It started as an ordinary day in late October in Mr. Potucek’s horticulture class at Fauquier High School. Students received their assignment for the day – to help the landscape class finish the scoreboard grading at Falcon Field. Shovels in hand, the students began to dig, piling up more dirt and gravel with each scoop. Once reaching several inches in depth, one student discovered something unusual.
“I saw something shiny and asked myself, what is that?” wondered senior Anjoli Johnston.
Johnston had discovered a 2002 lacrosse state championship ring. “I thought it was a class ring at first. I didn’t know it was a championship type,” Anjoli said.
After some research, Mr. Potucek tracked down the owner, Brice Craig, and learned the rest of the story.
Craig, Vice President of Operations at Craig Builders in Charlottesville, responded with disbelief and shock, recalling he had never told his parents he had lost it. Craig was a former Western Albemarle lacrosse player whose team had faced off against the Falcons in 2003 on Falcon Field. Shortly after they spoke, Mr. Potucek mailed the ring to Craig, who was grateful to get it back.
When we last spoke to Anjoli, she had planned to attend Mary Washington University next year and major in environmental science. She was looking forward to taking the greenhouse management class at Fauquier this semester.
On March 29, students at Grace Miller attended their first school-wide assembly since 2020, and boy, did they make up for lost time! Students and staff alike were treated to an inspiring performance by Mike Parker, American Idol singer and graduate of Fauquier County Public Schools.
As expected, the performer wowed his audience with his beautiful vocals. But it was Mike’s words of encouragement that made an equally strong impact on the crowd. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you aren’t good enough,” he said. “Your teachers love you.”
“People are going to tell you no. They’re going to disagree with you, but guess what? They haven’t read your book, and you haven’t finished writing your book. Finish that book.” ~Mike Parker
And to top the event off, Miller Elementary staff and students enjoyed hearing Mike’s mother sing. The talented Dr. Dejuanna Parker worked as a long-time teacher for Fauquier County Public Schools. The duo was joined on stage by Xavier, a Grace Miller student, and adoring fan.
Mike has secured a spot in the American Idol’s Top 24 and will continue to compete in Hawaii. Be sure to follow and vote for Mike!
The FCPS Virtual Academy held its first annual spelling bee on December 6th. Ten students from grades 3-8 participated in the virtual bee. Steve Payne, Secondary English Supervisor, was the pronouncer. Secondary FCPS Virtual Academy English teachers Jan Jessie, Steve Bucher, and Lindsay Brady were the judges.
After nine rounds, Naima Powell (7th grader) won the Virtual Academy Spelling Bee by spelling her championship word, reveal. Grayson Whitfield (5th grader) came in 2nd place, and Isaiah Moore (3rd grader) came in 3rd place. All three students will now participate in person at the FCPS Spelling Bee at Taylor Middle School on January 22nd.
By Joy Fredericks, ITRT at C.M. Bradley Elementary
C.M. Bradley’s Trunk or Treat on Friday was a sight to behold. The kids and their parents were out in force in a who’s who of the tiny and sticky. Normally quiet students came alive as they dragged tired parents from car to car, giggling and asking for treats. The costumes were on point. I saw an entire family of Mandalorians, more Marvel superheroes than I could count, and Cindy Martin’s granddaughter was so sweet in her ladybug costume that I definitely got a cavity! Ms. Froehlich was parked next to me – with Piggy, Gerald, the Pigeon, and the rest of the Mo Willems crew. Mrs. Hanlon handed out books, and Mrs. Eldridge was there in costume with her entire family, who were also dressed up. My husband (a complete introvert) braved the crowds to help me install the giant inflatable dragon that breathed fire from atop my car. The mom in the car parked on the other side of mine was dressed in PJs and a bathrobe; she told me her costume was “teachers after school.” I felt that in every ounce of my being! I lost count of the students who asked if I was handing out computers and who, despite me not being in a costume, told me I looked familiar but didn’t actually know who I was. This year has been clouded by an indescribable fog that seems to have settled over all of education, but on Friday, for two short hours in the C.M. Bradley parking lot, that fog lifted. It was the most normal I have felt all year. It was busy, happy, and exhausting, but it was good for the soul to hear all that happy in one place!
The State Fair of Virginia was held Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 in Doswell, Va. at the Meadow Event Park. Every year, the fair is filled with fun rides, funnel cake, and an assortment of vendors, but the best part would undeniably be on the other side of the bridge, where the youth agricultural events are held.
This year the C.L. Payne FFA chapter of Liberty High School sent 23 students to compete in various competitions. On September 24th, Meredith Day, Salem Sifford, Hannah Tonkin, and Hannah Winegardner competed in the Jr. Dairymen’s contest and placed 9th out of all teams. Sophomore member Nathan Hoosier placed 8th on the same day in the Lawn Tractor Operators Competition. The Forestry Field Day Event was held on September 27th. The following students competed: Hunter Bean, Andrew Bowers, Justin Bowers, Parker Curtis, Mauricio Guerrero, Noah Hall, Austin Mawyer, Joseph Medina, Cody Owens, Eddie Rodman, Austin Tate, and Bristen Umberger. The junior team placed 7th overall and the senior team placed 10th.
Meredith Day and Grace Page participated in the Horticulture Demonstration contest on September 28. They demonstrated how to make Fabulous Fried Apples and brought home the blue with their fantastic demonstration. On September 29th, freshman Aly Ryman blew the judges away with her Jr. Agriscience Demonstration on cat grooming and won her own blue ribbon. That same day, Salem Sifford won 1st place with her outstanding Sr. Agriscience Demonstration on how to churn butter.
Oct. 1 was the Hippology team’s time to shine, with Lizzy Bosarge, Kylie Cussins, Grace Page, and Kyndal Waln placing fifth overall and Grace placing sixth individually. The C.L. Payne FFA Chapter is advised by Mrs. Erin Burton, Mrs. Miranda Locuratolo, and Mrs. Stephanie Loring. “This has been one of the best state fairs since I began teaching 14 years ago,” said Mrs. Loring. “I am so proud of these guys and cannot wait to see how they continue to grow and excel over the next year.”
Every day I am amazed when I come home from work and my (Kindergarten) son tells me something new he has learned. Last week he retold the story of “Pete the Cat” while using a puppet he had made during his independent work and this week he ‘taught’ me about what a pattern core is that he learned during his live lesson and made multiple examples to show me using manipulatives his teacher sent home. I could go on and on. Every day he is learning something new and is so proud and excited to tell us about it! Way to go Mrs. Dalton for keeping the kids engaged and learning through this virtual platform!
Watch as Wyatt demonstrates his understanding of pattern core. Way to go, Wyatt!
AP Seminar and Research is a two-year program that teaches students to become critical and independent thinkers, writers, and speakers. It’s about learning transferable skills that inform and enhance their academic lives no matter what subject area they are studying.
This course sequence prepares students for academic life after high school, for sure. Those who have older brothers and sisters in college recognize how prepared they will be for what lies ahead. They’ve learned to tackle challenges, to think in ways that will help them achieve success at school, at work, and in life. Once they’ve mastered the rigor of this sequence, they’re confident researchers, thinkers, writers, and speakers.
Cynthia Pryor (FHS) and Sharon Krasny (KRHS) teach the two-year course sequence. When visiting their classes, it is evident that students are being uniquely challenged.
We first spoke to Eireann Maybach and Ashelyn Kyne, two of Cynthia Pryor’s AP Research students at Fauquier High. Watch below as the girls talk about the skills they’ve honed through the courses:
Sharon Krasny’s students would agree with Ashelyn and Eireann. When asked about the ways that they’ve grown through this course, the Kettle Run students cited:
researching to find credible information
using evidence to support claims
writing and presentation
public speaking and communication
Students often comment that this class is unlike any class they’ve ever taken. It’s true. Public education has become about transmitting content, often at the expense of facilitating skills development. Colleges have grown weary of students who can only repeat what they’ve learned; they want students who can think logically and critically about the subjects they are exploring. That’s what AP Capstone teaches them to do!
View the slideshow below from our visit to Ms. Pryor’s and Ms. Krasny’s classes.
About AP Seminar and Research
In the first year, AP Seminar, students learn to study topics through many lenses and from multiple points of view. They learn how to ask essential questions and how to examine topics critically and with a discerning eye. They become adept at building and deconstructing arguments. They learn to work–together and independently–to create a viable and sustained argument that they can communicate and defend. Students hone their ability to gather and evaluate credible data, then analyze and synthesize their findings to share them with others. In essence, they are learning to be scholars in the truest sense of the word.
These aren’t just academic skills; they’re life skills. Students learn to backward plan, to create timelines and deadlines, to discern credible from questionable sources, to communicate effectively with others.
Their success in the first year is measured by three performance tasks: a group research project, an independent research project, and a written exam. At the heart of everything they do is questioning, gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing information. These are high-level thinking skills. Best of all, the course gives students the opportunity to choose the topics they want to study. That latitude is a great incentive for learning!
The second year of the program takes these building blocks to the next level. Students self-select a topic that they are passionate about, and they use the research skills they have learned to write and defend a 5000-word paper. The entire year is devoted to the planning, researching, writing, presentation and defense of their findings. It’s inspiring to watch them take an idea and run with it. Their goal in AP Research is to uncover a problem–a gap in their research–they want to test and evaluate. These are incredibly challenging skills!
I call them my Capstone warriors. These are students who CHOOSE rigor. I tell them all the time how much I admire them for taking academic risks . . . for choosing THIS as an elective. It says a great deal about their character. ~ Cynthia Pryor
Warrenton Middle School eighth-grader Hannah Cosby was selected to be a page for the Virginia Senate’s 27th district. She reported to Richmond on January 4, 2020, and will serve there until early March.
Hannah will be a part of the legislative process by conducting tours, answering phones, and completing other errands for the Virginia Senate. Hannah will have to keep up with her schoolwork while being a part of the page program.
In Ms. Recker’s 7th-grade civics class last year, Hannah became interested in becoming a page after viewing photos from a Richmond field trip and seeing a page in one of the photos. She asked Ms. Recker about the program and researched the opportunity on her own. She learned about the program in December 2018 and had to wait until August of 2019 to apply. Hannah conducted a great deal of research on her own and couldn’t wait to apply.
Senator Jill Vogel and Assistant Principal Karyn Spahr wrote Hannah’s recommendations. Hannah then met with Senator Vogel in the summer to discuss her application and recommendation letter. Initially, Hannah was upset, thinking she wasn’t accepted because the envelope she received in the mail was small, but Hannah quickly realized she was indeed accepted and was thrilled.
Hannah has been a member of SCA for three years. She has served as the president of the NJHS and as a reader at her church. In addition, she is involved in many extra-curricular activities including soccer, volleyball, swimming, cross-fit, and surfing at the beach.