Letter: Rappahannock has a real Taste for supporting education

Many thanks to all our community for your amazing support of this year’s 18th annual Taste of Rappahannock! Headwaters is immensely grateful to all the volunteers, teachers, students and businesses who donate time, auction items and service to make this event happen. Without you, it would not be possible.

Thanks go out to the following committee members for months of planning and hard work: Dot Lessard, Liz Blubaugh, Kathryn Habib, Steve Carroll, Linda Dietel, Barney O’Meara, Sylvie Rowand, Rick Lessard, Sarah Moore, Anne Simon, Tanya Paull, Jennifer Manly, Brittany Dwyer, Susie MacNelly and Kurt Streu, with special appreciation to Dot Lessard and for the “can-do” attitude of Barney O’Meara, Rick Lessard and Steve Carroll, our set-up/take-down. Thank you.

Thank you to Mount Vernon Farm, Cliff and Lucile Miller, for sharing their beautiful spot in Rappahannock County, and to Patti Brennan, Rachel Bynum, Jenny Dellinger, Terri Kilby, Rick and Kaye Kohler, and Jan and Ron Makela who handled the daunting task of “check-in” with extraordinary flair. Band students Abigail Berry, Rachel Sheetz, Kaycee Barroso, Jacob Sheffield, Skye Kirchman, Ninon Kirchman, Jackson Heverly and Fletcher Allred, under the direction of RCHS band teacher Jason Guira, assisted with parking the more than 200 guests.

Thank you to Tanya Paull for orchestrating the wine with the owners of Chester Gap Cellars, Barboursville, Gadino, Glen Manor, Linden, Narmada, Rappahannock Cellars, Magnolia, Hopkins Ale Works and Wasmund’s Distillery. Thank you to Jennifer Aldrich and Ralph Bates for coordinating our table wine. Thanks to our fire marshals Dave Naser, Paul Kirchman, Gary Jenkins, Larry Green and Kevin Bosch.

For our excellent meal we thank Sylvie and Keith Rowand of Laughing Duck Gardens and Cookery, Kurt Streu, culinary arts chef at RCHS; and the students of the RCHS culinary arts classes Gabby Williams, Madeline Neibert, Haley Streightiff, Caleb Brown, Parker Critzer, Austin Huff, Brianna Heggan, Gabby Kelly, Kyle Staples, Brooke Athelli, Shyan Price, Courtney Higgins, Alice Maley, Samantha Keys, Jelma Lucas, Margan Flanaghan, Deana Abdullah and Hunter Nicodemus — who helped with much of the food preparation and set up for the event, along with RCES cafeteria staff Sue Atkins and Julia Banks.

Our guests also enjoyed contributions from the Flint Hill Public House, Griffin Tavern, Thornton River Grill Catering and Triple Oak Bakery. Thanks also to Waterpenny Farm and the Farm at Sunnyside for their generous donations. We thank RCPS faculty members and friends from both schools for assisting us, including James Murray, Elaine McCabe, James Sharpe, Mike Sheffield, Layne Vickers, Vickie Miller, Elaine Kramer, Autumn Aceto, Natalie Hathaway, Sandy Gillingham, Linda Way, Alice Strickler, James Murray, Kathy Zehr-Rhodes, Kaitlyn Ghelfi and Liz Dodson. Thanks to these students also assisted: Kim Dellinger, John Riedel, Jacob Love, Jessica Thorne, Emily Way and Melanie Flores. The beautiful flowers throughout the dining room came from the gardens of Martin and Cheri Woodard.

Alisha Stanley, LFCC student and RCHS graduate, shared her insights on Headwaters, and Maeve Cuiba, J. Switzer, Nickolas and Isaac Plaskin, Ninon Kirchman and Riley Taggert-Wagner, RCES students led by musician Wendi Sirat, wowed the audience with their musical talents before dinner, and through sound equipment provided by Bob Chappell. Thank you!

All the members of the Headwaters board of directors pitched in — thank you, Kathy Grove, Jennifer Aldrich, Ralph Bates, Sherry Cillo, Judy DeSarno, Todd Endo, David Leive, Dot Lessard and Amanda Stephens. And these community members and family members contributed work and expertise: Kim Baader Kilby, Lotte Leive, Sandra Cartwright-Brown, Kevin McCloskey, Mimi Forbes, Laura Booth, Cheryl Targos, Fran Krebser, Chris Doxzen, Larry Grove, Donna Matthews, Susan McCarthy, Dabney Kirchman, Dede McClure, Kate Cliffton, Rick Wasmund, Laura Booth, Emily Harris, Patricia Obergon, Gwen Bates, Jimmy and Elizabeth, Kathy McNitt, Ann and Pete Stenner, Anna Maher, Sara Garcia, Jim Blubaugh, Jen Perrot, Molly Peterson, Lyt Wood, Juli MacDonald, James Montgomery and Lucas Wilson. Thank you to the Rappahannock Lions Club, Virginia Chutney, Rappahannock News and Central Coffee Roasters.

We are deeply grateful to all our donors and businesses. Thank you to our table sponsors: Larry and Kathy Grove, Friends of Headwaters, Jay Brown and Kevin Adams, Union Bank and Trust, Thom Pellikaan, Jennifer Manly, Cheri Woodard Realty, Lila Helms and Michelle Benecke, Tom and Cole Johnson, John Beardsley and Steph Ridder, Lowell and Diane Dodge, Rick and Dot Lessard, John Jacquemin and Betsy Dietel and Mike Sands.

We all enjoyed an outstanding evening, a delicious meal, and a successful auction. The proceeds from this once-a-year fundraiser support Headwaters and its programs: the After-School Enrichment Program, Next Step, READ tutoring, Starfish Mentoring and Educational Enrichment Grants. All these programs directly support the mission of Headwaters, which is to foster educational excellence in Rappahannock County by cultivating the cooperative spirit and resources of the whole community for the benefit of our young people.

Before the evening began, 80 donors had given to the Taste of Rappahannock and 50 individuals and businesses contributed goods. Added to the 240 names and businesses here, 370 groups and individuals made this evening a success. Thank you, Rappahannock County for supporting your children!

Jane Bowling-Wilson
Headwaters executive director (2010-2015)

Kathleen F. Grove
Chair, Headwaters board of directors

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