Leadership Program

UPDATED: 13th Annual Food Drive ends Monday

Posted on Updated on

By: Dylan Lepore, Staff Writer

The 13th annual Hokies vs. Hoos Food Drive to benefit the local Feedmore food bank is in full swing and will be ending Monday, February 13th, after an extension given on Friday, February 10th. The cans that students gather are desperately needed for donations to give to families and kids in need who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

JRHS plays a big part in supporting the city-wide revile between Virginia Tech and UVA to see who can raise the most food for the Central Virginia Food Bank. It is especially important in late winter when donations are drastically low.

“The Food Bank is in desperate need of the following items: peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, low sodium vegetables, fruits packed in juice, pasta sauce (no glass), canned or dry beans, hot and cold cereal, and whole grain snack.  (Please, no ramen noodles!),” Principal Dr. Jennifer Coleman said in the JRHS Newsletter.

Each class is competing for privileges and many teachers are giving their own incentives to students. The winning grade level will earn the senior privileges of leaving early on Fridays for five weeks following the Food Fight. They will also earn two days of both lunches, dates TBD. Last year the juniors won, so it’s possible for the seniors to lose their privileges for five weeks.

“What we are doing is a grain of sand on the beach. Kids are starving, we can’t be the problem but the solution,” social studies teacher Shannon Castelo said.

Cans from English classes are collected and taken to the library each period. Photo by Eva Dorn.

In addition, one thing to consider would be this from FeedingAmerica.org: “No One Can Thrive on an Empty Stomach, 42 million people face hunger in the U.S. today — including nearly 13 million children and more than five million seniors. Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including your own.”

The new incentives that were added on Wednesday, February 8th are: if seniors raise 2,400 cans (which is lower than they made last year) they can keep all their senior privileges. Also if the student body works together to come up with 7,100 cans everyone will get O.N.E Lunch for five weeks. As of this Wednesday, we have raised 3,700 cans, and if every student brought in two cans, we would reach that goal.
Last year we gained 7,000 donated food items and $1,500 in cash for a total of over 20,000 meals, and we have won the competition every year. The cans are being collected by the English teachers and placed in the library. Help beat last year’s earning and provide for your community by bringing in cans!

Bolded text reflects update on Friday, February 10th.


Discussing discrimination at school: Lauren Knouse discusses her heartfelt Capstone

Posted on

By: Eva Dorn, Online Editor 2016-2017

In the main hallway you may see something new: Lauren Knouse’s Capstone, which focuses on the issues of discrimination. The project displays the faces of JRHS students and quotes about their experiences or opinions about discrimination.

“My inspiration for my project was a TED Talk that Mr.Couillard showed in class about the Inside Out Project by JR,” Knouse said.

The Inside Out project promotes diversity through photography and art. The project takes several pictures of people in an area and displays them in a public place. A popular Inside Out project was on display in 2013 at Times Square, the project represented all the people in the boroughs of New York by pasting photos of New Yorkers all over the street.

“The pictures are raising awareness of diversity here because everyone thinks that James River is a ‘rich white kid’ school, but we host one of the largest ESOL [programs] in the county. If we walk out of our comfort zone and our little groups, we can see just how diverse this school really is,” Knouse said.

Knouse’s Capstone features many portraits of JRHS students to show diversity. Photo by Eva Dorn

Knouse gathered the quotes and stories from students by going class to class and asking for people to anonymously write down their stories and thoughts about discrimination.

“It’s so crazy to think that some of these stories that I collected were too graphic or disturbing for me to put up on the walls. It really opened up my perspective to what people go through every day,” Knouse said.

Knouse’s capstone features many anonymous quotes about discrimination and racism. Photo by Eva Dorn

Knouse is passionate about spreading the conversation of diversity and racism in our society, but it was challenging finding a sensitive way to discuss such issues.
“I feel like this project is a way of opening up the conversation of race and discrimination without shoving it down people’s throats,” Knouse said.

Knouse presents a clear message through her photos and quotes. Photo by Eva Dorn

JRHS cooperates for NICU

Posted on

By: Karla Llano Reyes, Staff Writer

The month of November our community is coming together to support National Prematurity Awareness month by helping out Bon Secours St. Francis NICU and donating money during lunch. NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and it’s where they help babies that are premature or are ill.

NICU Helping Hands is a fundraiser that helps out parents who need supplies for their babies and these things are bought from a wish list that the nurses suggest.

I’ve had friends and family who were preemies and talking to their mothers, I learned how unprepared they were,” senior Kiana Goulding said. “So I toured Bon Secours St. Francis NICU and learned that all preemie moms faced this problem and I was inspired to help.”

This fundraiser is Goulding’s Leadership Capstone project and she has volunteers help her out.

Volunteers are coming from Leadership, National Honor Society and Beta Club,” Goulding said.

This fundraiser raises money to buy supplies for the babies once the event ends.

Once the fundraising is completed, the profits will be used to purchase the items,” Goulding said. “These items include preemie onesies, pajamas, receiving blankets, baby toiletries, journals, children’s books, activity books and crayons, These items will then be delivered to the NICU who will then distribute to the families.”

The Baby Bottle Drive will take place during lunch which is when students can go and give money to support NICU.

“Volunteers will be going around the school during lunch and collecting spare change in baby bottles,” Goulding said.

This fundraiser will last until Tuesday, November 24th.Go out and help out the NICU by donating money during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Student vs. faculty game raises money for Roarty scholarship

Posted on Updated on

By: Kendall Johnson, Opinions Editor

The student vs. faculty field hockey game took place Thursday, October 8th at The Swamp. As part of her Leadership Capstone, senior Emma Touchette coordinated the event to raise money for the Carrie Monroe Roarty Scholarship fund. Teachers that played included Mr. Hannum, Mr. Addison, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Manley, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Crane. Despite an all-star team of teachers, they lost to the students 6-2. The event raised approximately $2,700 through ticket sales, concessions, T-shirt sales, and donations.

Battling for the crown

Posted on Updated on

By Cana Wilson, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 13th, many of James River’s gentlemen gathered in the theatre to compete for the Mr. James River crown. The competitors showcased their talents by dancing, singing, playing an instrument and many other acts. The proceeds benefitted the John Titus Scholarship, and was Liz Candler’s Capstone project. The winner of the pageant was junior Noah Blevins, who twirled glow “strings” as his talent. Check out our photo gallery below!

A contestant played the French horn as his act.
A contestant played the French horn as his act.
mr james river judges
The judges of the night: English teacher Laura Stewart, former principal Mr. John Titus, and alum Aaron Kurz.
mr james river twirl
A competitor introduces his escort by twirling him around .


mr james river winner
The winner of the Mr. James River pageant, who performed with glow strings, shows his winning pride.
mr james river hosts
The emcees of the night entertain the audience with their numerous jokes.


Supporting a cause through laughter therapy

Posted on Updated on

By: Maegan Hall, Photo Editor

For his Capstone project, senior Rohan Aibara thought of doing a Comic Relief night. Aibara chose to support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after reading about laughter therapy and how it helps patients with cancer become more positive.

“I found myself reading the page for St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital about laughter therapy and how that’s used to help cancer patients there recuperate with some depression or even just helping them get by day by day. Laughter therapy is actually a form of medicine,”  Aibara said.

Comedians from Comedysportz Improv, Micah White, and Allen Lucas are scheduled to perform at the event. All the comedians are performing without pay to support the cause.

“I was thinking ‘I can get these people from Comedy Central  to come over and get some local comedians as well’ and then I slowly started realizing I would have to pay a lot of money for a lot of comedians. Being a comedian is a full time job. [It’s] hard because you don’t know when your next gig is and you don’t know how much you’re going to get paid. They are always looking out for a paid event and not many of them are willing to commit to a volunteering event, even if it is for a good cause because they don’t know if they’re gonna have another offer come up on the same date where they could get paid” Aibara said.

To help support St. Jude and support local comedians, come to the James River Theatre on Friday March 20th and Saturday, March 21st. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. both nights and costs $5 per seat each night. To get your tickets make a reservation at www.rohanaibara.wix.com/comicreliefjrhs and pay for the tickets at the door.

Students encouraged to donate to recycled books sale

Posted on

By Cana Wilson, Staff Writer

Belle Cifu has created a book drive for James River students that lasts from now to Monday, December 1st.

Students can drop off gently used books for her Leadership Capstone at the collection bin near the main office. The sale will be held at the Winter Concerts, December 10th and 11th.

Cifu came up with the idea of the used book drive this summer while she was planning her Leadership Capstone, “Rapids Going Green.”

“I was inspired by the Used Book sale my elementary school, Robious Elementary, holds every year, as well as a small lending “Take-One-Leave-One” library that I frequent at the beach over the summer. From both, I’ve learned that there’s something really special about donating a read book to a fellow bookworm and there’s a ton of environmental benefits to reusing old books,” said Cifu.

Cifu enjoys going to used book sales and decided she would do one for our school because she knew they were pretty successful.

“ I think as long as I get the word out, people will support the sale. So far, I haven’t collected as many books/other items as I’d hoped, but there’s still a few more weeks,” said Cifu.

Students can also donate DVD’s, CD’s, puzzles, board games, cards, computer games, comic books. Please donate to this great cause.