Onto the Second Semester! - TJHSST February Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

February is a time filled with love for so many reasons! Please join us in spreading joy.

We kick off the second semester by celebrating the Lunar New Year. In honor of The Dragon, we wish everyone good luck, strength, power, and favorable weather! What I really love about our cultural celebrations at TJ is how we honor family and traditions. I look forward to more family connections as TJ recognizes Black History Month, where we will celebrate the history, culture, and achievements that Black Americans have contributed to our nation's history.

This time of year is also important as your child embarks on academic planning for 2024-2025. We appreciate how many parents attended our recent virtual curriculum information night. All the resources remain available online on our TJ Academics page. Continue to have open family conversations about where your child's interests lie. Think about how to balance workload and additional activities at school and home. You may find the time management scheduling tool from Challenge Success helpful. You'll be amazed at how quickly all the minutes in a day are used- only so much can go toward school while still keeping a child healthy and happy.

I continue to be proud of our school's ongoing leadership in STEM. Student research, in particular, has taken front stage. This newsletter edition contains accomplishments from the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition and our TJ Science Fair.

Starting the second semester, I ask students and teachers to revisit strategies that help them build community. Learn a fun fact about each other, learn all the names of peers in classes, or take time to share what hobbies we pick up in our downtime. When we build personal relationships, we create a culture of belonging and love. We also learn to understand and appreciate the diverse backgrounds and talents that all our students and staff bring to TJ.  


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

Course Selection Information for 2024-25 School Year

Whether or not you were able to attend the Curriculum Night on January 17, you may appreciate the opportunity to review the information presented about TJHSST course selections for the 2024-25 school year.

On each of the Academic pages of our website, you can see a presentation that showcases all of the information that was provided at Curriculum Night. There is also valuable information about each subject on those pages:

Computer Science

Fine Arts



PE, Health, and Driver Education

Science and Technology

World Languages

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition, we have a FAQ page that answers many of the questions that we see the most grouped by subject. If you still have a question, please reach out to your child's counselor.

Academic Advising Schedule for 2024-25 School Year

Students will meet individually with their counselors to discuss and lock-in course requests for the 2024-2025 school year. Counselors presented information about choosing courses to 10th and 11th graders during an advisory on Monday, January 29. This same information will be presented to 9th grade students through IBEST in the coming weeks.

We ask that you ensure that your student has entered their course requests, including alternates, in SIS StudentVue prior to these meetings. 

  • Rising Seniors, Class of 2025 – Meetings have already begun. They are occurring in Physics or AP Physics between January 30-February 9
  • Rising Juniors, Class of 2026 – Meetings will occur in World History/Geography 2 between February 12-February 23
  • Rising Sophomores, Class of 2027 – Meetings will occur in IBEST between February 26-March 8

After academic advising has concluded, we will ask parents to verify student course requests through SIS ParentVUE. Parents will have until Friday, March 15 to contact the counselor and make changes to the 2024-2025 requests. 

TJ Makes Waves in Regeneron Science Fair!

The Regeneron Science Fair Scholars and their teacher mentors

The TJ Regeneron Science Fair Scholars pose with their teacher mentors.


The Regeneron Science Talent Search put on by the Society for Science is one of the most prestigious science research contests in the nation for high school seniors. Each year students are invited to submit original research in important scientific areas of study. Once again TJ is well represented amongst the winners, as we had seven students earn a spot among the top 300 finalists! They are (along with their project name):

Kunal Samir Bham, Discovering Hidden Pathways: A Network-Centric Approach Reveals Novel Pathways Impacted by Prader-Willi Syndrome

David Lu Cao, The Implications of ‘Oumuamua on Panspermia

Seoyoung Jun, Integrated Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired – Implementation of a 3D Scanner With a Tactile Display and Machine Learning in Obstacle Identification

Rohan Kalahasty, Hybrid Plasticity: Adaptive, Brain-Like Artificial Intelligence via Prefrontal Cortex-Inspired Meta-Learning

Ryan Jisup Kim, Hybrid Quantum-Classical Machine Learning for Dementia Detection

William Zhang, Synchronization-Free Light Sheet Microscopy for 3-Dimensional Tissue Imaging

Brian Lee Zhou, Novel Data-Driven and Constraint-Guided Deep Learning Models Optimize a Multi-Objective Flapping Fin Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Control System

Each winning scholar received a $2000 prize, while TJ received a $2000 donation to its science programs for each winner as well ($14,000 total).

In addition, David Cao has been named a top 40 finalist in the competition and will participate in the Finals Week competition from March 7-13! Finalists are each awarded at least $25,000, and the top 10 winners will receive awards ranging from $40,000 to $250,000. Way to go David, and good luck!

Showcasing our Students - TJ Science Fair Features Amazing Projects

Collage of TJ students presenting at TJ Science FairCollage of TJ students posing with their project boards at TJ Science Fair


Mother Nature got in the way and forced us to reschedule our annual TJ Science and Engineering Fair, but our kids and staff know how to adjust and as a result we had a great event afterschool on January 24. 

We had 134 students present 89 very interesting projects (the most projects we've had in many years). Twenty-nine of our faculty sponsored these student projects. We are sending 26 Outstanding Projects on to the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair to be held March 15-17 at Robinson Secondary School. Additionally, there are 12 Honorable Mention projects that include four alternates for the Regional Fair.

We will be recognizing all of the awardees with their certificates and ribbons during JLC on Feb. 5.

Here are all the Outstanding rated projects that will be advancing to the Regional Fair:

  • Anusha Agarwal
    • Identifying Future Asteroid Mining Targets using a Deep Convolutional Neural Network
  • Sanchali Banerjee
    • A Novel Approach Using Generative AI for Forest Resource Management
  • Neha Chandran and Srimaye Peddinti
    • Linear Polarization-based Entanglement of Single Photon Spatial Modes and their Polarization States
  • Manini Dhingra and Vidhi Reddy
    • Utilizing Machine Learning for a Quantitative-Based Prediction of Drug-Drug Interactions
  • Mihika Dusad
    • Extending Dimensions: Solving the Admissibility Problem on the Spatial X-Ray Transform Over Z_2^n
  • Manav Gagvani
    • Multi-Agent Robotic Path Planning via Particle-based Belief Propagation
  • Ashrita Gandhari and Archishma Marrapu
    • Mitigating Neurotoxicity & Enhancing Antileukemic Effects of Quercetin & Vincristine Compounds Against Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia CCRF-CEM Cells & Predicting Drug Target Affinity (DTA) Using AI
  • Deven Hagen and Rohan Kotla
    • Using Fast Fourier Transform to Optimize Preprocessing for Neonatal Seizure Detection
  • Soham Jain
    • EyeLS: A Novel, Accessible Gaze-Tracking Application to Revolutionize Non-Verbal Communication for Patients with Neurodegenerative Disorders
  • Seoyoung Jun
    • Integrated Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired – 3D Scanner with a Tactile Display and Machine Learning in Obstacle Identification
  • Anvith Kakkera and Aneesh Kalla
    • Cytological Evaluation of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Machine Learning Analysis of Thyroid Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsies
  • Rohan Kalahasty
    • Learned Plasticity: Adaptive, Carbon-Conscious Artificial Intelligence via Prefrontal Cortex Inspired Meta Learning
  • Anant Khandelwal, Sritan Motati, and Siddhant Sood
    • Diffusion-Based Point Cloud Generation from Text for 3D Printing
  • Ryan Kim
    • Hybrid Quantum-Classical Machine Learning for Dementia Detection
  • Tejavi Kumar and Sravya Tathicherla
    • Convolutional Neural Network Identification of Abnormal Lung Sounds in Infants to Analyze Potential Precursors of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Madeline Levorson
    • Discovery of Medically Important Lytic Bacteriophages from the Environment
  • Veda Murthy
    • The Effect of Increased CO2 Absorption in the Soil on Herbicide Resistance in Palmer Amaranth
  • Arjun Pagidi
    • Predicting Infection Rates using Mathematical Modeling and Machine Learning
  • Phoebe Pan
    • AirWise: A Geo-Intelligent Deep Learning Framework for High Resolution PM2.5 Prediction from Multi-Sourced Air Quality and Meteorological Data
  • Medha Pappula
    • Cortical Connectivity Analysis in Pediatric ADHD: Integrating EEG Data, Deep Learning Models, and Reaction Times for a Novel Cognitive Assessment
  • Ryan Singh and Surbhi Singla
    • Utilizing Chiral Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes to Polarize Current for Spin Transfer Torque in MRAM Devices
  • Samuel Stankiewicz
    • AirChain: A Novel Blockchain Framework and Low-Cost IoT Device for Democratized Air Quality Data Aggregation
  • Aaryan Sumesh
    • The viability of PTCDA as an active cathode material in lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries
  • Ray Zhang
    • Macromolecular Biofilm Composition and Growth in the Fungi Fusarium and Development of an Antifungal Multi-targeted Drug Cocktail to Inhibit Biofilm Proliferation
  • Rocco Zhang
    • DeMHeM: A Novel Multi-task Learning Framework to Analyze Mental Health Conditions on Social Media
  • Brian Zhou
    • Bioinspired Flapping-Fin Autonomous Underwater Vehicles: A Novel Constraint-Guided Deep Learning Inverse Control Model Optimizes Vehicle Efficiency, Propulsion, and Navigation


Curriculum Fair Helps Returning Students Figure Out Plans for 2024-25 School Year

Collage from TJ's curriculum Fair


TJ staff wants to make sure that students have as much information as possible to make good choices as we head into academic advising/course selection season. On January 17 during eighth period, ninth, 10th, and 11th grade students had the opportunity to participate in the annual Curriculum Fair.

At the fair students visited classes that they wanted more information about and were interested in potentially taking next school year. Teachers were there to give a presentation about the class and answer any questions the students may have had. The day was divided into four sessions, allowing students to see a wide variety of courses. 

We'd Like Your Feedback on Curriculum Night

Later that night we held our Curriculum Night for Parents/Guardians. While there was a little glitch in the first few minutes, we were excited to see so many families were interested in hearing from us about the courses we have to offer!

We'd like to get some feedback from you so we can continue to improve this event. If you attended Curriculum Night on January 17, could you fill out this short survey to let us know what you thought?

TJ Virtual Summer Programming Update

Information for the TJ's 2024 Virtual Academic Summer School is available now. Information on Summer Enrichment Modules will be available in April.

Registration opens April 22.

Visit the TJ Summer Programming Website for more information.

Important Reminders from our Security and Safety Team - Please Read

Our Security and Safety team led by Mr. McNulty works to make sure our students and staff remain safe throughout the school day. That includes during, before, and after school, especially during dropoff and pickup. They asked to share a few important reminders that students and parents/guardians can all follow to help keep us safe. Thank you for your cooperation! 

Parking Reminders

  • If a student is driving and parking at the school, they will need to purchase and display the parking pass their rearview mirror. 

    • Parking passes can be purchased in the finance office or on MySchoolBucks. Parking passes can be obtained in room 130, at the beginning of the lunch period.

  • Students must park in student designated areas, not in staff parking spots or in the front visitor lot.

  • Cars found parked without a pass or in non-designated areas will be ticketed.

Dropoff Reminders

  • If you are using the Kiss and Ride system, students must be dropped off and picked up in the back of the building between doors 7 and 9.  

  • At arrival time, cars should pull up as far as possible in the two drop off lanes. Students are to enter through door 7 and 9.

  • For late arrivals, after 8:40, you will be diverted to the visitor lot for drop off and students will then enter door 1 and report to the front office.

    • Student drivers will then have to park on the access road.

Pickup/Dismissal Reminders

  • At dismissal, students will need to exit out of doors 7 and 9 and be picked up in the back parking lot.

    • Very Important! - Student should not be picked up in the neighborhoods surrounding the school or in the front visitor lot.

  • Students should always use the crosswalks and sidewalks. 

  • Do not enter the bus depot when buses are present.   


Let's Keep TJ Healthy - Cold and Flu Season Update


We continue to be in the midst of cold/flu season. Parents/Guardians, please check your student before they come to school. If they complain of not feeling well, check their temperature, talk with them, and assess their physical well-being. Just a minute or two in the morning may save you a trip to school later in the day to pick up a sick student. If your student is not feeling well in the morning, please do not send him/her to school.

As a reminder, FCPS requires an FCPS Medication Authorization and/or an FCPS Authorization for Anaphylaxis Action Plan signed by a health care provider and on file in the Health Room for students to self-carry medication. This includes over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl. Please contact Public Health Nurse, Dee Wilkes (LWilkes@fcps.edu) or call 571-536-9780 if your student is self-carrying medications without documentation on file in the health room.

Thank you for your help in keeping our students healthy and safe!



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

  • Congratulations to seniors Naisha Patel and Brian Zhao for being named Coca-Cola Scholar Regional Finalists! Naisha and Brian will now participate in the next phase of the selection process, a 20-minute interview with the Regional Interview Committee comprised of a Foundation staff member and previous Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship recipients. After these interviews, 150 students will be named Coca-Cola Scholars and receive a $20,000 college scholarship. Good luck Naisha and Brian!
  • The Namaste club will be honored later this school year at the Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County. They will be recognized for their years of working to promote cultural awareness through the annual International Night (iNite) multi-cultural show. Check back with a later edition of News You Choose for pictures from the ceremony!
  • The annual Congressional App Challenge encourages students to create unique mobile apps to help solve real world problems. Nearly every member of the House of Representatives holds their own contest for members of their district. This year TJ had three honorees, each from a different district!
    • In Representative Don Beyer's District 8, junior Archi Marrapu won for his app VOYCE.
    • In Representative Jennifer Wexton's District 10, junior Arjun Babla won for his app Scribe.
    • In Representative Gerry Connolly's District 11, juniors Aahil Valliani, and Arya Bharath, along with Zohran Valliani from Cooper Middle School placed second with their app Snap Quiz
Model UN team poses after win at ILMUNC conference in Philadelphia

Model UN team poses for picture after win at ILMUNC conference in Philadelphia


  • The TJ Model UN Club had a very successful January! The club competed at Chantilly High School’s CHMUN conference on January 12-13, bringing home the top honor of Best Large Delegation. In addition, 34 students brought home individual or partner awards!
  • Following upon this success, the club next competed at ILMUNC, the Ivy League Model UN Conference hosted by UPenn in Philadelphia. Here the club was up against over 2000 delegates including international teams and still managed to bring home the Outstanding Large Delegation award! In addition, 33 students brought home individual or partner awards!

Quick Reminders

Here a few quick reminders that TJ Families should be aware of:

  • The Spring Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener will be administered to students in grades 9-12 during advisory on March 11. Students use the SEL Screener twice a year to share their perspectives on how well their school and community help them develop skills they need to succeed. The screener works by asking questions or presenting statements that students can think about and respond to. More information is available about the SEL Screener by accessing this link: 


    If you have any questions please reach out to our SEL Screener Lead, Sara Genetin, at sjgenetinpil@fcps.edu

  • Spring SOL testing will be upon us before we know it!  All students enrolled in ninth grade Biology and English 11 (writing and reading), and select student students in TJ Math 3 (Algebra 2) will be testing this spring.

    • Students will be required to use their FCPSOn device for all End of Course testing this spring. Students should start bringing their FCPSOn device to school and log in on the school network at least once a week to ensure their device is working properly and is ready for testing. The specific testing dates will be communicated to students through their teachers.

  • This message is specifically for the Class of 2024
    • April 2 is the deadline for entering Service hours in x2Vol. Seniors who are working toward VDOE or FCPS graduation honors that have requisite volunteer hours must record those hours no later than April 2. Time is needed for organizations to verify hours, and FCPS staff must approve hours before they are uploaded to SIS in late April.  Like hours should be grouped together into one entry.  (Once a week for 10 weeks can be entered in x2Vol once for 10 hours if the type of hours, organization, and verifier are the same for all hours.)

Reminder to Class of 2024 to Submit Senior Dues

Senior dues for the class of 2024 are $85.00. This fee covers expenses associated with prom and graduation including graduation cap and gown, tassel, diploma, diploma cover, seals, senior luncheon, and prom ticket. For those who have not yet paid, an email reminder was sent to your senior student this week.

We ask you to please submit your $85.00 dues as soon as possible.  Your timely payment will help us ensure that every senior receives their essential items for graduation.  You can pay by cash, check, or on MySchoolBucks.

Hack TJ Volunteers Needed

On February 24 and 25, Hack TJ 11.0 will be taking place at Cvent in Tyson's Corner. Hack TJ is TJ's annual hackathon where students cobble and craft together (hack) solutions to problems in the medium of code. It's a competitive coding bonanza with a ping-pong tournament and workshops mixed in!

This overnight event draws over 400 students, and as such we need chaperones to make it happen. Please consider signing up here.  Feel free to sign up for more than one slot! For more information, visit https://hacktj.org/2024/

We genuinely appreciate your support!

Paul Kosek, Mark Hannum, and the Hack TJ Team

JLC Volunteering Opportunity: A Little Bit of Time = A Large Impact

Dear TJ Parents and Guardians,

Thinking about dropping by TJ to be a JLC volunteer during the third quarter? We have some new dates that have been added to the JLC Sign-Up Genius:, Feb. 5, Feb. 12,  Feb 26, and March 11. Here is the sign-up link:


What is JLC? JLC (Jefferson Learning Community) is a dedicated time embedded in the school day for teachers and administrators to discuss and develop plans to address instructional needs.

What does being a JLC volunteer entail?  From 12:10 pm to 12:50 pm, volunteers facilitate this essential meeting time by being present and aware of student behavior in hallways. This hour affords you a glimpse of TJ community and daily student life and is an invaluable gift of time to all TJ staff.

Thank you kindly for being a JLC Volunteer!

Second Session of 10th Grade Book Club to Occur March 1

Dear 10th grade parents, 

Thank you so much for your interests in joining this year's read: "The emotional lives of teenagers".  We had a wonderful 1st session of our book club on February 2. It was rewarding for us to see sophomore parents connecting with each other and participating in an engaging discussion.  

Our conversation of "The emotional lives of teenager" continues.  The second (and final) session will be held on Friday March 1 from 9:00-10:30am here at TJ in Franklin Commons. We will cover Part 2 of the book, Chapter 4-5. You don't have to read the chapters in order to come. We would just love to have you join us! 

If you are interested in joining the second session of the book club, please fill out this form so that we can adequately prepare for the meeting. 

Athletics Update - Spring Sports Start on Feb. 20!

Contact Information for spring sports coaches

Believe it or not, it is almost time for our Spring Sports season to begin. The preseason practices begin on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Our spring sports are baseball, crew, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field. To prepare for the season, students should be attending interest meetings, out of season activities, contacting coaches to get on email lists, and making sure they have required paperwork on file.

Paperwork is due on Friday, Feb. 16. Dr. Murphy will be in the AudLob during lunch on Thursday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 16 to collect VHSL physicals. Students can also turn them in to the Activities office during the day.

Students are required to complete Athletic Registration at https://tjhsst-ar.rschooltoday.com/ for every sport they want to try-out for.

For tryout information, please contact the coach. For paperwork issues, you can email Dr. Murphy hrmurphy@fcps.edu or Mr. Forshay DTForshay@fcps.edu.

Save the Date and Call for Volunteers - TJ Sports Physicals Fundraiser May 29

Get out your planners and save Wednesday ­May 29 to get your student’s annual sports physical at TJ. 

Medical professionals will perform comprehensive physicals. The screening will check height, weight, vision, posture, vital signs, upper and lower body assessments before seeing the medical professional for clearance. Every athlete needs a new athletic physical EVERY SCHOOL YEAR, so save a trip to the doctor’s office and come out and support TJ Athletics Training. 100% of the $50 fee goes right back to TJ athletics! This is a great way to ensure that the physical is completed before summer out-of-season practices start. 

EVERYONE will need a new physical in order to participate after July 1.

We need medical and non-medical parents to help make the sports physicals a successful event! If you are a physician (MD or DO), physician assistant (PA), physical therapist (PT) or nurse practitioner (NP), please consider helping out with physicals on May 29th. We also need non-medical parents who want to help with working a station or check-in/out desk.  Your expertise and a few hours of your time will greatly benefit our TJ athletes! 

Free advertising for medical professionals that help! Email Dr. Murphy hrmurphy@fcps.edu if you can help.

Follow TJ on Social Media!

Be sure to visit Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology On its official social media channels!

Visit our X (Twitter) account @TJHSST_Official  for news, upcoming events, reminders of important deadlines, and updates of all the fun activities going on at the school.

Visit our Instagram account @OfficialTJHSST for pictures and highlights of those fun events!

We'd love it if you give us a follow!

Important Calendar Reminders

Feb. 2: TJ Theater Arts Winter Musical, SpongeBob the Musical continues to show in the TJ Auditorium. Shows Feb. 1-3 and Feb. 9-10.

Feb. 19: President's Day Holiday - No school for students or staff. 

Feb. 19: Start of Spring Sports

Feb. 21: Band Concert in auditorium 7 p.m.

Mar. 1: March News You Choose newsletter is released.

Mar. 5: School Planning Day - No school for students

Mar. 11: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Ramadan) - school remains in session with normal hours.

Mar. 18: Third quarter Catch-Up Day

Mar. 20: AP Government Field Trip - all seniors taking AP Government class will be on annual trip to Capital Hill

Mar. 22: End of third quarter

Mar. 25-29: Spring Break - No school for students or staff

April 1: Teacher Work Day - No school for students

April 2: Staff Development Day - No school for students

April 5: April News You Choose newsletter is released