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Discover Fauquier September 2018
~ Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire
Fauquier County Public School (FCPS) students
launched into the 20182019 school year on August
15, but back-to-school excitement began a bit earlier
for about 120 new educators in the district, including
teachers and additional certified staff members.
On August 9,
Fauquier Excellence in Education
Foundation (FEIEF) hosted its 35th annual New
Teacher Dinner at Stoneridge Events Center in
Warrenton. Approximately 200 people attended the
event, including new staff as well as a host of business
community members. The evening shone a spotlight
on artwork created by district students thanks to art
displays and table arrangements set up by Warrenton
Middle School art teacher Marisa Pappas.
The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour with music
provided by three FCPS teachers. The trio of violinists
included Emily Milham (Cedar Lee Middle School),
Eunbit Seo (Auburn and Warrenton Middle Schools),
and Laura O'Konski (Liberty High School). All three
are orchestra teachers at their respective schools; Ms.
Milham and Ms. O'Konski also teach chorus.
FEIEF chair Stacie Griffin welcomed guests and asked
retired FCPS veteran teacher and current FEIEF
board member Joyce D'Urso to share the foundation's
history. In 1984, the FCPS school board appointed
William Armstrong, Thomas diZerega, and Hunton
Tiffany--all well-known business community members,
to serve on a long-range salary task force. This led to
the establishment of "The Committee for Excellence in
Education," which began grassroots efforts to support
educators who joined the FCPS ranks by officially
welcoming them at a dinner held just prior to the
beginning of the school year. That committee went on
to begin fundraising to provide grants and professional
development opportunities for district teachers.
Five years ago, school officials, school board members,
parents, and business leaders spearheaded efforts
to take the organization to a new level, leading to its
expansion and renaming as the Fauquier Excellence
in Education Foundation. Although the scope of the
foundation has broadened, the focus remains true to
expanding educational opportunities within FCPS for
both students and educators.
Ms. D'Urso thanked three of the original seven
Committee for Excellence in Education officers who
attended the dinner: Judge Greg
Ashwell, Grey Coyner, and Larry
Retired FCPS teachers and current
FEIEF board members Eileen Burgwyn and Beth Lynn
(with a combined 58 years of teaching experience)
took the podium to introduce the 2018 teacher grant
winners, which included a five-person team and an
individual from Brumfield Elementary School, a two-
person team from Southeastern Alternative School, and
individual teachers from Liberty High School and Taylor
Middle School. Over the past 35 years, more than 300
teachers have received nearly $400,000 in foundation
grants to participate in these professional development
FCPS Superintendent
Dr. David Jeck addressed
praising FEIEF, the
school board, business
community, and other
local entities that are
staunch supporters of
the district. He then
asked principals from
each school to introduce
their new staff members
in attendance with them.
Amusing banter among
administrators kept the
ambiance lighthearted
yet welcoming, setting
the perfect tone for the school year.
An all-volunteer organization, FEIEF continues to seek
avenues to form partnerships with area organizations
and businesses that can further its goals. Through
grants and fundraising campaigns, the
foundation has successfully remodeled the
Fauquier Outdoor Lab and Environmental
Studies Academy, funded STEM Summer
Camps, sponsored the Regional Science
Fair, increased funding available for teacher
grants, and more. In 2017, in partnership with
FCPS and Lord Fairfax Community College,
FEIEF received the inaugural Governor's
Award for Excellence and Innovation in
Education for Community Partnerships and
Collaborations. The Board of Directors is
grateful for the business community's ongoing
support--more than six dozen businesses
contributed to the New Teacher Dinner
through teacher sponsorships and/or goody
bag items distributed to new educators.
The foundation's next fundraising effort is the second
annual "Oh! The Places You'll Run!" 5K Color Run and
1K Fun Run on September 30 at Kettle Run High School.
Last year's premiere event hosted 136 participants,
netting close to $3,500.
To register for this event, or to learn more about FEIEF
and/or make a donation, visit
Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation
Hosts 35th Annual New Teacher Dinner
Violin trio of Fauquier County Public School orchestra teachers
On May 1, Steve and Michelle Walters became
the proud new owners of
sweetFrog Premium
Frozen Yogurt in Warrenton's Northrock
Shopping Center, and as of August 16, they
also own the store in Culpeper. With 25 years
in the food services business, these Warrenton
residents were looking for a new business
opportunity close to home.
"We sold our four locations of Auntie Anne's
Pretzels, realizing we wanted to work in our
own community," Steve says. "We love it
here. Our goal is to bring the store back to its
original glory. We have a great product and a
clean beautiful store."
"The core beliefs of this company match our
own, including the work ethic and customer
service," adds Michelle. "Three of our six kids
work here, along with a half-dozen others. We
want our stores to be more than just a yogurt
shop; we want them to be a place where the
community can gather and get to know one
another, to feel at home and appreciated."
Steve and Michelle have many ideas for
store improvements. Brightly colored new
umbrellas now provide welcome shade at
the outdoor tables in Warrenton. They have
incorporated new signage inside the store
and are considering adding fruit smoothies
and hot coffee in the near future.
New frozen yogurt and sorbet flavors are
introduced each month, with 14 varieties to
choose from at all times. Sensitive to dietary
needs, they have several dairy-free selections,
including watermelon, green apple, and
raspberry-pomegranate sorbets. The vast
majority of yogurt is gluten free and low fat,
with the latest addition being island banana.
Late summer will bring blackberry, fall brings
pumpkin and apple pie flavors, and during
the Christmas season, you can experience
eggnog and peppermint flavors! Even the
toppings have been expanded. The latest craze
is mochi, a rice-based Japanese soft candy.
As the family incorporates their faith
into their business model, they look
forward to participating in community
events and fundraisers. To learn more,
(540) 359-6401.
~ Lynnette Esse
New sweetFrog Owners in
Warrenton and Culpeper
Steve and Michelle Walters