Monroe Technology Center Principal Tim Flynn had a simple agenda for those attending the school’s 40th anniversary on April 19th.
“The main goal for you is to come back home, because that is what Monroe has always been to us… Monroe is a home. It has never been a school. This school has always been a family.”
Flynn noted that families always meet in the kitchen.
In this case, celebrants gathered in the Culinary Arts Department, where retiring instructor Joy Anderson was catering her last event at the school.
Next school year, Monroe will become the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy (MATA). MATA, the Loudoun Academy of Science and the Loudoun Academy of Engineering and Technology, which are now independently located, are being combined in one school community called the Academies of Loudoun.
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams said, that while Monroe’s programs will have a new home, the spirit that has guided them through the decades will remain the same. “Anniversaries can be looked at in two ways – celebrations of the past – or affirmations of the future; celebrating what is best in our past and carrying that spirit forward.
“Today, as we celebrate 40 years of Monroe Technology Center serving Loudoun County, we do both.
“Charles S. Monroe, for whom this building is named, saw the value in vocational education more than half a century ago. As a longtime principal and teacher, he established classes in agriculture, mechanics and home economics because he knew such skills were the foundations on which economic stability – both personally and as a society – are based.
“Planning for the technology center that bears Monroe’s name began in 1973, more than a decade after he retired as a principal. The spirit that moved Monroe to incorporate meaningful instruction with real-world outcomes into Loudoun County’s curriculum grew within these walls until, today, students have the opportunity to earn more than 50 industry certifications. Monroe’s vision is reflected in the study of technical fields, construction skills and a world-class medical studies program.
“The growth in what Monroe has offered since this building opened in 1977 is staggering…
“Providing the tools to do what is best for students is one thing. Providing the vision to make sure these tools are used to inspire our students to serve our community to the best of their ability requires dedicated instructors and administrators. Monroe has been fortunate to have such people on its staff for four decades.
“As this facility grew from Charles Monroe’s vision, a new facility is now on the verge of opening that will carry the excellence of what this facility has become well into this century… The spirit that has motivated all the good that has happened within these walls will find a new home and an even greater number of students willing to be inspired by it.”
As part of the anniversary celebration, 600 photos from Monroe’s history were displayed. Some of these photos featured younger versions of the five former Monroe students now on the staff.
Attending the celebration were Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley Ellis, Director of High School Education Neredia Gonzalez-Sales and Dr. Tinell Priddy, principal of the Academies of Loudoun. Also attending were former Monroe Principal Wagner Grier, former Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Sharon Ackerman and former directors of career and technical education Pete Fulcer and Shirley Bazdar. (Fulcer was instrumental in the planning for the current Monroe Technology Center.)
Vice Chairman Donna Fortier represented the Loudoun County School-Business Partnership Executive Council. Business partnerships have been a key in expanding Monroe’s programming.