(top, left to right) Nadia Socarras, Sasha Kerr, Erin Maguire, and Tori Venable; (bottom) Ms. Holloway-Costa

On Tuesday, December 2, Goochland High School hosted its second Poetry Out Loud school-wide poetry recitation competition. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest, and last year saw then-junior Morgan Potts represent Goochland High School for the first time ever in the regional competition. This year, that honor will belong to senior Sasha Kerr, who won on Tuesday evening and will proceed to the regional competition which will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, February 13, at the Children’s Theater at Willow Lawn in Richmond.

Ms. Emily Holloway-Costa, English department chair, once again brought the contest to GHS and was supported by the enthusiastic participation and presence of fellow department members Ms. Marianne Whisler (as a new prompter) and Mr. Jeremy Wampler (reprising his role as score tabulator).

Ms. Holloway-Costa commented, “Last school year was all about bringing something new to GHS with poetry as we built up a presence with Mr. John Blake’s impactful poetry workshops in 2013, and this year’s competition is about maintaining that and expanding our presence as real contenders in the regional competition. We learned so much there with that first experience, and I think everyone involved is excited to see the growth in understanding to improve the already memorable performance. We had four contenders this year compared to two last year, and all were of high caliber and remarkable commitment. This is a wonderful upward trend that I hope to see grow further. I am thrilled to see Sasha advancing to this next level of competition and know her other competitors have a great respect for her and her ability and drive.

Senior Sasha Kerr won first place reciting the moving “Broken Promises” and “Friendship After Love,” while junior Nadia Socarras finished a close second with “Ebb” and the rhythmic “Aria.” Senior Erin Maguire delivered a melodious rendition of “The Children’s Hour” and a profound “Apollo,” and freshman Tori Venable delivered the “Sonnet 55″ and the magical “All Hallows’ Eve.” All were met with applause and respect for the careful time and genuine effort put into their performances.

Judges once again included Mr. John Wright, Goochland School Board member; Mrs. Erin Yearout Patton, GHS Government teacher and recipient of Goochland’s 2013 Teacher of the Year award; and Mr. John Blake, a locally and nationally recognized poet widely credited with bringing slam poetry and its culture of emotional honesty and linguistic excellence and precision to GHS’s student body. All served last year and gave remarkable feedback and encouragement alike.

The Byrd Robotics Team had an incredible weekend in Harrisonburg at the 3rd Annual First Lego League Competition! They arrived in Harrisonburg Friday evening, ate together as a team and then headed to downtown Harrisonburg to march in the Christmas parade!

The team competed against 69 other teams in Division 1 on Saturday and Sunday all day at JMU. They enjoyed the JMU dining hall experience and classes at the campus as well. The team did a great job all weekend in all of their events.

Channel 12 covered the event here.

Our heartfelt congratulations to the BES Robotics Team members and community!

Community rallies support for the BES Robotics Team before the competition in Harrisonburg!

In August we partnered with a team from the University of Virginia and the Central Virginia Writing Project on a year-long effort to develop a guiding document focused on writing instruction in our schools. In addition to the development of this curricular resource, the team’s work also includes embedded professional development and in-class coaching.

This week the Virginia State Reading Association announced that the team’s ongoing work will be featured at this spring’s annual conference to be held in Richmond on March 12-14, 2015.

The team is being co-chaired by Mrs. Margaret Dickerson, our division teacher leader for literacy, Dr. Ottilie Austin, UVa, and Ms. Pati Cunningham, UVa – and includes teachers from each of our five schools.

It was announced today, December 4, 2014, that Tina McCay, Principal of Goochland Elementary School, is the recipient of Virginia ASCD’s 2014 Impact Award for Region 1. In the announcement made by Laurie McCullough, VASCD‘s Executive Director, Mrs. McCay was commended as follows:

There are many aspects of your professional practice for which we could commend you. You have brought engaging innovations like student engineering and student leadership to the elementary grades at your school, while also showing high achievement and remarkable individual student growth. In addition, your colleagues speak of you as a supportive, inspirational leader who personalizes learning not only for your students, but also for your staff.

On behalf of the entire GCPS community, please join us in congratulating Mrs. McCay!

Mrs. Tina McCay, Region I recipient of VASCD’s 2014 Impact Award, works with two students this week at Goochland Elementary School.