Enjoy the Summer and Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

As we head into our final week of school, I would like to sincerely thank all our students, faculty, staff, parents, and community friends who have helped us accomplish the seemingly impossible. We stayed true to our core values that kept students at the center. We supported teachers who delivered world-class education during a pandemic. All along we found creative ways to stay connected. And when we finally were able to have opportunities to be in-person, our fabulous custodial team set up our campus and classrooms for maximum safety.

Our reflections on the past year reveal an asset mindset. Everyone acquired new skills and innovative approaches to daily life. We accomplished the same curricular standards, just in different ways. Flexibility was key to our success. Teachers reduced workload, designed alternative assessments, adjusted deadlines, and were responsive to student advocacy. I believe these actions were natural extensions to the work in which we had already engaged with Challenge Success.

Looking to our future, I am excited for TJ to welcome 550 freshmen in the coming weeks. In addition to the orientation we will will have for the Class of 2025, we are thinking about having orientations and tours for other classes prior to the opening of school. We recognize there are some students who may never have walked our halls yet or it's been quite awhile. When we open our doors in August to approximately 1900 students, our focus will be on reunification and creating a culture of belonging for all.

Until then, I invite all families and friends to tune in to our Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony which starts at 9 a.m., Saturday June 5, at the following link:

Link to Live Stream.

Wishing everyone a fulfilling, healthy, and lively summer!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus

Proud Principal

Staff Recognitions for Years of Service

As the year comes to an end, we'd like to recognize the following staff members for reaching these years of service milestones with FCPS! We appreciate all you do for our kids and TJ!


Years of Service

Staff Member

30 Years

Elizabeth Sandstrom

25 Years

Berta Orellana

Robin Taylor

20 Years

Catherine Scott

Dan Tra

Heather Murphy

Marion Billington

Sherwood Williams

15 Years

Clinton Behling

Hee Choi

John Woodwell

Jonathan Osborne

Manjeet Kaur

Melanie Morris

Michael Auerbach

Michael Miller

Olga Henriquez-Orellana

Suzette Henry

10 Years

Ilsa Tinkelman

Laura Locklear

Mark Hannum

Nicole Kim

Peter Gabor

Szilvia Oszko

5 Years

Ana Gonzalez

Charles Phillips

Corey Lightner

Duy Nguyen

Hae Park

Kuk Yang

Malcolm Eckel

Maria Guardado

Nadeem Khan

Samantha Wolf


TJ Donates Over $10,000 to The House, Inc.

As part of Homecoming 2021, the TJ SGA held "Money Wars" in which the classes each competed to raise the most money for a charity. All told, TJ students were able to raise a total of $10,559.34!

The charity that SGA chose to donate to was The House, Inc. It runs a leadership center that helps 4th-12th grade disadvantaged students in the Washington/Arlington area to learn leadership skills and be empowered. During the pandemic, the organization has held numerous food drives that delivered essentials to hundreds of families weekly.

SGA Secretary Bhaswith Suresh explained that, "We chose this charity, because this year we wanted to make an impact on our local community. The House Inc. seemed to be the perfect choice as they empower fellow students and helped feed many families when food banks were closed during the pandemic. As TJ students, we are privileged to have so many resources at our disposal so donating to an organization that provides that for others resonated with us." 

TJ SGA presents check to The House, Inc.

New Mural Displayed in Lecture Hall

Over the past two years, 10 talented TJ artists have designed and painted a four-panel mural that represents all aspects of our school and the love of STEM from our students. On June 2, the SGA held an unveiling in the Lecture Hall, where the mural will be displayed for all future students and staff to enjoy.

A picture of full muralThe artists and SGA pose in front of the mural

Class of 2021 Together Again

On May 28 and 29 we allowed all seniors who were interested (including virtual students and students attending only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) to return to in-person learning one last time, giving them a chance to see their teachers and friends, as well as get some closure on their TJ experience. Here is a photo gallery of some of the full classrooms and fun activities that went on.

Classroom photos of seniors returning to classOutdoor lunch activities for seniors

Challenge Success Update - Looking for Parent Volunteers

As we move toward the summer break, please keep in mind the importance of play time, down time, and family time (PDF). Moving into next year, we as a school and Challenge Success community continue our work of supporting students to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers.  In pursuit of this mission, be mindful of the need for all our students to take a step back from the intensity of the TJ academic environment and encourage them to explore less stressful activities (visiting friends and family, reading a book for pleasure, going on a bike ride, venturing out on a hike, and exercise for the sake of exercise, etc.).

We are also looking for the addition of two parents to the Challenge Success team for next school year.  If you are interested and a parent of a rising TJ student for the 2021-2022 school year, please reach out to Mark Forgash at mforgash@fcps.edu. Once you send an email, he will reply with an online link directing you to an application to become a member of the team. We look forward to having the input of all stakeholders dedicated to the vision of Challenge Success here at TJ. Please send an email no later than Wednesday, June 9, 2021, and thanks in advance for applying!


In each newsletter we want to give some quick shout outs to TJ staff, students, teams, and alumni:

  • Congratulations to the TJ Varsity History Bowl team for capturing the runner-up trophy at the National Championship! The team upset the #3 seed to reach the semifinals and earned another dramatic win against the #2 seed to reach the finals.
  • The TJ Ocean Bowl Team competed virtually in the National Finals of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, where they placed in the top 12 out of over 100 teams nationwide. Additionally, the team won the Science Experts Briefing competition by making recommendations on a proposed bill to organize an international Arctic Seaway Effort.
  • Odyssey of the Mind is a problem-solving competition that has rewarded students for imaginative thinking and teamwork for over 40 years, and involves thousands of teams from dozens of countries around the world. Two area teams that featured TJ students competed in the 2021 Virtual World Finals recently after strong performances in the Virginia state tournament. The combined TJHSST/Lake Braddock/homeschool 7th/8th/9th/10th grade team took second place overall in their division at the Virginia state tournament and tying for the 3rd highest raw score for spontaneous problem solving out of every team in every problem and division competing.  The combined TJHSST/Lake Braddock/West Springfield's 9th grade team took third place overall and first place in spontaneous problem solving in their division at the Virginia state tournament.  
  • The 2020-21 TJ Chess Team competed in the 2021 virtual Virginia Scholastic Chess Championships (states) and the 2021 K-12 National Online Scholastic Championships (nationals).  

    States this year occurred in four phases: three Grade State Qualifying Tournaments (GSQTs), which was vir­tual, and one State Scholastic Invitational Tournament (SSIT), which was in person. Only the GSQTs counted towards team placements.  TJ placed first, continuing our winning streak as the top team in Virginia for over 20 straight years.

    The Nationals qualification tournament was held virtually on April 24th-25th. It was an 8-game event with a rapid time control, which meant players had less time than usual to make each move. TJ finished 2nd overall with 22.5 team points, only half a point behind the first-place team.

    The TJ chess team especially would like to thank Ms. Stacey Heller (current chess parent) and Dr. John Zacharias and Dr. Peter Gabor, who are the Chess Team’s faculty sponsors.

2020-21 TJ Chess Team Picture

Reminder to Pick Up Medication

The school health room is reminding parents and guardians that all medication stored in the health room must be picked up no later than the student dismissal time on the last day of school (Friday, June 11 at 10:40 a.m.). Medication left in the health room after that time will be discarded. It is school policy that medications must be picked up by the parent or guardian.  Medication cannot be sent home with your student. However, with parent or guardian permission, a high school student may transport over-the-counter medications to and from the school health room.

Important Calendar Reminders*

June 4, 8-10: Final exam days for grades 9-11. These are half days of school, beginning at 8:40 a.m. and dismissing at 11:55 a.m. 

June 5: Class of 2021 graduates at Woodson High School Stadium.

June 8: Online synchronous day of instruction. Due to FCPS schools being used as polling sites for primary elections, all students will stay home this day and follow their schedule online.

June 11: Final day for students and it will only be a two-hour day beginning at 8:40 a.m. and dismissing at 10:40 a.m.

June 21: Virtual Summer Programs begin at TJ. More information here.

August 23: First day of 2021-22 school year.

* All dates/purposes subject to change based on health metrics, instructional needs, and systemic decisions by FCPS.


Helpful FCPS Resources

Mental Health Resources and Emergency Services Information

Parent/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form


Student Health and Safety Guidance Document

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Permission to Return to School/Child Care Form

Virginia Department of Health


Riding the Bus

If you or someone you know is struggling, contact CrisisLink (703-527-4077) or Crisis Text (text NEEDHELP to 85511)