School and sports news for May 26

Conservation District scholarship recipient

Courtesy photo

Each year the Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District awards educational scholarships to students who plan to pursue a career in a conservation related field. Financial assistance is available for eligible students living in the five-county area the Culpeper SWCD serves (Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock).

Applicants must be full time students enrolled in or who have been accepted to a college undergraduate or graduate program related to soil and water conservation, natural resource management, animal science, environmental science or other related programs. For 2016, the District chose to recognize Rappahannock County resident Carolina Leonard. Carolina Leonard graduated from Wakefield Country Day School with a 3.93 GPA. She will major in environmental science at the University of Virginia.

The District recognized her with a $1,000 award.

The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District is honored to recognize these students and wish them well in their future endeavors. Rappahannock County is represented on the Board of Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District by elected Directors Mike Peterson and Dr. Monira Rifaat and Associate Director Richard McNear.

Focus on math and reading competitions at RCPS

Rappahannock Elementary's players of the game of 24 take a break from the cards for a group portrait.
Rappahannock Elementary’s players of the game of 24 take a break from the cards for a group portrait. Courtesy photo

The words “fun” and “math” are rarely used by most people in the same sentence and, for that matter, far too few people buy into the oft repeated adage of “reading is fun.” But once they have been taught how to play 24, or to compete in the Battle of the Books competition, as Rappahannock County Elementary School students have, fun becomes a standard element of both reading and math, along with a healthy dose of traditional American competitiveness.

Inspired by the school’s principal Cathy Jones, who first introduced RCES teachers to the game as part of a teacher in-service program, 24 has become a mainstay. Faculty member Lilo Wolfe sponsors the current competitive team, but the game has become such a hit with students that in addition to competitions it is played in math class during regular and resource times, in after school programs, and at enrichment times during the school day. Games have even been known to spontaneously break out in the cafeteria at lunch time.

The premise of the game is fairly simple — you are given a card with four numbers on it and you need to quickly be able to explain how those four numbers can be used to reach 24. All four basic math operations can be used — addition, subtraction, multiplication and division — and some cards can have more than one solution. In all there are 96 cards per box with more than 150 different ways of making 24.

The competition develops when you realize you are competing against others to solve the problem. The first player to touch the card has three seconds to announce the correct pattern that gives 24, with an additional 15 seconds allowed to give the complete solution. Correct answers result in points, incorrect answers result in penalty flags, with three penalty flags in a round (only two in later rounds) resulting in removal from the round.

Tournaments recognize individual and team champions, and RCES teams have participated in several 24 tournaments since 2010, the most recent on April 26. In that tourney, the RCES team traveled to Prospect Heights Middle School in Orange County. While Rapp came home with no award winners, they did have one student (Sydney Wharton) advance to the third round, and all the students enjoyed a valuable afternoon of competing with their peers from other schools.

In a similar manner, RCES students have been taking their reading skills to the competitive arena for almost two decades now, competing in Battle of the Books competitions against teams from nearby schools. The goal of Battle of the Books is to see who can best master the most detail from a group of 20 pre-selected books. In this challenge, reading all 20 books is only the first step, followed by practices where the team goes over details, reviews characters and plot twists, and prepares to answer questions related to even the minutest questions from the readings.

Teams are scored based on a three part competition: a 50-question written exam, team vs. team contests with 20 oral questions, and a quote round where teams compete to identify the source of 10 quotes randomly selected from the chosen books. This year RCES has two teams competing, a sixth- and seventh-grade team and an eighth-grade team, both sponsored by faculty member, Natalie Hathaway, and assisted by parent volunteer, Linda Petty.

In January the teams competed against 44 teams from six counties in a Piedmont region meet at Warrenton Middle School, with both Rapp teams finishing in the top five. Just recently the teams competed in the Piedmont Region Final Tournament at Cedar Lee Middle School in Warrenton, again going up against multiple teams from many different localities. When the final question was answered, the Rapp teams came home with top-10 finishes, very respectable considering that they were competing against the best that our much larger neighboring schools had to offer.

— Jimmy Swindler

RMA achievers

Among the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) cadets recognized for their outstanding achievement within Air Force Junior ROTC recently was Cadet Staff Sergeant Ryan Latham of Amissville, a sophomore at R-MA, who received The National Sojourners Award. This award is presented to a cadet during his or her sophomore or junior year; the cadet must be one who contributed significantly to American ideals within the Corps of Cadets and demonstrates outstanding leadership and academic potential. Ryan is the son of Stephen and Dawn Latham of Amissville.

Latham also earned President’s List honors for the third quarter of the 2015-16 school year.

Benjamin Kopjanski of Boston, an eighth-grade student at R-MA, also made the third quarter President’s List at R-MA. Ben is the son of Melanie Kopjanski of Boston.


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