I had the chance last week to tour the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and visit with our Prince William County students who attend the regional Governor’s School, or TJ, as it is affectionately known. TJ serves students from Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, Fauquier, Fairfax, Falls Church and PWC. PWC Seniors Angela and Rheem gave me an extensive tour where I was able to visit with both students and teachers. In one lab I chatted with students who are studying the nervous system response of crayfish and some other soft, squishy water critter. We stopped by a Physics class and listened to the lecture – the teacher was very good, but fortunately we didn’t stay too long as I was starting to have flashbacks to some of my college Physics lectures. At the end of the tour, we got stuck in the guidance office for a lock-down drill. Thankfully the lady at the front desk had lots of M&M’s.
After my tour I had the opportunity to sit with about 20 PWC students who’d volunteered to come chat with me. This was my favorite time of the visit. These appreciative 15-18 yr olds were very mature and honest in their answers. I asked them what they liked best about their TJ experience and what they liked least. What they liked varied but as true NoVa veterans, there was strong consensus in that the one thing they didn’t like was the commute. Many of them were spending an hour each way on the road – matching my commute exactly. One thing was absolutely clear is that these students love learning and they were taking advantage of every opportunity given to them.
I am looking forward to having the same type of visit soon with our own Governor’s School @ Innovation Park and also chatting with another group of talented PWC students and their teachers. This innovative program is unlike any other Governor’s School in Virginia because of the affiliation with a 4-yr university so I will be anxious to report back what our incredible students have to say about it.