Cougar Connection

Student Services Newsletter - November 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Cougars! November seemed to fly by for Student Services. This past month, we have participated in a variety of activities from recognizing our students to hosting a brain break. We celebrated World Kindness Day, provided curriculum to all sophomores regarding the signs of depression as well as completed more transcript requests for seniors. As always, we were available for academic consultation and personal/social concerns.

As a department, we would like to express our gratitude for our Oakton community. We are truly appreciative of the wonderful families, teachers and staff that we work with daily.

Student Services Highlights

National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists and Commended Scholars

On November 1st, we recognized our National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists and Commended Scholars with a light reception. Oakton is proud of our 9 semi-finalists and 39 commended students.


Approximately 16,000 high school seniors were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists for 2020. More than 1.5 million juniors entered the program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as the initial screen of program entrants.

Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in 2020: National Merit $2,500 scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and college-sponsored scholarships.

Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in spring 2020.

To check out all FCPS students who earned this recognition, click here:

Commended Students

About 34,000 high performers throughout the nation are being named Commended Students for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program click here:

World Kindness Day

A school-wide initiative, Oakton celebrated World Kindness Day on November 13. Each staff member promoted the "be kind" motto and students were asked to write either personalized or general messages of kindness. During lunch shifts, students were able to "be the I in kind" and to leave their message to others.
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Underclassmen Awards

On November 25, we recognized over 700 students who earned a 4.0 GPA or higher last school year. Students were invited to attend a light reception of donuts and received either their academic letter or pin. Thank you to the PTSA who helped coordinate and manage the event.

Students who were unable to attend can see their counselor to pickup their awards.

Legos & Eggos Brain Break

Students were able to leggo of stress during Cougar Time on November 26 with legos and eggos. The event was so popular that we quickly ran out of waffles - next time, we know to plan for more!

A special thank you to the cafeteria workers who assisted us with the waffles and the PTSA who helped to sponsor our last two brain break activities. Thank you for supporting our events!

College & Career Center Updates

Welcome Ms. Nancy Evans

We would like to welcome our new part-time College & Career Center Specialist, Ms. Nancy Evans. Ms. Evans may be a familiar face to our Oakton community; she is both a junior parent and serves as the woman's golf coach. She brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the Career Center.

Ms. Evans and Ms. Banbury will alternate days in the Career Center and are available to meet with students either by stop-ins or by appointment.

College On-site Admissions

In the month of November, the College & Career Center hosted four on-site college admissions workshops. Admissions representatives from the University of Mary Washington, Radford University, Ferrum College, and Longwood University met with seniors and reviewed their applications. Students received an admissions decision on the spot. We had a 90% acceptance rate. The students who were deferred received feedback about ways to improve their application.

College Essay Workshop

The College & Career Center hosted a college essay workshop with four admissions representatives. After school on November 18, students met with the reps and received specific feedback and suggestions on their essays.

Parent Resources


With the holiday seasons upon us, reflecting on the attribute of gratitude can be beneficial for our health. Research now shows that gratitude is linked to happiness. There are little things that we can do each day that show our gratitude, which studies suggest improve our overall well-being. Writing thank-you notes or keeping a gratitude journal can greatly help to shape a positive outlook.

For more information on the research, check out Harvard's Medical School article:

NPR also examined this topic:

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Parents, December is a good time to remind your drivers of safe driving practices including the prevention of distracted driving and impaired driving. To learn more about National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, check out

Counselor Spotlight

Ms. Katie Warehime

Ms. Warehime has been a School Counselor for five years. This is her third year at Oakton. Ms. Warehime previously worked as an Outpatient Counselor in Pennsylvania. Ms. Warehime holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Education from Shepherd University and a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Clemson. She also has a certificate in School Counseling from Messiah College and is currently taking classes through the University of Virginia in Leadership.

Ms. Warehime’s “why”, “I have always loved listening to other people’s stories. Working as a School Counselor allows me to hear stories from students, parents, and co-workers. It is never dull, and always fun!”

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Upcoming Events

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Game Day Brain Break - December 6, 2019

It's game time! Counselors will be hosting a Game Day Brain Break on December 6, 2019 during FLEX Cougar Time. We will be destressing with games and minute-to-win-it activities. Students, join us in the main gym for games, snacks and prizes.

Cocoa & Coloring Brain Break - December 20, 2019

Back by popular demand, counselors will host Cocoa & Coloring in the cafeteria during Cougar Time. Students can sip on hot cocoa while coloring their stress away right before winter break.

Course Selection for 2020-2021

Believe it or not, it's already that time of year for students to begin thinking about their courses for next year. Course selection will begin in January and will last until February. Counselors will deliver curriculum in classrooms and then each student will meet with their counselor individually to select their courses. Teachers will also be discussing recommendations with students in December/January to help guide students in their selections.

The tentative schedule for course selection will be:

  • Rising Seniors: classroom presentation on January 6/7 and individual meetings with counselors will be January 8-22.
  • Rising Juniors: classroom presentation on January 23/24 and individual meetings with counselors will be January 29-February 5.
  • Rising Sophomores: classroom presentation on February 6/7 and individual meetings with counselors will be February 10-18.

For Rising Freshmen, we will be making arrangements with the four feeder middle schools. We typically meet with students in large group settings and they meet individually with their middle school counselors.

More information about course offerings will be forthcoming in December. Stay tuned for more details.

Curriculum Night - January 8, 2020

Please join us for Curriculum Night on Wednesday January 8, 2019. The purpose of curriculum night is to give parents an opportunity to talk with teachers, department chairs, school counselors, and administrators about course offerings. Join us in the Auditorium (9th grade only), Cafeteria and Auxiliary Gym for an informative evening to learn about course offerings and the many activities available at Oakton.

Junior Family College Night - January 29, 2020

Save the date - Junior Family College Night will be January 29, 2020. Admissions representatives will help guide our junior families through making a college list and the admissions process with breakout sessions.

More information to come. Snow Date: February 6, 2020.

Hispanic Family Night - January 29, 2020

Save the date - Hispanic Family Night will be January 29, 2020. Spanish-speaking college admissions representatives will help guide our students through the college application process. Families will also receive information about Oakton High School with our parent liaison and ESOL counselor.

More information to come.

Student Services Snapshots