Ribbon-Cutting at CYES Honors Officer Chris Yung

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments | Education
Police Chief Stephen Hudson applauds at the ribbon-cutting along with members of the Yung family.

Police Chief Stephen Hudson applauds at the ribbon-cutting along with members of the Yung family.

The ribbon-cutting for Chris Yung Elementary was a very special occasion for Bristow and the Prince William community; in addition to ceremoniously opening the county’s newest elementary school, the school community paid tribute to Officer Chris Yung, the school’s namesake.

Officer Chris Yung was the Prince William officer who died in a motorcycle accident while responding to a call on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, 2012. He was 34-years-old. Chris was survived by his wife, Robin; his three children; two brothers, Dale and Brian; and his parents, Edward and Jennifer.

Robin, Chris’ widow, told the audience that she married Chris 15-years-ago, and said, “I never thought I’d be standing here 15-years later as his widow, dedicating a school in his name.”

Prince William School Board members, Superintendent Steven Walts, and Chris Yung Elementary students celebrate the ribbon-cutting.

Prince William School Board members, Betty Covington, Lillie Jessie, Alyson Satterwhite and Gil Trenum; Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts; Sen. Richard Black, and Chris Yung Elementary students celebrate the ribbon-cutting.

Robin thanked all those who made it possible for the “Devlin Road School” on Foglight Way in Bristow to bear her husband’s name: Gina Lapihuska who posted a Facebook page; Diane Winters who began a petition on Change.org; all those from around the country who signed the petition; and the Prince William School Board members who unanimously approved the name.

Virginia State Senator Richard Black (R-13th District) paid reverence to Officer Yung. He said Yung would make an inspirational role model for children due to his service to his country as a Marine during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and  his service to his community as a Prince William Police Officer.

Prince William Police Chief Stephen Hudson said the school is an appropriate legacy for Chris because he was a learner as well as a hard worker. “[His mantra was] I always want to be better today than I was yesterday,” Hudson said.

Chief Hudson explains that Officer Chris Yung would be  an inspirational role model for the elementary school children.

Chief Hudson explains that Officer Chris Yung would serve as an inspirational role model for the elementary school children.

Dr. Steven Walts, Superintendent of Prince William County Schools said it is appropriate that an elementary school bear’s Chris’ name. “The life at an elementary school is so positive and so full of energy.”

Prince William County Board of County Supervisors’ Chairman At-large, Corey Stewart (R), explained that Chris Yung now has a lasting legacy since the school will serve future generations. He noted that 75 years ago the county was only 1/10th its size but is now on the rise as a county of well-educated individuals who desire an outstanding education for their children.

“Seventy-five years from now there’s going to be a lot of changes in Prince William County, but this elementary school will still be here with Chris Yung’s name on it…This is our legacy as parents as taxpayers. In fact, this is a legacy that will have the name of Chris Yung forever,” Stewart said.

Prince William Motorcycle Officers attended the ceremony along with a few officers from Fairfax County.

Prince William Motorcycle Officers attended the ceremony along with a few officers from Fairfax County.

School Board member Gil Trenum said Officer Yung kept us all safe and no one really knows how many lives he had affected in that capacity. He hoped that Chris’ name will help students to learn about community service, compassion and empathy.

School Board Chairman Milt Johns said Chris Yung Elementary welcome Prince William Police as a valued part of the school community and that the school is to honor them as well. In the audience sat many Prince William Police Officers, especially those who served as motorcycle officers with Yung.

MPO Steve Bennett, senior motorcycle officer, was Yung’s friend and mentor on the force. He explained what having Chris’ name on the school meant to himself and his colleagues.

Motorcycle officers arrived together in a small procession.

Motorcycle officers arrived together in a small procession.

“It’s a great honor for Chris, and for us as well. We’re excited that they decided to name the school after Chris. It means a great deal, keeping his memory alive. It’s still powerfully felt, going on three years now. It’s still fresh in our minds,” Bennett said.

Speakers and elected leaders also celebrated Chris Yung Elementary School for its dedication to collaboration the sciences and the arts. The school has embraced STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and even made a steam engine its mascot.

Trenum told the parents that when he thinks of a steam engine, he thinks of a force that once it gets started, cannot be stopped. Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson told the children to take a lesson from “The Little Engine Who Could” and help out a friend in need.

The Steam Engine mascot represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, along with a resolute spirit.

The Steam Engine mascot represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, along with a resolute spirit.

Trenum explained that this elementary school completes the process of reducing overcrowding at all of the elementary schools in the Brentsville District. At this time, no Brentsville elementary schools are above capacity.

For Chairman Milt Johns, it was a special occassion. This would be his last school dedication. He began Chairman in 2011 and was the Brentsville representative for four years before that.

Johns told parents, as he always does at new school dedications, that while the school is beautiful, it is just brick and mortar; it is up to the community- children, parents and teachers to really make the school.

Principal Kathy Noytce was enthusiastic about the school opening, and gracious towards the school community.

Principal Kathy Notyce was enthusiastic about the school opening and praised her hardworking staff.

Principal Kathy Notyce was excited to host the school’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. She said she has an amazing team, and they really plan to work cooperatively. She said she fully expects Chris Yung will prove to be the best elementary school in the county.

Parents and children were likewise excited about the new school opening.

Fourth-grade student Cassie Sengul previously attended Piney Branch Elementary but is now enrolled at Chris Yung. Although she said will miss her friends at Piney Branch, she is excited about a new school, especially one with a rock-climbing wall on the playground.

Chris Yung "Ribbon-Cutting Choir" performed songs that represented the Chris Yung spirit.

Chris Yung “Ribbon-Cutting Choir” performed songs that represented the Chris Yung spirit.

Mom Stephanie Galclanez said she’s excited for her son to start kindergarten at Chris Yung Elementary.

“[We’re pleased] that it’s named for a police officer. You see all the police officers here. You know the school- it’s really for the community,” Galaclanez said.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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