School and Sports News for April 7

Rappahannock eighth-graders learn from seniors in the school’s culinary arts program through the Student 2 Student program. Photo by Mary Arthur.

SkillsUSA sharpens the skills of Rappahannock

Rappahannock County High school career and technical students Heather Dommer and Brittany Reed brought back medals from last weekend’s Virginia State SkillsUSA Conference in Hampton.

At the annual conference, RCHS students competed against students from the 12 SkillsUSA districts across Virginia. Seniors Dommer and Reed have been active members for several years of SkillsUSA, a national vocational students’ organization.

Dommer won a silver second- place medal in the Job Interview competition, in which judges put the contestants through a real job interview and rate them on their professionalism, poise and ability to answer questions about their resume and the mock job they’re seeking.

Reed won a bronze third-place medal in the Culinary Arts competition, in which contestants were given three hours to produce a corn chowder and an entree of sauteed chicken with a tomato basil sauce, rice pilaf and fresh green beans. A Madison County High School student, Reed attends RCHS as part of the two school districts’ cost-sharing program.

Finally, senior Jessica Boutte’s design for the state pin took seventh place in the annual competition at the April 1-2 conference.
Last month, meanwhile, RCHS eighth-graders got an opportunity to experience the culinary arts program through a national SkillsUSA initiative called Student 2 Student.

The Student 2 Student program provides mentoring in a vocational discipline between high school students and middle school students It must also incorporate a community service aspect.

Almost 50 eighth-graders took part in the program that began with three dates in late October 2010. The eighth-graders spent a class period with Culinary II students, who are seniors. The final two sessions took place last week.

The eighth-graders learned about basic kitchen safety, sanitation and nutrition. Under the direction of the older students, they made different soups from scratch, and then enjoyed the soups they created. The older students prepared sandwiches and fresh fruit salad to balance the meal.

Between the fall and spring sessions, the students portioned over five gallons of extra soup into one- quart containers. The soup was frozen and given to the Rappahannock Senior Center for its senior meal distribution program.

“It was exciting to observe the interaction between the younger students and the Culinary II students, and to see the seniors teaching techniques of knife skills and basic soup-making,” said culinary arts teacher Mary Arthur. “The older students selected the soups that their group would make, and developed teaching techniques to be used with the eighth-graders. Soups included chicken noodle, broccoli and cheddar, cream of mushroom, corn and chicken chowder, potato and bean and ham.”

The seniors discussed careers that can be pursued through culinary arts. They also explained the role of SkillsUSA at RCHS and the opportunities it presents.

There was much positive feedback from both the eighth-graders and their 12th-grade culinary mentors, Arthur said, both during and after the sessions. All participating students appreciated the donation of extra soup for Rappahannock senior citizens and the importance of community involvement. The positive results for all participants should sustain this SkillsUSA program, newly adopted by RCHS, in future years.

Rappahannock band members spell out something familiar between competitions on their trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Photo by Stephanie DeBoer.

Band brings trophies home from the beach

The Rappahannock County High School band took home several awards from its annual trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Festival high school music competitions held there last week.

“The students did an awesome job in Myrtle Beach,” said band director David DeBoer, who reports that the concert band took a second-place award with a Superior rating; the jazz band a second-place trophy with an Excellent rating; and the marching band a second-place award with an Excellent rating — and first place drum majors.

“Congrats to Katie Hale and Lily Nealon,” DeBoer said of the co-drum majors in an email to band supporters.

On the steps of Myrtle Beach’s Palace Theatre, Rapphannock High School band members pose with their trophies. Photo by Stephanie DeBoer.

“Everywhere we went we received numerous compliments on how well behaved this group of students were,” said DeBoer.

Baseball Panthers still seek first win before district play

Spring is the season of discontent for Rappahannock County High School’s varsity baseball team. After falling, 8-2, at Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy April 4, the Panthers continue the quest for their first win.

Even with the loss, head coach John Lesinski genuinely complimented his team. “Brandon Walker pitched six strong innings. Garfield Burke had two RBIs.” Dylan Hitt and Grayson Love added two hits to the Panther efforts. “They also made spectacular catches in the outfield under very difficult windy conditions. And the infield also turned a very nice 4-6-3 double play.”

Although high winds impacted play, the performance from the mound stayed consistent. Junior Brandon Walker offered his perspective on the game. “I was hitting my spots, throwing strikes but still giving the other team something to hit so we could make plays off of them. Our pitching is coming along. Coach has all of us throwing and working hard.”

According to Lesinski, the focus of improvement doesn’t need to be pitching. “We had 13 strikeouts to go with our seven hits. We need to improve with the bats to challenge the defense. Our base-running was aggressive in the effort to try and make things happen, but we had a runner thrown out at third on a questionable call. Plus, John Mills was thrown out at home to end the game and a seventh-inning rally.”

Panthers travel to Colonial Beach for a doubleheader Friday (April 8) starting at 5. After this weekend’s end to preseason play, the team will focus on preparations for their district opener at home against the Strasburg Rams next Tuesday (April 12) at 7 p.m. — Melissa Delcour

Downpour, defeat mar softball trip to Culpeper

Larry Settle has been coaching for more than 20 years, but never had he seen such awful playing conditions.

Last Wednesday afternoon (March 30), Culpeper handed visiting Rappahannock County High School’s varsity softball team an 11-1 defeat.

The teams played in a steady downpour, with a mixture of snow and sleet.

“It was too sloppy out there,” said Settle, who watched his Panthers drop to 1-4 this season. “It took its toll on everyone. I’ve never played under such conditions. Brutal. It was just brutal out there. In fact, we didn’t even talk about how we played after the game.”

The Panther defense, which had been stellar in previous outings, committed three errors.

Pitchers Peyton Bailey and Megan Early had difficult holding onto the softball and maintaining control.

Bailey surrendered a three-run home run in the first inning, before giving way to Early, who finished the game and allowed six hits.

“This goes down as a loss for us,” Settle said, “but it’s hard. We can only hope for better weather when we play.”

Bailey, shortstop Lyndie Paul and catcher Brittani Dodson, Settle said, have been battling colds. So the weather did not favor them.

The Panthers have a busy week. Today (April 7), they host William Monroe of Greene County in a 5 p.m. double header. Friday (April 8), they travel to Colonial Beach for a double header.

“You want to get the games in, because we start districts next week,” Settle added. “But it’s going to be tough on the pitching.” — Christine Krapf

RCES thanks All-Star donors

During March, Rappahannock County Elementary School accepted nominations from staff, parents and students for its first-ever Adult All-Star awards for staff members who go above and beyond. Drawings were made for All-Star prizes donated by local businesses, including Beech Springs, Burgers N’ Things, Central Coffee, Chester Gap Cellars, Geneva Welch Gallery, Glassworks Gallery, Goodine Designs, Gray Ghost Vineyard, High on the Hog BBQ, Rappahannock Cellars, R.H. Ballard, Rudy’s Pizza and Thornton River Grille. “We would like to thank everyone for making it such a special month for our staff,” said RCES’s Vickie Miller.

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