Jefferson’s West Wing Loses Power


Natalie Martin

A turned off computer sits in Mr. Billington’s classroom. When the power went out on January 12, most of the computer labs lost power and students were not able to use their computers.

Natalie Martin and Akila Islam


On Friday, Jan. 12th, the power abruptly went out about five minutes before the end of fifth period. Classes in the west wing were plunged into darkness. Many of the computer science classes were left without computers to use.

Luckily for the students taking foundational computer science, they wouldn’t require their computers that day, as they were taking a test. But that introduced another problem: there were not enough windows in the computers science rooms to provide light for the students to take their test.

The teachers and their sixth periods had to think quickly of a solution.

“We brainstormed,” Marion Billington, who teaches Foundations of Computer Science during sixth period, said. “We could use our cell phone lights, someone said we could go outside.”

However, they found another possible solution. The lights in the hallways were still on.

“So what we did instead was go in the hallway,” Billington said. “[They] just spread out in the hallway, and they sat on the floor and they took their test.”

“[It] wasn’t that much fun, because we were all sitting on the ground having to do tests,” freshman Kashika Dhanjal, who was in Mr. Billington’s sixth period, said.

The situation wasn’t ideal, but it worked out. The test was also only 45 minutes long, so students weren’t out in the hallway the whole time.

“It caused a few inconveniences,” Nazneen Ansar, another freshman in Mr. Billington’s sixth period, said. “But I guess everything was fixed so that was good.”

Rumors flew about what had caused the outage.

“ A Latin teacher was a substitute… was trying to turn the volume up on a video and then the circuit blew and half the school went down somehow.” Dhanjal said as she retold the rumor she had heard.

That turned out to be only a rumor, however.

“It was due to outside activity. So Dominion Power had something to do with it. And the whole neighborhood, and actually I think two other schools also went down, Falls Church went down too.” Charles Phillips, a school safety and security assistant said.

Dominion Power wouldn’t reveal the exact cause, causing many to start thinking quite creatively. “Secret FBI stuff. The martians,” Phillips said.

Power was restored to the building about ten minutes before the end of sixth period, after being out less than two hours.

“I’m glad the students were so adaptable,” Billington  said.