Aimee Monticchio, Principal of Langston Hughes Middle School, greets a new student, Natnal Erko, 12, of Reston on the first day back to school 2019.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
More than 1,100 students walked into Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston shortly after 7 a.m., Monday, Aug. 26. Principal Aimee Monticchio stood near the Main Office trailer. She welcomed the seventh and eighth graders as they exited buses and walked down a pathway rimmed with orange and white jersey barriers and tall chain link fencing. Even with the construction noise and the rumbling of cement mixers nearby, no one missed Monticchio's cheerful greetings. "Good morning, glad to see you," she called out.
Natnal Erko, 12, of Reston arrived with family members. New to the school, he expressed enthusiasm about the day and year ahead. "I'm excited to meet my new teachers, and I'd like to join an art club," he said. He took a moment to introduce himself to Monticchio, who told him about the art club.
Monticchio cautioned Erko and other students to walk carefully beside the construction site as renovation continued at Hughes. Over the next three years, a roughly $40+ million improvement done in five phases would reconfigure the interior substantially. The result would be a new, modern and larger school with among other things, a two-floor addition to the front of the school housing administration offices on the first floor and a library and science classrooms on the second.
A kiss-and-ride in the rear of the school would be added and meet requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Monticchio directed students to go around the Main Office trailer and into the gymnasium. There she would fill the children in about the two sections of the school that were closed off and share the theme for 2019-2020 school year, "Panther Power."
"We want to greet the students and tell them that they belong here. We are welcoming them, and they can be who they are here because we believe they can be successful," said Monticchio, principal of Langston Hughes since 2007.
"We are giving them not only academics but life skills and community skills. We are now one family, and we want them to feel a part of it. We want them to consider others as they're moving throughout our community. And we want them to represent us well, not only in their academic success, but beyond these walls, this building and in the community.”