Since being named a semifinalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program in December, Wakefield Country Day School senior Marc Cugnon is one of 250 finalists in a national competition that started with over 110,000 candidates. Cugnon, of Flint Hill, will attend the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta in April and will interview for one of 50 national scholar awards of $20,000. The remaining 200 scholars receive regional scholar awards valued at $10,000.
“This year, you are part of our 25th class of Coca-Cola Scholars,” said Mark Davis, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, in his message to Cugnon. “You are clearly a leader among high school seniors and we are confident you will find much success in college and beyond.”
“Marc is an exceptional young man,” said WCDS college counselor Marsha Dowell. “He has strived for academic excellence throughout high school. Marc’s love of learning is not limited to the traditional classroom; he is constantly looking for opportunities to grow as a student and citizen of the world.”
Last month, Rappahannock County High School senior Lauren Light began an exciting journey. Her first step was her January audition for a spot in the District 14 Band. In this full-weekend competition, Light earned first chair in trumpet and a qualifying slot for state competitions.
“Everyone had one day to learn this very challenging music,” Light said. “It was very fun, but it was the longest day ever. I know, it’s really to build us as musicians and allow us to play at a higher level while we’re still in high school. It works.”
From the District 14 success, Light’s challenges increased significantly in preparation for state-level judges. “You get your piece of music 20 days prior,” Light said. “In that time frame, I also had the Bland competition and an audition for trumpet studio at Virginia Tech.”
With so many pressures, Light had to prioritize. “I was stressing. They put these pieces together just for states; no one has ever seen them before.”
The intimidation factor was extra high when Light walked onto the James Madison University campus last Saturday (Feb. 23) for her first moment of judging. “When you walk in the practice room, there are about 100 trumpet players. They are all really good. You sit there until they call your number, then you’re alone in a room with a music stand and can’t see the judge behind an opaque screen. At their selected tempo, you must play a scale and your prepared piece. From that judging, you go into another room for the chromatic scale and the sight-reading.”
Light returned triumphantly to Rappahannock with 32nd place in the state. With more than 90 trumpet competitors, the Panther trumpeter made her peers and director proud. “Mr. DeBoer worked with me on so many things, and I feel like it went well.”
– Melissa Delcour
Four Rappahannock students traveled to Loudoun County’s Monroe Tech Center in Leesburg last Thursday (Feb. 21) for the SkillsUSA regional competition. Ethan Proper brought home first place in welding and will be the sole RCHS representative at the state competition in welding. Jordan Atkins advanced to states in the interviewing category.
Two other Panther participants competed, as well. “Dustin Wester and Kyle Rizzardi demonstrated their welding skills with shielded metal arc welding, oxy-fuel cutting and metal inert gas welding, as well as a variety of hand tools and layout skills,” said instructor Rich Hogan. “It was a grueling four-hours straight competition.”
Through the lens at RCHS
Rappahannock County High School students are taking the next step beyond iPhone cameras and learning point-and-shoot photography basics in an after school workshop at the high school. The workshop, sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) Mitchell Arts Fund, is halfway through a six-week syllabus that began with camera basics and includes lessons on exposure, composition, portraits, fast action and more. Students have assignments and critique their work each week as part of the classes.
Under the guidance of RCHS art teacher Joy Sours, 10 students – Zack Armor, Dani Boutte, Jake Dooley, Klaire Gubler, Savannah Grammo, Hanna Jenkins, Maddie Kopjanski, Kate Moreno, Paige Paul and Amrit Tamang – are attending the workshops.
Along with the school, RAAC has partnered with Old Rag Photography Gallery seasoned instructors Ray Boc and Joyce Harman to conduct the classes. Both are long-time professional photographers whose work can be seen at the gallery in Sperryville. The Mitchell Arts Fund purchased 10 cameras and a printer to be used in the classes and retained by the schools’ art departments.
Following the high school workshop, a second session is scheduled at the elementary school from April 3 through May 8.
The Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund provides grants and opportunities for emerging artists in Rappahannock and promotes innovation in the arts in all media in the Rappahannock area. Its intent is to not only offer financial awards but to identify the interest and potential of emerging artists and lay the groundwork for more expansive Mitchell Arts Fund projects and partnerships.
In December, students in the RCHS Latin program once again sat for a national Latin and Greek etymology exam. This multiple-choice assessment measures students’ abilities to determine the word origins of select English words. Students earn medals for scoring in the top percentage brackets of all Latin and Greek students. Six Panther students celebrated medals this year.
Nich Hipple and Zachary Huff won bronze medals in the advanced level for grades 11 and 12. In the intermediate level, grades nine and 10, Parker Critzer brought home the bronze, Klaire Gubler won silver and Julia Wood earned gold. For the first time, the exam offered an eighth-grade category; Ellie Young won a silver medal in that group.
Latin teacher James Sharpe said: “Congratulations to all the young etymological scholars!”