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As the snow storm warnings started to come through on Thursday, January 21, students waited impatiently for the first snow day of the year. Little did they know just the next day on Friday afternoon, winter storm Jonas arrived at the little city of Falls Church and leaving over two feet of snow. Despite the troubles it caused, the snow lit up our city and kept excited students out of school for a week. (Photos by Caroline Perez, Dorian Charpentier and Meredith Johnson ).

Click on image below to see all photos.

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The widely anticipated snowstorm is coming to the Northern Virginia area this weekend bringing 15 to 20 inches of snow, meteorologists say. This amount of snow only means one thing: hardcore sledding! So if you need somewhere to sled in Falls Church this weekend, be sure to check out this list!

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1. Mount Daniel Elementary

The street leading up to Mount Daniel Elementary school is enormously popular; not only with the kids that go to this school but also the locals. The one thing with going to Mount Daniel is that you might have to wait your turn because of its popularity when it comes to sledding.

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2. Benjamin Banneker Park

This hill, in the large park near the East Falls Church Metro (next to the dog park) has many fans. The hill is known to be safe and extremely fun.

 

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3. The BB&T Hill

The two tall white towers of BB&T bank (just before Seven Corners, across the parking long from 24-Hour Fitness) represent a great sledding opportunity. Get there early so it’s easy to get a parking spot. Behind the building and the parking garage is the large hill.

 


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4. Lemon Road Elementary

The hills around this elementary school, which is on Idylwood Rd. just outside Falls Church, are gigantic and have many trees. Use caution when sledding near the trees but besides that one factor these hills are one of the most used and talked about hills around. They are very fun and destined to have a good time with kids of all ages.


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5. Gibson, Tracy, and Robinson Place

These three streets run on a steep hill between Rosemary Lane and Poplar Drive. The streets are just a small walk away from Thomas Jefferson Elementary. The hills may not be long but they are extremely steep. The risk with using these streets for some insane sledding is to be careful because they can be very dangerous. Maybe wear a helmet and make sure to have a person down by the end of the street to keep watch for any cars.

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Just two years after the school spent $23,531.97 on a new digital marquee to be placed at the Haycock Road entrance of George Mason, the sign sits dormant in a back parking lot while students and staff are scratching their heads about what happened.

“The whole thing is a mystery,” said Brian Fowler, head of maintenance department at George Mason High School.

“We wanted it so desperately and now we can’t use it. It’s here, it’s really frustrating,” said GMHS Principal Ty Byrd.

This seems to be the reaction from administrators, staff, and students across George Mason. The short life of the digital marquee, which was meant to be a modern update to original brick-and-plastic sign that stands on Route 7, raises more questions than it provides answers.

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The manual brick sign that stands on Route 7 in front of GMHS. The sign is outdated and infrequently updated. “Nobody uses it. It’s kind of a waste of space,” said Alice Castillo, sophomore. (Photo by Eva Ellis)

The new digital sign was paid for with money raised by the graduating classes of 2011, 2012, and 2013 who donated their leftover class money to FCCPS to be used toward the project.

According to Seve Padilla, the school’s Director of Facilities and Services, GMHS administrators met “numerous times” to discuss the plan and a few vendors came to give proposals. In the end, the group decided on this particular model.

The sign arrived at the school on September 26, 2013 and stood at the Haycock Road entrance until the end of the school year of 2015. When students returned in September, 2015, the sign was gone, stashed away in a parking lot behind the Science wing.

“It’s unfortunate that the sign didn’t see much use,” said Stu Harvey, class of 2013 SCA president.

“It’s disappointing to hear that the digital marquee is out of commission… That couldn’t have been cheap.” said Karishma John, the class of 2010 SCA president who contributed in the class’s donation of the mustang statue on the school football field

The digital marquee posed problems almost immediately.

The first was the location, which did not have an electrical source, forcing the school to power the sign using gasoline and a generator.

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 A Falls Church City Public School
7124 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22043
Phone: (703)248-5500 Fax: (703)248-5533 Attendance: (703)248-5501