PWCS Holds official dedication ceremony for Gainesville High School

PWCS Holds Ribbon Cutting for Gainesville High School

Dedicates school centers for educator Lillian Orlich, fallen-officer Ashley Guindon

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Prince William County's 13th public high school, Gainesville High School is located on University Boulevard in the Gainesville area of the Brentsville Magisterial District.

It is a 335,000 square-foot school building that sits on 85 Acres that was designed by Mosely Architects and built by Dustin Construction. PWCS’s Roger Wilder served as the project manager.

Features of the building include two courtyards, an outdoor amphitheater, a children’s play area, stadium with field lights, practice turf fields, extended learning spaces, a greenhouse, auxiliary gym, spacious library and green roof above the library.

The outdoor amphitheater back ups to protected woodlands. Both cafeterias overlook a courtyard, and the extended learning space offer multiple usages for students and staff.

The school’s mascot is a cardinal; its colors are red and white. “Lead, Learn, Care, Create,” is the school’s motto. Pathways to Global Citizenship is the specialty program.

The school opened under the leadership of Osbourn Park’s former principal Neil Beech.

Beech said all of the natural lighting at the school is idea and the expanded learning spaces provide a lot of options for students and staff. 

While celebrating the opening of Gainesville High School, school officials also dedicated the Lillian M. Orlich Student Services Center and the Ashley M. Guindon Media and Library Center.

Lillian M. Orlich served as PWCS educator for 67 years. She grew up in New York City and moved to Manassas in 1950. Shortly afterwards, she took a job teaching social studies at Osbourn High School. In 1975, she opened Osbourn Park High Schools where she continued to serve as a guidance counselor until her retirement in 2017, at the age of 87. Orlich attended the ceremony remotely.  

Former Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish II, a student of Orlich's at Osbourn Park, said that “Ms. O.” first came to Manassas as a “Yankee” from Manhattan- as she’d often say- but stayed and became part of the fabric of the community. Principal Beech said he always told everyone that he worked for her and she held the keys to the building. 

Police Officer Ashley Marie Guindon, 28, of Woodbridge was killed responding to a call in February of 2016.Guindon graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2010 with a degree in Aeronautical Science and minors in Homeland Security, Safety, Aviation and Psychology.

Sharon Guindon, Ashley's mother, said Ashley's ambition combined with her desire to serve inspired her friends and family. She said she was thankful Ashley's name would live on.

The event was attended by the following community dignitaries and VIPs:

  • School Board representatives Chairman At-large Babur Lateef, Adele Jackson (Brentsville), Jennifer Wall (Gainesville), Lisa Zargurpur (Coles) and Vice Chair Loree Williams (Woodbridge), and former Brentsville represenative Gil Trenum;
  • Prince William County School Division leadership Superintendent Dr. LaTanya McDade, Associate Superintendent for High Schools Michael Mulgrew, Associate Superintendent for Middle Schools Bill Bixby, Project Manager Roger Wilder, Gainesville Principal Neil Beech and Communications Director Diana Gulotta;
  • Virginia State representatives Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem (13th District), Del. Dan Helmer (40th District) and a representative on behalf of U.S. Senator Mark Warner;
  • Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair at-Large Ann Wheeler, Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, and Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin;
  • County dignitaries Police Chief Newsham, County Executive Christopher Martino and Assistant County Executive Rebecca Horner.
  • Former Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish II who spoke on behalf of Ms. Orlich;
  • Sharon Guindon who spoke on behalf of her daughter the late Ashley Guindon;
  • Daania Sharifi, Gainesville High School student representative, who introduced the speakers.
  • Gainesville High School’s band, orchestra and choir performed during the ceremony under the direction of Vincent Bryk, Jennifer Malechek and Kristina Sheppard.

Dedication & Remarks

Chairman Babur Lateef dedicated the school with  prompt and circumstance “herby” proclaiming the school Gainesville High School at 6:39 p.m., on the 30th day of September in year 21 of the 2nd millennia.

“You’re representing the entire community throughout the Commonwealth,” said Del. Danica Roem (D-13th District), speaking to the students. She said she expects people will say, “they’ve really done something special in Gainesville.” She encouraged students to succeed “because of who you are, not despite it.”

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson acknowledged the bipartisan effort to add 500 additional seats to the school to accommodate growth.

She recognized former Brentsville School Board member Gil Trenum and former acting member Shawn Brann. “Without these two gentlemen I don’t think the school would have been as lovely as it is.”

Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler praised the Global Citizenship Program for embracing change in the most diverse county in the Commonwealth and 10th most diverse in the nation. 

Principal Neil Beech said the opening was a team effort and was the highlight of his educational career.

Beech announced that Gainesville’s first football game was to be held Friday evening. Beech said  students are beginning to make it their own, forming clubs and activities.

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