Dogwood Elementary School was the fourth elementary school built in the Reston community. Our school opened on September 3, 1974, under the leadership of Principal Talicia C. Smoot. Dogwood was built on the open school plan common to Fairfax County schools of the 1970s. The main teaching areas were divided into four instructional bays, each housing about 250 students. During those early years, the gymnasium was also used as the cafeteria. On November 27, 2000, one of the most devastating fires in the history of Fairfax County public schools occurred at our school. The fire took place at night, and fortunately no one was hurt, but our school building was completely destroyed. Dogwood students and staff did more than endure the loss of our school with dignity, we rallied to the challenge and found a new spirit of unity. The local Reston community provided physical and emotional support to our students and their families. Neighboring schools responded with immediate space for classes to regroup. County businesses and organizations did not hesitate to offer whatever was needed, from funds for costly replacement items to children’s t-shirts promoting school unity. The Fairfax City schools provided buildings to house our entire school population during reconstruction. People worked tirelessly to create a home away from home for every single Dogwood Dragon and to ensure that their emphasis remained on learning. In January 2002, just fourteen months after the fire, the Dogwood Dragons returned home to the brand new, state-of-the-art school building we know and love today.