Have you heard the buzz? Rappahannock County High School has some really good wrestlers. In fact, three of the varsity wrestlers are state ranked. C.J. Sidrow is ranked seventh in the 103 weight class, Daniel Clement is eighth in the 145 weight class and Julious Lucas ranks fourth in the 140 weight class. Out of the 14 weight classes, six of Rapp’s wrestlers have double-digit wins -– an amazing accomplishment for such a small school.
What or who is the key to this success is a question that comes to mind. The answer is simple: Coach Jamie Harris and Coach Jason Spence. Coach Harris is one of our gym teachers. Coach Spence is a volunteer. Both coaches have wrestled professionally and are dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable leaders who are teaching the wrestlers, our children, the skills they need to go out and compete.
They train with the team five, sometimes six days a week including all school breaks. They attend tournaments for 12-plus hours on weekends; coaching our children in every one of their matches. The improvement these wrestlers are making is amazing. They not only gain new skills but their confidence has grown in every match.
At a recent school board meeting, it was asked if Coach Spence could receive a stipend just like other lay persons who coach in our schools. The request was turned down.
I understand money is very tight and we are facing more education budget cuts from Richmond. But if that is so, why are we spending money on a study to evaluate getting the parking lot of the high school paved? Yes, I agree, it is not in the best shape. But neither are more than half the roads in the county.
I want the school board to explain to me how a paved parking lot is going to positively impact our children’s lives at RCHS?
How much money was spent on new windows in the wrestling room -– $2,000, $3,000? Why are windows needed in a wrestling room? Fauquier High School just had a brand new wrestling room put in without windows. UVA built a brand new state-of-the-art wrestling room; not even one window.
As one of the parents pointed out if wrestling rooms needed windows UVA would have them. Again, school board members, please explain to me how windows in a wrestling room positively impact our children’s lives at RCHS? Windows in wrestling rooms and paved parking lots don’t do a darn thing for our kids.
But you know what does? Good teachers and good coaches. The lessons and interactions teachers and coaches give freely everyday is what positively impacts our children.
Sometimes I think our school board is more concerned with the aesthetics, the way it looks and how it appears from the outside or what score is reported to the state, instead of the true educational and extracurricular experience our children are having.
Wrestling’s Northern Sectionals are in a couple of weeks and, as Coach Harris says, “little ol’ Rappahannock has a big surprise waiting for the competition.” Some of our wrestlers will go to states this year and someday “Little Rapp” will be state champions and have state champion wrestlers walking the halls.
So to all the school board members, please remember when that happens and you are out there in the county among your friends saying how great the wrestling program is and how great they have done; remind all your friends and neighbors that you were a member of the board that opted to pay for a study about paving the high school parking lot and didn’t think paying a stipend for Coach Spence was worth it.