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‘VIctory Lap’ marks final year

First slide

St. Paul VI Catholic High School is celebrating its final school year in Fairfax and will have a new home next fall. The school is moving from 16 acres in Fairfax City to a new 68-acre campus in the Chantilly/South Riding area of Loudoun County.

The 2019-20 school year has been given the theme “VIctory Lap” to celebrate and cement into memory the last year spent where Paul VI has been located since opening in 1983.

Originally built in 1935, the Fairfax building has a rich history, including housing monkeys for George Mason University’s psychology department, the former location of Fairfax High School, and serving as an adult daycare for Alzheimer’s patients. Making it suitable for the first 350 freshmen and sophomores in 1983 was no small accomplishment.

“The first few years everyone realized that the school was more than a building,” Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Donald J. Heet, the school’s founding principal, recalled in the student newspaper in 1999. “In 1983, we basically had no building, so the people were the focal point. That fact set a tone for the school.”

PVI students, faculty, staff and administration are determined to take this sense of community wherever they go, and they know that this will make their last year in Fairfax a special one. A VIctory Lap logo will be used on materials to commemorate Paul VI’s final year in Fairfax and special activities are being planned.

To encourage students to “go all out” for the VIctory Lap, the student government has devised a contest where students can log their attendance at school events on a special app and win prizes, including a $300 Amazon gift card. The top 12 students at the end of each quarter will win a tour of the new building with an off-campus lunch, and at the end of the year the top 20 students will get to choose their locker at the new building.

“We have tons of fun events planned throughout the year,” said senior and student ambassador Gavin McDonnell. “Some events will be multiple point events, meaning you can check in multiple times.”

The final homecoming football game in Fairfax will be Sept. 27. In addition to current students, parents and teachers, many alumni, past faculty and staff, and alumni parents will return to campus to celebrate the final homecoming.

Meanwhile, construction at the new campus in Loudoun is on pace for a late fall completion. Staff will move into their new home next summer and the campus will open for students in August.

While change can be hard, it’s clear that even with a new zipcode and new home next year, the school will continue to have the same school spirit, mission and values, helping students to “grow in grace and wisdom.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019