School and sports news for Sept. 24

Rapp athletics update

It has been a busy, and successful, couple of weeks for Rapp sports teams, as they have been racking up the games and the wins in their fall sports seasons.

Volleyball takes the headlines this week, with two teams undefeated thus far and a third not far behind. The Junior Panther volleyball team has been dominating the competition, taking straight-set wins over Wakefield Country Day School, Fresta Valley, R-MA and Bull Run powerhouse Madison County. The JP team faced Madison in a rematch this Wednesday (results too late for this article) and travels to William Monroe Middle School today (Thursday, Sept. 24).

Playing a VMSC and a Bull Run warmup schedule, coaches Jeff Atkins’ and Connie Smith’s team is poised to take yet another set of VMSC trophies and shows all the signs of producing JV and varsity players who will see similar success when they enter Bull Run District and Rappahannock River Conference play.

Coach Courtney Atkins’ varsity team has matched the JP squad win-for-win, also posting a perfect record thus far. After a huge win over conference rival Northumberland a few weeks back, the team has dominated the competition in wins over Wakefield, Fresta Valley, Strasburg and Warren County. Last week’s win over Strasburg, in Strasburg, was particularly memorable, as our team took it to the Rams, a traditional rival in volleyball, on their home court. Coach Wyatt’s JV squad has almost matched the victory pace set by varsity, falling only to Warren County over the past two weeks and also scoring a decisive win at Strasburg.

Both JV and varsity teams played at traditional Bull Run powerhouse Madison this past Tuesday (results next week), and are home tonight (Thursday) against William Monroe. The Panther faithful will want to come out to cheer our girls on as they build momentum for what is shaping up to be a very special season! First serve is at 6 p.m.

Our cross-country squads have been running over hill and dale over the past weeks as coaches Sharpe and Burt are gradually gearing them up for the critical contests at the end of the season. The teams host their final event of the season next Wednesday at the Blue Rock course.

If it’s fall, it must be football season, too, and Rapp is no exception, as both our Junior Panther and varsity teams have seen some action on the gridiron. Coach Ramey’s J.P. squad had an exciting game at home several weeks back, victory just eluding their grasp, and then traveled to Prospect Heights last Thursday, where they put up 40 points in a huge display of heart that almost brought them to victory. The J.P. squad travels to Locust Grove Middle School today and returns to Panther Stadium Oct. 5, when they host Prospect Heights.

Our varsity squad continues to look for that first win of the season, but, with many games left to play, coaches and players are confident that they will find their spot in the win column. The squad traveled to Page County several weeks ago and put up an impressive number of points in an effort that fell short of victory; then this past Friday the team just could not get in gear against Grace Christian, managing only six points for the night. Coaches are hard at work this week, taking full advantage of a bye week in the schedule to prepare our boys for next Friday’s home game against the Ponies of Chincoteague High School. Be sure to mark your calendars now for next Friday’s game, kickoff at 7 p.m. And remember the award-winning Panther Marching Band will be performing at halftime.

As always, current schedules and scores are kept up to date by athletic director Brandon Burley online at Go Rapp!

— Jimmy Swindler

RCPS spotlight on safety grants

Mindful of the need to be careful stewards of the county’s funds, Rappahannock County Public Schools is constantly on the lookout for “out of the box” funding sources to support needed programs that complement the core mission of education. RCPS Director of Academic Services Shannon Grimsley, who also holds the title of grant writer for the school system, has announced that two recent grant applications have resulted in the awarding of more than $20,000 to the school division.

Last Wednesday (Sept. 16), Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the awards of more than $6 million in school security equipment grants to more than 500 schools in about 100 school divisions, including a $17,000 award to RCPS.

The School Security Grant Program was established in 2013 by the General Assembly in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The funding supports video monitoring systems, classroom locks, visitor identification systems and other security upgrades. Rappahannock also received a $13,000 school safety grant in 2014-15.

Earlier this year RCPS was the recipient of another grant application, the Virginia Alcoholic and Beverage Control Grant for alcohol education and prevention programs. In its second year, the ABC grant program seeks to reward organizations that demonstrate a strategic plan to reach audiences of all ages while at the same time gaining broad community support.

RCPS was awarded $4,500 for two programs that seek to reduce underage and high-risk drinking. The grant will support the school system’s S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decsions) program, funding attractive prizes for student contests to develop posters and slogans aimed at deterring students from making destructive decisions. The grant will also fund food and prizes for the After Prom Party, a healthy tradition at Rappahannock County High School.

— J.S.