School & sports news for Aug. 21

The AD’s report

Last week Rapp Sports opened their fall season with some home scrimmages. More are scheduled this week as we prepare for our regular season openers on Aug. 26.

Varsity football hosted Colonial Beach last Friday (Aug. 15), and both coaches were pleased with both the effort and accomplishments of their squad against a tough Drifters team. Many players played many different positions, looking for the winning combination that will help us through the season.

Tomorrow (Friday, Aug 22), varsity travels to the Maryland School for the Deaf for a final scrimmage at 6 p.m. Directions are on the website and we hope many of our fans will make the trip to Frederick. And don’t forget football’s home opener is next Friday (Aug. 29) against Roanoke Catholic (kickoff at 7)!

Junior Panther football has its first scrimmage tonight (Thursday Aug. 21), hosting the middle school team from the Maryland School for the Deaf. The controlled scrimmage (with no recorded score) begins at 6. There’s no admission charge and the public is invited to view our young football team. Next Tuesday, J.P. travels to Harpers Ferry for a final scrimmage.

Varsity cross country had its first scrimmage Wednesday night (Aug. 13), traveling to Eastern View. Coaches James Sharpe and Mark Ramey are optimistic about our runners’ chances this year; they’re looking to repeat and build on the successes of last year, which included conference and regional championships for our girls’ team. Our Harriers take the home course for the first time next Wednesday (Aug. 27), hosting many of our Rapp River Conference opponents at the Blue Rock Course. The first race begins at 5 p.m.

J.V. and varsity volleyball had their first scrimmages last Thursday against conference opponent Essex High School. J.V. took all three sets, while varsity took two of five from a very competitive Essex squad. Coaches Seth Wyatt and Courtney Atkins were pleased with what they saw from the girls, noting that the scrimmage showed some positive results from the past weeks of practice, while also providing valuable feedback on what still needs to be tweaked.

A scrimmage originally scheduled for this past Tuesday was cancelled, but the athletic department is still trying to arrange another for tonight (Thursday, Aug. 21) in the Panther gym. (Check the athletic website for news on that and other athletic events.)

Our Junior Panther boys soccer and volleyball squads continue to practice hard, and are looking forward to their home openers Sept. 2 against Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy. Coaches Paul Paratore (soccer) and Dave Whorton (volleyball) have been thrilled with what they have seen in practice and are looking forward to seeing what their teams will do once competition starts.

Lastly, don’t forget that our volleyball teams are hosting a car wash and bake sale from 10 to 2 this Saturday (Aug. 23) at the high school. This is the first fundraiser for Dig Pink, which helps raise money for breast cancer awareness. Both teams are looking to exceed the record amount they raised last year.

Remember to check rappahannockathletics.org for all the latest news and most current event schedules. Go Rapp!

— Jimmy Swindler

Teacher membership program shifts focus

Rappahannock County Public Schools has redesigned its mentor program for new teachers to focus on orienting them the diverse environment outside the school walls, as well as to the school system itself.

“In order to acclimate new teachers to Rappahannock County, the mentorship program was redesigned to incorporate a system to not only connect new teachers to instructional help, but to make network connections in the community,” explained said Carol Johnson at the Aug. 12 school board meeting.

This year, two new teacher orientation coordinators were hired: Elaine Frank, a seventh-grade science teacher, and eighth-grade physical science teacher Karen Sanborn. Both women hope to enrich the new teachers’ first impressions of their new surroundings by sharing the culture and their personal heritage of living in Rappahannock County.

Our panthers and cubs returned for the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 13 to greet these new faces: Crystal Smith, Alice Stricker, Sarah Evans, Amy Grady, Brian Raciborski, Brandon Burley and Eric Doyle.

A native to the county, Smith returns to the school division after a seven-year hiatus. In the interim, she taught at Leap Start Preschool, which she owned and operated. Smith taught kindergarten in Fauquier County for one year before coming to RCES in 2004 to teach fourth grade and kindergarten. She currently resides with her family in Sperryville and rejoins the RCES family as a third-grade teacher.

Stricker is 21-year teaching veteran from Page County, where she lives with her family. She has taught third through eighth-grade math in Luray, and joins the elementary school as a sixth-grade math and reading teacher.

Evans is a graduate of Liberty University who previously served as a long-term substitute in Fauquier County at Claude Thompson Elementary School. She is a fifth-grade science teacher and resides in Bealeton.

Grady is the new RCES art teacher and lives in Culpeper. She has taught art in Cambridge Public schools in Massachusetts for the past 10 years and holds an endorsement in visual art for pre-K through 12th grade.

Raciborski joins the music department as the middle school band director; he completed his student teaching in Frederick and Loudon counties. He has previously taught private music lessons in Rappahannock, and resides in Woodstock.

Burley comes over from Powhatan County Public Schools, where he worked for four years in the middle and high schools. He joins the RCHS faculty as a special education teacher. A former softball and basketball coach, he hopes to coach for RCPS. Brandon resides in Luray with his wife.

A resident of Jeffersonton, Doyle began his teaching career as a math teacher in Fauquier County. He previously worked as an adjunct professor for Germanna Community College, assistant principal at Kettle Run School in Fauquier County and principal at Manassas Park High School before returning to his passion as a math teacher at RCHS.

We look forward to an outstanding year for these new faculty members and encourage the community to join us in welcoming them to the county!

— Dr. Donna Matthews, superintendent

Virginia Tech graduates

Among the 4,400 graduates at Virginia Tech’s May 16 commencement ceremonies were two from Rappahannock: Austin Burnett and Bennett Eastham, both of Washington.

Burnett received a degree in computer science, while Eastham graduated magna cum laude with a degree in communication. This year’s commencement speaker was Virginia governor Terence “Terry” McAuliffe.

Achievements at RM-A

On May 29, the eighth-grade students at Randolph-Macon Academy celebrated the completion of their middle school journey during the official promotion ceremony. Among the graduates was Ryan Latham of Amissville, son of Stephen and Dawn Latham.

During the end-of-year awards presentation, Latham received the Composition & Grammar Outstanding Mastery Award, the Literature Outstanding Mastery Award, the Investigative Lab Sciences Outstanding Mastery Award and the Upper School Band Outstanding Mastery Award.

Latham also received a community service award; he was one of several academy students who participated in roadside clean-up, coat drives, hunger-combating Penny Wars, recycling programs and more. Together, the students served a total of 1,879 hours.

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