Grace Verwys, a rising senior at Fairfax High School has been elected to be the student representative to the City of Fairfax School Board for the 2021-2022 school year. The one-year term will begin on July 1.

Verwys is an alum of Trinity Christian School, and came to Fairfax HS as a 9th grader.  She is a member of the FHS volleyball, swim and track team, a senior class officer and a representative to the FHS Student Advisory Council. In her time away from FHS, Verwys is an active member in her church youth group and mission trips, an FPYC volleyball coach for elementary aged students and works alongside young adults with disabilities at Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolate.

“As the oldest of six siblings and an active member of a number of organizations and activities throughout the school and community, I will bring my experience and connections to provide a voice for students to the Board,” said Verwys.

“Grace Verwys has a wide variety of activities and experiences and she will be a welcome addition to the City of Fairfax School Board,” said Chairman Carolyn Pitches. “We look forward to working with her throughout the school year and get her insights and perspective.”

Darwin Otchere will serve his second term as the Superintendent Advisory Team (SAT) as the student representative Fairfax High School. The SAT is an advisory group compiled of parents, school staff, business leaders and students working with City of Fairfax Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Pajardo that meets quarterly to discuss issues surrounding the city schools such as capital improvements, technology in our schools and city projects impacting the school community.

Otchere attended Eagle View and Willow Springs Elementary Schools and Rocky Run Middle School. Otchere is involved in student government, robotics and is a member of both the Math Honor Society and the Science Honor Society. Otchere is the recipient of the 2021 Peace Award, recognizing students throughout Fairfax County as peacemakers. In the fall of 2020, Otchere was named “Student of the Quarter” by the Fairfax Rotary. Otchere is the secretary of the Fairfax County Student Human Rights Commission, National Honor Society, and Black Student Alliance.

"I have truly enjoyed working with the school board, SAT, and community leaders this school year,” said Otchere. “I am so happy the hard work the school board and SAT put into the renaming process paid off. Katherine Johnson is a role model that future KJMS students can look up to because her life is a living testament that with perseverance and determination, people of all backgrounds can contribute great things to the world. Now, these students have a school name that they can be proud of. It is certainly my responsibility to represent all students in our City Schools. I am looking forward to what this new school year will have in store."

“This past year I have worked with Darwin on a number of important issues and I have been impressed with his thoughtfulness and commitment to making his community a better place for students,” said Dr. Phyllis Pajardo, Superintendent of the City of Fairfax Schools. “I am honored he chose to be a part of my Advisory Team for a second term and I know I will rely on him throughout the upcoming year to advocate for all students in our schools.”