School news for May 12

Awards and news in the arts at Hearthstone School

Wildflower art contest winners Vjörika Brooks and Joseph Gros pose with Hearthstone School art teacher Davette Leonard.
Wildflower art contest winners Vjörika Brooks and Joseph Gros pose with Hearthstone School art teacher Davette Leonard. Torry Keane

Congratulations to Hearthstone School students Vjörika Brooks and Joseph Gros, who won two of the top three awards in the grade 6-8 category of Shenandoah National Park’s 2016 Youth Arts in the Park Wildflower Contest. In addition, Vjörika Brooks won “Best in Show” for her watercolor painting titled “Jack-in-the-Pulpit in Shenandoah National Park.” Joseph’s entry was an acrylic painting titled “Bloodroot.” The contest is a nine-county competition. Kudos also to their art teacher, Davette Leonard!

The contest is part of Shenandoah National Park’s annual Wildflower Weekend, which focuses on the value and diversity of our native woodland flowers. The art went on view last weekend at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.

A new exhibit of student artwork opened also opened last month in the Hearthstone Gallery area, located in the main building. The display features photographs, watercolors and pencil sketches. The gallery space was made possible by a grant from RAAC’s Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund.

Also in the arts this month: Hearthstone alumnus Sean Haggerty was cast as Alexander Hamilton in the AMC television series “Turn,” the historical drama about George Washington’s spies. He will appear in episodes nine and 10 of Season Three.

Statewide and national achievements at RCPS

RCHS' SkillsUSA gold medalist Virginia Wyatt and National Latin Exam gold medalist Connor Culbertson are shown with their Tesla Coil flex class project.
RCHS’ SkillsUSA gold medalist Virginia Wyatt and National Latin Exam gold medalist Connor Culbertson are shown with their Tesla Coil flex class project.

Several outstanding academic achievements were earned in recent weeks by Rappahannock County High School students in state and national competitions. Several RCHS students have recently distinguished themselves and their school in the areas of public speaking, Latin and economics.

In the just concluded SkillsUSA state competition in Fredericksburg, sophomore Virginia Wyatt brought home a gold medal and a state championship. Virginia, who earned a state silver medal last year and had won the district competition earlier in the year, achieved gold medal status this year in the prepared speech category. She was accompanied to the state competition by RCHS SkillsUSA faculty sponsor Lisa Jones.

A partnership of 300,000-plus students, teachers and industry representatives, the SkillsUSA organization works to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Students compete in demonstrations of occupational and leadership skills in local, state and national competitions.

Per competition rules, Virginia was provided with a speech theme (“SkillsUSA: Champions at Work”) and then wrote her speech, memorized it and presented it to a panel of judges, without the benefit of note cards or prompts. Judging criteria was based on the ability to prepare and present clearly and effectively a series of thoughts relating to the central theme.

Virginia will represent RCHS and her state at the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky in June, where she’ll be joining more than 6,000 students from across the country to compete in more than 100 skill areas.

In addition to the spoken word, RCHS students have recently distinguished themselves in the written words of Latin, earning top honors in the just concluded National Latin Exam. A nationally recognized standardized test with more than 140,000 Latin students from across the United States competing for recognition each year, the National Latin Exam consists of 40 questions that assess the students’ knowledge of the language and the history, geography and mythology behind it.

Under the guidance of the RCHS Latin teacher James Sharpe, this year 27 RCHS students took the national exam, a noteworthy accomplishment on its own given the preparation required. Of those, 11 won national awards as follows:

Cum Laude (with praise): Katie Sharp, Skye Kirchman, Jojo McKinney; Magna Cum Laude (with great praise): Serenity Cortez, Wynnie Thompson, Skylar Culbertson, Drake Lynn, Juan Arrellano; Silver Medal/Maxima Cum Laude (with greatest praise): Itsail Arellano; Gold Medal/Summa Cum Laude (with highest praise): Macy Montgomery, Connor Culbertson.

And in the international language of money, four RCHS students were chosen to compete in the Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance. Preliminary online rounds featured more than 3,000 Virginia high school students competing for 176 spots in the championship competition.

RCHS students Gabe Hernandez, John Riedel, Savannah Stevens and Mahlet Yirgu earned the right to claim four of those championship competition spots and, accompanied by their faculty sponsor, Brad Weeks, headed to Virginia Commonwealth University for the day-long event. Competing in the David Ricardo Division in basic economics, the Rapp team fell short of the top prizes but their qualification for the competition was itself worthy of accolades.

Congratulations to these and other Rappahannock County Public School students who continue to distinguish themselves, and their schools, on the local, state and national levels.

— Jimmy Swindler




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