School and sports news for Feb. 9

RCHS student Virginia Wyatt delivering her 1st place Skills USA prepared speech.

Students — and teachers — score big at RCHS

In addition to a record breaking year for sports accomplishments, both individual and team, Rappahannock County High School is proud to recognize some of the many recent academic accomplishments of our students.

At last month’s School Board meeting, students who had earned a perfect score of 600 on their Virginia Standards of Learning tests were honored for their achievements. Students recognized from the high school’s spring 2016 testing sessions included Drake Lynn for biology, Phillip Wyatt for earth science, Kim Dellinger for writing, and Julia Estes for writing. Additionally RCHS freshman Lauren Petty was recognized for perfect scores on three tests: world geography, geometry, and grade 8 writing. Students recognized from the fall 2016 testing included Donovan Zook and Lauren Petty, both earning perfect scores on the World History I test.

At the elementary school all SOL tests are conducted in the spring and a battery of students achieved perfect scores in the spring of 2016, with accompanying recognition at last month’s school board meeting.

Teachers who had a 100 percent pass rate for their SOL test classes were also honored at the School Board meeting. From the spring 2016 testing session high school math teacher Sally Shackelford was recognized for her perfect pass rate in geometry, as was RCHS English teacher Russell Paulette for his flawless pass rate in reading and writing. From the fall 2016 testing session, English teachers Sheila Lamb and Russell Paulette were honored for their 100 percent pass rates in reading, science teacher Dave Naser for his perfection in chemistry, and history teacher Eva Payne for her 100 percent success in her world geography classes.

Rappahannock County Elementary School students who earned perfect scores on last spring’s SOL tests were also honored at the January 2017 School Board meeting. Fifth grade science perfect performances were turned in by Caitlyn Clark, Terra Correro, Emily Jenkins, John McKelvey, Samuel Reed, Milton Switzer, Claire Young and Samuel Vandrey. Austin Clem, Emily Jenkins, Nicholas Plaskin, and Samuel Reed (earning his second perfect score) all also achieved 600 marks in the fifth grade reading test and Emily Jenkins turned in a third perfect score with her 600 on the 5th grade math test.

In other grade levels, Kevin Beach III achieved perfection on the Virginia Studies test, Rachel Weghorst did the same on her 7th grade math, and Bryce Fryant matched that with a flawless score on his civics test. And last but not least, 7th grader Alec Petty tallied 600s on both his 7th  grade math and civics classes. Congratulations to all these students and their teachers for these outstanding performances.

Switching over to the fields of Career and Technical Education (CTE), RCHS recently had several students achieve success in competitive events sponsored by Skills USA, the guiding national student organization for CTE classes that sponsors regional, state, and national competitions for students in a variety of skills. RCHS recently hosted several Skills USA competitions and also sent students to a competition hosted by Loudoun County schools.

Late in January, RCHS was the site of the Skills USA prepared speech competition, hosting three students from Shenandoah County schools in addition to one of our own. Competing students were tasked with writing an original speech of 5-7 minutes on a pre-determined topic, memorizing it, and then delivering it to an audience of judges who assessed their performance on a variety of standards. When the final scores were tallied Rappahannock’s own Virginia Wyatt was the first place winner by a large margin, qualifying for the state event to be held in a few weeks where she hopes to successfully defend the state title she won last year.

At about the same time, RCHS culinary student Deanna Abdullah was competing in a Skills USA regional baking competition, an event in which she finished a medal winning second. A few days later the RCHS Culinary classroom was the site of a prepared dish competition, featuring students from four counties and six schools, including our own Deanna Abdullah.

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RCHS Culinary Student Deanna Abdullah with her 2nd place certificate and medal (local chef volunteer judges in background).

Tasked with preparing a complete meal from raw ingredients and judged by professional chefs from the Thornton River Grill, the Griffin Tavern and the Inn at Little Washington, all of whom generously donated their time, the students worked feverishly in an atmosphere identical to that found in a kitchen of any top tier restaurant. When the final garnish was displayed the judges tallied their scores and, once again, Rapp’s Deanna Abdullah had garnered enough points for a second place finish and the medal that goes with it.

RCHS welding and industrial arts teacher, Rich Hogan also recently had some experiences with a Skills USA competition, with students Tyler McDowell, Nate Costello, and Stuart Bailey all qualifying for the regional event in Leesburg this past week. All three students took part in a grueling four-hour test of welding skills, demonstrating their oxy/fuel cutting skills, stick welding and Mig welding abilities. Competing against students from seventeen other high schools, Rapp’s students fared well, with Stuart Bailey earning a second place finish in welding. Stuart’s finish earned him a medal and a spot as state alternate for the Skills USA state competition coming up in Richmond. Stuart’s welding prowess will be on display at the next School Board meeting, Tuesday Feb. 21, where he will bring some samples of his work for the public to view.

And last but not least in the CTE world, congratulations to RCHS senior Mandy Pullen on her accomplishments in the recently Cosmetology Contest. Held Jan. 23 at Madison County High School, Mandy earned a certificate for her achievements in the competition. Mandy is one of two RCHS students who travel to Madison County High School each day to participate in the Cosmetology program, a resource sharing arrangement that also features several Madison County students coming to RCHS for culinary classes this year and has RCHS Latin teacher James Sharpe teaching a section of Latin at Madison in the current spring semester.

On a more individual note, the guidance department is pleased to announce that for the first time ever a student from RCHS has been selected to receive the prestigious Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award. Senior Jack Massie was recently selected for this honor, and will be presented with a certificate and a cash award on February 15 at the Virginia Supreme Court building in Richmond. Initiated in 1994 by Senator Byrd himself, the Leadership Award is given annually to one high school student from each of the eleven congressional districts in Virginia and recognizes young men and women who excel academically and demonstrate qualities of leadership. Jack was one of three finalists from our district and was selected for the award after a rigorous interview process. Congratulations to Jack and to his parents, classmates and teachers, all of whom, as Jack would say himself, played a role in helping him to achieve this honor.

In addition to the awards and recognition listed above, RCHS students have also recently distinguished themselves in the classics and in music. Fifteen of Latin teacher James Sharpe’s students earned meritorious results on the 2016-17 National Etymology Exam, almost double the number of merit honorees from last year. Honorees included bronze medalists Gus Garcia, Sophia Hernandez, Ninon Kirchman, Nova Correro, Jojo McKinney, Kim Dellinger, Gabe Hernandez, and Jessica Thorne. Silver medalists included Macy Montgomery, Katie Sharpe, Liz Whittaker, Drake Lynn, Connor Culbertson, and Savannah Stevens. Serenity Cortez took top honors, earning a gold medal on the strength of her performance.

On the music stage, seven of Mr. Jason Guira’s band students earned selection to the prestigious District XIV Honor Band, a post season honor that acknowledges exceptional performance. District Band honorees from RCHS included Taylor Callahan who earned 1st chair Clarinet for wind ensemble (a designation which also makes her eligible for all state honors), Ninon Kirchman who earned 3rd chair trumpet for symphonic band, Jackson Norris who earned 4th  chair trombone for wind ensemble, and Julian Cordero who earned 4th chair snare drum for symphonic band. Additionally Sophia Hernandez was selected for 5th chair flute for symphonic band, Lulu Ashenfelder was chosen for flute alternate for symphonic band, and Abigail Berry was awarded clarinet alternate for symphonic band.

Students who were selected for ensembles traveled to Millbrook High School Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4, for the District Band event. There they rehearsed very challenging music with guest conductors all day Friday and Saturday morning in preparation for a Saturday afternoon finale concert.

Congratulations to all of these RCHS students and their teachers, all of whom embody the Rappahannock County Public Schools vision of empowering every student to reach his or her full individual potential.

Not one — two RCHS championships!

What’s better than winning one championship? Why winning two, of course, and that is exactly what teams from RCHS did this past Saturday, with the Varsity Wrestling Squad winning the Conference 43 championship and the Varsity Scholastic Bowl team taking the Region 1A East title.

Scholastic Bowl

The Scholastic Bowl team takes top billing on the strength of their Regional Championship, earned this past Saturday at Luray High School. Qualifying for regionals on the basis of their Conference Championship, previously reported in this paper, Coach Dave Naser’s team swept through the Regional Tournament in dominating fashion, going undefeated on the day.

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With the conference champion Rappahannock County High School Scholastic Bowl team looking on, School Board member Larry Grove presents the Region 1-A East Coach of the Year plaque to David Naser.

Rapp first took down Middlesex by a 225-155 score and then disposed of the squad from West Point in similar fashion, 215-150. Next up was Galileo Magnet, a roadblock to the Panthers in the past and an opponent that the Panthers knew would require their utmost in order to vanquish.

But vanquish they did, and not once but twice, first defeating Galileo in a nail-biting 175-165 third round match and then dominating them in the championship with a mic drop 290-135 demolition of the deservedly well respected Galileo squad.

At tournament’s end the team was presented with the Region 1A East Champion Trophy, with team seniors John Riedel, Mikayla Zook, Jake Demory, JoJo McKinney, Gabe Hernandez, and Carter Boldridge; junior Jacob Sheffield, and sophomore Bryce Jones all receiving regional championship medals. And in a fitting cap to an all Rapp day, Coach Dave Naser was honored as the Region 1A East Coach of the Year.

Next up for our Scholastic Bowlers will be a return to the State Championship, the Panthers fifth visit to the elite tourney since 2008. Coach Naser and Assistant Coach Layne Vickers will be working hard with the team in the days leading up to the state event, hoping to bring home the Panthers third Scholastic Bowl State Title and hoist another petard on the high school gym wall.


This past Saturday our Varsity Wrestlers were accomplishing their own great things and also got one step closer to the state level, successfully defending their Conference 43 title in the conference championship match at Northumberland High School. Hopes were high for the varsity wrestlers, who have struggled through a season of lost matches due to weather cancellations, and the team did not disappoint.

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RCHS Wrestlers with their new 2017 Conference Trophy.

Soldiering through a difficult season, the team has continued to work hard under the tutelage of Head Coach Alex Coffroth and Assistant Coaches Hodge Miller, Conner Miller and Cecil Beeler, all the while supported by perhaps the most ardent team parents in the Rapp sports pantheon. Injuries and missed weight assignments have plagued the team but all the necessary parts finally came together over the past ten days and the team made the most of it, working hard to prepare for the road to States.

Rapp took their second straight conference wrestling title in their most dominating fashion yet, matching Scholastic Bowl’s mic drop victory by claiming a record nine first place medal finishes en route to a performance which saw every wrestler place in the points. First place finishers with their corresponding weight classes included Hunter Nicodemus 113, Olin Woodward 120, Mark Guerrero 126, Quentin Woodward 132, Sam Barnes 138, Chris Corbin 145, Johnny Beard 182, Billy Taplin 220, and Josh Bennett 285. And rounding out the scoring for the team were second place finishers Christian McCracken 152 and Jake Sisk 195 and fourth place finisher Robert Williams 160.

All twelve of the Rapp wrestlers and their coaches will be traveling to Riverheads High School this Friday to participate in the two day Region 1A East Wrestling Championship, which will occur Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11. The team and coaches will be working hard this week to prepare for the tourney, keeping the goal of states in mind but keeping the task of success at regionals first and foremost. Best of luck to the team and their coaches as they continue to make progress on the road back to States.

Special to Rapp Athletic News by RCHS Asst. Principal Jimmy Swindler

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