School and sports news for Oct. 8

RCPS’ spotlight on local foods

In honor of local foods week, RCPS cafeteria staff (from left) Linda Clanagan, Robin Frye, Sue Atkins, Julie Banks, Meg Flanagan and Pam Jenkins came dressed for work Wednesday in their farming clothes.
In honor of local foods week, RCPS cafeteria staff (from left) Linda Clanagan, Robin Frye, Sue Atkins, Julie Banks, Meg Flanagan and Pam Jenkins came dressed for work Wednesday in their farming clothes. Stacey Whitt

Each week the award-winning Rappahannock County schools cafeteria staff serves more than a thousand breakfasts and two thousand lunches to the students of RCPS.  And each week the cafeteria managers work hard to design menus and prepare foods that are both nutritional and palatable to students, all the while striving to operate the cafeteria in a cost-effective fashion.  

Elementary school cafeteria manager Julie Banks and high school manager Karen McCracken start their days early with breakfast preparations and their days aren’t complete until the last lunch tray is cleaned and put away. The two worked with Farm to Table coordinator Sarah Moore to bring in local food vendors for this week’s menus, marking the beginning of the schools’ yearly celebration of local foods.

One of the advantages of being located in a farming community is the opportunity to use local foods in the menu offerings. The cafeteria staff looks forward to this local supply option, with one of their goals being to make local fare the focus of the school menu offerings whenever possible.

RCPS cafeterias are offering local foods from the following vendors this week: Gene Adams and Sons from Amissville; The Farm at Sunnyside in Washington; Thornton River Orchard in Sperryville; and Papa Weaver’s Pork in Orange. Working with those vendors, RCPS cafeterias have been able to serve a delicious display of local beef and pork along with locally harvested vegetables and fruits.

The students and staff at RCPS have been willing participants in the local foods offerings both this week and in the past. This year’s event also featured the elementary school cafeteria staff suited up in traditional farming attire, giving students a reason to smile not only because of the delicious food being served, but also the spirit in which it was served.

— Jimmy Swindler

Rapp volleyball is all aces

Rappahannock County’s varsity volleyball squad, led by coach Courtney Atkins, is in first place in the Bull Run District with a regular-season record of 10-0.  In two more district wins last week, Rapp produced stats that exemplified their dominance: a combined 50 digs, 12 blocks, 67 kills and 19 aces on serve against two top teams. Atkins focused on defensive work, constantly looking to put the ball back in the opponent’s court in an unreturnable fashion. Her team, she said,  is “becoming more consistent with serving and not giving the opposing team points. Our strongest play is our offense and we are working hard to bring our defense to a higher level.”  

Offense has been an integral part of the Panthers’ success in the past four years under Atkins, as evidenced by the postseason recognition garnered last year by team members Julia Estes, Kayla Robey, Hannah Bennett and Amber Smoot. Defense is a team effort and is taking the team to the next level, which hopefully will involve a state playoff berth this year. As Atkins noted, “what I’m seeing with my team is unity and a drive that comes from believing in each other . . . hard work and practice are paying off.”

On the JV court, coach Seth Wyatt’s squad has seen nearly the same success as they fight to defend their unofficial “Bull Run District JV Championship.” With no JV playoffs, Wyatt has to dig a little deeper to motivate his team to perform. But dig he does as he completes the dual tasks of preparing his players for the varsity level while motivating them to win at the JV level.

The Junior Panther program is led by coach Jeff Atkins and assistant coach Connie Smith. As part of the Valley Middle School Conference, the JP team competes for a championship trophy. Atkins’ and Smith’s results so far are an undefeated season and a No. 1 seed in the upcoming VMSC playoffs — which begin at home next Tuesday (Oct. 13) at 4:30 p.m.  

All are invited to join RCPS students and staff as they cheer on these successful teams in their remaining home matches.

— J.S.