Month: April 2015

Chesterfield County presents artwork to public

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By: Kayla Kirk, Staff Writer

On Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, April 26th, Cosby High School hosted the Chesterfield Fine Arts Festival that showcased visual and performing arts from all 63 schools in the county. The Festival featured paintings, drawings, sculptures and other visual arts; also, three stages were set up for the Jazz bands, Improv Comedy groups, fiddlers, drummers and other performing arts.

“It was a huge success; a lot of kids that normally don’t get recognized for their artwork were praised over the weekend. We have an amazing art staff and amazing art students at our school,” Art 1 and 3D design 1 & 2 teacher Toussaint Manley said.

Just one of the many outstanding art pieces representing James River at the Chesterfield Fine Arts Festival.
Just one of the many outstanding art pieces representing James River at the Chesterfield Fine Arts Festival.

At the festival, the atmosphere felt very lively with the set ups of artwork from all the schools that were uplifting and colorful. People of all ages attended, which resulted in it being slightly hard to go from display to display, but it was still enjoyable regardless of that. Everyone was allowed to come since the festival was free and the community to came and examined the arts of Chesterfield County.


Publications students inducted into Quill and Scroll Honor Society

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As the magazine sponsor, I am pleased to announce that at noon Friday, April 24th in the James River library, we inducted four of our staff and six of the yearbook staff into Quill and Scroll, the journalism and publications National Honor Society. This prestigious honor is available students who are at least a sophomore, are in the top third of their class, demonstrate journalistic excellence, are recommended by Ms. Sparre or myself, and are accepted by the Quill and Scroll Society. They received a certificate, member pin to wear on their graduation robes, and graduation chords. Please offer your congratulations to the following newly-inducted members:

The James River Current/blog staff inductees: Kerri Adkins, Sidney Davis, Maja Gabrielson, and Kendall Johnson.

The Rapid Yearbook staff inductees: Haley Jobe, Madison Howell, Tiara Edwards, Nicole Thomas, Abigail Gedeon, and Kayla Koch.

After a few remarks from principal Jeff Ellick, and the induction oath, the inductees and current members enjoyed a small reception with family and friends.

During the ceremony, Anna Davis, Editor-in-Chief of the Current, and Summer Schilling, Editor-in-Chief of the Rapid, were also honored by the sponsors for their considerable contributions with a special pin and tassel charm.

Day of Silence dedicated to help end anti-LGBT bullying

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By: Kayla Kirk, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 17th marked the national Day of Silence, where students across the county called attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in school. The Day of Silence is the largest student-led action towards creating safer schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender expression. Students do have a right to participate in the Day of Silence, though this doesn’t allow entire silence to be held within the classroom. Surprisingly there wasn’t as much participation as there was the previous year, even the leader of the Gay-Straight Alliance last year, Ari Zanetta took notice.

“ I didn’t notice anything at all, and I feel that’s partly my fault. I was head of the GSA last year, but relinquished my position this year because it was too stressful. No one took up the reins, so the GSA dissolved, thus there was no formal organization, other than Lydia’s morning announcements, to call more attention to the Day of Silence. Still, I found Lydia’s announcements heartening,” Zanetta said

Even though the Day of Silence didn’t receive as much recognition this year at JRHS it still had a few supporters dedicated to the silence that day. Regardless of this there was still thousands of students across the country that had participated in the Day of Silence and it was still a success.

“It isn’t a far-and-away success, but rarely anything is, especially in the realm of social justice and civil rights. Given that, I think it’s fairly successful for what it is. The mere fact that it got on the announcement several times is hugely encouraging,” Zanetta said.

Rapids host Little Feet

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By: Melissa Rau, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 17th, students from all over the county travelled to James River High School for Little Feet Meet.

“Little Feet Meet is Special Olympics for elementary age students and preschool students,” P.E. teacher and coordinator Ms. Thomas said. “So our job is to host the county elementary schools and preschool students, and then sometimes we pull people from outside the county because their county or city doesn’t offer it.”

Some schools travel almost an hour to make it to the event, coming from as far as Bowling Green, Virginia, close to Kings Dominion. All of the Chesterfield County students in addition to these sum up to “about a thousand athletes,” according to Thomas, but these aren’t the only ones packing up the buses.

“Some schools bring buddies, those are the regular-ed students and they come to cheer on,” Thomas said. “Last year I want to say we had about 500 buddies; Bon Air brings their entire second grade to cheer on, my daughter’s school, Grange Hall, their whole class is coming to cheer on. So there are a lot of people here that are not just the athletes, they’re taking part in the event.”

Originally, James River High School was chosen by the P.E. Specialist of Chesterfield County to have the privilege of hosting the event.

“She suggested our school just based on location,” Thomas said. “We’re close to a highway, and we also have a very large parking lot and a large campus that it could take place during the school day.”

While this school was picked based on logistical location, James River wanted to continue the event for the years following, and has for four years.

“We’ve continued to do it because the students love to do it,” Thomas said. “It’s a lot of work for us, but if the students like it, it’s a great event, so why not? I don’t think anybody ever leaves that day not smiling and not having a good time.”

Not only is the event a fun day for participants, but it’s completed as a job well done. The school has received praise from the the organization itself.

“We’ve actually gotten a compliment from the Special Olympics people; they said that in the area, we do the best job of it,” Thomas said.

All of the hard work was more than worth it. All of the athletes, buddies, teachers, school principal, and approximate 370 James River student volunteers had a blast this year, just as they have in years past. And, as Thomas said, “if we can bring that happiness to other people, why not put the work into it to make it happen?”

When I was 17: Coach Yonta

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By: An-Vu Phan Sports Editor

With a whistle on hand, Coach Anthony Yonta is always challenging the students that he teaches to reach their full potential, whether its in the classroom or the gym. Yet, it is through challenges that he is where he is today.

Yonta was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York and attended Tappanzee High School in Orangeburg, New York. During high school, Yonta was as active as he is now, participating in multiple sports.

“When I was in high school,”  Yonta said, “I was playing football, baseball, and wrestled.”

Out of those three sports, the one that he would hold closest to his heart is football. Despite his dream of becoming playing through college and going pro, it took a self-evaluation upon reaching college to set himself on the path to the armed forces.

“I wasn’t happy with college and I was looking for a challenge,”  Yonta said. “The Marine Corps was it.”

Enlisting in 1980, he served in Elmaco Company, a unit in the Marines that focused on electronic maintenance. Though he wouldn’t get to serve overseas in his six years of service, he would still keep himself fit through physical training, something that would lead him to the classroom.

“I felt that physical education was the best path because I believe in being fit and keeping your body fit,” Yonta said.

Yonta began his teaching career at the private school of Alberta Magnus in New York, where he taught Health and PE and coached lacrosse, football and wrestling for a year before getting a job with the public school system in Kingston, New York. Upon moving there, he spent the first 13 years as an elementary school PE teacher before making the jump to middle school, where he taught at the same position for five years. Since then, he’s been spending the past seven years teaching at James River.

“You gotta be motivated to work,’  Yonta said, ”you gotta be humble in the respect that any job is a good job.”

Though his method of teaching can seem challenging at times, it is through Physical Education that he can truly pass on the life lessons that he had learned while growing up at this stage of life and beyond.

Freshman surprises James River by making varsity

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By:  Keeshawn Capers, Staff Writer

Freshman Thomas Jordan was the only underclassman this year to make the varsity baseball team. He is the starting shortstop and has been practicing and training vigorously to prepare for the start of the season to hopefully eventually  win the state championship. I sat down with Jordan to ask him about his expectations and goals for this years baseball team as they begin to get to know each other and start to build their overall team chemistry.

Q: How did it feel to be the only underclassman to make the varsity team and who do you feel had an important role in helping you achieve this big accomplishment?

Jordan: “It was an honor and really exciting for me, and I would say that my coaches and teammates push me and help me to get a lot better and really want the best for me and the team.”

Q: What do you hope to be able to achieve as a player and what are one or two things you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?  

Jordan: “I want to win the conference championship as well as states and I practice hitting and fielding for game-like situations, but in the end, I just want to improve as a baseball team and to just help the team by doing whatever they need from me.”

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from, and who do you feel helps you when you play?

Jordan: “I think that my dad helps me a lot when he tells me what things in the game I  did well ,and Derek Jeter because I model my game after him and I watch  him in order to help me improve on different techniques, and he plays the same position as me so I look up to him as a role model.”

Q: What is your role on the team and how much experience do you have playing baseball?

Jordan: “I’ve been playing baseball pretty much my whole life and my role on our team is to do whatever I can to help the team and to own up to my responsibilities on the field as the starting shortstop.”

Q: How are you doing transitioning from the JV Baseball team last year in eighth grade to this year’s varsity team, and what are some advantages and disadvantages of your transition?

Jordan: “I think everything is pretty neutral for the most part, but I do like the fact that I get to face better competition, which in my opinion, makes me better in the long run. This could also be my only disadvantage as well because everything goes up a level; players are bigger, stronger, faster, and much more athletic.”

Basketball teams: Season Overview

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By: Nicholas Gentry, Staff Writer

This season, the boys basketball team ended with a 11-15 record and the girls basketball team ended with a 5-16 record.  This is the story of their seasons.

During Winter Break, when the girls varsity basketball started the season, 29 student athletes took a trip to Florida, participated in a tournament, and spent time in Orlando theme parks.  The girls’ record at the tournament was two wins and one loss.

“I thought it went really, really well.  We lost a very close game to Auburn, Louisiana; first game, and then after that we played two games, in which we beat Boston and New York.  Basketball wise it went really, really well,” girls basketball coach Warren Kempf said.

Kempf said, “I think they really enjoyed the trip from a social standpoint as well.  They stuck together a lot.”

Coming out of the tournament, in the regular season the girls won against Dale twice and Bath County.  Despite their hard work, they had tough losses against Monacan, Midlothian, Alleghany, Huguenot, Manchester, Bird, Cosby, and Woodbridge.

The boys varsity basketball team also attended the tournament in Florida. They finished with a 1-2 record.

Nigel Lee, shooting guard on the team, is responsible for being on the wing and being ready to catch the ball and shoot, and penetrate the lane, or passing it out to the corner.

“It was a long trip.  It was good…It was good being with the guys.  It was good for the team playing against other teams outside Virginia and around the country,” Lee said.

Coming out of the tournament, in the regular season the team won against the following teams: Monacan, Midlothian, Dale, Monacan again, Midlothian again, Clover Hill, and Dale again.  The team lost against Wythe, Clover Hill, Mcluer, Cosby, Manchester, Bird, Wythe again, Cosby again, Glenvar, and Cosby again.  Three of the players on the team agree that the best game was senior night against Midlothian on February 6, 2015. James River won 64-59.

“There were a lot of people there and they were cheering really loud.  It was hype,” Lee said.

Quintrell Chung, Nygel Lee, Ryan Ott, Andrew Knight, Mohammed Diallo, Isaiah Christmas, Quinn Stevens, and Nolan Lipscomb were the seniors honored at the game.

Bryan Pinney is a junior on the team. He shared his feelings about the season.

“We did pretty good.  Yeah we did pretty good [this season]… but we lost a couple close games.  I think we exceeded expectations.  We were supposed to finish last, but we came in I think third in the region.  Um, I really like when we were like at home,” Pinney said.

Quintrell Chung agreed.

“We did well.  We had some tough games down in Florida.  I think the expectation was to win state championships like every year.  It would have been tough to do it, but I think we could’ve still done it.  I think I worked hard to make the best of senior year.  We played really well as a team this year and pulled together as the season went on,” Chung said.

After the season was over, Lee thought the team “exceeded expectations, but we didn’t exceed the expectations we set for ourselves which is to win state championship.”  Each year they’re getting closer and closer to state champions.