PWCS honors seniors on path to become educators
Posted on 06/01/2018
Freedom High School Principal Inez Bryant and seniors honored at Growing Our Own reception

The Fourth Annual “Growing Our Own” Senior Recognition Ceremony, held recently at Forest Park High School, showcased graduates who are heading toward careers in education; honored instructors and advisors; and commended scholarship recipients. More than 150 students from Colgan, Forest Park, Freedom, Gar-field, Hylton, Osbourn Park, Patriot, Stonewall Jackson, and Woodbridge High Schools, along with their parents, attended.

Through the “Growing Our Own” initiative, PWCS identifies, recruits, and mentors middle and high school students who, after college, may return to Prince William County classrooms as teachers and school leaders. PWCS students who participate in their school chapters of Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow, Educators Rising® (EdRising)Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers™ (TSTT); and those enrolled in Early Childhood Education and Training I and II, are the focus of the “Growing Our Own” program.

Teacher leaders presented students a certificate of recognition as well as an honor cord representing the education organizations in which the students participate. Superintendent Dr. Steve Walts and Forest Park High School Principal Richard Martinez congratulated and thanked the students and their mentors for their special achievements, determination, challenging work, and outstanding commitment to the teaching profession.

Representatives of the following organizations awarded scholarships to selected students and educators: Apple Federal Credit Union (AFCU) Education Foundation; SPARK, the PWCS Education Foundation; Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), and  Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers™.

Three students, Xavier Smith (Colgan), Karen Cortez (Hylton), and Emily Johnson (Colgan), received a Dr. Edward L. Kelly scholarship. Sylvia Chan (Hylton) and Caitlin Toor (Osbourn Park) received a scholarship from the AFCU Education Foundation for their early commitment to the education profession. Austin Chapman (Gar-Field) and Madison Moore (Osbourn Park) received a NVCC-Growing Our Own Teachers scholarship. Karen Woloszyn (Gar-Field) received the Outstanding Teacher Award. 

"I really enjoyed the amazing Teachers for Tomorrow program and all it taught me," said Moore. "This program has given me insight to my future profession. I can't wait to work in the education system," she said.
 Moore has been dual-enrolled at Shenandoah University and Northern Virginia Community College. Like many of her peers, she earned the ParaProfessional National Credential and Workplace Readiness Skills Credential.

Keith J. Johnson, associate superintendent for Human Resources, received the Growing Our Own Distinguished Service Award for significant contributions to the promotion and development of the Growing Our Own program at both the school and Division level.

“Mr. Johnson has led the Growing Our Own program for 12 years, working closely with school and Division representatives to ensure all students have access to exceptional teachers, fair discipline, equitable resources, and challenging curriculum,” said Kelli Stenhouse, coordinator for the Growing Our Own program.

“I am honored to play a role in helping young students to become teachers,” Johnson said. “Our School Division is fortunate to have some of the very best teachers as members of its faculty. To continue to provide our students with this level of excellence, we must attract the finest educators to the teaching profession and into our School Division.”