You may recall the news about the incredible collaboration between the Goochland High School senior students and Randolph Elementary 3rd graders. That partnership resulted in a renovated RES courtyard, some shared reading experiences, and an inspired group of high schoolers ready to tackle their own courtyard.

Those seniors sent a gift to the 3rd graders, a table that was made by their fellow GHS students in Mr. Greenway’s class. I thought this was a great way to start the new year – with a reminder of the generous and caring spirit that is at work in our students, and just how much of that potential is waiting to be tapped…

RES 3rd grade students collect donated canned foods on a table that GHS students made for them, a “thank you” for the partnership in the courtyard.

“This is one of the best Christmas presents ever!”

Those were the words I heard on my voicemail from Mrs. Erin Yearout-Patton, GHS government teacher, when she called to let me know that senior Annie Thrasher had won the We the Students Essay Contest presented by the American Constitution Spirit Foundation, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Montpelier.

Annie’s essay was chosen for first place honors from among hundreds of entries from students across the region. This year’s prompt was: The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights protects the freedoms of all Americans and provides a basis for the American Government. Can our Constitution work as a foundation for other people and nations throughout the world? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Annie was recognized at halftime of the 2013 Times-Dispatch Invitational Basketball Tournament on Monday, December 23 at the VCU Siegel Center. Lawrence Creeger, Chairman of the American Constitution Spirit Foundation, remarked, “Annie’s essay was exceptional. Congratulations to Annie, Mrs. Yearout-Patton, and Goochland High School for this significant achievement.”

On Annie’s behalf, Goochland High School will receive a set of limited edition bronze plaques of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights valued at over $8,000.

Annie Thrasher (with plaque) wrote the winning essay for this year’s “We the Students” Essay Challenge presented by the American Constitution Spirit Foundation.