Ashburn, VA (October 13, 2015) – The “Ram Fam,” the initial student body and staff of Riverside High School gathered in the school’s gym on Monday, October 5th, to formally dedicate Loudoun’s 15th high school.
As with any formal event of this nature, it was a time of reflection and a time to look toward the future.
Principal Doug Anderson said Riverside was born of the need to relieve crowding at three high schools (Tuscarora, Stone Bridge and Broad Run). “We were an undetermined number of kids that came from three highs schools and a middle school (Belmont Ridge).
“We were a great idea.
“Where are we now? We’re an idea put into action. We are 858 (students) and growing…
“Now, we are all Rams.”
Anderson wasn’t aiming low when he talked about the potential for Riverside’s future.
“Where are we going?
“We’re going to be the flagship school in Loudoun County and beyond. The path will have bumps and bruises… As in any family there will be highs and lows, but know this…we will always rally around the family.”
School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn District) said Riverside is unique for its scenic campus and proximity to Belmont Ridge Middle School. He said it also is unique because it sprang from community activism in a process that started more than six years ago, before its students entered middle school.
But, Hornberger said, the most unique thing about Riverside has yet to happen.
“You are the future of Riverside High School and it is up to you to fashion its climate, to collect its accolades and to build its reputation to – not only be a unique school in Loudoun County – but an exceptional (school).”
“It was not easy getting to where we are today,” said Scott York, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “There were many concerns about this location. But the community came around and they are very pleased the high school is here. Go forward, do your best, prosper; education is very important. Take every opportunity you have in this marvelous facility to learn.”
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams said it was important to reiterate thanks to elected officials, schools staff and members of the community who made the construction of Riverside possible. “People said it could not be done. People said this school could not be done.”
Now that the school is done – at least where construction is concerned – Williams presented Anderson with the official seal of Loudoun County, a tradition at LCPS school dedications. “This basically says to Riverside High School ‘Welcome to the family.’ ”
Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) President Tonya Body had a challenge for the assembled students. “I want to encourage you all to dream big. This is a big, big life out there – life is huge guys – you have an opportunity to discover, become whatever you choose to become.”
Body urged students to step outside the box, saying they will be surprised by the outcome.
SCA President Chad Musa asked his fellow students to take full advantage of “Dedication Week” to have fun and show their personality. Beyond that, he had a message for the school’s future. “Being a student at Riverside is something in which all of us should take pride. All we have to do is work together and help each other attain our goals.”
Derk Jeffrey, the senior principal for Stantec, Riverside’s architect, was one person who was very glad to attend the dedication. “I can say with confidence that we share the pride, and perhaps the relief as well, that we can stand here today in a school that existed only in abstract for a very long time.”
He added it was now up to the students and staff to make Riverside more than a building. “For all of us, schools are never about the bricks and mortar.”
Del. Thomas “Tag” Greason (32nd District) presented a resolution from the House of Delegates commending Riverside’s opening.
Assistant Principal Dr. Tripp Di Nicola and the Riverside’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team then recited the meaning behind the RAMS acronym (Respect, Advocate, Motivate, Serve). Each person attending the dedication was given a postcard, which they were asked to send to someone who has had a positive impact on their life.
The Dressel family helped Anderson cut the ceremonial ribbon dedicating the school. They won that honor at the Riverside High School Gala in August.
Attending the Riverside High School dedication were State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (33rd District), Del. Randy Minchew (10th District), Ashburn Supervisor Ralph Buona and At-Large School Board member Tom Reed.