School news for June 22

RCHS accolades, activities

Although summer has not yet officially arrived according to the calendar, with both the last day of classes for the school year finished and a flawlessly executed graduation well behind us, summer has definitely arrived at Rappahannock County Public Schools. And, just as during the school year, accolades and success stories continue to be the order of the day!

In early June the school received a letter from former Virginia Governor and United States Senator for Virginia Tim Kaine, congratulating our SkillsUSA State Champion Virginia Wyatt, and her teachers and peers for helping her achieve that title. Virginia won the state championship in the prepared speech competition and will be competing in the national championship this summer with her coach, RCHS teacher Lisa Jones.

As Senator Kaine noted, SkillsUSA teaches students the special skills of technical education that will be required of thirty percent of all jobs in the workplace by 2018. Competing in the SkillsUSA events gives RCHS students the opportunities to acquire and demonstrate specialized knowledge that will in turn help them excel as they move forward in life. SkillsUSA opportunities at RCHS range from public speaking to culinary skills to cosmetology to welding, with instruction for many other skillsets in between. Congratulations to Virginia and to all the SkillsUSA competitors and their teachers for another successful year.

On the academic competition front, the Virginia High School League recently announced the standings for the 2016-17 Wells Fargo Academic Cup for Group 1A. Based on achievements in state competitions, schools acquire points for their accomplishments in competitive academic activities such as theater, scholastic bowl, debate and other academically oriented competitions. While it may seem a little odd that a sports regulating body would also monitor academic activities, research shows that the VHSL was initially founded, just over a hundred years ago, to help oversee the debate competitions between public schools, with the “traditional” sports such as baseball, football and others coming along much later in the years.

RCHS placed fourth in the Group 1A standings, out of approximately fifty schools, primarily on the basis of the strong showings of the Rapp Scholastic Bowl and Theater teams. And as if finishing only fourth out of fifty isn’t accomplishment enough, it is worth noting that the top three finishers consisted of perennial 1A powerhouse Radford High School (#1), the Galileo Magnet School (#2) and the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School (#3). It is additionally worth noting that the Rapp teams missed 3rd place by just five points, scoring 85 points to Appomattox’s 90.

Congrats to those Rapp thespians and scholars and their respective directors and coaches, Mr. Russell Paulette, Mr. David Naser, and Mrs. Layne Vickers. Both teams will get up and rolling early in the school year for the 2017-18 competitive seasons and are setting their sights on breaking into that top 3 echelon next year.

Related to academic achievement, both RCHS and RCES began their summer school programs this week, with well over a couple of dozen students attending. Taking advantage of smaller class sizes and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, our summer school students are striving to make up for recent shortfalls in classes or SOL tests via credit recovery in summer school. If prior experiences are any indication, there will likely be some smiling student and parent faces by the end of next week when the summer session test results come in.

And while learning continues to take place in the Rapp classrooms even during the summer months, visitors will also notice that an enormous amount of work is taking place in both schools, as is always the case in the summer break period. The RCES and RCHS custodial crews, led by our longtime lead custodians Jeff Scroggins (ES) and Bobby Baldwin (HS), are hard at work with their annual summer cleaning and maintenance duties, ensuring that students and teachers will come back to a sparkling clean and up to date educational center. And let’s not forget the enormous amount of mowing and weed-eating that is also required in the summer months, as our custodians put out extra effort to keep our facilities looking like the first class schools they are.

An additional project being completed this year is the final phase of replacing the original (circa 1968) single paned classroom windows in the old wing of the elementary school. Last summer all of the elementary school old wing classroom windows facing the courtyard were replaced and this summer it’s the turn for all of the exterior facing classrooms of the old wing, including all of the administrative offices, to be replaced with newer, more energy efficient windows.

Concurrently the high school is in the process of a complete revamping of the culinary classroom, creating both a classroom setting and a commercial grade culinary lab section. These changes will allow for the practice of both food prep and cooking as well as the serving of the finished culinary delights in a restaurant type atmosphere, all within the same culinary classroom space.

These new additions will allow the culinary teacher to more efficiently and effectively give cooking demonstrations and instruction to our students and create a true top-flight food service instructional facility that will continue to serve the needs of both our own students and those of neighboring counties. And a special thanks goes out to local restaurant owners, specifically individuals from The Inn at Little Washington, for providing no cost consulting and advice to help RCHS improve its culinary classroom setup.

In addition to all of the above, the twelve month administrative staff of RCPS; elementary school, high school, and central office, is most certainly not taking a summer break, working hard on a variety of projects. Enhancing curriculum and instruction in specific subject areas, reviewing discipline and crisis plan procedures, and upgrading building security features and staff safety training in a myriad of ways both large and small are but a few of the items to be found on the summer “to-do” lists of your RCPS school administrators.

All of this and more is being done while also working to create the best possible schedule for next year’s students and preparing to welcome a few new teachers to the RCHS families at both schools. Summer schedule for administrative staff is Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., with guidance counselors and administrators more than happy to take any calls, questions, or visits during those hours.

And lastly, while the teachers and staff at RCPS hope that every student and family have a wonderfully relaxing, reinvigorating, and safe summer, they remind everyone that August 10, the first day of the 2017-18 school year, is less than two months away. Both schools have updated or are in the process of updating their websites with classroom supply lists so parents can take advantage of sure-to-come tax free shopping days.

Important dates related to the beginning of the 2017-18 school year include:

  • July 18 — mandatory meeting for all students (and their parents) planning to play fall sports, with the meeting starting at 6 PM at the High School auditorium
  • July 26 — equipment distribution for Varsity Football. 4:30-6 at the high school
  • July 27 — first day of practice for Varsity Football
  • July 31 — first day of practice for all other JV and Varsity fall teams
  • August 2 — all teaching staff report to schools
  • August 7 — meet the teacher night for RCHS 8th graders only
  • August 8 — meet the teacher night for RCES and RCHS
  • August 10 — first day of school for all Rappahannock County Public Schools
  • August 11 — tentative first day of practice for all Junior Panther fall teams

All of these dates along with other important information can be found on the schools’ websites which can be easily accessed from www.rappahannockschools.us. And, as always, all school sports games and practice schedules along with other relevant athletic announcements can be found on the Rapp Athletic Website at www.rappahannockcountyhs.rschoolteams.com, or at www.bullrundistrictva.org. Go Rapp!!!

— Jimmy Swindler

Bridgewater Dean’s

The dean’s list for the spring semester at Bridgewater College has been announced by Dr. Leona A. Sevick, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and includes Lottie M. Anderson, a senior from Amissville majoring in health and exercise science.

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