For a Better Commute. For a Better Prince William County.


Earn a Degree or Certificate in Less time with NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus


Beginning in the spring 2017 semester, Northern Virginia Community College students can finish a semester’s worth of classes in only 14 weeks through the NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus.

NOVA Weekend College @ The Woodbridge Campus enables students to take an entire semester of classes in only two days. Adult learners who are busy balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities can enroll in a 12-credit schedule of Friday and Saturday morning classes, with an option of selecting from a wide variety of classes needed to earn a degree or certification.

This new, innovative approach to accommodate those with busy schedules offers flexible, hybrid (half classroom & half online) courses that meet at 9 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with classes ending at 12:30 p.m. The rest of the work and class interaction is done at home using the internet.

“NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus offers a flexible schedule for busy working adults to take a full course load in only two mornings per week,” said Provost of the Woodbridge Campus, Dr. Sam Hill. “This new initiative provides an amazing opportunity for busy people in our region to earn a degree or certificate at a much faster pace, to advance and to become an expert in their chosen profession.”

Visit NVCC.EDU/WOODBRIDGEWEEKEND for more information. Online registration is open 24 hours a day at

Graham Park students tape down teachers, throw pies in faces for good cause


From Graham Park Middle School teacher Jennifer Brown: 

It was an event run by the club I co-sponsor with Mary Garecht, one of our counselors. Our club is called the FOR club, which stands for Friends of Rachel. This stems from the Rachel Challenge assemblies which were ideas and writings from Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine school shooting. Her ideas and writing were about spreading kindness and compassion, acts of kindness, etc. starting a chain reaction of kindness.

So, we did this event two years ago to raise money for breast cancer research. We raised over $600 that year. This year with the death of my husband’s cousin, Michael Graff, and one of our very best friends, Bruce Diggs, both due to complications of diabetes, I felt strongly about bringing this event back to our school to raise awareness of this disease.

The event happens during each lunch shift (and we have six shifts). We asked for teacher volunteers, and in some lunch shifts, we had two volunteers!

One of our social studies teachers, Matt Powe, said if we raised over $500 he would shave his beard. In the end, we raised over $700.

Students buy one yard of tape for one dollar. They can buy as much as they want.

It ranged from one piece to $20, $25, and one $30 donation to this cause. It was amazing.

The day of the event the students are called up and can administer the tape where they see fit. As you can then see by the pictures how much tape each teacher had.

Our most popular were our last lunch shift with Mr. Powers and Ms. Kerr, but our 6th-grade lunch with Mr. John Tychan and Mr. Cole Mitchell was a great one as well!

The teachers have 30 seconds to get out of the duct tape and ring a bell. If they don’t get out, they get a whipped cream pie to the face from the student who donated the most money in that lunch shift.

Grief counselors available for Rockhill Elementary students after child murdered

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — The public school division in Stafford County will make available counselors to students at Rockhill Elementary School. 

Claire Buckley, 5, was a student at the school. She was killed on Thursday, along with her 17-year month-old sister Abagail, mother Amy, and her father Lance who is believed to have called 911 to report a murder-suicide prior to taking their lives. 

From Stafford County Public Schools: 

The entire Stafford County Public School community is saddened about the fatal incident involving Claire Buckley, a Rockhill Elementary School student. Although the incident did not occur on-campus, we know it can have an impact on our school community. The grief responders’ team is available at the school to help students and staff cope with the loss. A letter was sent home to parents and guardians informing them of the incident and steps the school is taking to help students. Supporting our school community is a top priority at Rockhill Elementary and all schools in SCPS.


2 Stafford schools win statewide ‘Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up’ contest

Everybody Buckles BackWhite Shirt Hunter Bradshaw, Middle Michael Scholes, Foreground Olivia Lataste
Car Rider Reminders Parent Packets
Chalking the Talk - (l-r) Annie Baker, Veronica Arrington, Paris Eubanks, Kiya Young (pink)
Great Message via Great Artwork

STAFFORD, Va. — Two Stafford County schools are celebrating wins after being recognized in a statewide contest that encourages children to buckle up.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office sent us this information from a press release: 

“Stuarts Draft High School in Augusta Co. and Dixon-Smith Middle School in Stafford Co. are the statewide winners of the 2016 “Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up” (SYT) campaign sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), the Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office in partnership with State Farm Insurance. Stuarts Draft placed first in the high school division and Dixon-Smith placed first in the middle school division.

Liberty High School in Bedford Co. placed second in the high school division and Turner Ashby High School in Rockingham Co. placed third. A.G. Wright Middle School in Stafford Co. was second in them middle school division and Central Academy Middle School in Botetourt Co. was third.

As the statewide winners, Stuarts Draft and Dixon-Smith will each receive $500 and a congratulatory prize banner. Liberty, Turner Ashby, A.G. Wright, and Central Academy will receive smaller cash prizes and a banner.

All prizes for the “Save Your Tailgate” Campaign were funded by donations and by a grant from State Farm.”


“Seventy-two schools participated in the annual campaign that ran from September 19 to October 14.
Winners were selected based on their Creative Event, which was developed by students and emphasized the Save Your Tailgate campaign theme and messaging.” 


Poll: Should Prince William consider more expensive “PRICE” model for new high school?

Should Prince William County Schools officials reconsider the more expensive PRICE model floorplan for the county’s upcoming 13th high school?

Letter to the Editor: PRICE high school model costs more, but serves more

Over-crowded classrooms are one of the most significant challenges facing our community. Data in recent years show Prince William County to have some of the most crowded classrooms in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. This problem isn’t new – overcrowded classrooms have been a problem for several years. This problem has many possible causes; housing policy and th

This problem isn’t new – overcrowded classrooms have been a problem for several years. This problem has many possible causes; housing policy and the lack of education funding prioritization are two obvious reasons. However, finger-pointing and assigning blame are not marks of leadership. We need our leaders to come together on solutions.

The efforts of Brentsville School Representative Gil Trenum and Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland have been great examples of leadership on the development of the County’s 13th high school. Working with Prince William County Schools staff, Mr. Trenum gave the community an alternate design known as the PRICE model. This new prototype for the next high school would increase student capacity at a time when it is greatly needed. PRICE stands for “Patriot Redesign Increasing Capacity Effectively.”

Due to the increased size of a PRICE model there would be additional cost. This model will cost about $9 million more than the Battlefield model, but will provide room for 500 more students. It was that additional cost that was used as an excuse to defeat a bi-partisan effort to approve the PRICE model last June by School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers and the School Board. Yes, it would be more expensive, but the per-student cost in increased capacity would be the most economical solution to address the classroom overcrowding issue. When considering other questionable expenditures by both the existing School Board and the previous School Board, there is clearly a problem with how our schools prioritize funding at a time when government resources are limited.

The Revenue Sharing Agreement between our Board of County Supervisors and School Board is restrictive in allowing additional money to be provided to our schools on an as-needed basis. In previous years, a solution to this problem has been to provide additional funding for the education in the form of grants.

At the October 18 Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) meeting, Supervisor Candland announced that he would introduce a solution to provide additional grant funding for the PRICE model for the 13th High School. Specifically, this proposal will authorize an agreement between the BOCS and School Board and identify funding from the County general revenues to pay for the cost difference between the PRICE model and the previously approved Battlefield model. At the upcoming November 22 Board meeting, the BOCS will vote on this proposal.

Although it is slightly more expensive, passage of this resolution would be a crucial step toward solving the overcrowding of our high schools. We hope you will join us in supporting Supervisor Candland’s resolution at the next Board of County Supervisors meeting on November 22nd.

DJ Jordan and Paul O’Meara are both residents of the Coles Magisterial District. Paul lives near Manassas,  and DJ in Woodbridge, and they are both Republicans.

Exclusive: Will Prince William schools follow its own rules and close for Trump Inauguration?

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Ask any teacher, parent, or student in Prince William County today and they’ll tell you school is in session on January 20, Inauguration Day, the day Donald Trump moves into the White House.

Why? The school calendar lists January 20, 2017, as a regular school day.

But school officials and parents might have to rethink their plans.

Following the election of President Obama in 2008, the School Board voted to make Inauguration Day 2009 — and all subsequent Inauguration Days, which happen every four years after a U.S. President is elected — a holiday.

But, memories appear to be short. And the current School Board has, apparently, forgot about this rule it put in place eight years ago.

From Prince William County Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

“[Innaguration Day] is not currently on the calendar but we will let you know of any changes.”

Northern Virginia was a frenzy of anticipation leading up to Inauguration Day 2009. Aside from the fact that the historic event would see the swearing-in of the nation’s first black president, hundreds of thousands flocked to the area to bear witness or to be a part of inaugural festivities.

Virginia State Police closed Interstate 395 and a portion of I-66 at the Capital Beltway, forcing the thousands headed into Washington from Virginia to take Metro or to find another route through Maryland.

Teachers in Prince William County wanted to take off from work to go to the Inauguration. By declaring the date a holiday, Prince William teachers didn’t have to worry about using allocated time off to do so, according to the minutes of the same School Board meeting.

While the inauguration of Donald Trump may not be historical, the political upset that will put him in the White House is. We’ll update you on any changes the Prince William County School Board makes to its calendar.


The vote by the Prince William County School Board in 2008 declaring Inauguration Day a school holiday also made Presidents Day on Inauguration years a regular school day.

Prince William County Potomac District School Board member Justin Wilk says he wants to hear from students on this issue: 


Decatur wins Stafford County School Board seat

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Jamie Decatur will take her seat on the Stafford County School Board, defeating challenger and one-time School Board member Dana Reinboldt.

Decatur won with the vote by just over 12 points in the Griffis-Widewater District, with 54% of the vote.

We’ve contacted Decatur about her win. We’ll post her comments to this post as soon as we hear from her.

This was a special election for the seat. Reinboldt lost the seat last fall to Emily Fallon, who was convicted this year of stealing $23,000 from Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in North Stafford.

Fallon was the PTO president at the school at the time the cash was found to have been stolen.

Decatur proposes creating a cash capital fund to reduce the need for over budgeting for the county schools, she told us.

The stay-at-home mom is a graduate of North Stafford High School.

Stafford holds annual ‘Band Together to Fight Hunger’ tonight at Mountain View

STAFFORD, Va. — Marching bands from all five Stafford County high schools will meet tonight to band together to fight hunger. 

The annual event will feature performances from the scholastic bands on the field at Mountain View High School, located at 2135 Mountain View Road in Stafford County.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Food will be collected for the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank.

More from Stafford County Public Schools: 

The five high school marching bands of Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) gather once again for Band Together to Fight Hunger (BTTFH).

BTTFH is an annual showcase of marching band talent benefitting the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank. Each of the high schools will present their show, culminating in a grand finale combining all five schools in one performance. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Donations of non-perishable food or cash are accepted for entry to the event.

Woodbridge Senior High School is performing Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’


WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The spirits of Christmas will visit the stage at Woodbridge Senior High School in Lake Ridge this season. 

The drama department there is putting on the finishing touches on Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol.” 

From Woodbridge Senior High School volunteer Jennifer Rokasky: 

Woodbridge Senior High School is performing Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Friday and Saturday November 11 and 12 at 7:30pm (with a matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday, November 12th) at the Woodbridge Senior High School Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults, and they are available for purchase at the door.

The play is directed by Woodbridge’s theatre teacher Terri Caretti.

A Christmas Carol is more than a tale about Christmas.  It is a story about personal redemption; the importance a family and friends; and our collective responsibility to care for the weak and destitute.  Charles Dickens changed the way England, and Europe, viewed the Holiday season.  Because of A Christmas Carol, the Holiday season is as much about charity and helping the poor, as it is about our family and friends.

Come get an early start to the Christmas Season at Woodbridge.  Although it is only early November, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Woodbridge Senior High School is located at 3001 Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge.

Clinton wins Beville Middle School: Students hold mock election


DALE CITY, Va. — They stood outside the gym chattering, excited, waiting — some not so patiently — to cast their vote for the next U.S. President.

“Stop! I did not call you in here yet,” shouted Tiffany Graczyk, a history and civics teacher at Beville Middle School in Dale City, who worked to keep order at the polling place while telling two anxious students to get back into a long line outside formed in a hallway outside the gym.

Graczyk on November 3 was serving as a poll worker in the school’s mock election, allowing voting students 12 and 14-years-old to place their ballots into a box and then giving each an “I voted” sticker. Many of those stickers wound up on voters’ faces.

“I won’t be able to vote for president, for real, until I’m 21-years-old, so this is my chance to be heard,” said 13-year-old AJ Royall.

The students and teachers participating in Beville Middle School’s mock election took it seriously. Once voters entered the polling place, they stood in a line until called to a table staffed by volunteers from the Prince William County Leauge of Women Voters, where each was asked for voter ID.

A card given to each student at the begging of the year with the student’s phone number, or the “lunch number” were accepted as valid forms of ID. Poll workers checked their names against a list of student voters, and then each voter was sent to a booth to fill out an individual ballot to include all four candidates for president: Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein, of the Green Party.

Also on the students’ ballot: The same two constitutional amendment questions adults will see when they go to the polls on Tuesday, and the name Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly, who is running unopposed, seeking his 5th term in Congress representing Prince William and Fairfax counties.

“I didn’t like that we had only one option for Congress,” said Sarah-Myra Nzeutcheb, 13. “I hoped to see more options.”

Beville Middle School instructors Graczyk, Jim McGovern, and Atif Qarni, who last year ran for Virginia State Senate in Prince William County, worked together since the beginning of the school year to pull off the mock election. The teachers rearranged their governmental teaching unit that explains about the election process and the Electoral College and moved it from the end of the year to the beginning so students could understand what is happening on Election Day November 8.

“We want our students to be educated about the process, we show them TV campaign coverage, like CNN vs. Fox News and we show them campaign ads on TV, and we show them campaign mailers,” said Qarni. “We want them to experience the election as if they were voting in it.”

Graczyk counted the more than 400 ballots during 7th period, and an announcement declaring the winner of the vote was made before students left school for the day.

Hillary Clinton won the day at Beville with 242 votes, while Donald Trump won 32 votes. The remainder of the votes were split between Johnson and Stein.

All schools in Prince William County will be closed on November 8, as many are used for polling places.

Stafford School Board accepts applications for Garrisonville rep as Kidby steps down

STAFFORD, Va. — The Stafford County School Board is accepting applications for Garrisonville District School Board member folloiwng the resignation of Nanette Kidby. 

Kidby told the Free Lance-Star she is moving away from the area

From Stafford County Public Schools: 

The Stafford County School Board is accepting applications from November 1 to 30 to fill the Garrisonville District School Board seat. Interested citizens must meet the following requirements to be eligible for appointment as the Garrisonville District School Board Member:

  • Registered voter and resident of the Garrisonville District at the time of the appointment;
  • Persons listed in Virginia Code Section 22.1-30 are not eligible for interim appointment (e.g., county officer, deputy officer, employee of the school board, listed relative of board member)

Qualified candidates will submit the following documents as part of the application package:

  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume
  • Application
  • Certificate of Candidate Qualification.

A link to these forms is listed on the SCPS website at under the School Board tab.  Roberta Euring, clerk of the School Board also has applications for candidates.

Completed packages must be submitted to the clerk of the School Board, via email to, via fax to 540-658-6635, via mail to 31 Stafford Avenue, Stafford VA 22554 or hand delivered to the Alvin York Bandy Administrative Complex, 31 Stafford Avenue, Stafford, VA 22554.  All packages are due by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.  Incomplete packets or applications received after this deadline will not be considered by the School Board.


Prince William 13th high school feedback meeting Nov. 9

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — If at first you try and don’t succeed, try again.

That’s what the Prince William County Public Schools will do with the apparent selection of a site for a new high school in western Prince William County.

Press release: 

Final discussions are underway to secure the site for the 13th high school in Prince William County. School officials will share the preliminary school plan and its proposed location, address community concerns, and receive feedback at a public meeting on November 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the auditorium of Stonewall Jackson High School. The school is located at 8820 Rixlew Lane, Manassas.

The proposed site is on Linton Hall Road at Rollins Ford Road. The high school will relieve significant overcrowding at Patriot, Battlefield, and Stonewall Jackson High Schools.

For more information on the proposed 13th high school, visit, or contact Maureen Hannan, Supervisor of Land Acquisition and CIP Planning, at 703.791.7313.

Last December, developers withdrew an application for Stone Haven — a 719-acre development that would have been located off Wellington Road, that would have brought a mix homes and businesses and an 80-acre school site on which to build a new high school.

Before the Stone Haven developers withdrawing their plans, Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson proposed using land that is to be used to build Rollins Ford Park for a 13th high school, instead. That land is located on 69 acres at the intersection of Rollins Ford and Linton Hall roads.

The new high school will relieve overcrowding at Patriot and Stonewall Jackson high schools.

Lawson was one of the officials that did not support building a new high school on proffered land at the Stone Haven development. She argued that a school built at Stone Haven would open at capacity, with students from new homes in the development, and do little to ease overcrowding at nearby schools.

Stafford schools 5K, C5W costume contest is Saturday

STAFFORD, Va. — Teachers and staff at Stafford County Public Schools will gather on Saturday for a costumed 5K walk and run. 

From Stafford schools: 

Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) hosts a 5K Fun Run/Walk to benefit Stafford Education Foundation (SEF) on Saturday, October 29 at 8:00 a.m. Nearly 150 SCPS employees registered to participate in this event.

In support of the division’s All Century Skills, participants will compete in a C5W costume contest.

Winners are selected based on their costume’s representation of the following skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship, and wellness. Costume contest judges include Superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson, School Board Chair Holly Hazard, and SEF President Cathy Yablonski.

The event will be held at Colonial Forge High School, located at 550 Courthouse Road in Stafford.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office tells us it has been briefed about the 5K event but will not be needed to provide traffic control or direction during the event.

Beville Middle School students decide: Clinton or Trump?


Civics students at Beville Middle School, nearly 360 in all, will get a real sense of our democracy when they head to “voting booths” in their school next Thursday, November 3. The eighth-graders are studying a unit on the Executive Branch, including the Electoral College, political parties, the role of media in elections, and citizenship in a democracy. The League of Women Voters is helping to run the mock election. Students will vote using paper ballots which will resemble the actual Virginia ballot.

The mock election will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

High school science to be taught on ‘Discovery Trail’ near landfill

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A new wooded trail located behind the newest high school in Prince William County will be used to teach students about science. 

The Discovery Trail is located at Charles Colgan High School, located at 13833 Dumfries Rd at Independent Hill. The trail sits on buffer land owned by the Prince William County Sanitary Landfill, which is located next to the high school.

Here’s more from Deborah K. Campbell, landfill spokeswoman: 

The Prince William County Solid Waste Division’s Solid Waste Citizens Advisory Group wanted to somehow incorporate the landfill and landfill buffer into an educational opportunity for the new high school and schools adjacent to buffer area. This desire was shared with school system personnel and ultimately the idea for Outdoor Discovery Trail was blazed by the Advisory Group.

The building of the trail and classrooms was a partnership between the Prince William County Solid Waste Division, Prince William County Schools and SPARK Foundation, Prince William County Parks Department, Boy Scout Troop 1195 and Dominion Power.

The trails will be used a part of the science curriculum for students from the neighboring schools and will also be available to other Prince William County School students and community groups with appropriate permission.

· Solid Waste Division provided the land, mapped the trail and assisted with the trail and classroom development

· Prince William County Schools and SPARK Foundation mapped the trail, coordinated the classroom development, curriculum and equipment development, garnered Boy Scouts and Dominion Power’s assistance

· Prince William County Parks finalize the trail, cleared the trail, maintains the trail
· Boy Scout Troop 1195- Three scouts working on Eagle projects designed and managed the building of the classrooms, including acquiring materials

· Dominion Power provided and installed educational signs, kiosks and storage sheds for equipment

A dedication ceremony for the trail was scheduled for 3 p.m. today.


Freedom High School to host All-County Choir

Press release: 

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Hundreds of choral students from middle and high schools across the county are practicing for the upcoming All-County Chorus event on October 28 and 29 in the auditorium of Freedom High School. The event will challenge the singers as they rehearse new music with guest conductors.

The Middle School Men’s Choir will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 28. Performances will continue on Saturday, October 29 at 2 p.m. with the High School Treble Choir, followed by the Senior Mixed Choir. The Middle School Women’s Choir will perform at 4:30 p.m. All performances are free and open to the public.

The All-County Chorus represents the best of the PWCS choral music programs. At the middle school level, chorus teachers audition their own students and select top vocalists to represent their schools. High school students participate in a Divisionwide audition process just weeks after the school year begins.

This year’s conductors bring a wealth of choral music experience to the performances. Patrick Vaughn, Choral Director for Annandale High School (Fairfax) will conduct the Senior Mixed Choir. Joseph Eveler, Choral Director for Stafford High School (Stafford)  will conduct the Senior Treble Choir, and Mary Ann Casey, retired PWCS Choral Director for Saunders Middle School, will conduct the Middle School Men’s and Women’s choirs. 

Page 5 of 31« First...34567...102030...Last »