A Day of Remembrance and Appreciation for Service Leadership
In recognition of those who lead by serving their communities, Foxcroft began our annual Leadership Day last Friday by coming together “to remember 9/11 and to bear witness to those who lost their lives and to those who served their country,” as Head of School Cathy McGehee so aptly put it in her opening remarks. The School welcomed honored guests Middleburg Police Captain A. J. Panebianco, and from the Middleburg Fire Department: Captain Jeff Garner, Firefighters Jeff Staub, Brendan Kroner, and Kyle Fogel, and Technicians Jerry Dean and Chad Micheal.
Four student volunteers then briefly walked the community through the events of September 11, 2001, reflecting not only on the horror and devastation but also the kindness of strangers caring for strangers. “The worst of humanity bringing out the best of humanity,” read Rynn C. ’24. Community members, including some of our honored guests, also offered their own thoughts and reflections. All in attendance then gathered around the flagpole where the flag was raised and then lowered to half-mast and the singing of the national anthem was led by Nova S. ’24 and Heidi D. ’23, followed by a beautiful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “The Light of a Clear Blue Morning” by faculty members Dr. Meghen Tuttle, Kristine Varney, and Julie Fisher.
Following the remembrance, students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Library to learn about a different — but equally important — type of service leadership as Foxcroft welcomed Mobile Hope Founder and CEO Donna Fortier. Mobile Hope is a nonprofit organization that, as stated on their website “provides support and emergency shelter to youth up to age 24 who are at-risk, precariously housed or homeless and empowers them to become self-sufficient.” Located in Leesburg and originally serving 4,000-5,000 people in Loudoun County, their bus outreach program expanded during the pandemic and now travels to Washington, DC, as well as Prince George's, Montgomery, Fairfax, and Prince William counties, serving more than 220,000 people.
“Prior to COVID,” explained Ms. Fortier, “we would take our mobile bus out and we would serve. We would go out probably eight times a month into eight different neighborhoods. And that was great. But we realized quickly that many of our hardest-hit neighborhoods could not leave. They either didn't have transportation or, because they were supposed to stay home, they couldn't get food. So we pivoted and we started to go out to 20 different neighborhoods per week.”
Encouraging involvement, Fortier offered, “Not only can you come in and help us make the bags and get the diapers and wipes and the hygiene and toys and all of that prepared, but you can hand the food to the people who are standing in line. And it is the most humbling thing I have ever experienced that somebody would stand in line for three hours waiting for free food."
In conclusion, speaking passionately about the youth who seek the services of her organization, Fortier urged, “When you come to Mobile Hope, I want you to just look at each kid that's there and understand that there is a backstory and so much trauma that they are trying to get through. And that's the point of service, in my opinion, that we don't judge — we accept everybody.”
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.