June 25, 2002
Good evening. Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, I open my remarks this evening with news of an exciting event in our school division that has been in the planning stages for several years. This week, it becomes a reality.
Tomorrow, 1,500 students in grades 8 through 12 and 500 adult advisors begin arriving at Ocean Lakes High to participate in the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) 66th National Conference. Conference attendees hail from all 50 states, Australia, and Puerto Rico. Our school division is proud to host this national event-the first time a Virginia school has earned the honor. The theme for this year's conference is "Oceans of Leaders, Waves of Success" and countless hours of preparation have been devoted to conference preparations. During the 5-day event, students will be offered learning opportunities through a variety of leadership workshops and motivational sessions featuring accomplished speakers. In addition, conference highlights include participation in an environmental community service project, a patriotic flag ceremony onboard the USS Kearsarge, a candlelighting ceremony at the Sportsplex, and an oceanfront beach party. You need only to drive by Ocean Lakes High and see the 66 uniquely and individually designed dolphins adorning the school's entrance to feel the excitement and anticipation for this national event.
On another note, in a concert on June 5th, student composers Zachery Stanford and Krystofer Stultz, who performed original musical compositions, conducted Virginia Beach Middle School students. Zachary and Krystofer studied Music Theory and Composition under the direction of Mr. Richard Rigg, teacher at VB Middle. The VB Middle Band, Chorus, and Orchestra closed the concert with a newly revised school Alma Mater. Student input was solicited to make the revisions to the original Alma Mater, which was written in 1952.
On June 7th, a visiting Sister City Delegation from Miyazaki, Japan learned about school volunteerism first hand as they participated in Field Day activities at Tallwood Elementary, alongside Tallwood volunteers, students, and staff. Mr. Michael Wesely, a second grade teacher and the school's partnership coordinator, organized a schedule filled with meaningful activities, enabling our visitors to learn about volunteer life in American Schools. Tallwood has enjoyed an international partnership with Miyazaki Minami Elementary in Japan for 7 years.
Our Education Foundation raised approximately $30,000 at its annual golf tournament at Heron Ridge Golf Club on June 20th. Educators and members of our community supported the Foundation's annual fundraiser which garnered funds for next year's classroom grant program.
Several congratulations are in order . . .
Congratulations to the Class of 2002! Four thousand, four hundred and four seniors earned diplomas during graduation exercises at the Pavilion this month. Commencement activities were followed by all night grad activities sponsored by school PTAs and clubs. We wish our graduates much success as they move on to college or the workplace.
Hats off to the Ocean Lakes High School VHSL Academic Teams for placing in the top three in the Wachovia Cup Academic Standings for the second year in a row. Strong performances in Theatre (2nd in the state) and Drama (1st place in Switch Side debate) contributed to the schools'success.
Kudos to Brandon Middle School's 8th grade sixth bell class taught by Dr. Jimi Thomas for their portfolio on Life Guard Safety that was selected to represent the state of Virginia at the "We the People" Project Citizen National Showcase in Denver, Colorado in July. Their entry, entitled "Lifeguard Safety - reducing the number of drownings at the oceanfront", has a focus on public policy making and legislature awareness.
Congratulations to Trantwood Elementary's Stock Market Teams who were the top 6 teams in the region for this year's Stock Market Game. Trantwood teams also ranked 2nd through 6th in the state and worked for 10 weeks managing their portfolios at school.
Congratulations to Rosemont Elementary School fifth grader, Edmari Del Valle, winner of Infoline's Classroom Connection poster contest. Edmari's design was selected to be the official Classroom Connection poster, now displayed in schools throughout Hampton Roads.
Kudos to Charlotte Sokolsky, school nurse at Salem High School, for being selected School Nurse of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Nurses.
Hats off to Linda Koutoufas, SOL Instructional Specialist, for being named the Virginia Beach Reading Council's Administrator of the Year. She was selected for her contributions to literacy in Virginia Beach for the past several years, which include researching best practices, designing curriculum, training teachers, and modeling effective strategies.
Congratulations to Coach George Picillo, Cross Country Coach and Indoor and Outdoor Track Coach at Ocean Lakes High School who completed 75 seasons of dedicated service to student athletic programs this year. After 25 years of service, Coach Picillo is retiring from the coaching profession. He has coached individual athletes to 13 state championships.
Finally, congratulations are in order for several students who performed admirably during the 2002 WordMasters Challenge. This annual challenge is a national language arts competition entered by over 250,000 students annually. It is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various relationships.
At Providence Elementary, the fifth grade team of Kristina Foster, Lisa Baigert, Alexandra Aycock, Tyler Newland, Mara Bertelli, Jan-Michael Garcia, Anessa Caalim, Gordon Hunt, Lindsay Barnard, Akira Powell, Kate Miller and Steven Herzberg placed 5th in the Nation in the difficult Gold Division. They competed against 320 teams comprising 9,170 students from around the nation. This team was coached by Gifted Resource Teacher Melissa Knight and was assisted by teachers Carmen Wondergem, Linda Stout, and Jean Cloud.
At New Castle Elementary, the fourth grade team of Clay Newton, Hannah Byers, Jose' DeGuzman, Joshua Renaud, Virginia Fultz, Caitlin Cavanaugh, Kevin Morrison, and Jonathon Hong placed 5th in the nation in the difficult Blue Division, competing against 797 teams comprising 40,540 students from around the nation. The team is coached by Gifted Resource Teacher Angelique Massey and assisted by teachers Amy Nicolia, Michael Taylor, Debbie Field, Chris Thompson, and Jennifer Fedorawicz.
At Kempsville Meadows Elementary, third grader, Virginia Merrill, has been awarded highest honors in the Blue Division. She is coached by teacher, Carolyn Nesius and assisted by Bonita Williams, Gifted Resource Teacher. Virginia successfully completed 58 out of 60 analogies over the course of three competitions. Nationally, 30,400 students participated at this level.
A fifth grade team at Old Donation Center consisting of Corey Black, Miranda Hall, Alan Vollmer, Charlie Swingle, Jeremy Hostetter, Nina Blumberg, Jessica Truong, Joseph Ngo, Katharine Jepson and Sam Wechaler placed 3rdin the Nation in the very difficult Gold Division, competing against 320 teams comprised of 9,170 students. The ODC team is coached by Lynn Elliott and Doreen Sheler. Miranda Hall was also awarded Highest Honors as she successfully completed 58 out of 60 analogies over the course of three competitions.
Congratulations to all WordMasters Challenge top scorers!
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening.