McElveen Mania: Students idolize FCPS Board Member after snow day announcement


photo courtesy of Cheryl Mensah

Many students such as Mensah created a photoshop edit with McElveen’s profile for their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Anjali Khanna, Features Editor

It’s late on the night of Dec. 9 as Jefferson students stare at the open Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) homepage, eagerly refreshing in hopes of an announcement of school cancellation. In the next tab open, many have the upcoming forecasts for the week, as well as the Twitter page of FCPS At-Large School Board Member Ryan McElveen.

Moments after McElveen posted the decision of the Board to cancel school on Dec. 10, students around the county went ballistic. McElveen was quickly retweeted in his school-cancellation post and idolized as a savior by many, some even going as far as to impose his face on paintings of Jesus Christ.

“I was most surprised by how quickly students determined that I was a trustworthy source of information and began retweeting me,” McElveen said. “The pictures were extremely creative, exactly what I would expect from FCPS students.”

Jefferson students also began to show their appreciation for McElveen and the School Board on Facebook, some changing their profile pictures to photographs of McElveen which had been photoshopped into different backgrounds and scenarios.

Sophomore Cheryl Mensah changed her profile picture on Facebook to the picture of McElveen which is posted on the FCPS website. Mensah got a surprising reaction from her friends on the social media site, with nearly 600 likes and 100 comments in the span of less than a day.

“When I saw that first tweet of school’s cancellation, a wave of the purest form of joy came over me,” Mensah said. When changing my profile picture, I thought I would get maybe four likes and some sarcastic comments, but suddenly I was getting all these friend requests from people who had seen it screenshotted on Twitter.”

Mensah was not the only student who decided to show their appreciation for McElveen that night. Apparently, students across the county had been doing something similar, which included nominating him for TIME magazine’s Person of the Year, and even sending him pictures of his profile with a Photoshopped sunglasses and party hat, an image to which he changed his Twitcon on Twitter.

“The entire situation is extremely funny, because, in my mind I am just doing what I should be doing – informing the public about important information like school closings and delays as quickly and as early as possible. It certainly was an interesting weekend,” McElveen said.

Many students from Jefferson also incorporated the photoshopped face of McElveen into their profile pictures, replacing one of the family members in the picture with his head. Other students joked about creating a cult following for McElveen, in which he is seen as the “supreme leader” for FCPS students everywhere. In addition, many Jefferson students added McElveen as a Facebook friend, competing with each other as to whom he would accept first.

“I was literally going down my timeline and favoriting everything,” Mensah said. “I saved some on my computer because I was laughing so hard. It was the best night to have a Twitter.”