School and sports news for Dec. 10

RCPS focus on school achievements

Over the past several months the Rappahannock County Public School (RCPS) system has garnered statewide recognition in two areas, with the entire school division receiving accolades in both cases.

Late this fall, the office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that RCPS earned full state accreditation as a division. Accreditation is based on the performance of students on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, science and history (in this case during the 2014-15 school year).

While almost 80 percent of the individual schools within the 132 divisions across the state earned accreditation, only 37 school divisions managed to have all of their schools achieve this accolade and the division accreditation that comes with it. This was the second consecutive year of such an accomplishment.

For a school to earn full accreditation, students must achieve pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing SOL tests and at least 70 percent pass rates on mathematics, science and history SOL tests. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation.

Another accolade was announced late last month by the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA). RCPS participated in the VSBA’s Green Schools Challenge, a friendly competition designed to encourage implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions to reduce carbon emissions by the school division. Schools complete a checklist of green activities and programs, accumulating points in the Green Schools Challenge.

RCPS has instituted several new “green” programs ranging from student-led litter cleanups to more widespread single stream recycling of the division’s waste products. The new programs, in conjunction with many existing practices, earned RCPS a Silver Certification, one level up from the Green Certification earned several years ago and only five points below the Gold Certification that RCPS will aspire towards in the coming year.

The Silver Certificate for the Green Schools Challenge was accepted by RCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Matthews at the recently concluded VSBA annual conference in Williamsburg. It will be proudly mounted in the School Board Office conference room, with space left to display what will hopefully be more to come.

— Jimmy Swindler

Rapp sports update

Fall sports have closed out their seasons and winter sports are in full swing in the RCPS gyms. Some postseason accolades have come in for fall athletes, including First Team Region 1A East recognition for volleyball player Julia Estes and Second Team All-Region honors for Kayla Robey.

Several of Rapp’s cross-country runners continue to compete in regional and national races and earn more postseason honors. Milestat, the data center for all things running, just announced their ranking of Virginia Scholastic runners — with RCHS senior Julia Wood ranked 19th in the state and junior Gavin Jenkins 99th, both out of a total pool of 5,000 runners. Gavin also competed in the Foot Locker South Regional race, finishing seventh in the Juniors race with teammate Sam Barnes finishing 57th in the Freshman race. Julia did not compete due to a pre-race injury but both she and Gavin will be running in the upcoming Junior Olympic Nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Athletic Director Brandon Burley reports a full slate of teams for winter competition, including six basketball teams, two wrestling squads, two cheer squads and one returning State Champ Scholastic Bowl team (more details on Scholastic Bowl below). Rapp’s teams and squads have been competing in some close contests and have already brought some victories home with hopes high for many more to follow.

Follow Rapp’s results and schedules at and make plans to come to a game soon!

— J.S.

Three straight wins for Quiz Bowlers

Coming off of a close, 170-225 loss to George Mason High School on Nov. 30, the Rappahannock’s Quiz Bowlers won three straight this Monday (Dec. 7) at William Monroe, defeating Strasburg, Warren County and William Monroe in order.

The Strasburg match was tightly contested, with contributions by John Riedel, Jacob Sheffield, Gabe Hernandez, and Trusten Murrah in round one for a score of 55-60, with Rapp trailing and getting the choice for directed questions. In round two, Rapp scored 60 to Strasburg’s 50 to go up by 5, and then both teams scored 70 in round three to hold onto the win.

The young Rapp team then faced Warren County in a similarly tight match, trailing by 5 at the end of the first round, with all the scoring by Riedel, a junior, and Sheffield, a sophomore, and a 40-40 second round. Only in round three did Rapp pull ahead, with the same two players getting five straight correct answers for a final score of 150-125.

The William Monroe match was the one where Rapp dominated, somewhat surprising, having only edged them by 5 in the earlier meeting of the season. Riedel scored 50 points in that round for a 75-35 lead, which was padded in a 50-10 second round. Round three was quite even as Monroe scored 70 to Rapp’s 65, but this was too little too late, and Rapp prevailed 190-115, bringing their regular season record to 7-2.

Rapp will host Clarke and Central at home at 5 p.m. Monday (Dec. 14), before taking a long winter hiatus until Jan. 11, when they finish the regular season against Mason

R-MA honors for Latham

Ryan Latham of Amissville, the son of Stephen and Dawn Latham, was recently inducted into both the National Honor Society and the Byzantium Chapter of the National English Honor Society at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, where he is a sophomore.