West Potomac’s Camouflaged Community


West Potomac students welcome military kids with Student 2 Student club.

The areas around Alexandria and throughout Fairfax County have seen an increase in military presence in recent years. With more families moving to the area, local schools have seen a surplus of students enrolling in all school levels.


Current seniors Alyssa Pierson and Michael Curtin view the overgrowth of students as a chance to help connect students that have recently moved. That is the goal of Student 2 Student (S2S), a club set up by the Military Child Education Coalition.


“The purpose of S2S is to welcome new military students to the school,” said senior Alyssa Pierson. “We are a club consisting of military and civilian students that meets to just hang out and get to know each other.”


Student 2 Student has been helping military kids feel welcome to hundreds of schools, since they are generally the new kids.


“When a new student comes to West Po, we welcome them and help with anything they may need. We mainly just want them to have an easy transition to a new school,” said Pierson.


Student 2 Student encourages 100% acceptance as a hallmark of success and brings military-connected and civilian kids together. The group welcomes incoming students to their new school, and helps departing students prepare for their next school. An intensive training program conducted under the close supervision of a teacher or school counselor, S2S flourishes in high schools across the country and overseas.¹


“At the first meeting I believe we had 14 students. We were very excited about the turn out, but hope to increase the numbers.” said Pierson.


Even though club sponsor Genevieve Costantini left, Pierson and Curtin are still working on the club. Both students come from an extensive Navy background.  


“I have moved several times mid-year. It is difficult because everyone at your new school already has their friend groups, but it helps to play sports or be involved in a club to get to know people,” said Pierson.


“I think it’s definitely hard to move all the time, but it’s made me who I am, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” said Curtin.”I plan on joining the Navy through an ROTC program or attending the Naval Academy.”


“I have absolutely enjoyed the military lifestyle,” said Pierson. “It gives you so many opportunities to meet new people and experience new places. I have learned so much about adaptation to a new community and breaking out of my comfort zone with moving. Although my dad’s time in the military is up, I have accepted a scholarship to Texas A&M for Navy ROTC. After college I will be commissioned into the Navy on how to become an aviator.”