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A Lucketts Alumnus Gives Back
When Lucketts Elementary School was dedicated in 1972, fifth-grader Sharon Virts was given the ceremonial key to the school by Superintendent Robert Butts.
Now Virts is trying to give real keys to knowledge to Lucketts’ current students.
Virts and her husband, Scott Miller, hosted a fundraiser on Tuesday, December 18th, at their home, Selma, to support the Units of Study reading program.
Virts reflected on the dedication during the fundraiser. “I gave a speech. They all applauded, and my mother cried, and she never cries.”
Virts attended Lucketts for one year before going on to Leesburg Middle School (now the Douglass School) and Loudoun County High School, where she was SCA president. She went on to found FCI Federal and has served as chairman of the Loudoun Economic Development Commission among many other prestigious posts in the community. Now, Virts said, it has come time to give back.
“It’s more community; the opportunity we need to give our children.”
Coming from humble origins – she describes her childhood economic condition as “indigent” – has led Virts to seek out venues where she can help those in need. “I was one of those kids. I had parents who saw education was everything. That’s the only way you can get out of (poverty).”
The December 18th fundraiser sought $15,000 in matching funds from donors to underwrite the cost of purchasing a Units of Study library for Lucketts. Units of Study is a workshop curriculum for students in grades K-8, designed to assist teachers with opportunities to provide their students with instruction and personalized practice based on specific student needs. It sets concrete and attainable goals that enable students to, not only meet literacy standards, but exceed them in ways that build confidence. (Virts and her husband, Scott Miller, paid all the expenses for the fundraiser; every penny raised went to Lucketts Elementary.)
Those who wish to donate matching funds may use this link https://selmamansionrebirth.com/product/holiday-reception until December 31st.
Earlier this year, Virts and Miller announced a $100,000 gift to Lucketts. That gift will cover:
- Outfitting a music room, complete with a recording studio. “It’s not about giving (students) a recorder and a tambourine,” said Virts. She said the recording studio will show students how technology and the arts intersect. “You would not believe the technology that goes into music, film and graphic arts. The world has changed, and we need to change with it.”
- Starting an Edge Academy program in February. Participants in this program are fourth- and fifth-graders who were identified in one of two ways. Some demonstrated a discrepancy between verbal and math assessments in third grade, while others were on the radar of gifted education teachers for being curious, being interested in problem-solving or just thinking outside the box. The 18-week program operates for three hours after school on designated days. The program has provided a platform for introducing new technologies into the schools.
- A computer immersion program.
The gift is being overseen by the Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF) of which Miller is president. “LEF allows schools to experiment with best practices,” he told those gathered for the fundraiser.
Miller said the gift to Lucketts was designed to get students enthused about technology long before they get to high school. “Some of these are leading-edge (programs). We’re going to lead the county.”
Virts urged those at the fundraiser to donate to a school no matter their income level. “Anybody can do this. Anybody can adopt a school. It doesn’t matter how much you give. Everybody can do something. Every dollar counts.”
Virts added gifts don’t have to be monetary. “You can give your time.”
Miller joked about the passion with which his wife has attacked this project. “Wait until you see when she gets passionate about something.”
Lucketts Principal Carolyn Clement summed up the impact the gift will have on her school. “We’re very lucky. We want everybody to feel good about school.”
Two members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Geary Higgins (Catoctin District) and Tony Buffington (Blue Ridge District), attended the December 18th fundraiser.