A Busy Fall for Alumni Gatherings
Earliest Classes Celebrate 50th Reunion
Until the specialized science and technology Governor’s School known as Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) was created in 1985, students attended Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS) at the same location on Braddock Road for two decades. The first graduating class was the Class of 1966.
Over Columbus Day weekend, the Class of 1966, along with the Classes of 1967, 1968, and 1969, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of TJHS with festivities that included attendance at TJ’s Homecoming BBQ and football game, renovation tour, DC sightseeing tour, and a sit-down dinner at the Arlington Capital View Hotel.
Like the students who attended TJHSST during its early years, some of the students in the first classes of TJHS left other high schools to attend the brand new school and all of them had middle school friends who went on to attend other high schools. These “foundational alumni” spent some of their reunion weekend visiting old friends who were in town for reunions at Woodson HS, Annandale HS, and JEB Stuart HS.
TJHS Class of 1966 organizers Helen Disenhaus, Nick Proferes, Class President Hal Stull (above right) and Betty Reese Witherspoon made the event memorable for the alumni and guests who enjoyed marveling at TJ’s new facilities while trying their best to “find the old TJ.”
East Coast Regional Events
New York City:
Yext, a company started by five TJ alums, hosted its third annual Alumni in NY gathering in its mid-town Manhattan offices on Monday, September 26th. The cocktail party drew over 70 attendees for a fun evening of reuniting and networking.
Dr. Glazer, who this fall will take over the leadership of the Manhattan campus of Avenues: The World School, a preschool-through-12th grade private school, told the crowd that he eagerly anticipated joining the New York alumni group as a “TJ alumni Principal.” Howard
Lerman, TJ ’98, Yext CEO, thanked Dr. Glazer for the profound impact that he has had on the school.
Lerman went on to reiterate the message that he took to TJ seniors following the announcement of Yext’s $250,000 Campaign for TJ donation: TJ is at least as deserving a recipient of philanthropy as any alma mater. Each alum should reflect on the advantages TJ has given him or her — Lerman feels that TJ is largely responsible for laying the groundwork for his success — and give back in an amount that acknowledges that impact.
Lerman brought his point home with the announcement of an individual Campaign gift of $10,000, which was followed by the announcement of a $10,000 gift from Yext CTO Sean MacIsaac, TJ ’98. Go Yext, Go NYC, Gooooooo Colonials!
Evan Burfield, TJ ’95, welcomed alums from TJ ’88 to TJ ’12 to his 1776 accelerator’s downtown DC space on Wednesday, October 19th. He and Dr. Glazer made the case for supporting TJ, with assistance from juniors Justin Zhang (a 1776 summer intern) and Rae Moar, who talked about the impact of donated funds on their TJ experience.
Alums had fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones. They also responded generously to the call to action.
Partnership Fund Board Chair, Srikant Sastry, Parent ’17, arranged for the PF’s first Boston area alumni event to be held at the offices of Grant Thornton, where Sastry is National Managing Principal, Advisory Services (based in the firm’s Alexandria, VA, office).
The November 3rd date was set to coincide with the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) annual conference, taking place this year in Boston. TJ is a founding member of NCSSS, and every year the PF provides the funds for a team of TJ faculty and administrators to attend.
This year’s delegation included:
Head Librarian Anne Applin, Social Worker Danielle Armstrong, Biology teacher Aubrie Holman, Math teacher Pat Gabriel, Computer Science teacher Ria Galanos, English teacher Jennifer Seavey, Counselor Christina Ketchum, and Asst. Principals Shawn Frank, Pam Gravitte, and Gary Grosicki.
Faculty and alums had a wonderful time catching up, each reminding the other of why supporting the school is so important.