Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

SCW Relay For Life Team Surpasses Goal

May 24, 2014

Relay 2014

St. Clare Walker’s Relay For Life team had their most successful year yet! The team, made up of SCA and Builders Club members, raised over $1,900! Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, the team held multiple fundraisers to help combat cancer. Starting back in October, a movie night was held where students paid an entry charge to watch a movie on the big screen in the auditorium and enjoy delicious snacks during intermission. A second movie night was held in April. Hat Days were a huge hit because students were able to pay to wear a hat all day and show their support in the fight against cancer.

The Friday before Spring break, the SCA and Builders Club hosted their yearly Variety Show for the entire school. All admission fees went to the Relay For Life team’s cause. This is an annual event so be sure to look for information so that you can attend next year!

One of the most successful fundraisers was the annual coin drive competition. This is a yearly competition held in the spring to see which homeroom can come together to collect the most money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s winning homeroom was Mrs. Harrow’s sixth grade group. The homeroom raised over $140!

The night of the big event, the team sold pizza, drinks, and pixie sticks to put forth their last donation. Everyone enjoyed a night of fun, while the whole time, remembering and honoring those who have fought cancer or are continuing the fight. Emilie Smith, SCA president, who has participated in Relay For Life for the past three years, describes the experience as a “fun and exciting way to fight cancer.”

A special recognition goes to Hannah Williams who was the team’s top fundraiser. Hannah has been SCW’s top fundraiser for the past three years!

The SCW team would like to thank everyone who has supported the team this year. Please continue to listen and watch for future events and fundraisers!

Emilie Smith, SCA president, has participated in Relay For Life for the past three years while at SCW, she describes the experience as a “fun and exciting way to fight cancer.”


Project Based Learning in 4th Grade at MES

October 15, 2013

Fourth grade at MES has gotten off to an exciting year.


Students display their maps of the regions of Virginia.

Students have done numerous hands on projects as well as engaging lessons in various subject areas. While studying Virginia Geography, students replicated the map of Virginia using play dough and cookie mix. They were required to label the five regions of Virginia, as well as the products and industries of each region.


Heather Evans, assistant principal, and Amy Stamm, principal, with Virginia dough maps.

While studying Scientific Investigation, the students were transformed into scientists. Through a thrilling hands-on activity using Diet Coke and Mentos, they worked their way through the six steps of the Scientific Method.


Students prepare for the scientific experiment.

They were required to ask a question, research the material, make a hypothesis, perform an experiment, analyze data, and make a conclusion. While conducting the experiment, we used multiple variables that altered the outcome of the experiment.


Teachers scatter as the explosion takes place!

It is very important to connect what the students are learning in the classroom with the real world and allow them to see the relevance of what is being taught.

Written by Sara Spain

MHS Launches 1:1 Tablet Initiative

October 9, 2013

MCPS is proud to announce the 1:1 KUNO launch at Middlesex High School. The importance of this initiative will positively affect the future of students in Middlesex County. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “No matter what our students choose to do after high school, we know that they will be expected to be proficient and ethical users of electronic devices. It is also a moral imperative for Middlesex County Public Schools to prepare our students for the reality of computer-facilitated learning by teaching them how to use these devices ethically and effectively. This investment in our community’s youth will net dividends that will continue to be evident for generations.”

KUNO pic1

According to Steve Dunkel, Director of Assessment, Research, and Technology, “The device we chose for our division is called the KUNO.  It is an Android device that works with a software package called CurriculumLoft.  The software uses cloud technology to distribute content to students. Teachers and students send assignments, notes, assessments, and research materials using the device. Every student and teacher at MHS has received a device.  Staff was trained during multiple sessions of professional development.”

The best feature of the KUNO launch is how it is advancing learning for our students. “KUNOs are taking learning at MHS to a whole new level. Students are interactively engaged in their teachers’ presentations and curriculum. It’s an exciting time at the high school,” says Jeannie Duke, MHS Principal.

In Susan Butler’s Spanish class, she uses the tablets to teach listening skills to her Spanish students. “I am able to record my voice using a voice recorder app and then import it into an assignment.  Students play the recording and then answer the questions that follow.  It is great having them use headphones so that they can listen at their own pace, as well as repeat it as necessary.”

KUNO pic2

Kate Peters has noticed students’ willingness to complete tasks with the KUNOs that they usually avoid. “They not only found the dictionary on the KUNO, they enjoy using it! We also began exploring how we might use the tablets in Spanish class. We went online to start our project about Hispanics in the United States. The information found was surprising and the statistics astounded many of us.”

In World History classes, Melisa Naumann and Lee Anderson are utilizing the KUNO tablets for a project-based learning assignment.  For the project, students assume a natural disaster has occurred which has returned the area to pre-historic times.  Students research how to make a simple shelter using only materials that would have been available during pre-historic times.  In addition, they design a map of their current location (Middlesex County) which identifies landforms, water, and natural resources and create a PowerPoint presentation to describe their survival plan. The students, working in pairs, used their KUNOs for research, to create their presentations, and to trace maps, which is difficult on a laptop. Because each student has their own device, the teams were able to multi-task during their project.

Naumann said, “Overall, students were more engaged and interested in completing the project because they find the KUNO easy to navigate and they prefer the touch screen.  The class enjoyed being able to stay in the classroom as opposed to going to a computer lab or using a laptop.  The KUNO is providing a lot of options for differentiated instruction, and I am looking forward to using it in many other ways.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Cromartie states, “Developing our students as learners, citizens, and leaders relies on our collective emphasis on technology and how technology may be used to advance students’ skills and knowledge acquisition.  Educators often talk about 21st century learning and how we are preparing today’s students for careers and societal roles that do not currently exist. I am thrilled that Middlesex County Public Schools is leading our region in this type of thinking and working.”

In addition to advancing classroom instruction, the KUNO has other benefits for the students. Unlike devices designed for the general public, the KUNO tablet with CurriculumLoft considers student safety. An embedded filter makes the device CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) compliant, both on and off school property.

The device design also considers school budgetary constraints. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “This learning solution is destined to lighten backpacks and lessen paper consumption over time, saving the county immeasurable sums while forwarding advanced methods of student learning. Students will be able to submit assignments electronically and save documents and assignments to virtual storage space on the school’s virtual cloud.”

Overall, the launch is an exciting new initiative for MCPS for now and for the future, which provides advanced technology to the high school students on a daily basis. Cromartie states, “Through our 1:1 Kunos launch, students at our high school have the opportunities to fully experience curriculum integrating knowledge across the content areas, producing work and receiving feedback in innovative formats, and eventually maintaining their own ePortfolios to exhibit their learning and growth over time.”

MCPS Welcomes New Teachers

September 10, 2013

Middlesex schools are excited to welcome new teachers to their faculty for the 2013-2014 school year. Each of these individuals will be a valuable addition to our MCPS family.

Middlesex Elementary School

In addition to a new assistant principal, Heather Evans, MES is also proud to add the following new faculty members:

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas joins MES to teach fifth grade students. She is from Chesterfield, Virginia, and recently graduated from Radford University. Ms. Douglas is engaged to be married in November. She says of her new position, “Becoming a teacher has been a lifelong dream that has come true.”

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Scott Martin, the new fourth grade teacher at MES, is from Wyckoff, New Jersey. He attended Penn State to obtain a BS in elementary Education. Before moving to Virginia, he was a teacher’s aide in first and third grade. He has also taught both sixth and second grade. In addition to teaching in the classroom, he also worked as a lead instructor at The Little Gym teaching gymnastics, dance, and Mommy & Me classes.

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes teaches third grade at MES. She graduated with a Masters of Science degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University in May of 2013. Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Ms. Rhodes recently moved to Middlesex. She married her husband, Ryan, in June. She describes herself by sharing, “My passion is teaching, and I consider myself a lifelong learner. I am excited to be a part of MCPS and am looking forward to a wonderful 2013-2014 school year!”

St. Clare Walker Middle School

Jamie Wynberry, former special education teacher, has been promoted to Dean of Students at SCW. In addition, the following faculty members are welcomed into the SCW family.

Claire Evans

Claire Evans

Claire Evans graduated from Mary Washington College with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 1999. After working as a soil scientist for the Department of Health for six years, she taught eighth grade students at Hamilton-Holmes Middle School in King William for eight years. Her husband, Mark, works for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative as a journeyman lineman. They have two sons, Wyatt and Kai. Mrs. Evans is a fan of extreme sports. She and Mark have rafted the Upper Gauley River in West Virginia several times and completed the Tough Mudder event on their wedding anniversary in 2011.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner

Kate Messner went to East Stroudsburg University and earned a degree in Recreation and Leisure Service Management before beginning a career as an aquatics director at a YWCA. When she decided to go back to school to become a teacher, Ms. Messner moved to Virginia to obtain a MA in Special Education at Hampton University. After graduating, she accepted a position with a regional day school (SECEP) then accepted a position in Hawaii teaching high school. After 4 years there, she bought a house in Middlesex County and worked at Grafton High School in Yorktown. Outside of school, she loves biking, hiking, swimming, writing songs, and playing other’s songs on her five guitars. Messner states, “I am delighted to be at St. Clare Walker Middle School and hope to be an asset to the school, students, and our community.”

Middlesex High School

MHS has added a number of new faculty members, all of whom will be an asset to the school.

Susan Butler

Susan Butler

Susan Butler graduated from Emory and Henry College at Emory, Virginia, and has been teaching middle and high school Spanish in grades 5-12 for the past eleven years.  She and her husband Erik have two children, Wesley, age 9, and Christopher, age 5.  They also have a beagle named Hunter and two cats named Amigo and Azriel. Besides family, teaching, and her pets, Butler’s other love is country music.

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges is coming to MHS from Lafayette High School in James City County where she taught biology, chemistry, and AP chemistry for 11 years.   Previously, she worked as a chemist for Uniroyal Chemical, DuPont Chemical, and Danbury Pharmacal.  Ms. Hodges has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology  and a Master of Arts degree in Education from the College of William and Mary. When not at school, she enjoys sewing, gardening, and reading.

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis comes to MHS from Warhill High School in Williamsburg and is a native of Richmond. Coach Jarvis graduated with a degree in Social Sciences from and played football for James Madison University. He has taught for 33 years and has been an athletic director and head varsity football coach. Coach Jarvis is teaching United States History, World History II, and Psychology, as well as coaching the varsity football team. Coach Jarvis and his wife, Sherri, have three sons, Bobby, Brian, and Brett, and two grandsons, Wyatt and Garrett. His favorite football team is the Cleveland Browns.

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf attended James Madison University after knowing since eighth grade that she wanted to teach high school English. This is her fourteenth year teaching high school English, most recently at Gloucester High School. In addition to English, Metcalf has taught drama, Latin, and speech and debate. Originally from Yorktown, Ms. Metcalf has lived all over the Hampton Roads area and in China for three years.  She has two very large, spoiled dogs and a roommate who is also a high school English teacher. She has four tattoos, and one of them says, “Shakespeare.”

Melissa Naumann

Melisa Naumann

Melisa Naumann graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Psychology and received her teaching endorsement in special education K-12.  Now in her fifth year teaching, Ms. Naumann previously taught at an alternative school for one year and three years at Warhill High School in Williamsburg/James City County.  She teaches special education at MHS and coaches competition cheerleading. Her many years of experience in dance, choreography, and cheerleading will prove beneficial in this role.

Kim Owens

Kimberley Owens

Kimberley Owens graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design.  After graduation, she worked for Gibbs & Cox (a naval architectural firm) and Newport News Shipbuilding in various design departments then served as a professional territory manager for several firms such as Ames Color-File, Wright Line and Chasen’s Business Interiors.  For thirteen years, she taught Visual Arts Teacher in Hampton and then in Tampa, Florida.   Ms. Owens holds teaching endorsements in Technology Ed, Visual Arts PreK-12, Gifted Education, and Family & Consumer Sciences.  Ms. Owens is single and has no children other than her beloved pets. She has spent much time throughout her life in Middlesex and Mathews Counties. She loves gardening, boating (including sailing), the beach, dogs and cats (especially border collies), and she is an artist. One time, readers of the Daily Press voted her design for a highway flyover painting to be their favorite of all finalists’ entries.

Kate Peters

Kate Peters

Kate Peters joins the faculty at MHS where she will be teaching Spanish.  She is certified by VDOE, having completed her teaching credentials at The University of Virginia.  She also studied at La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas and La Universidad de Madrid, Complutense when she lived abroad. Ms. Peters is a Virginia native.

Grace Smith

Grace Smith

Grace Smith comes to MHS from King and Queen High School. Before teaching in Virginia, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, minoring in criminal justice from Fayetteville State University and then earned her teaching certification at UNC: Pembroke.  In North Carolina, she taught ninth grade for five years then relocated to New York where she completed a graduate program in liberal studies with a concentration in online learning and technology and taught composition at Jefferson Community College.  Ms. Smith’s mother is a resident alien, a citizen of Great Britain where half her family resides.  She has one brother living in England, one in South Africa, and a third in the Netherlands. Ms. Smith and her two sons, Gabe and Logan, have now joined the family of Middlesex Schools. She is looking forward to a wonderful school year.

Dear Students,

June 11, 2013

photo (1)

The faculty, staff, and administration of Middlesex Public Schools thank you for an amazing school year. We hope you all have an exciting summer, filled with family and friends. Remember that learning doesn’t end when you leave the halls and classrooms of MES, SCW, or MHS. Every experience and activity in your life can increase your knowledge and skills. This summer, pause when you’re about to utter the words, “I’m bored.” Decide to try something new. Put down your iPhone and iPod so you can look at and listen to the world around you. Take a hike in the woods, examine the shells along the beach, watch fishermen bring in their catch at the end of the day, read a book, visit a museum or an aquarium, or sit with a grandparent and soak up some wisdom. Whatever you choose to do, continue learning and growing, and we’ll see you in September!

School’s ALMOST Out for Summer

June 4, 2013


Although the end of SOL testing is near, school continues until June 14th. This presents a challenge to teachers because many students “check out” after testing is over, but each member of the innovative MCPS faculty is using his or her creative genius to keep the students engaged. Here are just a few of the activities planned for the last days of school:

Next week, Eileen O’Brien’s students will visit the second grade to read books they are creating in class. O’Brien asked her students what they would like to learn about that hadn’t been covered this year. Students researched their chosen topics to create shape books, which included at least three paragraphs of five sentences each. After they illustrate the books, O’Brien plans to laminate the covers and bind the books. The books will include an ‘About the Author’ page featuring the student’s picture.

In Robyn Stein’s Algebra I classes, students are designing games based around one topic they learned this year.  They are using familiar board games and card games, such as Monopoly and Go Fish, as examples. Students will create a game board or playing cards and write a rules manual. Players of the game must use algebra skills to compete. After the projects are graded, students will have a competition day in class to play the games.

Elizabeth Blackwell’s eighth grade art students are searching for pictures or phrases that describe their goals and dreams for the coming years. After collecting them, the students create and decorate a box in which to keep their pictures and phrases. Some students choose to seal their boxes until later in the future and some keep them open. The project encourages focus on goals for the future and emphasizes individual creativity.

box1  box2  box3

A variety of activities will keep students engaged in Kim Aliff’s second grade classroom. Her students will be learning stitchery, writing stories, and beginning to learn cursive writing. They are also participating in a math fact competition called Gumball Math.

Janice Parker’s high school English students will be busy with two activities. The “Around the Room Short Story” project involves multiple students writing one short story. Each student contributes one literary element, such as setting, characters, dialogue, conflict, or resolution. Each phase of the writing is timed, and then the story is passed to the next writer to complete their part. The story eventually returns to the original writer who develops a title and completes any revisions necessary for the finished story. Parker is also challenging her students to teach a 10-minute lesson. Students can teach a dance step, a magic trick, how to braid hair, how to make bird calls, or another school-appropriate topic of their choice.

Students in Annie Somerville’s civics classes will view the reality entrepreneurial show, Shark Tank¸ and design a good or service to enhance the economy. In teams, students will create a prototype of their good or service and explain their target group based on age and gender. Students will also determine in which types of economy they would sell their good or service, what business type they would organize with, and any kind of advertising or promotions they would utilize. Teams will earn incentives for creativity, organization, and resourcefulness.

Each middle school grade level in Matt Short’s technology classes will have a specific project. Sixth grade students will work with LEGO Robotics. Seventh grade students will create bottle rockets and have the opportunity to launch them outside, while eighth grade students design wood plaques and carve them using the CNC router.

photoStudents in Linden Barrick’s language arts classes are honoring those who inspire them by creating a booklet featuring ten people who inspire them the most. Each page in the booklet includes the name of the inspirational individual, a drawing of the person or of something that symbolizes him or her, and a short paragraph briefly explaining how the person influences the student’s life. Barrick’s students will also be researching fifteen idioms and creating a presentation. Each slide of the presentation will feature one idiom, a brief explanation of its origin, and an illustration depicting the figurative meaning of the phrase.

Staying engaged is difficult this time of year for students, but the dedicated teachers of MCPS are diligently working to make the last few days of school fun AND educational.  Encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn in the stress-free atmosphere, and if you’re interested in educational summertime activities, please visit the Virginia Department of Education website at:

Teacher Feature – Elizabeth Sanders

April 30, 2013

Encouragement – Elizabeth Sanders states this to be the most important thing she can offer her students. “Every child is capable of being successful; they just need to find the success in themselves and believe in themselves.”


Elizabeth Sanders in her classroom on Hat Day which raises money for the SCW Relay For Life team.

Sanders teaches seventh grade students language arts and history at St. Clare Walker. Before coming to SCW 3 years ago, she taught language arts at Peasley Middle School in Gloucester. A native of Lancaster, Virginia, and graduate of Lancaster High, Sanders still resides there with her husband of almost one year.

After high school graduation, Sanders earned a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s of Art in Education from James Madison University. She declares, “I bleed purple!” concerning her JMU alumni status. Currently, Sanders is working toward her Master’s in Educational Leadership from William and Mary.

In her classroom, the focus is on reading. Sanders loves teaching novel units. She explains, “I enjoy sharing my love for reading, and I am always looking to spark an interest in my students.  When my students start talking about the novel we’re reading without me asking questions first, I know they’re connecting with the book. What’s even better is when a student asks, ‘Is there are sequel?’ or ‘Are there anymore books by this author?’” Every year, Sanders feels her main goal is to keep students engaged in school, and one way she accomplishes this is by helping students deepen or discover their love for reading.

Student role-play is another activity Sanders uses to enrich her students’ reading experience. This year she collaborated with Judy Murray, the SCW media specialist, on a Jerry Spinelli study. After reading Spinelli’s autobiography, Knots in My Yo-Yo String, students read another of the author’s works on their own and completed further research on Spinelli. Following their research, students were grouped together to do Spinelli interviews. Each group had someone play the role of Spinelli, and the rest of the students in the group were either interviewers or cameramen. Through this activity, students were exposed to an author and were able to show their acting skills during the interviews. Sanders states, “The creativity was amazing to watch. I feel that any activity that gets students thinking outside of the box is great!”

In addition to her time in the classroom, Sanders touches the lives of all SCW students through her work as sponsor of SCW’s Student Council Association. Each year, Sanders hosts the SOL pep rally, the variety show, and many other activities for the entertainment and enjoyment of the entire staff and student body of the school. She also sponsors the SCW Relay For Life team, and encourages all students to be community-minded and serve others.

With all that Sanders does for the students of SCW, it’s hard to imagine that she has any free time to herself. In addition to reading when she does manage to carve out a few moments, she enjoys scrapbooking, spending time with friends, and going to the beach, and she is a fan of the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins.

The dedication Elizabeth Sanders has to the students of SCW makes her an asset to Middlesex Schools, and her nomination as SCW Teacher of the Year by her colleagues shows that others recognize her remarkable performance. She is a true asset to the MCPS family.

National Junior Honors Society at SCW

April 7, 2013

St. Clare Walker Middle School is excited to announce its recent establishment as a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), a prestigious organization which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of middle school students specifically in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.  Membership in this society is a privilege, and St. Clare Walker has a number of students who are deserving of that honor. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to use their unique talents and skills to improve their community.  Members will participate in chapter service projects as well as individual service projects.

Students will be selected for membership in the spring of 2014. St. Clare Walker desires to provide families and students ample time to prepare for this wonderful opportunity. In order to be considered for NJHS membership, students must meet certain selection criteria in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, character, and teacher evaluations. Please continue reading to understand the selection process.


To initially be considered for membership, students must hold a 3.75 GPA or higher.  Once students meet the GPA requirement, they will be evaluated in the areas of leadership, service, citizenship, and character.


Students must be able to demonstrate three leadership roles they have held since 6th grade either in the school or in the community.

Examples of leadership roles include but are not limited to:

  • Successfully holding a position in SCA or Builder’s Club
  • Demonstrating proactive club membership
  • Consistently setting a positive examples for peers
  • Successfully holding a leadership role in a sport
  • Successfully holding a position in a church or community organization
  • Taking initiative to enhance civic life of the school and/or community



Candidates for NJHS membership must demonstrate the completion of 10 hours of school or community service and must provide documentation from the adult supervisor of the service activity.  Some examples of service include but are not limited to volunteer work, participation in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, participation in religious groups, and serving as a mentor or a tutor.


Students are also evaluated on how well they demonstrate the following civic traits: trustworthiness, honesty, courteousness, respectfulness, responsibility, accountability, self-reliance, respect for the law, patriotism, and participation in school and the community.


NJHS supports a multi-faceted definition of character known as the Six Pillars of Character.  A person of character demonstrates the following six qualities: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  As part of meeting the character requirements, candidates will be required to have a teacher recommendation form completed.

Once members are selected, they are expected to uphold the standards of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.  Members can be dismissed if they fail to do so.  These instances will be dealt with as they occur.

St. Clare Walker is honored to provide its students with such a valuable opportunity.  Membership into the St. Clare Walker Middle School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society will allow students the occasion to shine by providing members a way to build their character and improve the surrounding community. Thank you for taking the time to talk with your child about this amazing opportunity!

For further questions about NJHS membership, please do not hesitate to contact Melanie Sheets (Chapter Adviser) or Nicole Huntley (Co-Adviser) at 804-758-2561.

A Taste of Reality

March 27, 2013


On Friday, March 22, the eighth grade students at SCW participated in a Reality Store, an event sponsored by the Virginia Co-operative Extension Office to give students a taste of life as an adult.

Karlee Steffey, Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, explained, “The hope for the Reality Store is that students will get an idea of their financial futures and to make the connection between doing well in school and then doing well in life. This is a great opportunity to really see how much things cost and to jump start their thinking about budgeting.”


During the event, the eighth grade class divided into three different sessions, each teaching them a different aspect of finances in adulthood.

In one session, students gained knowledge of checking and saving accounts, depositing money, and financial needs versus wants. They were made aware of all deductions taken from paychecks to demonstrate the difference between gross and net pay.


Another session consisted of students completing a skills assessment, values assessment, and an interest assessment to determine potential careers that match their interests and abilities. Students also filled out sample job applications.

The third session involved a life simulation. Each student received an identity that included information on his or her job, income, and family. Once their identities were established, students had to pay taxes, purchase or rent a home, pay bills, buy groceries, and organize for child care and other necessities.


Jason Perry, Vice President for Workforce Development at Rappahannock Community College, volunteered at the event along with many other community leaders. Perry stated, “I applaud the staff and administration at St. Clare Walker Middle School for providing career education activities to students in the eighth grade. Unfortunately, with pressures of testing and accountability in our schools, we typically place career education on the ‘back burner.’ The Reality Store is a fabulous way to teach life and career skills. I would hope that more schools in our region would incorporate this program in the future.”


After it ended, students continued to discuss the event throughout the day. They enjoyed the hands-on activities and being able to connect the lessons to relevant aspects of their lives. When asked about the event, students shared varied responses.

Marty Bristow declared, “I never knew children cost so much!”

“It was very worthwhile and really opened up my eyes about being careful of what I spend,” said Zack Bristow.

Greg Pitts summed up the event well. “Real money doesn’t last very long. Life can hit you hard, and you have to adjust.”

SCW Hosts the 2013 TSA Tidewater Regional Fair

March 13, 2013

TSA Regional Fair 1

The Technology Student Association (TSA) gives student members opportunities for leadership and personal growth in all areas of technology, innovation, design, and engineering. 

Through TSA’s regional, state, and national competitions, members can challenge themselves in over 60 different middle and high school events. These competitions stress the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts, leadership, and presentation skills.

Virginia Regional fairs are hosted every spring by each of the six TSA regions in Virginia. On Saturday, March 02, 2013, TSA held its Tidewater Regional Fair competition at St. Clare Walker Middle School. Middle school and high school students from all over the region visited Middlesex for this well-attended event. Volunteers from near and far showed their support for these young leaders as judges, coordinators, and/or student supervisors.

TSA Regional Fair 2

TSA members assembled in the auditorium where regional TSA president, Brett Fochtmann of Middlesex High School, called the meeting to order.  Middlesex County superintendent Dr. Taylor welcomed guests to Middlesex County and congratulated the students for being a part of TSA.

Guest speaker Mr. James Wright, resident of Deltaville Va. and a graduate of Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, shared five points for students to keep in mind as they go through life. He was sure to advocate for the importance of technology in today’s society as well as the future. However, he cautioned students to understand that technology “has no emotion, and it can do a lot of good or a lot of harm. It is the people behind the technology who determine the intent of the constantly advancing technology.”

The competition began promptly after the general meeting. Students presented projects that they have been working on throughout the school year. Some of the most popular events were middle and high school Dragster Design, Essays on Technology, and Flight Endurance.

The competition concluded with the presentation of awards. The following St. Clare Walker Middle School students ranked in the top 10 and were recognized at the Tidewater Region awards ceremony:


Chloe Hodges and Jeffrey Jones received 1st place, Kevin Horton and Andrew Hudson received 2nd place, and Brooke Daniel and Cole Radabaugh received 4th place in the Tidewater Region for Challenging Technology Issues.  Participants worked in teams of two individuals to prepare and deliver an extemporaneous, debate style presentation on a spontaneously assigned technological issue.

Kevin Horton received 3rd place in the Tidewater Region for Digital Photography.  Participants produced an album consisting of color or black and white digital photographs that represent or relate to a chosen theme.  The theme for 2013 was “TSA, Organized Chaos.”

Cole Radabaugh received 1st place, Jerry Lindsey received 2nd place, and Kenneth Beam received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Dragster Design.  Participants designed and produced a fast CO2 powered dragster according to state specifications and used only certain materials.

Kevin Horton received 5th place in the Tidewater Region for Essays on Technology.  Participants conducted research in specified subtopics of a broader technological area and, using the knowledge and resources gained through that research, wrote a comprehensive essay in thirty minutes on the one subtopic that was designated on site.  The topic for 2013 was “The Positive and Negative Effects of Technology on Today’s Youth.”

Tyler Radabaugh received 1st place, Jack Ruark received 2nd place, Chloe Hodges received 7th place, Andrew Hudson received 8th place, and Cole Radabaugh received 10th place in the Tidewater Region for Flight.  Participants designed and built a glider that stayed in flight for the greatest elapsed time.  Students created a documentation notebook with all components, sketches of test gliders, and assembled glider to be tested at the competition.

Tyler Radabaugh received 2nd place and Jack Ruark received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Promotional Design.  Participants created and produced a color pin design that would be appropriate for trading at the national TSA conference.

Tyler Radabaugh received 1st place, Jack Ruark received 3rd place, Jerry Lindsey received 5th place, and Jack Graulich received 6th place in the Tidewater Region for Transportation System.  Participants applied and documented the engineering design process, mathematical principals and scientific concepts used in the research, design, construction, testing and evaluation of a rubber band-powered boat.  Performance ratings of the boat were based on a combination of speed and payload capability measurements.

Students who placed in the top three at the regional fair will compete against other regional finalists from around the state in those events at the state level competition, Technosphere, held May 3- 5. TSA members will also get to compete in new events that are not available at the regional fair. If they place at Technosphere, they need to pack their bags because they’ll be traveling to Orlando Florida to compete at TSA National Conference.

Mr. Odom and Mr. Short, Middlesex HS and SCW TSA advisors, are very much appreciative of the many volunteers and judges that supported the event.

Article written by Matt Short

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