Week of May 2, 2017


Please join us for the last General PTSA meeting for the 2016-2017 school year.  The meeting will be held on May 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the MLWGS Auditorium. 

A full meeting is planned, starting with elections for the PTSA Board positions for the 2017-18 school year; a slate was announced a few weeks ago and can be found at the end of this message. 

Then Dr. Lee Ridens, the MLWGS school psychologist, will host an informational meeting on The Mental Health of Your Teen.  The program will include a discussion on information and risk factors related to anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol use / abuse and steps to take if you have concerns about your student.  Dr. Ridens will focus on the impact of drugs on brain development as well as possible overlap of anxiety and depression as it relates to the gifted student.  The presentation will also include resources for families and students.

Lastly, Wendy De Groat and Karl Zweerink will finish up the meeting with a short presentation on mindfulness, and the various ways that MLWGS is providing support for students as they work to manage stress including information on the mindfulness and calm sessions offered by Wendy.

The current MLWGS PTSA Board is pleased to present the following candidates for the 2017-18 PTSA Executive Board


Calling all parents!  The Governor's School Foundation is looking for parent volunteers to help with a postcard mailing on Wednesday, May 10.  We will get started around 9:00 a.m. or so in RM 228 across from the boardroom and Foundation office.  Please contact Suzannah Stora at sstora@mlwgsfoundation.org if you are available to participate.  Thanks so much! 


Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School’s team placed first in the 2017 ‘We the People’ National Finals. The ‘We the People’ program focuses on the history and principles of U.S. constitutional democracy, culminating in simulated congressional hearings in which students “testify” before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.

More than 1,300 students competed in the ‘We the People’ National Finals, held April 21-24, 2017 at the National Conference Center in the Washington D.C. area. The final ten qualifying team held their hearings in Congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. The MLWGS ‘We the People’ team is led by Mr. Samuel Ulmschneider. The Awards Ceremony and additional photos are available on the Facebook page of the sponsoring organization, the Center for Civic Education.


This week, the Governor's School Foundation is excited to kick off the 2017 Parent Class Annual Fund Challenge! The Governor's School Foundation Annual Fund makes a huge impact on the students at MLWGS by directly supporting activities like academic competitions and student travel, as well as new technology, and student financial assistance. The support of our parents is critical in these efforts and we are most grateful for your continued commitment.  Be on the lookout for emails from parent representatives from your child's class.

At this time, we have raised $220,000 towards our goal of $300,000 so we still have some work ahead to meet our goal by the end of our fiscal year, June 30.  To make a contribution online visit http://www.governorsschoolfoundation.org/donate/.  We look forward to all that we can accomplish together during this exciting campaign!

(more spots now available)

Dear Rising 12th-Grade Students and Parents,
Registration for College Boot Camp is now open! College Boot Camp is an optional, fee-based summer program which is designed to provide students a space and time to complete their Common Application (or other application of their choice) before the school year starts. The dates are August 15-17 and there is an option of a morning or afternoon session. Please click the link below to register on “Sign Up Genius” and receive payment instructions and additional logistical information. The fee is $55. Fee waiver information, if needed, is provided within the link below. Registration is open until May 31 and all payments must be received by that date in order for the slot to be secure. We have recently expanded capacity of the program to meet the needs of all interested students who register and pay or inquire about a fee waiver by May 31.

More information about College Boot Camp: The MLWGS Senior Counselors will provide a structured curriculum over three, three-hour sessions with specific tips and personal assistance at every step. College Boot Camp is designed to walk students through each section of the Common Application and provide them with the resources to complete each section during the program. A guest speaker will address the essay specifically, and the students should leave the Boot Camp with their Common App primary essay (or other essay of their choice) in a completed draft form. There will be some group discussion, peer editing, quiet individual work time, and one-on-one consultations. The Boot Camp will also touch on college-specific supplements and popular non-Common App applications. Topics can be adjusted based on the needs of the group.

Please contact Rachel Loving at rloving@gsgis.k12.va.us with questions. Registration is available at the link below.


It’s still possible to order the Class of 2017 panoramic picture. Go to www.strawbridge.net.  Students can search by school OR use the code 111957 to find the photo.  The cost is $15.00.  Contact Ms. Sheppard (ksheppard@gsgis.k12.va.us or 804-354-6800 ext. 3304) with any questions.

May 9 6:00 p.m. in the Black Box Theater

Drama Boosters needs your help and participation.  Drama Boosters has volunteer openings for next year as its senior parents are “graduating.” 

Please contact Ryan Giorgis at giorgisfamily4@gmail.com for more information.


If it has not already been brought to your attention through social media, emails from friends/family, and/or your student, then we feel it is our responsibility to alert you to a new Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why” that was released on March 31, 2017. We have had several parents call and write in with concerns about the content of this series, particularly as it would relate to students who may be more fragile than others. 
The timing of the release of this series coincides with our annual suicide prevention training that is provided to freshman. On Friday May 5 we will be visiting 9th-grade Health classes.  If you have concerns about your child receiving suicide prevention training, please notify Karl Zweerink in the Counseling office.  All 9th graders who are not enrolled in health at MLWGS will be reporting to the Forum during lunch on May 5 for the training.  We will be showing a “Signs of Suicide: Suicide Prevention” video, as well as discussing warning signs and steps to take when the student or a peer is showing signs of suicide.

In regards to the Netflix series, should you have concerns that your student is watching this show (or has already watched all of the episodes), the following guidance and resources are offered from the National Association of School Psychologists website (13 Reasons Why Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators). Please pay particular attention to the Guidance for Families and Safe Messaging portions of the article. The link to the article is below.

As always, please feel free to contact the Counseling Department for additional information and/or to report any student concerns.


Recently, a Maggie Walker math modeling team was honored as ‘Meritorious’ in the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) which is a 96-hour college-level competition.  The team consisted of Henrico seniors Isha Gangal, Jeffery Song and Annie Zhang.  The team scored in the top 10% out of the 8,085 teams competing from 7 different countries.  This is quite an accomplishment for a high school team competing in an undergraduate competition.  This result is the highest ever achieved by a team from Maggie Walker in the ICM.

Here are some specifics about the competition from the team:

Everyone hates waiting to get through TSA at airports, so the problem concerned TSA airport security checkpoints and asked participants to come up with a way to reduce wait time at checkpoints. We had to A) model the flow of traffic through the checkpoint and B) model how proposed changes to the checkpoint’s procedures would affect the wait times. We used a Monte Carlo simulation to model the flow of traffic, which is a type of simulation that accounts for random variables (for example, the time in between arrival of new passengers and whether or not someone would be pulled aside for random screening).



Jenny Han (Class of 1998) will be in Richmond soon for a stop on the book tour for her Young Adult novel Always and Forever, Lara Jean (http://www.simonandschusterpublishing.com/alwaysandforever/), the final volume of the bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. 

Jenny will be at the Chesterfield Towne Center Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m.
(http://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061850596-0).  She would be delighted to see any Governor's School students, parents, and alumni who can attend.