May 11, 2022

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Delegate Ken Plum spoke to the Shenandoah High School Alumni Association last Saurday evening. He graduated from Shenandoah High School in 1960.

  • Commentary: Back to School Again
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Back to School Again

Last Saturday I returned to the building from which I graduated high school, Shenandoah High School, in 1960. The building was a high school from 1911 to 1961 with few changes. The building is now Shenandoah Elementary School. The Alumni Association that honors graduates at an annual banquet may be the oldest in the state, recognizing graduates of the classes of 1939 to 1961. Of the 1,117 graduates from the school, there are approximately 270 who are still living. The Alumni Banquet is one of the big social events in the town of Shenandoah. It has been held every year except for the years during World War II and two years during the Covid pandemic. A modern-day high school gymnasium would hold three or four of the small gymnasiums in which the banquet is held.

I was honored to be the banquet speaker this year. Preparing for my speech during Teacher Appreciation Week brought back many wonderful memories some of which I told in stories at the banquet. By modern-day standards my family would have been termed poor although we did not think of ourselves as being poor. My father had no formal education and could not write except for his signature, and my mother had a couple of years of elementary school and could read and write. As I look back on my education I have come to recognize the importance of my parents as my first teachers. The lessons they taught by words and by example have been most important to me: Give every person who pays you a full day of work; treat others as you want to be treated; be kind and respectful, among others.

My days at Grove Hill Elementary School for the first seven years and my remaining five years at Shenandoah High School opened exciting vistas for me to history and the world. Among my favorite subjects were Latin and Plane Geometry as they demonstrated the structure of language and reasoning. I was an excellent speller, and I can still outline a sentence.

My teachers were caring. Mrs. Lena Kite who was the first guidance counselor made what I thought at the time was an outlandish suggestion that I should apply to go to college. I told her I did not think I could go to college questioning my own abilities and knowing that no one in my family had ever been to college. Mr. Kite encouraged my interest in history, and it was in his class that I reduced Harry Strickler’s 442-page book, A Short History of Page County, to six pages that I still have. Mrs. Boozer taught the government class in which I could never learn enough.

Probably fewer than half the children who started school with me actually graduated. By today’s standards the schools were poor. My teachers were inspirational and pointed me in the right direction. That is why I told my fellow alumni at our annual banquet how much I continue to appreciate my teachers not just one week of the year but always! Teachers made a huge difference in my life as they do in the lives of our children every day!


Lots to Do this Summer

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Register for events here.

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Register for events here

 The Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP)

Application Deadline is May 15, 2022.


The Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) is designed to support and ensure housing stability across the Commonwealth during the coronavirus pandemic. The Program is closing its application portal to new or renewing applications at 11:59 p.m., May 15, 2022. For more information and to apply, visit Rent Relief 

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Questions? Contact or


DEFEND ROE: Washington D.C.

Sunday, May 15, at Noon 


Come out and demand the Supreme Court not reverse Roe v Wade so that we continue to have safe, legal, and accessible abortion. Details are at

 Freedom to Choose


Wednesday and Thursday, May 11 and 12, Veteran and Military Spouse Career Fair, at National Museum of the United States ArmyFort Belvoir, Virginia. The free-to-attend event features two days of opportunities for candidates to connect with companies, with in-person sessions between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on May 11 and a virtual fair taking place from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on May 12. Learn more.

Thursday, May 12, 9:30 to 11:45 a.m., Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax 2022 Spring Meeting. Meeting will include Business Meeting, Presentation of the Live Healthy Fairfax Award and a program from the Fairfax Food Council. Learn more and register.

Thursday, May 12, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., NAACP Congressional Primary Candidate Forum — VA District 8. Free and open to the public. Learn more and register.

Saturday, May 14, 8:30 a.m., Tour de Hunter Mill. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting the 2nd annual Tour de Hunter Mill that includes a five-mile family route and an 18-mile route and begins in the Town of Vienna at the Town Green, located at 144 Maple Avenue East. The registration fee is $30 per rider, which includes Tour de Hunter Mill socks and a contribution to the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, which provides operational support. Please note that the event is rain or shine. More information and to register

Saturday, May 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Some protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors; others will stand on the sidewalk. 

Sunday, May 29, noon to 5:00 p.m., Luau on the Lake, at Lake Anne Brew House.  Join us to fill the food pantry! Please bring canned goods, non-perishables, and personal care items to fill the bins. More is at Luau

Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 p.m., Building Resilient Communities: Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Webinar. Learn how adversity during childhood affects the developing brain and body, and the impacts later in life. The presentation will present an overview of the original ACE public health study and how it can guide and inform us today to create communities that support resiliency for all. Register here.

Saturday, June 4, Reston Gardens of Note 2022, Self-Guided Garden Tour 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Garden Party: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Experience the sights, sounds, and fragrances of five notable private residential gardens in Reston on the self-guided 2022 Gardens of Note tour, including musical performances. Presented by The Reston Chorale in partnership with the Reston Garden Club and Hidden Lane Residential Landscapes; $20 in advance and $25 on tour day. Tickets and information are at  

Saturday, June 4, noon to 6:00 p.m., 2022 Reston Pride Festival, at Lake Anne Plaza. Since 2018, Reston Pride has operated as a grassroots organization serving Northern Virginia focused on ensuring a truly inclusive Reston region through engagement with the community and providing quality education and resources about LGBTQIA+ history and culture to LGBTQIA+ persons and their allies. Information on this year's event is at You Belong Here

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