Rappahannock County Public Schools’ athletic director Jimmy Swindler announced this week that he will be ending his four-year tenure as the school division’s athletics and facilities director on June 30 — after which the positions will be split into two full-time positions, and he’s chosen to become facilities director. “It was my choice to make and I made it, bittersweet though it may be,” Swindler emailed Tuesday.
We’ll have an interview with Swindler and more on the subject in next week’s paper.
Several students from Wakefield Country Day School traveled to Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month to take part in the honor guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, including placing a wreath on the tomb and being a part of the presentation. WCDS students participating in the event included Kat Carter, Anna and Lucy Clark, Shane O’Heir, Monica Marciano, Becca Paulisch, Rahmet Rahimi, Abe Nolan, Max Lilburn, Joe Dowell and Aaron Corbett. Kat Carter and the Clark sisters presented arms as part of the honor guard; Carter is the recipient of the WCDS’ Leonard Cowherd Memorial Scholarship. Second Lt. Cowherd, a WCDS graduate, was killed in action in Afghanistan; his parents established the scholarship in his name. Students also visited his gravesite at Arlington.
Lucy and Anna Clark’s grandfather served in the U.S. military and was a part of the honor guard at the cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The other students attending are part of the “We the People” academic team that represented WCDS at the state finals of the annual academic competition several weeks ago.
Though winter has slowed everyone down, the Rappahannock 4H Livestock Club is keeping busy with several outings already this year. In January the club visited the Oak Springs Dairy in Upperville. Upon arriving, they were sad to learn the dairy will be closing in April and they were lucky to be taking one of the last tours. Students listened to the real-life success story of Allen Bassler. As a 4H youngster, Allen grew up raising dairy cows. Just out of school he applied for the job to run Mrs. Mellon’s personal dairy.
Mrs. Mellon commissioned the dairy to provide raw milk and butter to her family’s four farms. Bassler’s farming skills brought a surplus of milk, so he decided he’d learn to make cheese. With superb cream from his notorious Brown Swiss dairy cows, and a little trial and error, he said, he found the right formula for a successful product. He markets his raw milk cheeses direct to local restaurants, wineries, and farmers markets. Though disappointed to learn the Mellon estate is closing the dairy, he said: “I have had a really good run here for over 20 years, raised my family, and learned a lot.” 4H-ers watched the afternoon milking and got to meet Oak Spring’s Brown Swiss elite, including Snickerdoodle, Allen’s prize winning cow. It was great to see first-hand how 4H skills can lead to a successful career.
The following weekend the Livestock Club met at the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) shelter in Amissville to meet the dogs and deliver donations of food and blankets they’d collected over the holidays. This month, students were preparing for the annual stockman’s contest held at the Northern Virginia 4H Center in Front Royal, where club members Courtney Dodson and Catherine Deane would compete. Good luck!
— Nicholas Barnes (club reporter)
On Feb. 28, Wakefield Country Day School hosted a regional Certamen competition on its campus in Flint Hill. Certamen is a fast-paced, quiz bowl-style game featuring questions about Latin grammar and vocabulary as well as classical culture, history and mythology. As the host school, WCDS students could not compete in the event, but instead acted as hosts to the 200-plus participating students from 22 schools, including several in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville. A relatively even mix of public and private schools attended, with large schools (such as Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology) matching wits with smaller charter schools like Washington Latin. A wide array of private schools, including such local institutions as The Hill School and Middleburg Academy, also participated. In all, 53 teams competed on five levels of play.
WCDS Latin teacher Welby Griffin brought an unusual twist to the Certamen scene by making this the first ever CARE-tamen (or charitable Certamen). While most hosts charge registration fees, WCDS waived the registration fees and instead asked each participant to bring three cans to donate to the Rappahannock Food Pantry. The response was overwhelming; WCDS was able to donate 778 pounds of food to the pantry. Participants also gave rave reviews to WCDS’ cozy, quirky building and interesting questions.
Chelsea Academy held its annual winter sports banquet Feb. 19 for families, friends and athletes, who heard athletic director Micah Willard praise the perseverance and esprit de corp exhibited by the school’s basketball teams. Three awards were given to each team: Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, and the Joan of Arc/Lionheart award. The Joan of Arc award (for girls) and Lionheart award (for boys) recognize players who inspire their teammates with their dedication and team spirit. Winners for 2015 include:
Girls’ basketball: Ana Sotelo, Joan of Arc; Rachel Li, Most Valuable Player; and Rose Sladky (of Chester Gap), Most Improved Player. Junior varsity boys’ basketball: Max Nicholson, Lionheart; Paul Buono, Most Valuable Player; Billy Zhao, Most Improved Player. Varsity boys’ basketball: John Briggs, Lionheart; Galen Rohr and Jeff Liang, Most Valuable Player; Jack Schaffer, Most Improved Player.