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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

School Board Recognitions
April 19, 2016

6. Student, Employee and Public Awards and Recognitions
6A. Poetry Out Loud State Champion

What are the chances that you win a state competition as a junior and replicate that same feat the following year? Let’s welcome not just a one-time winner, but a two-time state champion of Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud competition: Ahkei Togun, senior at Tallwood High School. Ahkei won the state title with his reading of the poem “The Way it Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor. The Poetry Out Loud competition is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation along with individual state arts agencies. It encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation while building self-confidence and developing public speaking skills. It’s more than just reading words on a page. It’s about delivering prose with passion and conviction that inspires us to listen to someone’s story through measured majestic rhythm, body language and pacing. Just imagine the last line of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” without an eloquent pause: “And I, (pause) I took the road less traveled.”

As Virginia’s winner, Ahkei /Ah-KEY/ now travels to Washington D.C. to compete in nationals May 2-4. Please join me in congratulating this outstanding two-time state champion!

6B. VHSL One-Act Play State Competition Outstanding Actors
Next, we recognize students named Outstanding Actors in last month’s One-Act Play State Theatre Festival. And the winners are:

  • Annie Fick, senior at Princess Anne High School
  • Shannon Hughes, junior at Princess Anne High School and
  • David Crouse, senior at First Colonial High School

Virginia’s State Theatre Festival competition amongst high schools is a longstanding tradition that dates back 84 years—almost as long as the Academy Awards! In addition to ensemble awards to top schools, individual Outstanding Actor awards are presented for character performances that are so outstanding that the audience begins to see the character and not the actor.

  • Annie Fick earned the Outstanding Actor Award for her role as “Wiley” in the school’s performance of “Wiley and the Hairy Man.”
  • Shannon Hughes, who was in the same performance, was named Outstanding Actor for her portrayal of “Mammy.”
  • David Crouse earned his Outstanding Actor award for his role as Fred in the production of “Mirrors.”

Please join me in congratulating three of Virginia’s 2016 Outstanding Actors.

6C. VHSL State Wrestling Champion
It’s a night of champions. Let’s welcome Virginia’s 2016 State Wrestling Champion in Group 5A, 126-pound weight class: Brian Swenson, senior at Princess Anne High School.

Brian finishes high school surpassing the 100-win milestone for his career. But Brian’s climb to the state championship is even more inspiring if you know his story. He ended his junior season with a very disappointing loss and didn’t make the trip to state, which he described to the media as, “I didn’t wrestle hard enough.” He is the epitome of learning from your past and taking action. He applied himself diligently, even trained all year long to become a better student of the sport and to set goals. His commitment to success changed everything and was even named team captain this year. He finished this season with a record 50 wins, 2 losses with 35 of those victories by pin—a new Princess Anne High School record. He earned Conference 9 and 5a South Regional championship titles and twice was named outstanding wrestler at tournaments. Today he is about (quote) “making sure that everyone is on task and getting the guys who don’t think they’re doing well and getting them back into it,” he said. Now that’s a champion. Brian will continue wrestling after high school and already has offers from three colleges.

Please join me in congratulating Virginia’s 5A State Wrestling Champion: Brian Swenson!

6D. VHSL State Swim Champion
Earlier we recognized a student who is a two-time state champion. Let’s meet another. The Board is pleased to recognize Virginia’s state swim champion for two consecutive years in the 100-yard breast stroke: Daniel Arris, senior at Princess Anne High School.

Ranked as one of the top 100 swimmers in America, Daniel is graduating with three freshman records, four team records and part of four relay records. He also leaves his mark on the state championships as a two-time winner in the 100-yard breast stroke, which he won this year in 57-point-67-seconds. Not only that, he also captured second in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1-minute-50-point-72-seconds. Now he’s off to Princeton University, which offered him a scholarship earlier this year to continue to swim competitively and which Daniel accepted.

Please join me in congratulating Daniel Arris, Virginia’s two-time state swim champion!

6E. VHSL Girls Basketball Champions – Group 5A
And we’re not done with our champions. Let’s meet Virginia’s 2016 state girls’ basketball champions in Group 5A, the team from Princess Anne High School:

Jillian Alexander
Khaysha Banks
Edley Drawhorn
Bryonna Ferebee
Danyael Goodhope

Nia Hamiel
Gadiva Hubbard
Brianna Johnson-Posey
Mahogany Lester Hymons
Diamond Platt

Nyla Pollard
Jada Richardson
Jazmine Rogers
Payton Turner
Xaria Weeks-Wiggins

Assistant Coaches:
William Alson, Lonice Kenley, Tiffany Weathers and Marc Velbis and Coach Darnell Dozier.

What a way to end the season as three-time state champions! Their last game at the state championships was quite an exciting finish, too. With a 12-point lead in the half, they made one of the most exciting runs in the third quarter, increasing their lead by 30 points which eventually led to a 73 to 50 victory.

With their win this year, the lady Cavaliers are now three-time defending state champions and have propelled Princess Anne High School girls’ basketball to a record seven state championships!

Let’s hear a big cheer for Virginia’s girls’ basketball state champions! Congratulations!

6F. VHSL Girls Basketball Player of the Year – Group 5A
Next, the School Board would like to recognize Princess Anne High basketball player Gadiva Hubbard who was just named the Virginia High School League 2016 Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year.

Not many high school students have profiles on ESPN but she does after an impressive high school career that includes helping lead her team to three consecutive state championships. Hubbard is a two-time All-Tidewater Player of the Year and as a sophomore was scoring 30-plus points in games. That talent to score came in handy as she scored 35 points and 31 points in previous championship games. It’s no surprise several colleges were interested in recruiting her but she has signed on to continue playing with the University of Minnesota.

Congratulations to Gadiva Hubbard -- Virginia’s 2016 Player of the Year.

6G. VHSL Girls Basketball Coach of the Year – Group 5A
Our last recognition won’t surprise you. The School Board is pleased to recognize Coach Darnell Dozier who was named by the Virginia High School League as the 2016 Coach of the Year.

We have to start the recognition with a quote from him, “If you’re going to be in a game a long time, you might as well win.” And winning is what he does best. Since becoming the school’s basketball coach some 20 years ago, Princess Anne Girls Basketball has won state championships in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and now 2016. Today, he has guided Princess Anne High to 10 state title appearances and brought the championship home seven times. But the best aspect about him is his positive impact on the students. As one of his players said, “He wants us to be the best we can be, both as players and as people.” That’s the winning spirit!

Please join me in congratulating Coach Dozier, Virginia’s 2016 Coach of the Year. Congratulations to him and to all of our champions this evening!
Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017