Steuart Weller Elementary School. Platenburg was also honored with the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.

    Lisa Roth, a first grade teacher at Dominion Trail Elementary Schools, was granted the Agnes Meyer Award, or Teacher of the Year.

    During his 21 years as superintendent, Hatrick has seen LCPS grow by 53,637 students, build 52 schools and grow from the 13th-largest school system in the state to the third largest.

    Hatrick will officially retire as superintendent June 30, 2014.

    Briar Woods High School honorees get ready for their group photo. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser
    Hannah Hodson from Loudoun Valley High School receives her award. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser
    Dr. Edgar Hatrick, Superintendent, Loudoun County Public Schools, was given a perfect attendance award for having attended the Excellence in Education Banquet for 31 years in a row. Times Photo/Rick Wasser
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