Week of February 17, 2015

Students, Alumni, Parents Visit Legislators on Capitol Day 2015:  Quest for Additional State Funding Continues

On Capitol Day, students discuss the eight different foreign languages they have studied at MLWGS with Delegate Riley Ingram (62nd District).

Potential changes to the outdated formula for distributing state funds to Governor's Schools topped the agenda last week when 75 MLWGS students, six alumni, and current parents met with legislators and aides during Capitol Day 2015.  MLWGS public education advocacy club, EduPAC, recruited students to attend legislative meetings and organized appointments with the 27 legislators whose districts feed into MLWGS. Capitol Day is an annual event sponsored by the Friends of Virginia's Governor's Schools (FOVGS).

This year marked the first time that  MLWGS alumni, a growing local constituency and force in MLWGS Advocacy, participated in Capitol Day. Thanks to Bryce Lyle '99, Alana Gavrilis '96, Alicia Amos '97, Alex Guzman '07, Chris Wootton '03, and Emily Thomason '07 for taking time from work to meet with current students and legislators at the Capitol.

A special thanks to EduPAC student leaders and faculty sponsor John Wilkes as well as parent chaperones Lisa Aaron, Anne Hayes, Catherine Ingrassia, Marianne Macon, Laura O'Brien, Rupali Pendse, Roma Radford, and Sarah Saunders for making the Capitol Day field trip possible. Thanks also to alumni parent and former PTSA President Mary Phillippo Parker for organizing the event statewide for FOVGS, and to current parent Paula Chambers for assisting.

Although the funding formula study was completed and sent to the chairmen of House Appropriations and Senate Finance on October 1, 2014, the General Assembly has taken no action in response to the study. The Department of Education is continuing to conduct cost analysis of select funding options. Capitol Day participants urged legislators to support ongoing and timely review of Governor's School funding options by the Department of Education and Secretary of Education. The goal is to have a revised formula and additional funding in the Governor's budget by the end of 2015.

The study recognized the added costs of full-time programs like Maggie Walker and found that the current formula “does not adequately reflect the actual costs of operation and the programmatic and staffing needs of the programs.” Click here for a copy of the funding formula study. Any member of the school community interested in advocating for a revised state funding formula should contact Laura O'Brien, prable@comcast.net or Marianne Macon, mnmacon@gmail.com with PTSA Advocacy.

MLWGS DIRECTOR Participates in Inaugural Summit of
Selective Public High School Leaders Convened by Cooke Foundation

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Director Dr. Jeff McGee joined school leaders and experts from across the country last week at a two-day summit located outside of the nation’s capital to identify solutions to close the excellence gap—the troubling disparity in academic performance between lower income and higher income students at advanced levels. “Closing the Excellence Gap: Advocating for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students” on February 5-6 was convened by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which offers the largest scholarships in the country to high-performing students who have financial need.

Dr. McGee was personally invited by the Cooke Foundation to collaborate with more than 100 other principals of selective high schools as well as leaders of organizations such as the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools, researchers focused on high-achieving, low-income students, other scholarship providers, education advocates, and John B. King, Jr., senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to learn about cutting-edge research on and share and identify best practices for supporting high-achieving, low-income students.

At this landmark event, a new organization of these principals formed, called the Coalition of Leaders for Advanced Students Success, with an agenda to support and advocate for high-achieving students with financial need.

“We are leaders in our communities who have a stake in nurturing talent wherever we find it and regardless of a student’s economic status,” said McGee.  “It is understood that in order to remain competitive as a region, state, and nation we must continue to develop talent, yet high ability learners (regardless of economic status) and the schools that serve them have largely been ignored in federal and state fiscal dialogue.  This summit underscored the fact that Maggie Walker Governor’s School is committed to being part of the solution.”

“I wanted to bring these school leaders together to discuss how to better support high-performing students with financial need because I know the high caliber of their leadership and of the education provided at their schools,” said Harold Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and who is a former chancellor of New York City Schools.  “This summit confirmed my belief that these leaders have excellent insights to offer policymakers at all levels of government to benefit high-ability students from low and moderate income families.”

Join the Foundation Events Committee!

Do you like to organize events such as receptions and fundraisers?  Does working with other MLWGS parents to pull off fetes for grandparents or incoming freshman parents float your boat?  How about hosting the mentors who work with MLWGS students when they visit on Senior Showcase day?

If these sound like the sort of activities you enjoy, then the Governor’s School Foundation Event’s Committee could use your talents! The Committee is looking for energetic and enthusiastic volunteers to assist with events such as these.  No prior experience needed – just willing hands and your creativity.

If you would like to learn more about the Foundation Events Committee, please contact Laura Lewis, Interim Development Officer, at laura.lewis@governorsschoolfoundation.org or (804)354-1566.

CLass of 2015 Announcements

Senior Letter
The Class of 2015 Senior Letter is currently being worked on, and students/parents should expect to receive it in early March.  This letter will provide details for remaining senior-related events along with pertinent information regarding graduation and end-of-year checkout. 

Caps, Gowns, and Announcements
Seniors paid for their caps and gowns with their annual student fees in September, and orders for graduation announcements were collected in November.  Herff Jones will be delivering all of these items in early April. 

Graduation Tickets
After three years, graduation is returning to the Altria Theatre (formerly the Landmark Theatre).  As the seating capacity is significantly larger, students should expect to receive 13 tickets to share with their families.  These tickets will be distributed later in the spring, and requests for additional tickets can be made then.  Please remember that a graduation announcement is not a ticket.  Only those with tickets will be allowed into the theatre for the ceremony.  Graduates do not require a ticket. 

This is an exciting time for our seniors!  Please don’t hesitate to contact the class sponsor, Kerry Sheppard (804-354-6800 ext. 3304; ksheppard@gsgis.k12.va.us), if you have any questions. 


Future Leaders Forum for Young Women:  Capital One is pleased to offer the ninth Future Leaders Forum for Young Women on Saturday, March 21, 2015. This full-day event welcomes 300 young women in grades 9 through 12 to our Richmond campus, where they will participate in activities designed to inspire, encourage and build their leadership skills. Students can see Ms. Davis to pick up an application. Applications are due by February 27, 2015.

The Summer Institute on Leadership and Public Service is a multiple week program dedicated to teaching leadership skills through a number of classroom and hands-on settings, including a leadership curriculum, internships, and problem-solving exercises all the while focusing on a specific theme especially relevant to the greater Richmond community. The program is sponsored by St. Christopher's School and will take place from July 6 to July 25. Interested juniors can contact Ms. Davis for more information. Application deadline is March 16th.

Call for words and sentiments from senior artist For
Portrait of Bear O’Bryan

Carrie Hamilton (’15, Chesterfield) has agreed to create a portrait of Bear O’Bryan for permanent display within the school. In the message below, Carrie is requesting material in the form of words from MLWGS students.
I’m a senior in Art V here at Maggie Walker Governor’s School and I will be creating a text-based portrait of Bear O’Bryan. I hope to make the image out of your memories of Bear, from a simple anecdote to something he taught you that really stuck with you. I need a lot of words, so please contribute anything you’d like to say about him. The link below will take you to a Google Form through which you can submit text. The illustration here is an example of how I use text to create images, a portrait of my brother made of lines from his favorite movie.
Thank you so much, Carrie Hamilton


On March 6, the Sophomore Class is headed to Washington, DC!  The students will tour the Capitol and participate in a discussion at the Newseum!  It will be a great day and a chance to visit resources that are so close!

Buses will leave from the school PROMPTLY at 7:30am and students will return at 6:00pm.

Permission slips were distributed at the Sophomore Mandatory meeting on Thursday, February, 5th and were due back by close of day, February 11th.  Please return the forms to the folder outside Ms. Parker's office in the Counseling Department on the third floor.

If you did not get your form or need a new form, please contact Mrs. Kitchens at richmondkitchens@yahoo.com.

MLWGS STUDENTS Participate in Band and Orchestra Performances

Maggie Walker participants in District 1 Honor Band (left to right):  Zachary King (Hanover, ’15), 1st Clarinet, Symphonic Band; Samarth Kishor (Henrico, ’17), 2nd Alto Sax, Concert Band; Benjamin Campbell (Powhatan, ’16), 1st French Horn, Symphonic Band.  The concert was January 31, 2015 at New Kent High School.

Maggie Walker participants in Central Regional Orchestra: (left to right) Andrew Shin (Henrico, ’18), 1st Viola, A Orchestra; Ben Hamilton (Chesterfield, ’18), 20th Violin 1, A Orchestra; Anisha Sharma (Henrico, ’18), 10th Viola, B Orchestra; Catherine Qian (Henrico, ’18), 16th Violin 1, A Orchestra; Jake Holweger (Henrico, ’18), 3rd Bass, B Orchestra.  The concert took place February 7, 2015 at Deep Run High School.

Ladies’ Night Out: Salad Days — Buy Your Tickets Now!

Come enjoy your "Salad Days" with MLWGS moms and female faculty and staff at the annual PTSA Ladies’ Night Out. This year’s theme is a Shakespearean expression referring to a youthful time of idealism and innocence!  We will be serving hearty salads along with bread, desserts, wine, and soft drinks at this event open to all female parents, staff, and friends of MLWGS. Last year 85 women attended this lovely evening, talking and eating with old and new friends. While the event takes place in May, tickets are being sold THIS WEEK as a “Buy It Now” option from the Night of the Dragon Auction catalog.  This year Ladies’ Night Out will take place on Wednesday, May 20 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the home of Mary Michael and Rich Schweiker (parents of Richard and Claire) in historic Windsor Farms. Tickets cost $35. We encourage you to buy tickets for MLWGS teachers too! To purchase your ticket to this PTSA fundraiser, go to www.nightofthedragon.com, click on the Buy it Now section to find Ladies' Night Out. For more information contact Yvette Conte at contefamily5@msn.com or Kristin Lyons at clyons1@comcast.net.

Men’s Night Out

Ladies can't have all the fun...New this year is the first Maggie Walker Men's Night Out!  Mark your calendar for Friday night, March 27 and enjoy pizza, adult beverages and viewing of the March Madness basketball games at the home of Bob and Liz Blue located at 7501 Riverside Drive, Richmond, VA.  The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are $35.00 each.  To purchase your ticket, go to www.nightofthedragon.com, and then go to the Buy it Now section, and you will find them listed under Men's Night Out. For more information contact Melissa Shaw at scraphappyme@aol.com.


Looking for a great way to support MLWGS and get something back in return?  Check out the " Buy It Now" section of the Night of the Dragon website. A number of great items available are still available - and yes, you can purchase these items even if you aren't attending the auction.  But hurry - deadline for purchase is 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 19!