In Memory Of Teacher, Wolftrap Alumnus Donates State-Of-The-Art Learning Lab
A $500,000 gift will create the Candace Leyton Innovative Learning Lab, the first of its kind in the county
About a year ago, Wolftrap Elementary School Principal Anita Blain got a call from a former student.
His name was Chris Shumway, he said, a student who went to the school 25 years earlier. And in all the years he spent there, Shumway told her, his most memorable experiences were in Candace Leyton's third grade classroom.
“He said 'I’d like to give something to my former elementary school in her name,'" Blain said. "And I said, ‘A bench or a tree?’ and he said, ‘How about a building?’”
On Wednesday night, Blain and Fairfax County Public Schools Department of Information Technology representatives welcomed area parents to Wolftrap Elementary School as they began to form plans for that state-of-the-art building: The Candace Leyton Innovative Learning Lab, the first of its kind at any public elementary school in Fairfax County.
Shumway donated $500,000 towards the new building space and the implementation of technology within it. Construction will begin in August
Leyton died exactly eight years ago on March 16, the date of the meeting. Her husband Peter was in attendance.
“One of the things that Candace was known for was her rigor
in studies; she really stretched children’s imagination and challenged them
especially in the area of math," Blain said. "So this is really special that Chris was
generous enough to do something so special for our students in her honor.”
Vice Principal Kim Price said the new lab will be one of the first of its kind at a elementary school, though many high schools and middle schools already have such facilities.
But what goes into the lab itself, Blain said -- such as the number of computers or which kinds of devices -- is still up for discussion. As the FCPS DIT is considering cost and compatibility with the county-wide network, Wolftrap will hold meetings with parents for further input. Students will also have a say in what goes into the building, Blain said, since it's being designed for their use.
Blain also said the lab will be available for use by the surrounding community after school hours and for various community programs -- another one of Shumway's requests, aside from his first: expanding learning opportunities for the school's students.
Correction: This article has been edited to reflect the correct spelling of Chris Shumway's name.