Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight - Adam Ashley, Falls Church High School
1) What has been your biggest disappointment/hardship since schools have been closed for the remainder of the academic year?
Not being able to see everyone at Falls Church! I am an extremely outgoing person and am hardly at home when in-person school is happening, so being home all day has been a big change for me. Beyond that, I am of course bummed about big events (Heritage Night, Prom, Spring Pep Rally and, of course, Graduation) being canceled, but I'm trying to stay mindful that these cancellations are affecting seniors across the globe, not just me. We are all "taking the L" together, and as soon as I started to realize that there was nothing that could be done about some of these events, I stopped being sad about them.
2) What are your plans for the fall?
I am attending the University of Virginia with an intent to major in Public Policy through the Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy.
3) How have your plans changed, if at all?
As of right now, it looks like UVA will be opening (in some capacity) this fall. I know many members of the Class of 2020 are planning on deferring a year or taking a gap year. That's completely their prerogative, but I personally can't see myself waiting another year before college. After all, I feel like the Class of 2020 is going to look back on these times fondly, despite the current uncertainty and (often) scariness surrounding the pandemic.
4) What have you learned about yourself since the COVID-19 closures?
I thrive when I have structure built into my day. At the start of social distancing, I was enjoying being able to sleep in super late and do little to nothing when I was awake. That lasted for... not much time, though, and I realized that one of the big things I rely on is a set schedule of what needs to get done.
5) What is your passion?
Making active change through politics and policy.
6) Have you discovered a new passion in light of social distancing?
Yes, actually, my friend Tarina and I co-founded a non-profit at the start of April that began as a youth response to COVID-19 from a policy standpoint. It snowballed into something much bigger, and we created "The Greater Good Initiative," which is a youth-led policy think-tank that is actively writing policy proposals and advocating them to legislators at the local, state, and federal levels to address the most pressing issues in the nation. It has been extremely fulfilling working on policy proposals and closely working with policy experts and legislators, as well as starting up the organization from more of a business and legal standpoint.
7) What are your hopes for the future?
I want to run for public office. Ultimately, I want to be a U.S. Senator, but through my time in high school, I have really recognized the importance of local government and the power that these smaller legislative bodies have. I really hope to one day be on the FCPS School Board, as I have worked very closely with the School Board during my high school years, and want to be able to actively work through policy to make FCPS the best it possibly can be.
8) Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
My 13 years of being in FCPS have been incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable, and despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm definitely not going to stop enjoying my senior year–even if I have to do it at home!
9) What are you most proud of about your school experience/best memory?
Being this year's FCPS Student Advisory Council President has been one of my favorite memories throughout my time in school. Also, working as the Student Rep on the Adult and Community Education School Board Advisory Committee, and learning about how many non-K-12 students FCPS serves and how we can strengthen programs like our Adult ESOL and Apprenticeship programs, has been a very educational experience.