Downes Inducted into Virginia Hall of Fame

Sudharshana Krishnan, Assistant Arts & Style Editor

On Oct. 15, yearbook adviser Mary Kay Downes was inducted into the VHSL Virginia Hall of Fame for her contribution to student journalism.

“It was an unbelievably fantastic surprise when I heard that this was going to happen” said Mary Kay Downes.

The Virginia Hall of Fame has been conducting this award ceremony for over 25 years. The awards are given to people of three different categories: coaches, athletes, as well as contributors. Each year five to 10 people receive this award.

This award received by Downes is different because usually the receivers of this award are retired, but Downes is still working.

Downes has been teaching journalism for over 40 years and 25 of those years she has been advising the multiple award winning yearbook, Odyssey. She also is the founder and past-president of the Association of Fairfax Professional Educators, past-president of Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Associations and currently the chair of its honors committee.

This is not the only award that Downes has won in her career. She has won the Virginia Associations of Journalism Teachers and Advisers Douglas Freeman Award, Thomas Jefferson Award, the CSPA Gold Key award, the NSPA Pioneer Award, the Herndon-Dulles Educator of the Year Award, multiple JEA Awards, and SIPA Elizabeth Dicket Service Award.

The event is extremely formal. The awards winners receive a medal, a plaque, and multiple things about each award winner is read. Downes was escorted to the event by multiple of her well-wishers.

“Mrs. Johnson came, all of my children came and some friends from the yearbook came,” said Downes “The evening itself was unbelievably amazing.”