The second year of the Global Leaders of Fairfax County program concluded with a ceremony held on May 22 at George C. Marshall High School that recognized 91 Fairfax County high-school seniors for successfully completing the program.
In opening remarks, managing director Ryan McElveen acknowledged the hardships the program graduates have faced “during a challenging time for our community and the world – if there was ever a time for the next generation to step up and speak out, it is now.”
U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) and Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand provided keynote remarks to the assembled students and supporters.
“Leadership is the art and science of getting things done through other people,” said Beyer, who acknowledged that he had “spent much of my life trying” trying to discern how to be a good leader. Quoting historian James MacGregor Burns, Beyer said that “leadership is vision and agenda. You have to know where you are going, or you can’t lead people there – and you have to have an agenda to make sure that vision comes true.”
Brabrand, who will depart next month after leading Fairfax County Public Schools for five years, told the graduates that “by participating in this program, you have had access to what most people don’t have access to until college.”
Recalling his start in the education field 30 years ago, he said that “My secret in life has been to find something you love, and then stay in love. If you find something you like, but you don’t love it, it’s OK to change. I thought I wanted to be an international businessman, but I realized that I didn’t have to travel around the world to be a businessman. The world is right here in our back yard.”
Reflecting on the current climate in public service, Dr. Brabrand expressed that “As global leaders, we cannot stand silent and let others throw stones. We have people throwing stones across the world, across our country and even locally. We can all agree to disagree sometimes and have differences of opinion. But destroying individuals or destroying institutions is not how we’re going to keep a strong democracy.”
Global Leaders of Fairfax County, founded in 2020 by former Fairfax County School Board member McElveen, aims to prepare fellows to be global citizens and change agents in their local community and the world.
Fellows undergo a rigorous application process for admission, and throughout their senior year of high school they have opportunities to engage with leaders from various fields and undertake field trips to civic institutions to advance their understanding of international affairs and global issues.
Students from the Sun Gazette coverage area who completed the program include:
For additional information about Global Leaders of Fairfax County initiative, see the Website at www.fairfaxleaders.com.
Global Leaders of Jefferson
Fairfax students complete global-leaders curriculum