School and sports news for Dec. 1

Rapp’s Latin students: Veni, vidi, vici

In their pre-banquet toga-wear are RCHS students (from left) Jacob Love, Tatyana Yates, Alyssa Rodgers, Latin teacher James Sharpe, Juan Arellano, Savannah Stevens, Esteban Arellano, Madison Stevens, Joe Gold, Lulu Ashenfelder, Skye Kirchman and Cydney Chambers.
In their pre-banquet toga-wear are RCHS students (from left) Jacob Love, Tatyana Yates, Alyssa Rodgers, Latin teacher James Sharpe, Juan Arellano, Savannah Stevens, Esteban Arellano, Madison Stevens, Joe Gold, Lulu Ashenfelder, Skye Kirchman and Cydney Chambers.

Amid the flurry of activity and well-deserved attention around the state champion volleyball team and state-qualifying theater troupe, Rappahannock County High School had another group of students who recently competed in a state event and brought home some impressive finishes. RCHS Latin teacher James Sharpe along with parent chaperon Natasha White took a bus full of Latin students to the annual Virginia Junior Classical League convention, held over a two-day span at the Richmond Convocation Center in Virginia’s capital.

The VJCL convention brings together 2,000-plus Latin students from more than 100 to compete in oratory contests including dramatic interpretation and storytelling of classical myths. Other academic contests include classical geography, grammar, reading comprehension and classical history, and there are also several art contests for student-produced work.

There were three test sessions given throughout the convention, with most students attempting one test per session and between 50 and 200 students competing against one another in each test. When the final oratory had been delivered and the last piece of artwork had been judged, RCHS students brought home a remarkable six Top 5 finishes and 15 Top 10 finishes, including one first-place award in classical geography.

Even more remarkable was the number of RCHS students who competed and placed in multiple events within each test session, all against some of the best students from public, magnet and private schools across the state. Kayla Compton, for example, attempted seven tests and finished in the top 10 in each, including the aforementioned first-place finish in geography.

The top 10 finishers for the RCHS contingent were led by Kayla Compton with a first in geography, fifth in grammar, seventh in vocabulary and in pentathlon, and ninth in reading comprehension and in derivatives. Skye Kirchman placed third in the art/dolls category, Emily Preston fourth in art oils/acrylics, Macy Montgomery fourth in art/quotes, Hannah Dowd ninth in grammar, Tatyana Yates eighth in storytelling, Serenity Cortez sixth in geography and Savannah Stevens sixth in mythology and eighth in poetry reading comprehension.

A special thanks goes out to the Headwaters Foundation and the RCES Parent Teacher Organization, both of whom were generous financial supporters of the Latin Convention trip. Thanks to their generous support and to the fundraising of the Latin students themselves and support from the RCPS administration, all of the participating RCHS students were able to attend and enjoy this amazing event at a minimal cost to their families.

Buoyed by the strong community support, our Latin students took to heart the words on a plaque at RCHS, “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) and went to Richmond determined to make the most of their time and bring honor to their school. Given their success, no doubt they were all orating the Latin phrase for “mission accomplished” as they traveled back home.

— Jimmy Swindler

Career Day expo at RCHS

At RCHS' annual career expo, students (from left) Maggie Taylor, Christy Smoot and Kayla Butler check out whether a career at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative might be a good fit.
At RCHS’ annual career expo, students (from left) Maggie Taylor, Christy Smoot and Kayla Butler check out whether a career at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative might be a good fit.

Rappahannock County High School hosted the annual Career Day Exposition on Nov. 21, with local industry representatives filling the gym and answering students’ questions about possible career options. Catering to students who plan to attend college before embarking on a career as well as those who plan to enter the working world a bit sooner, the Career Day Expo featured information from 15 different industries, most of which had local business owners and employees as the industry representative.

A product of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program of RCHS, the Career Day Expo brought to life the CTE classes that exist hand in hand with traditional academic programs in our schools. CTE serves both college- and career-bound high school graduates with its dual emphasis on providing job specific educational experiences for our students while also exposing students to as many career options as possible. This year’s Career Day Expo was spearheaded by RCHS CTE teacher Scott Schlosser and Headwaters’ Next Step Coordinator Kat Habib, both ably assisted by the school division’s CTE Director, Shannon Grimsley.

This year’s expo featured representatives from the hospitality industry, agribusiness, law enforcement, landscaping, banking and financial services, social work, legal services, healthcare, education, veterinary service, public utilities and historical services. Answering students’ questions and in some cases providing some limited hands-on experiences, all of the exhibitors were on their feet and busy from 1:30 p.m. until the school day ended at 3:15. More than 400 students visited the Career Expo, with seventh- through 12th-grade students coming in to meet with them in shifts.

The engaging displays motivated students to seek out employment information for their own benefit and also to complete an assignment requiring them to record information from presenters and then match each presenter with its CTE industry description. By day’s end more than a few of the students had a possible lead on a job and most had newfound realizations about opportunities available to them in the world of work.

Local business and individuals that participated in the Career Expo included CFC Farm & Home Center, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office, the Inn at Little Washington, Union Bank, Rappahannock Landscaping and Nursery, Rappahannock Historical Society, Lord Fairfax Community College, Paul Kirchman, SGT, National Counseling Group, Rose Hill Veterinary Service, Steve Carroll and Valley Health. Many thanks to our community presenters for providing our students with the information needed to make career decisions that can take them wherever they want to go or allow them to remain in their Rappahannock hometown.

— J.S.

All join in on RCES’ One School, One Book program

An RCES student reads "Charlotte's Web," the book chosen to kick off the school's One School, One Book learning program.
An RCES student reads “Charlotte’s Web,” the book chosen to kick off the school’s One School, One Book learning program.

To build a community of readers, Rappahannock County Elementary School embarked recently on a unified journey based on a love of reading. On Oct. 31 as students entered the building they found a farm scene in the front lobby and a giant spiderweb on the office window. With curiosity mounting, students and staff participated in the unveiling assembly of the One School, One Book program, learning that the change in scenery was to pique their interest in the chosen title, “Charlotte’s Web,” by E. B. White.

For the following 17 days, all students, staff and families would read this title together building a community of readers. Furthering the excitement over the selected One School, One Book title, high school drama students Trusten Murrah and Savannah Stevens performed a popular scene for the enthusiastic crowd.

As part of the program, every staff member and student received a copy of the E.B. White book to be read throughout the month of November. RCES families participated in this special project by reading to their child at home and encouraging reading anytime and anywhere. Multiple times during the month, Amy Wayland, media specialist, surprised the students and staff announcing for everyone to Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) a chapter of Charlotte’s Web along with her as she read over the school’s PA system.

RCES students read the novel in a variety of settings with many enrichment opportunities to enhance reading skills. Activities focusing on the novel abounded, including door decorating, trivia questions, spirit days and student project contests. Mystery readers kept students’ attention and modeled the love of reading of a multitude of adults.

“We hoped to build a community of readers at home and at school, starting with this one title and leading to the discovery of many, many more,” said a school division spokesperson.

A grand finale movie night tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 2) of “Charlotte’s Web” marks the last activity in a fun-filled educational program.

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