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FHS National English Honor Society Participates in The Great Thanksgiving Listen

On Tuesday, November 14, ten members of Fairfax High School’s National English Honor Society participated in The Great Thanksgiving Listen, sponsored by StoryCorps, in the FHS Library with a select group of Fairfax City senior citizens. FHS Librarian Anne Nolan, co-sponsor of NEHS, worked with members to prepare questions and practice using the StoryCorps recording app. EHS members then gathered in the library, each paired with a senior citizen. The elders, some of whom took a shuttle from the Heatherwood Retirement Community, shared memories and experiences from their lives and provided unique oral history perspectives.

 Students heard about all kinds of experiences, ranging from what it was like to live in Alaska before it became a state, to memories about living and working abroad for the Department of State, to what it was like living in segregated Virginia, to what it was like to be a graduate of Fairfax High School in 1946 and a FCPS principal in the 1970s (former FCPS William “Bill” Martin was one of the interviewees!). As Libby Powers, current President of the FHS chapter of NEHS observed, “It was impressive to be able to hear about the fascinating experiences that our senior citizens have had – we all learned so much and were so surprised at the cool things they had done.”

The event celebrated the art of storytelling with the nuances of interviewing and successfully preserving oral history. NEHS members will upload their interviews to the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. They will be a part of the “The Great Listen 2017” collection. After starting with a small group of seniors this year, NEHS hopes to continue The Great Thanksgiving Listen next year with a larger group of seniors and more NEHS members.


City of Fairfax School Board Recognizes FHS Students

The City of Fairfax School Board recognized over 45 students at their regular school board meeting on Monday, December 4. The Fairfax High School students earned achievements in athletics, academics and cultural arts.

Awards include:

  • National Skills award winner in photography
  • Performer in “The Nutcracker” at the Kennedy Center
  • Scholarship with Foundation for Korean Language & Culture
  • Professional development intern for ThinkGeek
  • Virginia Space Coast Scholars
  • Patriot and Occaquan region golf champions
  • Army All American Marching Band
  • National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist
  • National Merit Scholarship Corporation Letter of Commendation

FHS Alum Awarded Fulbright Award

Mason Pazhwak of George Mason University and Fairfax High School Alumni has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to Malaysia from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Mr. Pazhwak will teach English, promote community engagement, and act as a cultural ambassador at a post assigned by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Program.

Mr. Pazhwak is one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 370,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 57 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by telephone 202-632-6452 or e-mail


FHS Alumna Profiled in Virginia Tech Publication

Former FHS student Jasmine Castillo discusses scholarship at Virginia Tech

FHS Alum Jasmine Castillo

FHS Alum Jasmine Castillo – photo from VT website

When high schooler Jasmine Castillo of Fairfax, Virginia, learned that Virginia Tech had offered her a Beyond Boundaries Scholarship, she rushed into the living room to find her mother.

“Mom,” she cried, “I’m going to college! You don’t have to pay for it; you’re good.”

“My mother said, ‘Nuh, uh,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah!’” Castillo said. “We were just so excited.”

Castillo, now a first-year history major at Virginia Tech, said the scholarship is making all the difference for her education.

To read the entire article, please go to the website.

FHS Student Builds Greenhouse for Alma Mater PES

FHS Student Brendan Smith and PES Principal Dan Phillips

FHS Student Brendan Smith and PES Principal Dan Phillips

Brendan Smith, a Fairfax High School student and former Providence ES student, dedicated his Eagle Scout project to PES. Brendan planned, organized and built a greenhouse in the courtyard which will be used by students and staff.

The project started this summer and was completed in November. Brendan created plans, purchased materials, learned to use them, and recruited volunteers to make it happen. “We love the greenhouse, and we especially love the idea that Brendan wanted to give something back to our school after he moved to Fairfax,” said Principal Dan Phillips in an email to parents. “This is a fine example for all of our students, and we are very proud of Brendan.”

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