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NBC4’s Angie Goff on Growing Up in Herndon

Before she was an anchor and reporter on NBC4, Angie Goff was the new kid at Herndon High School and an employee at the local Chuck E. Cheese’s. Though she says it was hard to adjust to Northern Virginia after growing up on a US military base in South Korea, she grew to love the area and, as an adult, chose to move back to Herndon and, later, raise her kids there. Here she talks about favorite haunts, high-school memories, and having to wear the giant mouse costume.

What was it like moving to a new country as a high-school junior?

It was kind of horrible, to be honest. High school is hard enough, and to leave a place that I was so familiar with was tough. It was a big time of confusion—I was trying to find myself, and frankly just trying to find friends. At first, I got involved with a not-so-reputable group of people, and we did some stupid things. Eventually, I got back on track and met a couple core friends who were able to get me through the rest of high school.

What did you do to overcome being new?

I ran for senior-class president knowing nobody! A teacher even pulled me aside, being like, “You know what you’re doing, right?” I ended up winning somehow, which I think shocked everyone. It was like the 2016 election before 2016 happened. I did Key Club and Spirit Club, I also joined the basketball team for a little while. I actually won “most spirited” my senior year.

When you weren’t at school, where did you hang out in Herndon?

If I wasn’t at school or doing an activity, I was working at Chuck E. Cheese’s. On my first day, I was in the Chuck E. costume. But my friends and I would go to Starbucks, because that was new back then. There wasn’t one in Herndon yet, so we would go to the one in Reston. That became our thing. We would go to the movies over at Worldgate, too. I was kind of a boring kid.

You gave a speech at Herndon High School’s graduation this past spring, 20 years after you graduated. What advice did you give?

I didn’t sugarcoat it. The reality is that high school is not all rainbows and flowers and fun—it’s a hard time for every teenager, and I kept it real. I wasn’t the star athlete or the smartest or the most popular or voted most likely to succeed. But your experience in high school, whether you loved it or hated it, is not going to define you once you go to college or get that first job. No one is going to care that you were the star football player. I was like, “Let that crap go!” I think some parents were like, “Did she just say crap?”

You left the area after college but eventually made your way back to Herndon. Why did you want to settle in the area?

It’s home for me. For the first time, I had the chance to live in the same place that both of my sisters and their families live in, as well as both of my parents, who are still in Herndon. Having the opportunity to do a job I love and be near the people I love the most was a dream come true.

What do you like most about your hometown now?

Herndon’s town square is beautiful—true Americana. Everyone should stop, park, maybe walk the W&OD Trail a little bit and go to the [history museum at the Herndon train] depot, take a picture in front of town hall—just appreciate the rich history we have. I also love going back to Chuck E. Cheese’s with my kids. I just think it’s so cool to be able to take them there and get a new perspective. Most parents dread places like that, but for me it’s nostalgic.

This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow

Abbey joined Washingtonian in September 2017. A Miami University (Ohio, not Florida) alum, she called the Midwest home before moving to Vermont to report for the Burlington Free Press and to be closer to her one true love: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Her work has also appeared in Cincinnati Magazine and USA Today. Abbey lives in Falls Church.