The School Within Our School

Rock Ridge students reflect on their progress at ACL.


Standing tall, the newly built campus houses many of our Rock Ridge peers.

Jala Byrd, Social Media Coordinator

At Rock Ridge High School, students are here one day and gone the next because of the Academies of Loudoun. The Academies of Loudoun (ACL) is a facility that specializes in furthering Loudoun County students’ knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum.

Senior Marie Mpofu, a student enrolled in ACL’s justice program, compared the ACL to higher education because “it offers a lot of freedom.” Although Mpofu enjoys  the ACL curriculum, she also experiences the difficulties of balancing the ACL curriculum with the Rock Ridge curriculum. “My Rock Ridge classes don’t really allow me to get help from teachers, which makes it harder if I don’t understand something,” she said.

Senior Jai Malhi is enrolled in the ACL’s biotechnology program. “I was originally in vet science and was interested in biotechnology,” Malhi said, “but if I had another year, I would be interested in taking emergency medical technician.” As with Mpofu, Malhi is satisfied with ACL curriculum. “ACL has a lot more hands-on learning. . . you can get knowledge in the field you want to go into in the future,” she said.

Junior Aiman Siddiqui was first introduced to ACL when her older brother was enrolled three years prior to her. Siddiqui, who is a part of ACL’s medical laboratory program, attends ACL with a focus on the future.  “I’m studying at ACL to expand my knowledge about the medical field, and to create a better foundation for myself regarding the basics of medicine,” she said. Siddiqui also pointed out some positives of attending ACL regarding the social aspect, explaining that she chose to go to the school to introduce her to a new environment and new people.

ACL is a helpful step for Loudoun County students. Mpofu, Siddiqui, and Malhi encourage their  Rock Ridge peers to participate in the program. “Everyone chooses to be there and comes with a new sense of hope for themselves, and the career they hope to go in,” Siddiqui said.