School news for May 23

‘I love the kids’

Patti Waddell was honored at this month’s RCPS School Board Meeting for her 34 years of service at Rappahannock County Public Schools.

Dr. Shannon Grimsley, Superintendent, and Wes Mills, School Board Chair, presented her with a Golden Apple Award, which is a new form of recognition for teachers retiring with 30 or more years in the classroom.

Longtime RCPS teacher Patti Waddell (left) is honored on her retirement by Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley and School Board Chair Wes Mills. By Holly Jenkins

In addition, the School Board signed a resolution to serve as a historical document of this achievement. After receiving the award, Waddell tearfully exclaimed, “The reason that I’ve stuck around for 34 years is that I love the kids. I love the kids.”

Following the formal presentation, fellow staff members in attendance each shared their gratitude to Waddell for her influence over the years. Karen Sanborn thanked her by saying, “Through all the help and support, you taught us (teachers) a lot.”

Having taught science classes such as Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Horticulture, Physical Science, and Environmental Science at Rappahannock County High School for more than three decades, Waddell’s retirement truly marks an end of an era at the high school. With Biology being a requirement for graduation, nearly all students that have passed through the RCHS hallways over the past 34 years have had her as a teacher. Interestingly, more than 15 of the current RCPS staff members fondly recall being a student in her classroom prior to becoming co-workers.

Bobby Glasker, RCES Teacher and Class of 1985, had the honor of taking Waddell’s Biology class during her first year at RCHS. “She was probably one of the best teachers that I have ever had,” said Glasker. With a smile he added, “She loves her job, she loves the kids, and she is like a mother hen to everybody.”

RCES Title 1 Interventionist, Katherine Todd, shared similar reflections from her time as one of Waddell’s students in the early 2000s. According to Todd, “Mrs. Waddell was a caring teacher who always helped when needed. You could count on her inside and outside of the classroom.”

Waddell began working for Rappahannock back in 1985. Although she taught previously in West Virginia, the majority of her career has been spent teaching thousands of students in room #16. She has seen 34 different senior classes graduate and has witnessed many building renovations and additions over the years, including the extension in the library wing, the 8th grade wing, and the gymnasium.

Following retirement, Waddell has plans to read books, continue making floral arrangements, travel, and continue to be active in her church and choir. She said that she may even return to school as a sub.

According to Grimsley, “Patti Waddell will be fondly missed by her colleagues and her legacy has left a lasting impression on all of her students. I hope she will stay involved with us somehow, even in retirement.”

Mark Ramey, RCHS Social Studies Teacher, will also be retiring at the end of the school year following fourteen years of service after joining the RCPS family in 2005. Rappahannock County Public Schools would like to thank both Patti Waddell and Mark Ramey for their years of service and dedication to our county’s youth.

— Holly Jenkins

RCHS Baccalaureate

The 69th Annual Baccalaureate Service was held on May 19th at Rappahannock County High School. This event concluded with the symbolic candlelight ceremony. One by one, seniors lit their recipient’s candle and lined up along the walls of the auditorium to illuminate the room with candlelight.

Roller Coaster Mania

Wakefield Country Day School middle school science teams took first and second place awards at Kings Dominion’s Coaster Mania competition last Friday, with another team receiving the “Most Frightening” coaster award. WCDS high school physics teams also won superlative ribbons for their roller coasters: “Most Thrilling” and “Most Creative.”

The teams spent weeks designing and building the coasters as part of a project for their STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — studies under the guidance of WCDS science teachers Ann Pankow and James Shaw. Each spring semester WCDS students look forward to the challenge of building gravity roller coasters for the competition judged by a panel of experts from Richmond’s MathScience Innovation Center.

Without further ado:

“Incredible Volk,” First Place, By Sophia Esposito, Maddox Lowe, Owen Schuster, and Kevin Yang.

Taking First Place honors at the Kings Dominion’s Coaster Mania competition was this WCDS creation, “Incredible Volk,” by Sophia Esposito, Maddox Lowe, Owen Schuster, and Kevin Yang Courtesy Photo

“Game Night,” Second Place. By Alexis Cross, Ava Lubkemann, Connor Lummis, and Lauren Mehl.

“Lunar New Frontier,” Most Frightening. By Dakota Cate, Bayleigh Fox, Jack Gerard, and Logan Marks.

“Snake Way,” Most Thrilling. By Kevin He and KuanTing Lee.

“Ice Racer,” Most Creative. By Sam Pories, Shu Yu, Cici Zhu, and Lily Zhu.

The Most Thrilling prize went to WCDS students Kevin He and KuanTing Lee for “Snake Way.” Courtesy Photo
WCDS students gather for a group portrait after a very successful Kings Dominion’s Coaster Mania competition last Friday. Courtesy Photo

Curry earns degree

Owen Arthur Curry of Washington has received a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and policy this month from Clarkson University.

The ceremonies included several awards and a surprise guest speaker, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development. With its main campus in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,300 students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions.

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