Prayer at the pole
A write in the park
RCHS English teacher Darlene Mathieson recently inspired some of her students to find creativity in nature by moving the classroom outdoors for a day.
Notebooks and pencils in hand, the students traveled to Shenandoah National Park to record sensory details. From those observations, the students were asked to write poetry or short essays about their experience. “Shenandoah National Park (SNP) is the perfect place for writers,” Mathieson writes of the experience. “Many of my students have said that they cannot write, or are not inspired to write. Once on the mountain, a transformation takes place.
“One aspect of this change is being outside in the fresh air, in nature at its best, and being able to share the experience with friends. The students feel the freedom of the place, while watching deer, bear, and screech owls. They focus on hawks soaring above. Many students get quiet and rest on rocks while listening to the birds and the wind in the trees. They tap into a place within, the writer’s heart. Before the field trip is over, they are already trying to compose their thoughts on their notepads and with one another. Many of these teens have never visited SNP, which always amazes me, because it is a vast treasure in our backyard. I encourage every teacher — elementary and secondary — to plan a trip to SNP. You will see immediate growth in your writers. I am working on a writing program which centers on SNP. It will encompass all aspects of the park, including the Civilian Conservation Corps and the history of the displaced citizens.”
Says RCPS Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, who accompanied the students as one of the chaperones: “Experiences like this should be the rule, not the exception.” Mathieson’s other English and creative writing students will visit the park in the spring.
— Holly Jenkins
Rapp sports update
Matching the hot temperatures that blanketed the county last week, RCPS teams set a torrid pace of their own, with some racking up multiple wins and others exhibiting fiery competitiveness even in a loss.
Varsity volleyball is our headline team this week on the strength of three straight wins, two on the road sandwiched around one at home. Traveling to Strasburg on Sept. 27, Coach Courtney Atkins’ girls prevailed by a 3-1 score, followed by a close 3-2 win over the Eagles of Clarke County Sept. 29 and then wrapped up their week with a solid 3-0 win over Northumberland on the road last Friday.
Stats leaders over the three-game span included sisters Sarah and Hannah East with 40 kills each and seniors Amber Smoot with 29, Deanna Abdullah with 9 and Virginia Wyatt with 4. On the defensive side of the net Sarah and Hannah added 11 and 8 blocks each, respectively, with Virginia adding 10 and setter Olivia Atkins notching two of her own.
Coach Seth Wyatt’s JV squad suffered two rare losses last week, beginning the week with a win at Strasburg but then losing a nail biter to Clarke at home and going down to defeat again the next evening on the road at Northumblerand. Both teams traveled to Central High School in Woodstock this past Tuesday (results too late for this article) and are in their home confines tonight (Thursday Oct. 5) against George Mason.
Coach Jeff Atkins’ Junior Panther volleyball team notched another win last Monday, Sept. 26, over Front Royal Christian. The Junior Panthers hosted King George Middle School last night (Wednesday, Oct. 5).
Junior Panther boys soccer got into the W column twice last week, first with a 4-0 win over Fresta Valley at home Sept. 26 and a solid 10-3 win over Wakefield Country Day School on the road Sept. 28. Coach Paul Paratore lauded the team effort that led to the wins, especially on defense, with particular praise for Nick Barnes. Offensively the team was led in victory by Ian Cordero with five goals, Nick Paratore with four (and three assists), Luke Jung and Isaac Scheulen with two goals apiece, and Kyle Hensley with one. JP soccer hosts King George Middle next Monday, October 9, on the pitch at Panther Stadium, opening kick at 430 PM.
Cross country competitors have been running through their paces as well, traveling to Clarke County for a district meet Sept. 27 and to New Market for the Stonewall Jackson Invitational Sept. 30. The first meet fell on the hottest day of the aforementioned heat wave and slower times reflected the brutal conditions. Chase Whorton was the first Rapp boys’ finisher, followed by Dalton Renner, Dave Wang, Daniel Dale Lucca, Matthew Paratore, Connor Culbertson, Grant PerDieu, and Bryce Fryant.
While the Rapp girls suffered in the heat as well Rachel Weghorst led the way as she ran to her first district win of the season. Teammate Skyler Culbertson finished fourth, Danielle Fryant eighth, Camryn Clark ninth, Brooke Athelli 10th, Galen Sanborn 15th and Melanie Flores 18th.
Saturday the temperatures presented far better running conditions, with four boys setting new personal records on the New Market course. Dalton was the Rapp leader this time, followed by Chase, Daniel, Matthew, Jordan Rector, Esteban Arellano, Grant, Hunter Nicodemus, Juan Arellano, Nick Grigsby and Bryce Jones. On the girls side Rachel Weghorst placed sixth overall in a race that featured runners from 1A through 4A schools (Rapp is the smallest, a 1A; she placed third among 1A and 2A competitors). Brooke Athelli improved her time over last year by more than two minutes and Galen, running in just her second cross county race, improved her time by more than four minutes.
The varsity squad hosted a home district meet versus Strasburg this Wednesday (results too late for this article), and the JP harriers have a meet this afternoon (Thursday Oct. 5) with Luray. Both events are the last home events for runners as the varsity squad looks to make their final tune-ups before beginning the race to states.
Last but not least, varsity football traveled to Madison County Friday night, looking to spoil the Mountaineers Homecoming. While our Panthers did put up 27 points, it wasn’t enough to overcome the 49 put up by the Mountaineers and this one got marked in the L column.
Despite the loss, there were some impressive stats recorded by Panther footballers, and fans are sure to be treated to an enjoyable performance when varsity returns to their home turf tomorrow night (Friday Oct. 6) hosting Massanutten Military Academy. Kickoff is at 7 and the award-winning Panther Marching Band entertains the crowd at halftime.
Coach Rich Hogan’s Junior Panther Football team had their first home game this past Monday, hosting Prospect Heights Middle School. Along with their first game, they also notched their first win, cruising to victory in front of the home crowd. Highlights included quarterback Mason Ramey passing for 2 touchdowns, both to receiver Jason Kidwell. Andrew Hitt racked up a touchdown on the game’s longest run — 45 yards from scrimmage — and Elisha Settle had a drive-stopping third-down interception and a 40-yard-plus return. All in all, a great team effort for the first home game.
The JP squad hosts the Maryland School for the Deaf on Oct. 18 with their final home game on Oct. 23 versus Locust Grove. Both start at 6.
Lastly, and in other sports news, our boys and girls basketball programs are hosting a clinic skills camp for students in grade 1-6 from 9 to noon in the RCHS gym this Saturday (Oct. 7). Contact AD Brandon Burley or Coach Mike Atkins for registration details. The basketball teams are also hosting a fundraiser spaghetti dinner in the RCHS Commons from 5 to 7:30 this Saturday (Oct. 7), with the AD, basketball coaches and team members your point of contact for tickets.
All athletic game and practice schedules can be found at the Rapp Athletic website at bullrundistrictva.org. Click on Rappahannock once in the site and you can create your own personalized schedule for your specific teams. AD Burley and all the coaches and student athletes hope to see you in the stands soon, where you can join the cheerleaders as we proudly proclaim: We Are Rappahannock!
— Jimmy Swindler