The end and the beginning
Last Saturday (Nov. 14) at Great Meadow, Rappahannock County High School senior Julia Wood finished first — for the third consecutive year — to become the Division 1A Cross Country State Champion. Two days before in the RCHS auditorium, Wood — who also has a half-dozen state championship track titles to her name — signed with William & Mary for the 2016-17 school year. “We wish her the best as she continues her running career at William & Mary,” said Rapp athletic director Brandon Burley. (Meanwhile, RCHS junior Gavin Jenkins, at the same state championship race in Warrenton Nov. 14, finished second, just 13 seconds behind the winner.)
Spotlight on career and technical education
While many assume that the main goal of a high school education is to prepare students for college, educators know that quite a few students will join the working world immediately upon graduation, entering fulfilling careers while performing much-needed services for our society.
Career and technical education (CTE) programs are designed to provide job specific educational experiences for students and to expose them to as many career options as possible before they enter the workforce. At Rappahannock County Public Schools, CTE is a flourishing program that serves both middle school and high school students, giving them an education that can almost immediately be parlayed into a satisfying and well-paying career.
As careers, dreams and passions can change, one of the goals of CTE is to help students explore the different types of careers available, the education required for those careers and the earnings that can be generated. Job fairs and career expos give students an idea of what careers are possible, especially local careers, and help them to formulate their academic and career plans.
CTE directors from local schools, Rappahannock’s own CTE director Shannon Grimsley among them, have formed a Career Pathways Consortium to explore new ways to bring career information to students. Working in partnership with Lord Fairfax Community College, directors from Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Warren, Page and Rappahannock counties and the city of Winchester recently put on a successful event, the inaugural Worlds of Work (WOW) job expo in Winchester. Realizing the importance of reaching impressionable middle school aged students in tangible ways, career activities were planned that incorporated activities and hands-on experiences, creating a day to remember for both students and presenters.
Joining more than 3,000 other seventh-graders from around the region, Rappahannock’s contingent enjoyed an action-packed day, exploring eight different career pathways and gaining experiences that will help them guide their academic plans in high school and possibly career plans thereafter. With representatives from the fields of agriculture, hospitality, tourism, public service and construction, students obtained first-hand experience with career fields that can take them afar or allow them to stay right here in Rappahannock County.
Hands-on experiences were the norm at the WOW expo, with students not only listening to speakers but also having the opportunity to actually perform some of the specific career skills. Donning lab gear and performing experiments, practicing CPR on a training model, operating high-tech machinist’s tools, looking under the hood of a car and seeing how modern mechanics diagnose problems were just a few of the many activities enjoyed by students at the WOW expo. Financial lessons were learned as well, as students were exposed to entry-level pay scales that various careers offer, with particular notice given to the salary increases made possible with added experience, education and training, much of which can be obtained at the high school level via CTE programs.
Creating a WOW factor of its own with some career exposure of the local variety, the high school’s CTE department sponsors an annual Career Day in which all high school students and seventh graders participate. This year’s event is next Wednesday (Nov. 18) in the high school gym. Each student participates using a scavenger hunt format on which they record information from the many career presenters. Presenters typically bring tools and materials particular to their trade or profession to demonstrate real-life work skills and to give students a genuine feel for each type of career.
This year’s Job Fair presenters include representatives from the fields of agribusiness, cosmetology, landscaping and nursery, architecture, law, education, science and technology, communications and public relations, web development, hospitality and electrical utilities. As with the WOW event in Winchester, presenters provide students with the information needed to make career decisions that can take them around the world or allow them to remain in their hometown. And whether the skills they learn take them to new adventures beyond Rappahannock or allow them to remain here in the county, all of our students are certain to benefit from the career exposures they gain through the CTE programs and related courses available at the Rappahannock County Public Schools.
— Jimmy Swindler
WCDS sports update
Wakefield Country Day School’s varsity cross country team traveled to Fork Union Military Academy for the VISAA Division II state championship race Nov. 13. The windy day was a challenge but coach Brad Boelter reported that it was a nice, solid course at FUMA. The boys’ race included almost 300 runners, and the Owls finished 23rd as a team.
Lucas DuMez had the highest finish of a runner in the last seven years, at 37th place in 19:02. He was one of only six DAC runners to finish in the top 40. Tyler Johnson was the second finisher for the boys in 137th place in 22:32. Bernie Cieplak had a strong race finishing 189th place in 22:32. Nick Leskovec crossed in 22:41 for 195th, with Kevin He finishing not far behind in 198th place in 22:42. Campbell Baker got 201st place in 22:46. Gray Galeone crossed in 25:45 for 264th place.
The girls’ race had 216 runners. Carrie Hui set a personal best time finishing in 27:56 for 177th place. With no seniors on this year’s team, the future looks bright for the Owls cross country next year. Congratulations to coach Boelter and the team for a fine season of hard work and dedication.
WCDS’ fall 2015 Team Awards were announced last Friday, and include:
Varsity Cross Country: most valuable runner, Lucas DuMez; most-improved runner, Carrie Hui and Keith Lai; coach’s award, Bernie Cieplak.
Varsity Girls’ Volleyball: most valuable player, Kendall Carroll and Monica Marciano; most improved player, Carolina Leonard; coach’s award, Alyssa Soldo.
Varsity Boys’ Soccer: most valuable player, Max Lilburn; coaches’ award, Porter Gilliam; most improved player, Joe Dowell.
Junior Varsity Girls’ Volleyball: most valuable player, Lucy Clark and Ann Schuster; most improved player, Rachel Cieplak; coach’s award, Lily Shahida.
Middle School Cross Country: most valuable runner, Lexi Johnston and Jefferson Day; most improved runner, Jack Gerard; coaches’ award, Emma O’Neill.
Middle School Boys’ Soccer: most valuable player, Griffin Landis; most improved player, Jeremey Kwolek; coach’s award, Gray Gilliam.
Middle School Girls’ Volleyball: most valuable player, Cailey Glennon; coach’s award, Hannah Frost; most improved player, Anika Pruntel.
— Mike Costello
Honors at Randolph-Macon
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) sophomore Ryan Latham of Amissville, the son of Stephen and Dawn Latham, was named to the President’s List for the first quarter of the 2015-16 school year at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal.
Senior Brendan Martyn of Huntly, the son of Elizabeth Kauffmann of Huntly and Tony Martyn of Fayetteville, was named to the Dean’s List for the same quarter, and eighth-grade student Benjamin Kopjanski of Boston, son of Melanie Kopjanski, was named to the Principal’s List.