Opening Day

Dear Warrior Families,

What a great day we had at Western!  Nearly 1,200 students returned to Western this morning and they clearly were excited to get back to their friends, to connect with staff members from years past and to begin getting to know their new teachers.

I had a ball visiting classrooms to see kids engaged in learning and relationship building right off the bat.  Our new science wing and renovated classrooms were ready to go and were looking beautiful. I hope that all of you get to come by and see them at Back-to-School night in September.  Please talk with your kids about their first day when you see them tonight, I’m sure they will all have something to share that excites them about the coming year.

Also on our first day of school, we encountered a bit more excitement than planned. Our campus received a surprise visit from a mother black bear and two cubs.  They first showed up as school was starting and were spotted a couple of more times throughout the day. Our partners from the Albemarle County Police Department successfully worked to locate and divert the bears from our campus. As a safety measure, students were kept inside the building after each sighting until we received the “all clear” from law enforcement.  We will continue to monitor this and are working with animal control for a long-term solution.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all of our staff members for putting in tremendous amounts of work to be ready for our first day.  They are an excellent group of educators.

I’m so happy to have the opportunity to be here.  If there is anything you need, please feel free to reach out to me.  I’m looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

Patrick J. McLaughlin, Ed. D.


Western Albemarle High School