By David Tom
School Liaison Officer
Navy Region Hawaii
When U.S. Air Force Col. Tom Skrocki and wife Cheryl moved to Hawaii from Virginia in 2010, a top priority was ensuring a smooth school transition for their two daughters.
The experience was not a new challenge for the Skrockis: Madeline and Alexandra, who would be entering tenth and eighth grade, had attended six different schools in six and five different states, respectively, prior to leaving Fairfax County schools.
Madeline wanted to attend Radford High School. They went for a visit and agreed to give it a try.
Five years later, the Skrockis are very pleased with their education experience. Madeline, a 2013 valedictorian graduate, is attending Yale University on an Air Force ROTC Scholarship. Alexandra is graduating this month, also as a valedictorian, and headed to Texas A&M University, her parents' alma mater.
Cheryl said her daughters describe Radford as an "inside-out" school.
"While aesthetically, it doesn't look like much – it's on the inside that counts," she says. "The teachers are there for the students and truly care for their well-being, often spending a lot of their own time after school and on Saturdays to provide students with leadership experiences."
In contrast, she recalls, "there was so much pressure on the kids in Fairfax County, it did not allow for a balanced lifestyle. Radford allowed our girls to take a number of advanced placement classes, participate in sports and extracurricular activities, and have family time."
According to Cheryl, both girls had many opportunities at Radford that fostered their personal growth through Leadership Classes, Student Council, and the Radford High Transition Center.
"In fact, little did we know how much their experiences at Radford would prepare our girls for the future," she says.
Madeline, who frequently interacted with community leaders at Radford High's transition center, was recently selected to give the Secretary of the Air Force a tour of Yale. Alexandra applied her leadership experiences to a personal community service project, which earned her the honor of being named Hawaii's high school winner of the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
For the Skrockis and friends whose children attend Radford High, they have found the campus to have a student population that is diverse, yet welcoming. The transition center for new students is well established and the counselors work with incoming transfer students by reviewing transcripts, placing them in appropriate classes, and making sure they will meet graduation requirements, Cheryl explained.
"Over the past five years, Radford has expanded its AP program and improved recognition for academic achievement," she says. "The College and Career Readiness Center does a fantastic job with college counseling and scholarship opportunities. And, the student activities director goes above and beyond to provide students with leadership experiences at the school and state levels. Needless to say, our girls have received an education that far exceeded our expectations."
Tom and Cheryl Skrocki will be "empty nesters" soon with both daughters away at college. However, they are at peace knowing that Madeline and Alexandra are prepared for the future, thanks to their experiences at Radford High.