Torian and Local Leaders Honor Prince William County Youth

Supervisor John Jenkins, Chairman Brenda Gardziel of  the PW Park Authority, Delegate Luke E. Torian,  Chairman Milton Johns of the PW School Board, and State Senator George Barker
By Eric Wronsky December 3rd, 2010
Published: December 3rd, 2010

The mood was light and jovial last night as Prince William County staff, students and parents celebrated the county’s designation as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. The honor was bestowed by America’s Promise Alliance, which its website describes as “a cross-sector partnership of 400+ corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups that are passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children.”

This year, over 350 communities nationwide were nominated for the distinction as one of America’s 100 Best Communities. This was the first time the Alliance has recognized Prince William County.

Since 2007, the Alliance, founded in 1997 by former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, has held an annual competition for the distinction of one of 100 Best Communities for Young People. The award “recognizes and celebrates extraordinary community-wide efforts to improve the well-being of youth and end the nation’s dropout crisis.”

Since 2006, Prince William County has reduced its high school drop out rate by 52.8 percent.

The results of the competition came on September 21, and last night the county celebrated its award at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center.

Before the ceremonies were underway, the Osbourn Park Chamber Orchestra serenaded attendees from its perch on the second floor with festive tunes such as “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and “Deck the Halls.” Speaking guests such as PWC School Board Chairman-at-Large Milton Johns, BOCS Representative John Jenkins (Neabsco), and Delegate Luke Torian (D-52) spoke briefly to the dozens in attendance about the distinction.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of America’s 100 best communities,” said Jenkins, “but it’s one our students and staff richly deserve.”

Delegate Torian was in attendance to present a tribute from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. “It’s a joy for me to work in this county and to represent Eastern Prince William County,” Torian said.

There was also a pre-recorded video message from General Colin Powell, a one-time resident of Dale City, personally congratulating Prince William County as a recipient of the award. Powell spoke about his passion for starting the Alliance and what it means to try to best prepare young people for their lives ahead. “We have no greater call as citizens than to prepare our next generation,” said Powell.

[View video from the event and the message from General Powell through the Prince William County Schools’ link here:

Featuring comments from high school students, school staff members and Alliance representatives, the overall message was that Prince William County is a community that has for years worked together to better its young people. To those who shared their comments, the award was not only representative of the work the community has put in this year, but collectively over many years.

“We share the belief that young people are one of our greatest resources,” said Johns.

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