History of Clifton Elementary, Past & Present
Clifton, Virginia, like most of Fairfax County is rich in history. However, unlike most of Fairfax County, Clifton has managed to maintain and preserve that historical feeling to this day. The Town of Clifton remains a small, rural community compared to the more developed areas of Fairfax County. As a more rural area, many of Clifton's residents have come to depend on Clifton Elementary as the center of the wider Clifton Area Community. It is the place where families meet, a gathering spot for local organizations, and is vital to the livelihood of the Town's small businesses. There has been a school located in Clifton, uniting this more rural community since 1869.
The following excerpt was taken from the book "Clifton" of the "Images of America" series published by Arcadia Publishing in 2009. "Clifton" was written by local resident, Lynne Garvey Hodge, owner of the Canary Cottage Bed and Breakfast, on Main Street in Clifton.
Today, Clifton Elementary still serves nearly 400 students from the Clifton Area Community. The students at Clifton Elementary continue to thrive, as evidenced by the 2009 Governor's Award for Educational Excellence presented to the school during the 2008-2009 school year. Clifton students not only excel in their education, but also contribute to the surrounding communities through various outreach programs supported by the school.
Each year the school's students regularly participate in a number of events to help raise money and awareness of those in need throughout the greater DC Metropolitan area. Such programs include the Fannie Mae Walk for Homeless, the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart and the Student Council Food Drive.
During the 2007-2008 school year, Clifton Elementary participated in a "Buddy School Program", with Crestwood Elementary in Springfield, VA. Clifton Elementary ran a book drive in the fall, delivering over 1200 gently used books to students at Crestwood Elementary. In the spring, Clifton Elementary families donated boxes of school supplies and clothing that were desperately needed by students at Crestwood Elementary.
During the 2008-2009 school year, Clifton Elementary entered into a Community Partnership with Shelter House Inc., to help support the Kate Hanley Shelter, in Fairfax, VA. Each of the fifteen classrooms at Clifton Elementary assembled a complete “Kitchen in a Box” and donated these supplies to the Kate Hanley Shelter where they were given to families moving into permanent housing. In addition to the "Kitchen in a Box" program, the Student Council of Clifton Elementary ran a Snack Drive to benefit the children and families living at the Kate Hanley shelter.
Also during the 2008-2009 school year, the students at Clifton participated in the Pennies for Patients program run by a local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For three weeks in April 2009, students collected loose change and brought it to school to donate to the cause. The total amount raised : $3316.06
In addition to the programs described above, each month one class from Clifton Elementary makes and donates sandwiches to a local homeless shelter. The students enjoy this opportunity to "compete" with each other throughout the year to see which class can make the most sandwiches. On average, Clifton Elementary donates 5500 sandwiches each school year to the The LAMB Center in Fairfax, VA.
Outside of school hours, Clifton Elementary students and families continue to support their community. Many youth groups which foster the development and growth of children into community leaders draw their membership from the Clifton Elementary School attendance area. The Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts programs based at Clifton Elementary both have the highest participation rates of any school in their respective Metropolitan Washington Council areas. These programs include several members from the wider community who attend private schools, participate in homeschool programs, or who attend other public schools in the area which do not provide such service programs for their communities. In 2009, nearly 30% of the boys and over 60% of the girls who are students at Clifton Elementary participated in scouting programs.
Clifton Elementary is not only a vital part of the Clifton Community because it educates our children. The school's Mission Statement explains: "Clifton Elementary empowers the school community to collaborate as scholars, mentors, and responsible citizens who foster creative learning, innovative thinking, and positive contributions to society." Clifton students, faculty, and parents strive to live up to this Mission Statement every day.
Home of Margaret and Susan Hetzel in 1869. The mother and daughter were founding members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and provided the only schooling for local children for many years. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax City Library