School & sports news for Aug. 14

The AD’s report

Are you ready for some football? If so, Panther Stadium is the place to be tomorrow night (Friday, Aug. 15), as our varsity football team hosts Colonial Beach in a controlled scrimmage, beginning at 6 p.m. Coach Mark Heinle and his staff have been working hard all summer and are optimistic that improvement will be evident in our varsity squad. And mark your calendars now for varsity’s home regular season opener on Aug. 29, when Roanoke Catholic comes to town for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Junior Panther football starts their season Thursday (Aug. 21), hosting the Maryland School for the Deaf in a 6 p.m. scrimmage at Panther Stadium. Coach Dave Whorton has a young team, but they are working hard and you won’t want to miss this season opener.

Volleyball tips off their fall season this week as the J.V. and varsity girls’ teams host Rapp River Conference opponent Essex High School of Tappahannock for a scrimmage tonight (Thursday, Aug. 14). J.V. tips off at 6:30, varsity at approximately 7:30.

Volleyball take the court again Tuesday (Aug. 19), as they host another RRC opponent, Lancaster High School, with J.V. tipoff scheduled for 4:30 and varsity to follow. Come out and watch both teams take the court and prepare to improve on last year’s regional qualifying season!

Cross country starts their season with a scrimmage Wednesday (Aug. 20) at Eastern View, at 6, and then opens the home season with the first annual Rapp River Conference Invitational on Aug. 27 at the beautiful Blue Rock Course across from the high school. Coaches James Sharpe and Mark Ramey are eager to unleash a hungry Panther squad, all of whom are looking to add to last year’s championship banners.

Our J.P. volleyball and boy’s soccer teams’ seasons start on Sept. 2, as both host Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy. Coaches Mylene Whorton and Paul Paratore have had their teams working hard since early August and hope to begin their Valley Middle School Conference schedules with a strong performance. J.P. cross country opens their season on Sept. 9 as they host a VMSC Invitational at the Blue Rock Course.

Don’t forget, scrimmages are open to the public and free of charge (although donations to the athletic department are accepted!), and Rapp Athletics’ season and annual passes will be available for sale at those contests. As always, stay in touch with Rapp Athletics through

Go Rapp sports!

Jimmy Swindler

Wilson: Push the limits of achievement

Kerri Wilson, president of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), was one of two guest speakers at Rappahannock County Public Schools last Wednesday (Aug. 6) for Convocation Day. Wilson joined the administration in welcoming the staff back from summer vacation and shared her personal message, “Teachers Make a Difference.”

Kerri Wilson presented at RCPS' Convocation Day Aug. 6.
Kerri Wilson presented at RCPS’ Convocation Day Aug. 6.

After describing her childhood and the impact of having caring and loving teachers who believed in her, she challenged the staff to push students beyond the limits of what they think they are capable of achieving, encouraging both rigor and compassion in student development. Likening the staff to superheroes and guardian angels, Wilson applauded their dedication to the profession and encouraged staff to remember the value of what they do.

Wilson is currently serving in her third four-year term on the Harrisonburg City School Board. First appointed to the VSBA board of directors in 2006, Wilson has also served as president-elect, a member-at-large, the Federal Relations Network Committee chairman, the Legislative Positions Committee chairman and the Valley Region chairman. In addition to her roles on her local board and the VSBA, Wilson works in the admissions office at James Madison University.

The second speaker was instructional technology specialist Joe Showker, whose presentation covered digital ethics as it relates to curricular instruction, social media, Facebook, Twitter, cyberbullying, predators, phishing, fair use, smartphones and privacy.

Showker is known for his mentoring in the field of digital ethics, and helped craft the Virginia Department of Education’s “Guide to Internet Safety in Virginia Schools.” He developed the “Cyber Citizens Guide for Virginia’s Schools” and currently serves with the Special Operations Auxiliary for the Harrisonburg Police Department.

Gillis awarded twice at Class Night

During Class Night at Randolph-Macon Academy, the most prestigious awards of the year are given out. Benjamin Gillis, a senior at the academy, was one of several students who received multiple awards at the May 22 ceremony.

First, Gillis received the Commandant’s Award, which is given to a cadet officer who has demonstrated the characteristics of leadership, integrity and loyalty, and has shown exceptional military bearing and appearance and exemplary execution of all assigned duties and responsibilities within the cadet corps at RM-A.

Gillis, of Front Royal, also received the Lincoln Award, which is presented to a senior who merits special recognition for demonstrating leadership and service. He is the son of David Gillis of Front Royal and Gracie Gillis of Flint Hill.

Gillis was also one of two area seniors to graduate from the academy on May 24, and made the school’s dean’s list. During his time at RM-A, Gillis was a member of the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society, the National German Honor Society and the Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge Team. He was also a student leader, holding the position of Corps Commander in the Air Force JROTC program.

Gillis participated in varsity football, soccer and lacrosse, earning numerous awards, including the Patriot Football Conference Honorable Mention as a kicker, Delaney Athletic Conference First Team all-conference honors, the varsity soccer team MVP award, the varsity lacrosse Unsung Hero Award and the Pat Spears Junior Mile Award.

His senior honors and awards included the President’s Award for Academic Achievement and the MacArthur Cadet of the Year Award. He plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall.

Travis Pullen of Sperryville, the son of Pam Myers of Sperryville and Arthur Pullen, Jr of Culpeper, also graduated. During his time at RM-A, he participated in varsity football, basketball and baseball. He was also a member of the school’s award-winning marching band, and plans to attend Radford University in the fall.

Other dean’s list honorees included Evan Lester of Huntly, the son of Cynthia Lester of Winchester and Scott Lester of Huntly; and Brendan Martyn of Huntly, son of Elizabeth Kauffmann of Huntly and Anthony Martyn of Fayetteville, N.C.

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