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  • Apr 9 / Varsity Girls LacrosseLightridge - 17, Broad Run - 1
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  • Apr 8 / Varsity Boys TennisLightridge - 1, Riverside - 8
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  • Apr 8 / JV BaseballLightridge - 1, Stone Bridge - 7
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Lightridge News

The student produced news site for Lightridge High School

Lightridge News

Lightridge News

Vacancies in teaching positions have jumped 25% in recent years as more teachers leave the profession and less recent college graduates decide to pursue careers in education.
Teacher shortage hits Loudoun and Lightridge
Lalitha Aravind, Associate Story Editor • April 11, 2024
Junior Lexi Musick gets down behind home plate in the varsity softball game against Millbrook on March 11.
Spring Sports Photo Roundup
Amber Baptista and Kendall MatthewsApril 4, 2024
This coveted music award isnt always without  controversy. 
Graphic courtesy of The Recording Academy.
Lightridge corrects the Grammy record
Aanya Dhannapuneni, Staff Writer • April 1, 2024

Meet the APs: Felecia Lewis

Dr. Felecia Lewis at five years old and “ready to work.” Photo courtesy of Dr. Lewis.

On September 11, 2001, New York was targeted by terrorist group Al-Qaeda, and millions of people watched in horror as hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, causing their collapse. Felecia Lewis was on her way to work in Manhattan when the attack took the lives of 2,996 people.

That day convinced Lewis to take a slight detour from her teaching career path to help with the recovery of the human remains from 9/11.

Growing up on Long Island, Lewis decided that she wanted to be a doctor, and pursue a career that involved the human body. She attended Boston University, where she studied human physiology on her way of earning a biology degree.

While in school, a unique work study opportunity presented itself and helped her kick start her work history.

“My first job was working with capuchin monkeys,” she explained. “I worked with the scientists that trained the monkeys to help quadriplegics.”

She helped train the monkeys to retrieve straws, open doors, and assist with body movements.

Lewis’s career took a slight detour when she came home from college. While she graduated with a biology degree, she was inspired to begin her teaching career by her mother, who was a principal at a school in Brooklyn. Observing her mother inspired Lewis to try teaching for a summer.

“She is a huge role model for me, she still is,” said Lewis. “She’s my best friend and she’s my go to person.”

“I actually like my mother,” she joked.

She got to know the summer school students and got a lot done as far as their reading and math.

“I had a group of students that were usually sent to alternative schools and that summer was the best summer of my life,” she said.

She decided to go into teaching as her profession. She began teaching forensic science and biology at Amityville High School, located in Long Island, New York. Then the 9/11 attack happened.

After ensuring all her family members made it home safely, she made the decision to apply to be a forensic scientist for the Office of Chief Medical Examiners for the city of New York.

At this time there wasn’t a large abundance of biologists that wanted to work with the recovery zone.

“I knew I had my science background and I said, let me take a pause from teaching and help my community,” said Lewis.

Trained by the FBI and The Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Lewis served as a forensic biologist and helped with DNA analysis to identify 9/11 victims. She collected and tested personal items such as toothbrushes, underwear and nail clippings to create a DNA profile and then matched it to the DNA from human remains to identify victims.

“The Medical Examiner training was scary because you had all these human remains and you had to approach it in a respectful way, but you also had to take the scientific standpoint of things”, Lewis explained. “Teaching did not prepare me for that.”

Teaching did not prepare me for that.

— Dr. Felecia Lewis on working to identify 9/11 victims

This experience showed Lewis that working within a community is more powerful than working individually. While this was completely different from teaching, she knew she liked to give back and the aspect of giving back is essentially what teachers do everyday.

After a move to Loudoun County, Lewis taught science at Stone Hill Middle School, and became Dr. Lewis she received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. While serving as dean at Belmont Ridge Middle School she met her colleague, Dr. Ryan Hitchman who was serving as principal at the school. She would join him again when Lightridge opened, becoming the assistant principal over the last names of Di-Kun.

Outside of work, Lewis loves going to the beach, and is a huge “Star Wars nerd.” She also has a son who is a junior at Lightridge.

Lewis encourages her students and colleagues to avoid doing anything by half-measures.

“I would tell anybody that is interested in doing something, always go in wholeheartedly because you never know what is already established,” she said. “ You can go into something and be the inventor of greatness.”

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About the Contributor
Shreyani is a senior and a first year member of the staff.

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