Washington column for Feb. 26

Mother Nature . . .

I hope that everyone survived the snow storm that Mother Nature dumped on us last Saturday (Feb. 21). Then on Sunday, she gave us a warm day to shovel the sidewalks and paths. I am counting the days till spring arrives and hear the birds chirping. This month has been like a roller coaster ride for us. Overall I am waiting for the March winds to come in so I can fly my kite with my grandkids. Flying is so much fun, you can make them dance across the big open sky.

. . . and other realities

RCHS seniors Dale Jenkins, left, and Katelyn Kestner get a glimpse at real-life financial decision-making from volunteers at the high school’s “Reality Store” exercise.
RCHS seniors Dale Jenkins, left, and Katelyn Kestner get a glimpse at real-life financial decision-making from volunteers at the high school’s “Reality Store” exercise.
Nicole Clem

Beside dealing with the weather this month, Rappahannock County High School seniors got a dose of reality on Feb. 12, learning what it takes to support a family and to make monthly financial decisions, when they participated in the school’s first-ever “Reality Store” exercise.

The event was co-sponsored by the Rappahannock Extension office and the high school.

For the exercise, students were given an occupation and a family situation; some were married while others found themselves with a spouse and children who varied in ages from 3 months to teenagers. Each occupation came with a gross annual salary and a calculated net take-home pay. Students were instructed to take their net pay and spend it.

Volunteers from the community staffed 13 booths where they assisted the students with selecting services from each of their stations. Students had to visit and purchase something from each booth. The booths included: housing, utilities, credit cards, furniture, groceries, childcare, medical/dental insurance, communications/entertainment, transportation, personal care and clothing.

When the students found themselves in need of additional funds, they were allowed to get a second job at the supplemental income booth. At the “crystal ball” booth, each student drew a random card: as in life, some of the cards presented good financial outcomes, such as receiving an inheritance, or expensive outcomes, such as suddenly needing a new car.

From evaluation sessions with the students, it was determined that they found it difficult to pay all of their bills and have anything left for their savings. They also were surprised at the cost of food and child care.

The Reality Store provided participating high school seniors a glimpse into the “real world” they are about to enter; one where making good financial decisions is important.

Volunteers who assisted included Jennifer Aldrich, Beverly Atkins, Trish Bartholomew, Ralph Bates, Jim Blubaugh, Liz Blubaugh, Jane Bowling-Wilson, Steve Carroll, Sherry Cillo, Nicole Clem, Judy DeSarno, Nicole Hanbach, Bob Hurley, Cole Johnson, Barry Johnston, Pat Johnston, Susan Laing, Dot Lessard, Rick Lessard, Jan Makela, Cristy Mosley, Bill Nenninger, Anne Simon, Lee Simon, Rich Spillenkothen, Amanda Stephens, Neville Turner, Mollie Welch, Pat Whorton, Spots Williams and Cheri Woodward.

Free clinic

Rappahannock Free Clinic is open at the Rappahannock County Health Department on Main Street in Washington next Wednesday (March 4). Registration 5 to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Fauquier Free Clinic at 540-347-0394.

Lenten services

Washington Baptist Church’s community Lenten services, which started yesterday (Feb. 26), continue each Wednesday through March 25. The Methodist churches of Flint Hill, Sperryville and Willis Chapel; Amissville, First Baptist, Trinity Episcopal, St. Peter’s Catholic and Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge and Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church will participate. Each service begins with a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. followed by worship at 7. For more information, call Walt Childress at 540-675-3336.

BOGO bargains

Due to the unusually rough weather, the Washington Ladies Thrift Shop is extending its BOGO Sale — “Buy One, Get One” — to give customers the opportunity to take advantage of our great inventory at incredible savings. You can buy any item of clothing at the usual price and get another of equal or lesser value for free. The sale will be extended to next Tuesday and Wednesday (March 3-4). Certain items are excluded from the sale. (The shop will be closed on Saturday, March 7.) Just as a reminder, the Thrift Shop follows the local school closing schedule.

Movie night in town

Nothing to do on Friday night (March 6)? Take the family for a movie in town. The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) will be showing the movie “Gone Girl”  at 8 p.m. at The Theatre in Washington. This R rated drama, mystery, thriller from the novel and screenplay of Gillian Flynn is directed by David Fincher and stars Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry, Neal Patrick Harris and Rosamond Pike. Admission is $6. The concession stand will be open for popcorn, candy and water. For more information on this movie and upcoming RAAC events visit raac.org or call 800-695-6075.


Sympathy goes out to Laura Dodd and family. Laura’s mom, Peggy D. Dodd of Lanham, Md., passed away Friday night (Feb. 20) after a long passage downward. Laura was able to be at the bedside when the time came. Most, if not all, of us know something about losing a parent. Never easy, even when anticipated. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Laura.

Stay warm and keep happy thoughts that spring is on its way soon!

Becky Sheffield and Jenny Kapsa contributed to this column.