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Today at Blue Ridge School, there are many great reasons to be excited. In January, I was honored to announce the promotion of Dr. Kevin Miller to the position of Associate Headmaster for Academics (you will read more about him in an article on page nine). A beloved BRS teacher who honed his curricular expertise at UVA’s renowned Curry School of Education, Dr. Miller is the perfect addition to the strong management team we now have in place. Energy is high among school leaders as we plan new course offerings, expand athletic, art and music programming, and increase the use of technology in classrooms.

The mission of Blue Ridge School has never before been more needed. BRS is one of only two all-boys, all-boarding, college-preparatory schools in the United States. That combination is highly valued by parents and the reasons why are clear: Blue Ridge has a Learning Model and curriculum tailored to address boys’ specific learning needs. Our teachers are skilled at connecting with students, forming strong, mentoring relationships that enable an individualized approach in classes of nine students. With any good idea, success is in the execution. Our teachers apply boys-specific teaching methodologies in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities: Hands-on learning ­— US History teacher Vinton Bruton invited Civil War re-enactors to campus to teach about the life of Civil War soldiers. The boys loaded and fired black powder charges from a rifled-musket, marched in formation, and tried on uniforms to bring historic battles to life. They also staged a Civil War camp by Cabin Lake where students cooked and ate meals common to soldiers, then spent the night in the cabin.

Product-based learning & role playing — read about Mr. Peter Bonds’ Twitter experiment on page five. Rites of passage and stretching comfort zones — read about Corey Woods’ Desolation Canyon rafting adventure with eight students on page 15.


The BRS Learning Model relies on the strong connection between student and teacher, young man and mentoring adult. At present, only 65% of our faculty is able to live on campus. It is my highest priority to build more homes on campus to increase blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

the opportunities for daily interactions between our boys and their teachers outside of the classroom. Towards this end, our Advancement Team is leading a project called the BRS Faculty Commons and I invite you to read more about this project on page 17.

Planning and fund raising for another important capital project - the Baron Athletic Complex – is underway and will transform our lower fields and main entrance. For more than a decade, our track has been in a state of disrepair. The Baron Athletic Complex will feature a multi-purpose stadium turf field, eight-lane track, three competition-quality practice fields, and a riverside pavilion to host community events. Our Advancement Team has begun seeking funding for this initiative and I am pleased that several generous donors have already joined the effort. Assembly announcements from College Counselor Carrie Woods are routine these days; naming colleges into which our students have gained admission: Sewanee - University of the South, NYU, Drexel, LoyolaMarymount, and George Washington University. At this early stage, well over half of our seniors know where they’ll be studying next year. As we approach Commencement in a short three months, we feel somewhat conflicted - proud that BRS will send off another successful alumni class, yet sad this group of young gentlemen, with whom we’ve all become so close, will have concluded their careers as BRS students. It is a time of optimism and excitement at Blue Ridge School. I invite you to come see this for yourself – please know that you are welcome to drop by campus and my office anytime. Sincerely, Trip Darrin



Winter 2012



Defining Driven


Clearing the Way The new BRS Gateway Trails System Faculty profile of School Counselor Markley Anderson

Welcome Back Dr. Miller


History, Science, and Adventure on the Green River


Interview with new Associate Headmaster Kevin Miller

BRS Desolation Canyon rafting expedition

ni Week lum


Faculty Commons and Battle House repurposing


Milestones at Blue Ridge


Blue Ridge International Travelers

Alumni share stories from their travels abroad


Ashley Smith

Writers & Contributors


John Hetzel Ashley Smith Cory Woods


Acting Headmaster


From the Acting Headmaster Around Campus Post Season Updates Alumni Notes In Memoriam Annual Fund Update


Pete Bonds Franklin Daniels Daniel Dunsmore John Hetzel Jamie Miller ’94 Ashley Smith Cory Woods Photography

Trip Darrin


Recap of 2011 and new events and programming for 2012

d 2012

Alumni Weekend



Chairman, Board of Trustees

Jean Hart

President, Alumni Council

James Moore ’75

1 3 12 21 25 26

President, Parents’ Association

Cynthia Weldon

BLUE RIDGE SCHOOL St. George, Virginia 22935 Switchboard: 434.985.2811


COVER: Dr. Kevin Miller assists Scott Sullivan ’13 in the Fishburne Learning Center. BACK COVER: Ridge Rowdies Patrick Googe ’12, Spencer Achtymichuk ’12, and Chris Hickman ’12 cheer on the Barons at BRS vs. STAB football game.

Blue Ridge School admits qualified young men of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. Blue Ridge School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial assistance and loan programs, athletic, and other administered programs. 2

around CAMPUS

Honoring Years of Service 40 years

John Young Chair of the English Department

10 years

Stacy Aylor Business Office Manager Marcia Kozloski Chair of the Foreign Language Department

5 years

Thomas Colbert Assistant Headmaster for Resources William “Trip” Darrin Acting Headmaster Jamie Miller ’ 94 Alumni Director Louise Morris Admissions Office Manager David Welty Visual Art Teacher

Fall Parents’ Weekend The weekend of October 28-30, 2011 the BRS Parents’ Council held its annual Silent Auction. Under the leadership of Parents’ Association President Cynthia Weldon, mother of Chris ’12, parent and faculty volunteers gathered a number of great trips, art, gift baskets, and more for attendees’ consideration. The fund raising results from the weekend were outstanding – raising close to $20,000 this year. The funds raised from the Silent Auction go to the Parents’ Council Fund which is used to enhance the Blue Ridge experience for our students throughout the year.

The New York Auxiliary Blue and White Ball

Board of Trustee Transitions Dr. Barbara Harty-Golder, alumni parent from Tennessee, and Jane Steves, alumni parent from Texas, both retired from Blue Ridge School’s Board of Trustees in the Fall of 2011 after serving nine-year terms.

Robert B. Livy, who served on the BRS Board of Trustees since 2002, died peacefully April 23, 2011 after a brief illness. Mr. Livy was a lifelong resident of Richmond, Virginia, and communicant of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He taught at the Collegiate School for Boys for 24 years. His relationship with BRS began early in his teaching career; he served as Robert B. Livy English teacher and Aquatics Director for BRS’s summer programs for 20 years. He was member of the Torch Club of Richmond, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Commonwealth Club, Country Club of Virginia and Farmington Country Club.

New members of the Board for the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012 are: William S. Carver II’ 75, from Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Dr. David Hamer, current parent of Jack ’12, from Charlottesville, VA; Lana Ingram, alumni parent, from Fredericksburg, Virginia; and D. Page Sullenberger, alumni parent, from Orange, Virginia. 3

blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Assistant Head for Enrollment Don Smith, his wife Bonnie, Karen Fink, wife of Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin (far right) at the 2012 Blue and White Ball.

The New York Auxiliary hosted, yet again, another enjoyable and successful gala. The 2012 Blue and White Ball, chaired by Kelly Harris and Holly Hunt, was attended by nearly 140 guests, and honored BRS’s former Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael G. Boswell, parent of Daniel ’01, for his many contributions of both time and treasure. Mr. Boswell, who now serves as an Advisory Trustee, was presented a one-of-a-kind pair of cufflinks, hand engraved with the Blue Ridge School seal.

The event, which included a fabulous silent auction and “yard sale,” raised over $45,000 to support the construction of Blue Ridge School’s new Track and Field Center. Stephanie Landess, formally of Christie’s, led the “yard sale” in which yards of the track were auctioned. Ball Co-chairs Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Hunt look forward to once again supporting the track and field initiative in 2013 to reach their goal of raising a total of $100,000.

Save the Date! Next year’s Blue and White Ball will be held Saturday, January 26, 2013.







New International Programming Part of our students’ experience at Blue Ridge School is meeting students from all over the world; this year, BRS has students from 19 states and 17 countries. International Student Coordinator/Admissions Associate Alanna Pardee, a new addition to the BRS faculty and staff, has taken great care to increase awareness of international cultures. “Diversity is a great strength for boarding schools. For both domestic and international students, it is an opportunity to learn about other cultures, and create lasting friendships with someone from across the globe,” Ms. Pardee commented. Throughout the fall trimester and winter trimesters, Ms. Pardee has planned several international days to showcase cultures and perspectives from varying regions of the world. In the early fall, she and Spanish teacher/Student Activities Coordinator Krystle Roach planned an extravagant World Food Day in which foods from each of the 17 countries represented at BRS were available to try. Students enjoyed snacks such as wasabi peas and dumplings from Japan and pancakes from Russia. “Food is such an important part of culture,” stated Ms. Pardee. “And with boys, I’ve learned that providing food is

1 Jackson Maloney ’12 enjoying Chinese specialties during the Chinese New Year celebration. 2 Teams paddle across the lake during the annual Broken Back Challenge - a swim, canoe, bike, and run race around campus. Science teacher Brandon Deane and look 3 alike Gray McAllister ’12 on “dress like your favorite teacher day” during Spirit Week. 4 Faculty and students growing mustaches in November in support of “Movember” - the men’s health awareness campaign. 5 Mayn Francisco ’12 practicing a song that he composed during Intro to Keyboard, a new class offered this year.

one of the most effective ways to get them to participate in something.”

Food also played a starring role during West African Day when several students from West African countries helped prepare and serve some of their favorite foods from home for lunch. Students were also treated to a special performance by a Congolese dance group. Most recently, to ring in the Lunar New Year (celebrated throughout Asian cultures) Ms. Pardee teamed up with Ms. Roach again to plan a number of fun events over the 15-day holiday. “It was fun to share some of history and culture with my classmates during the (West African Cultural) day,” Prefect Ben Nyavor ’12, originally from Ghana, said with a broad smile. “To see Mr. Fehlner and other teachers learning tribal dances in morning assembly was so funny.” “As International Student Coordinator I work to keep our international parents connected with the School and serve as a liaison for the students and parents. Getting to plan and execute these educational and international activities was so rewarding. I can’t wait to expand what we do next year,” added Ms. Pardee. 4

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Lessons that Relate

Having a venue to showcase people’s creative works, such as writing and visual art, is critically important. High school sports teams practice all week to have their performance publically viewed at a game; a theater group rehearses for months for their performance to be judged by an audience; writers and artists put time and effort into honing their craft, but unlike sporting events or performing arts, they often have no venue for it to be shared. Their good works are handed into teachers to be graded, stuffed into a book bag, or forgotten in the art room. “NO MORE,” cried Dan Dunsmore who, along with some motivated students, has revived the BRS literary magazine this year.

Lesson plans at Blue Ridge School include more than the teacher standing in the front of the classroom lecturing to a group of seated students. Over the past several years, our teachers have been taking research about how boys learn best and implementing it in the classroom. Research shows that boys retain more information and are more apt to be engaged if teachers utilize techniques like creating a product or role playing.

The history of Blue Ridge School’s literary magazine is fragmented. We know of a collection called Impressions, published in 1990 and 1991. Surely Impressions was published in other years, and it is highly likely other similar collections of student creativity were published throughout the School’s history, but in 1998, when Mr. Dunsmore arrived on campus there was no such publication at Blue Ridge School so he took it on. From 1999 to 2002, the Pegasus literary magazine included collections of student-created short stories, poems, essays, paintings, photography, etc. Alas, other opportunities at Blue Ridge precluded Mr. Dunsmore’s ability to publish this literary magazine after 2002 so the literary magazine has lain dormant since then. This year, Mr. Dunsmore, who has returned to the classroom full time after positions in the Advancement Office the past 12 years, is proudly bringing back a literary magazine – this time by way of a club. Club members for 2011-2012 are Peter Dozal ’15, Harrison Gant ’14, Jack Rios-Brooks ’14, Jack Ulin ’12, Daniel Vettichira ’15, Alex Yang ’12 and Koray Zeytinci ’14. Faculty coordinators are Franklin Daniels, Kyle Gardner, John Hartnett, and Mr. Dunsmore. The Club made a unanimous decision that this new magazine was deserving of a new name. After some debate, the name of this year’s publication will be Fortior.

“When I met with this year’s club members the initial discussion was to change the name to something that would capture the importance of creativity in the world,” explained Mr. Dunsmore. “The expression ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ was bandied about. Thus, this year’s edition will be called Fortior. In true teacher fashion, I’ll let the readers explore in what special way the word ‘fortior’ relates to the quotation.”

“Fortior” will be available online in May 2012.

In Peter Bonds’ history class, as students are studying the Age of Enlightenment in European History. To use role playing Mr. Bonds assigned each student to assume the role of a major Enlightenment figure such as John Locke, Voltaire, or Isaac Newton. Students then created Twitter accounts using their selected Enlightenment character and began tweeting about topics assigned in class. Mr. Bonds and the class follow each other, asking and answering questions based on how they believe their Enlightenment character would respond. Students conducted research to determine how their person would have reacted to certain questions or topics posed by Mr. Bonds.

“It has allowed them to demonstrate their knowledge in a witty and fun manner,” commented Mr. Bonds. “It has been fun as a teacher to see tweets go up at all hours of the day and night from students who normally would not be thinking about European History at that time of the day.”

Enlightening Tweets

Joe Randall ’14 as the enlightened Austrian Emperor, Joseph II @joseph_2 Right now about to lay off a lot of nuns and priests. Maybe getting rid of the church’s influence will help my people advance @joseph_2 I wonder, getting rid serfdom, good idea or bad? hmmm I think I’ll get rid of serfdom. Jared Arntzen ’13 as French philosopher Rene Descartes:

@RenedeSMARTes I’m the father of modern philosophy #getonmylevel

Jimmy Fleck ’14 as English philosopher John Locke: @JohnLockeWH Not only did I support the natural rights of man, but i also greatly influenced the change to more democratic governments across Europe Jack Rios-Brooks ’14 as English Philosopher Thomas Hobbes: @ThomasHobbes223 Today, Singapore is the probably the closest to a perfect execution of a centralized government like I envisioned in my book Leviathan Nana Ohemeng-Tinayase ’14 as French philosopher Baron de Montesqueieu: @le_Montesquieu Do you know why America is so great today my good sir? Because of my philosophy of the separation of powers #fyi


blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Clearing the Way Blue Ridge School’s new Gateway Trails System gives riders an opportunity to explore the mountain in a new way. by Ashley Smith

Blue Ridge School was honored to receive support from The Walton Family Foundation for a two-phase initiative to improve its mountain bike trails and program. The initiative is led by BRS alumnus Tom Walton ’02, BRS Outdoor Program Director Tony Brown, and an Arkansas-based firm Progressive Trail Design. The first phase of the initiative was to build the Gateway Trails, a multi-faceted, two mile long trail that circles the perimeter of the School’s main campus. The trail is designed for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking, and builds on the modest existing network of trails on the School’s 751 acre campus. It will appeal to users with a wide range of skill levels. The design celebrates the natural beauty of the BRS campus, while offering maximum value to BRS athletic and outdoor programs, peer schools, and to the surrounding community.

Photos and trail map by Progressive Trail Design

The crew worked over a five week period to mark-off the entire course and clear a 3-4’ wide path. “We are crafting the trail to incorporate the natural terrain and contours to give it a rhythm and flow like a moving stream,” said Project Manager Clayton Woodruff from Progressive Trail Design. Despite the rugged terrain surrounding the campus, the architects are intentionally avoiding any steep rises or drops so that a rider could circle the trail without applying breaks or changing gears.

The Blue Ridge School Gateway Trail Two mile trail around campus 3-4 foot-wide machine built path Designed for new to intermediate riders Alternate lines (north and south) for building technical skills and more advanced riders

The design allows for proper water drainage which won’t interfere with the environment and will prevent the trail from being washed out. As part of this initial phase, Progressive Trail Design has conducted a comprehensive inventory and assessment of the existing 10.25 miles of trails in order to develop a master design for the School’s entire trail system. “The Gateway Trail is going to be a great addition to Blue Ridge School’s campus, Outdoor Education Program, and mountain bike team” commented Director of Outdoor Education Programs and Dean of Students Tony Brown. “Our current trail system is mostly single track with steep climbs and difficult terrain -- great for advanced riders, but not ideal to introduce new mountain bikers to the sport. This will be a

great opportunity not only for our students but for the surrounding community to discover the life-long sport of biking.” Plans are underway to continue to expansion of the Gateway Trails System; expansion ideas include creating training areas where riders can learn bike handling and balance skills in an open, flat environment, and also, to potentially create a 1.5 mile, downhill “flow trail” from the top of the School’s property down to its main campus -- an approximate 1,000 ft. elevation drop. BRS founded its mountain biking team program nine years ago and joined Virginia’s first USA Cycling sanctioned high school series – the Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series (VAHS MTB). View the trail video at 6

The brilliance within the faculty ranks is generally concealed by a humble and straightforward demeanor that characterizes Blue Ridge School. Yet, one has only to scratch beneath the surface to discover obvious excellence at the heart of each educator and administrator.

One such faculty member who demonstrates excellence is Student Counselor Markley Anderson. Mr. Anderson’s nickname around campus is “Captain America.” While there is a likeness in chiseled jaw and bulging biceps, it is really his remarkable drive, toughness, and kind heart that inspire this moniker. A former paratrooper with the famed 82nd Airborne Division, Mr. Anderson parlayed the fitness and edge from his army training into a drive to compete in diverse extreme sports like body-building, power-lifting, and motocross racing. Though he achieved a level of success that would have satisfied most with a lifetime of fond memories, including wins in each type of competition, he instead chose to further push his personal limits, branching out to expedition/adventure racing in 2003. In 2008 he began his current discipline of endurance moun7

blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

tain bike racing in which he now rides professionally sponsored by Price Point and Settee.

Since he began expedition/adventure and mountain bike racing, Mr. Anderson has competed in every level of the sport including sprints, ten-day expedition races, stage races, cross country (XC), extreme cross country (XXC) and marathon. The sport remains largely hidden from the public eye, and its competitors seem more interested in experiencing the thrill of the challenges and earning the respect of their peers than attracting personal recognition, public acclaim, or the riches associated many sports. Despite the lack of fanfare, Mr. Anderson’s achievements are truly inspirational, and no single event sums up the very essence of the man more than his successful completion of the Tour Divide this past summer (2011). This is a trek of epic proportion. The Tour Divide is the longest off-pavement race in the world. It starts in the resort town of Banff, Alberta, Canada following the route of the great continental divide south through the Canadian Rockies and across Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado before finally ending in the flatlands of New Mexico at the Mexican border. The Divide follows a line of high peaks along the main ranges of the Rocky Mountains, and by route’s end, the riders have

Sportograph and Backlight Photography

As a boarding only institution, the quality bar is intentionally set high for all Blue Ridge School faculty and staff. Their primary charge is to serve as role models for the boys during their time away from home.

The Tour Divide

covered 2,750 miles that include 200,000 feet of vertical climbing, the equivalent of summiting Everest seven times.

the heart of his battle. While their energy inspired him to beat back the demons in his head tempting him to pull out, they also beguiled him from afar as his thoughts often wandered to the quality time he was missing with family and loved ones at home. The physical and mental rigors of the Tour became so intense that he was driven to tears on occasion. It is not a surprise that fifty percent of riders that start do not finish as a result of the grueling mental and physical demands the Tour and its regulations place on entrants.

With so much stacked against him, he tapped his core instincts to persevere. “I drew a lot of energy from my family and friends,” he remembered. “And it was the little things that would make my day, like getting to stay in a hotel room for a night or riding awhile with another racer. For some reason, I had this thing for root beer floats during the race; they became my little reward whenever I got to the next town.”

Aside from the mind boggling ruggedness and sheer distance of the race, unforeseen challenges crop up during the race that would demoralize even the sternest of souls. Mr. Anderson’s Tour was marred in particular by two such incidents. In Northern Montana on a day when after pedaling 100 He was buoyed additionally rough and hilly miles, he had to with the camaraderie along push his 50 pound bike through the way of fellow riders who ten miles of knee-deep snow to rode segments with him, the reach his destination. His most kindness of strangers along the nerve-wracking experience was Tour’s route who often surin Colorado when he was forced prised him with acts of hospito wade across a rapidly movtality, and the sheer beauty and ing mountain stream lugging his drama of the rugged wilderMr. Anderson with his bike at the US/Mexico boarder after bike through ice cold, chest deep completing the 2,750 mile trek. ness throughout the length of water. The footing was treacherthe Tour. ous and it occurred to him that if he lost his balance, not only was Despite gaining the upper hand on his emotions, and conhis Tour over, but he would have to survive in the wilderness quering the monumental mountain passes of the Divide, Mr. and hike back out without any gear or supplies. In addition to Anderson found the last relatively flat miles through New such non-planned hurdles, there were nagging injuries that Mexico to the border the Tour’s toughest. The dust and desert made the daily grind that much more strenuous. In the first combined with headwinds seemed to conspire to deny him ten days, he suffered painful saddle sores, an Achilles tendon success to the very end. The end itself proved surreal; utterly issue, and a quad strain before his whole body went numb exhausted and emotionally spent, he reached the border with and he was able to push through the pain. absolutely no fanfare, just a sign and a four wheeler patrol As if the sheer physical torture of the Tour’s impossible length and roughness didn’t constitute a maniacal enough challenge, the race is also “unassisted” meaning that each rider is responsible for carrying all gear for the nearly month long trek, plotting the route, and securing necessary supplies and accommodation for successful navigation of the entire expedition. Adding insult to injury, perhaps the most difficult stipulation for entrants is the Tour’s “unsupported” restriction which forbids family, friends, and loved ones from visiting the riders during the length of the race. This personalizes the monumental struggle at hand and proves as difficult for many riders as the actual course itself.

The nagging loneliness, combined with the Sisyphean ennui of having to wake up the next morning and confront the struggle over and over again would test Mr. Anderson to the core. His very close relationship with his family and friends was at

with machine-gun toting guards. He lay on the ground like a wounded soldier waiting for a corpsman, and could finally exhale and begin to savor his success when his wife arrived shortly thereafter to scoop him up and take him back to civilization.

Six months later, the magnitude of Mr. Anderson’s accomplishment is still sinking in. Amazingly, he was back on his bike just four days after the Tour for a 40 mile ride, and raced the entire fall posting additional victories in distance races. He draws a parallel between a grueling distance race like the Tour, and a boy’s journey through Blue Ridge School, “You start with only expectations and a long trail, and as time passes, you gain experience and begin to master your mindset and ability to confront each challenge that arises along the way.” 8

Welcome Back


Dr. Miller

by Ashley Smith

pring was just around the corner when I sat down with Dr. Miller – three short weeks after he was named the Associate Headmaster for Academics at Blue Ridge School. The news was warmly welcomed by everyone – the morning it was announced in assembly, students and teachers alike stood and applauded as Dr. Miller gave a smile and a slight wave. So with the buzz of excitement still tangible in the air, I spent the day in Dr. Miller’s classroom/office in the Fishburne Learning Center speaking with him about his past experience at Blue Ridge, his return, and now his latest promotion and adventure as Associate Headmaster.


e began with his advisees, a group of eight students, sharing their plans for studying for final exams. He instructs one student, “No, I don’t

Dr. Miller agrees immediately, “Yeah, but make sure you go to that review session today, too.” One student, not his advisee, is outside in the lobby waiting

want you to study in your room tonight, come down here and

for help on a few math equations for the upcoming exam. Be-

I will go over those questions with you. We need to make sure

fore his advisees leave, he instructs them to grab NutriGrain®

you do really well on this exam.” The student nods.

bars that he has brought them. We have a moment to chat

Another asks, “Can I come back later today to go over a few things for tomorrow.” 9

blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

while his advisees look over their exam materials.

So what are your days like now as Director of the Fishburne Learning Center easing into the role as Associate Headmaster? It is this – keeping track of students, organizing them, from about 9:00 a.m. until after study hall at 10:30 p.m. I love it. I work with all the teachers, keeping up with the Learning Center students, but also just keeping track of what is happening in the departments. What are we doing that is working? What are we doing that is not working? I get to say, ‘hey, let’s try this with a certain kid.” It’s nonstop and I love it. Is it the same as when you were here the first time around?

When I came to Blue Ridge in 1993 (the same year the program was started), I was teaching science full-time and tutoring when I could find time. The next year I began working on my master’s degree at UVA’s Curry School of Education. The “Learning Center” was housed in a single classroom in the basement of the other academic wing. It was just one fulltime staff person and two of us tutoring. It was in 1997 that I became Director of the Learning Center. The need for a bigger, more robust program was obvious, and soon it became very similar to what it is today. What experience did you bring back with you that you think is going to, or already has benefitted Blue Ridge?

Since my last stint at BRS, I have had some really great experiences. When I left in 2004 to work on my PhD, I was researching visual mnemonic “tricks” or strategies for studying. While I was doing my research, I worked for two years at Curry College as a faculty member in the Program for Advancement of Learning – the country’s first college program focused on providing assistance to college-able students with specific language-based learning disabilities and/or AD/HD. I worked with some people who were on the forefront of teaching methods, but I walked away from that experience thinking mostly about metacognition and changing top-down learning. For instance, I began to recognize that it wasn’t simply developing the study skills and memory strategies; it was

Ashley Smith

I want Blue Ridge to become a magnet for other schools to come see how we intentionally structure our curriculum for adolescent boys to maximize the level of challenge – with the right amount – of support to get our graduates truly thinking.

about getting a student to recognize how they need to study and how they learn best. How do you get a student to become aware of his abilities, recognize where he needs help, and commit to a plan? We can come up with all kinds of ways for a student to remember an equation or historical figures, but what we really need to do is teach these guys the big picture of how and when to use those particular strategies. What I have been preaching for years is that studying is an individual art. I’ve learned a lot about the administrative side as well during my time at Woodlynde School, where I was director of the Upper School. I know from that experience that I still want to be heavily involved in the classroom and students’ lives.” So how are you going to achieve that balance now that you will be Associate Headmaster?

I made Trip (Darrin, Acting Headmaster) promise that I could still have two sections in the Learning Center (laughs). I laugh, but it is true. Trip and I have put together a very smart plan for how my time will be spent. I will still have direct oversight of the Learning Center, I will still have two sections in the Learning Center, but we will have another full-time Learning Center professional in here to help, and I will have the support of great faculty leaders like Matt Bennett as Academic Dean, and Tony Brown as Dean of Students.

It will be interesting to go from a very narrowly focused exercise in teaching a student how to do a quadratic equation, to walking into a curriculum meeting and thinking about big picture ideas. That is what really excites me. What else excites you about being back at Blue Ridge?

The mix of faculty is part of it; we have a good mix of veterans who keep pushing into new areas and we have new faculty who want to learn more. It’s a group of true professionals who like to talk about teaching and teaching methods, and that makes working fun. Also, I’m not stepping into a new job having to learn each person’s idiosyncrasies; I know a lot of these guys, I understand their strengths and weaknesses, and they know mine. So in that respect, we are already two steps ahead, meaning anything we want to accomplish we can 10

do that much faster.

We also have a strong administrative team that is working together to move us forward, get Blue Ridge School’s name out there, and provide the resources and support we need on the academic side. Trip and I have a great tag team approach working with the kids already.

With all that working together, I can lean on the faculty and say, ‘ok guys, let’s try something new.’

And, we have already started to see some of that happen. We have raised the bar pretty much across the board this year for our students: in the classroom, and in the dorms, behaviorally. We are asking more of them, and it is exciting that they are responding to the challenge in a positive way. You mentioned trying new things at BRS and setting the bar higher. What are your goals in the coming years?

For the long term, especially for our academic program, I want Blue Ridge to become a magnet for other schools to come see how we intentionally structure our curriculum for adolescent boys to maximize the level of challenge – with the right amount of support – to get our graduates truly thinking. There are a lot of ‘college prep’ programs that jam a lot of information in just to have it regurgitated out on the SAT, but I want our students to really be able to understand what information is, if it’s trustworthy, and how one piece of information connects with another. With the information revolution going on, to be able to intelligently and intentionally use information in the right way is much more important today, and certainly in the future, as opposed to taking in a bunch of facts and spitting it out on a test. Our guys need to be able to use their knowledge and the information out there to make their own connections and move themselves ahead.

Jim Niederberger, Marcia Kozloski, Jerry Jared, and Jamie Bourland, along with many others, and we have the new talent to get all that done. It’s good to have you back Dr. Miller.

Well, I know this is going to sound a little cliché, but I have to say it. Part of the reason I came back is the Blue Ridge alums. I have taught at five other schools, and by far Blue To do that, we need to focus on what is essential, which is Ridge boys are the most loyal alumni. After all the garbage where our current Learning Model comes into play. We spent they put me through while they were here, they are the most a lot of time examining our curriculum through the ‘lens’ of grateful when they leave. It was the best feeling to look at my the Understanding by Design approach, and now’s a good time Facebook page after I was named Associate Headmaster and to re-examine that work and take ourselves to the next level. have dozens of congratulations from alums. This place is truly something special and I couldn’t be happier to be back at this We need to build connections between the disciplines. Our Humanities program is a good example of that, but we have to juncture in the School’s history. see if there are other naturally occurring connections that we We sit for a moment talking about how social media is changcan utilize. We aren’t going to force it if they aren’t there. We ing everything, including education, but are interrupted when a want our boys to start asking the questions that will facilitate student comes in, and needs some math help. They talk through those connections between disciplines. And finally, we want a problem. Another student walks in about another math questhem to be able to use technology to share information and collaborate. tion. Dr. Miller grabs several different colored highlighters and he draws boxes and is saying things like, “this stays in this box, We understand, through research, that boys understand more when they see the big picture, and building these conseparate from that box over there.” The student’s crinkled brow nections across disciplines makes them more engaged, better smoothes and he says, “oh, I get it.” students, and better men. So, we are going to build on the “Ok, so let’s do another one,” Dr. Miller instructs. Humanities program. We are going to look at our language program and see if there are ways that we can better connect His busy day continues… our students with other cultures through language. We are going to look at our science and math courses to see if we are building connections by better sequencing of the curriculum, etc. And we are going to continue to build our already strong character education program. Thankfully I know we have veteran faculty like John Young,


blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

post season UPDATE

Ashley Smith

JV Soccer

Cross Country

Mayn Fransisco ’12

Athletics Updates by John Hetzel

Cross Country The cross country team started the fall steady with two wins head-to-head against Fishburne and Steward School. In the ensuing three invitational meets, the Barons placed fifth, second, and seventh respectively. The team was paced by the outstanding running of Braden Barrett ’12 who finished near the top of each race he entered. The team began the second half of the campaign losing its only duel meet of the season against Miller School, and went on to place sixth of seven teams at Fishburne, third of six teams at Virginia Episcopal School, and eighth of eleven teams at the VIC Championship race.

Varsity Football

The varsity football team ended the regular season with a 5-4 record. The team played inspired at times, but couldn’t quite break through against the stiffest competition losing to powerhouse Christchurch at Homecoming. The team rebounded off that experience with back-to-back wins blowing out Virginia Episcopal School on the road 39-0, and handling Atlantic Shores at home on Fall Parents’ Weekend in an overtime thriller 52-46. The Barons had a chance to knock-off St. Anne’s Belfield School in the final regular season game at home after scoring a touchdown and adding a two-point conversion to tie the game The team’s success was compromised going into the half, but could not stop the severely by the absence of star runner rushing attack of the Saints in the second Braden Barrett at the Fishburne and half succumbing 29-8. Despite the loss, Miller races. Barrett paced his teammates BRS headed to the play-offs for a rematch in each race this fall before being sideon the road against Christchurch in the lined by illness for several late season first round of the VISAA Championship meets. Ian Burgin ’14 and Daniel Vettichura where the Barons couldn’t get past the ’15 had excellent seasons for the Barons undefeated state champion Seahorses and look to lead the program in 2012. falling 41-8. Matt Kim ’12 and Chris Weldon ’12 showed marked improvement all year and anThe team was anchored on defense by chored the team when its leading runner its leading tacklers Brandon Rose ’13 and was unable to perform. Head Coach Jerry Jared Arntzen ’13, and defensive back Jared remarked, “These were the best Shawn Steen ’13 who averaged nearly an team results we have had in the last three interception per game on the season. or four seasons. I am looking forward to The offense continued to be buoyed by next year with the guys we have coming the strong running of Mayn Francisco ’12 back.” behind a solid offensive line, and saw the

Brandon Rose ’13

emergence of Lance Gray ’12 as a dangerous double threat; Lance accounted for five touchdowns, running and passing, in the Atlantic Shores victory. For his excellent performance, he was named Player of the Week by the Falcon Club, a Charlottesville community support organization. The Falcon Club also awarded Head Coach Orlando Patterson with the Walter Vickers memorial trophy as its outstanding private school coach. In addition to Coach Patterson’s award, Lance Gray ’12 was honored with the Most Valuable Player for Blue Ridge school trophy, while Mayn Francisco ’12 was honored with the Corbet King student-athlete trophy for Blue Ridge School, given his excellent work both on and off the field. Coach Patterson is looking forward to building on the success of his first season: “For a first year head coach you have great expectations and want to do everything possible for a successful season. Many team goals were met; however there is always room for improvement. The coaching staff will be headed to the drawing board to develop the best system possible to win more games. Blue Ridge football has garnered more attention than usual and a healthy group of newcomers will hopefully allow for continued success with the program.”

JV Soccer

JV soccer started the fall on a tremendous roll running its record to 4-0-2 with a major victory over Covenant. The team’s combination of speed, athleticism, and talent contributed to its aura of excel- 12

post season UPDATE

Varsity Soccer

Jacques Villars ’12

Varsity B Basketball

lence. The team’s second half of the season started on the road with a 1-1 draw against Woodberry, followed by a 4-0 win at home against Holy Cross. They suffered their only loss of the season 3-0 to Eastern Mennonite on the road before rebounding to end the autumn campaign with statement wins against Virginia Episcopal (4-0) and St. Anne’s Belfield (6-1). The boys improved all season and played like veterans featuring excellent spacing and passing combinations. Johannes Scheufele ’14 had a great fall anchoring the team at midfield. George Zhou ’13 had an outstanding season leading the team’s back line at sweeper, while offensively, forwards Nana Ohemeng-Tinyase ’14 and Juan Chang Rodriguez ’15 gave the Baron’s opponents fits. The team can be proud of its wonderful year and the future bodes well for BRS soccer with the superior talent and teamwork its underclassmen showed all season.

JV Basketball

round of the VIC Tournament, the team fell behind the eventual champions Holy Cross early and could not recover before bowing out 3-0. The team will surely benefit from the plethora of game experience its underclassmen received, and will return many of its starters for the 2012 fall campaign. Veteran midfielder Sung Bin Choi ’13 was selected as a first team VIC conference all-star.

Indoor Lacrosse

Indoor lacrosse is a new sport coached by varsity lacrosse Coach Kyle Gardner. The team mostly practices inter-squad and conditions for the upcoming spring campaign, though the team did attend the one local indoor event on the calendar, the fifth annual ACAC Indoor LaX Games. The Barons entered two teams in the draw which for time constraints were put in the same group. BRS 2 played well in the round robin of the tournament failing to advance to the semis by tie-break criteria against STAB The varsity soccer team finished its 2 (St. Anne’s Belfield), a team they beat regular season 6-8-1. The young squad head-to-head. BRS 1 swept all three suffered a mid-season swoon losing four games of the group round, then won a consecutive matches before salvaging tight game in the semi-finals against Ala 1-1 tie at home against Shenandoah bemarle High School, going on to defeat Valley Academy to reverse its fortunes. STAB 1 for the title, 12-11. Barons Chase The boys rode the momentum from that Fraser ’13, Tanner Fisher ’12, and Nick Voso comeback draw to a 2-1 road win at ’12 were all named to the tournament Virginia Episcopal that got the team beall-star team, and Chase Fraser was also lieving in itself. The Barons then traveled named tournament MVP. to top-seeded Northcross for the first round of the VIC Tournament and played perhaps their finest match of the year shocking the Raiders 2-1. In the second The indoor soccer team had an excellent

Varsity Soccer

Indoor Soccer


blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

winter season tallying a 13-4 record in five events held at Collegiate School. The team featured balanced scoring and slick passing and was ably coached by Chris Rehm and Matt Martindale. Standouts included Shawn Steen ’13, Sung Bin Choi ’13, Ben Cole ’12, Johannes Scheufele ’14 and Jimmy Fleck ’14. Coach Martindale recounts “I’m very proud of our boys this season. Although we were all disappointed to go out in the semi-finals, our boys really came together as a team. We improved on defense, passing, and supporting. We’ll be back to contend for the Valentine’s Classic trophy next year.”

Varsity Wrestling

Varsity wrestling had a challenging season; gaps in weight classes throughout Coach Fehlner’s squad made it tough to compete in many head-to-head events where missing weight classes count as losses. Despite the absence of team wins, many Baron wrestlers distinguished themselves with excellent campaigns, including Marcelo Lopez ’15 and Nathan Johnson ’14 who each placed fourth at the VIC Championships. Torian Pegram ’14 had a fine season before missing the State Championship due to illness. BRS was represented at the State Championship meet by Marcelo Lopez and Jacques Villars ’12.

JV Basketball

JV basketball had a great season ending with an impressive 10-5 overall record. Mid-season they rebounded from a three

Indoor Soccer

game losing streak with an impressive, 81-48 win over United Christian Academy. After that decisive victory, Coach Weinkiopff’s team went on a seven game win streak they carried to the VIC play offs. The Barons traveled to Lynchburg for the VIC semi-final against Virginia Episcopal School. Trailing by ten with just a minute to go, Blue Ridge resorted to fouding and actually managed to trim the Bishops’ lead to three points. With seconds left in the game, Cal Ramsey ’15 took the last three point attempt, but it rimmed out ending the comeback 63-60 and a great season for the Barons. The team was paced by the scoring of Sam Kalinski ’13, Cal Ramsey, and Koray Zeytinci ’14 and the great defense and all-around play of Dima Ferreira ’15 and Cody Pegram ’13.

Varsity B Basketball

Blue Ridge School’s varsity B basketball team opened the season with a strong win on the road against Woodberry Forest. Coach Vinton Bruton’s squad then lost a heartbreaker at home in overtime against Fishburne in a game where the Barons led by double digits until late in the fourth quarter. The team had trouble getting back on track after the holiday break, dropping three straight games. But the boys were able to turn it around and put together a three game winning streak of their own to even their record to 4-4. The next game at home against Tandem,

Jarod Williams ’13 makes a play over Miller at their final match-up

the Barons came up one point short, and the team’s season ended rather anti-climactically with a forfeit win on the road against Wakefield. Varsity B was led by Lance Gray ’12, Cody Pegram ’13, and Sando Feng ’13 who all also spent some time on the varsity team. Rod Williams ’12, Sam Kalinski ’13, Joey Hsu ’12, and Braden Barrett ’12 also started games for the team and contributed significantly throughout the season. Coach Bruton’s take on the season, “this group was fun to coach. Lance Gray and Rod Williams proved to be great leaders who kept our intensity level high. We improved a lot during the course of the year, proving to be a resilient team that did not quit and that played well together.”

Varsity Basketball

The Barons varsity basketball team had another outstanding season starting on a roll, posting six straight wins including triumphs over conference rivals Virginia Episcopal School and Woodberry Forest. The team then hit a rough stretch where they faced some tough post-graduate teams and came up short in three straight games: to New Hampton and Calvert Hall in the Mercer Classic Tournament, and to Massanutten Military Academy’s post-graduate team in the Chance Harmon Tournament. Coach Ramsey’s squad used the experience of playing against bigger and older competition as motivation through the remainder of their season. The team

Coach Ramsey celebrated his 300th win this season

improved its record to 20-7. Perhaps most notable this season was the BRS’s triumphs over archrival Miller School. Blue Ridge faced Miller four times – twice in the regular season, again in the VIC Championship, and finally in the quarter final round of the VISAA Tournament. Each game verse the Mavericks was a close match coming down to the final seconds. Their final match up at the VISAA quarter final was decided by one point in a thrilling double overtime. The team traveled to Virginia State University in Petersburg for the VISAA Final Four, but did not overcome the eventual tournament champions Paul VI. Coach Ramsey’s squad was marked by the balanced scoring of Ahmad Fields ’13, Jarod Williams ’13, and Darryl Smith ’13, and the leadership of 6’7” forward/center Kyprianos “Paris” Maragkos ’12. Maragkos, who hails from Athens, Greece, has signed a letter of intent with George Washington University, and was a force inside. The additional inside force was Corbyn Jackson ’14. Also notable this year is Coach Ramsey’s 300th win as head coach; the victory, won during the second meeting of BRS and Miller by just one point, makes Ramsey the winningest coach in Blue Ridge School athletics’ history. BRS congratulates him and proudly celebrates his remarkable achievement. 14

Ashley Smith

Varsity Basketball

by Cory Woods

Following in the wake of John Wesley Powell:

The BRS Desolation Canyon Rafting Expedition, July 2011

In 1869 John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War major turned university professor and adventurer, led an expedition down the Colorado River to explore the last “blank spot” on the map of North America – the Grand Canyon. Powell and his motley crew began their journey on the Green River in Wyoming with the hope of discovering places no others had seen. Powell, while on the Green River, described the canyon landscape as “a place of wildest desolation.”

142 years later, in the summer of 2011, Blue Ridge students Tate Coley ’14, Patrick Googe ’12, Sam Kalinski ’13, Brannon Schmidt ’12, Mason Schmidt’13, and Erich Senning ’12, along with Visual Arts teacher David Welty and I ventured to Utah for an expedition of our own – down 84 miles of river through the canyon which bears Powell’s description – Desolation Canyon. The eight person crew met in Salt Lake City, Utah July 6th. The next day we drove across central Utah through the lush alpine Wasatch Mountains to the seemingly barren desert of Uinta Basin. Once off the highway, the adventure began. Deeper and steeper the road became, until the poor rental van was no longer on a road, but a river bed. This river bed, thanks to an intense afternoon monsoon, soon became a river and we were at our destination – Sand Wash, river runners’ gateway to Desolation Canyon.

Desolation Canyon, as the name implies, comprises a vast wilderness nearly unrivaled in its remoteness by any other track in the United States. The canyon’s ecosystem and history provide an interesting case study in public land management. This stretch of the Green River, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, is the largest chunk of federal land in the lower 48 states not protected by National Park, Wild and Scenic, or Wilderness designations. It was once home to the relatively undocumented Fremont Indian culture, whose lone mark on the earth are the scattered petroglyphs along Desolation Canyon’s walls. Within the last century the canyon has been used for cattle and sheep grazing, traveled by fur trappers and mountain men, inspected for possible damming sites, surveyed for oil shale extraction, and settled by ranchers and outlaws living on the fringe of society. Despite mankind’s aggressive fight to tame the canyon, nature has won and Desolation – whose name is truly fitting – remains a sanctuary of the American west. At Sand Wash, the Green River begins its massive carve through the uplifted rock of the Tavaputs Plateau, eventu-


blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

ally creating a gash in the earth that rivals the size and depth of the Grand Canyon. We were greeted by a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ranger who revealed the night’s quarters, a screened cabin. We did not dare take this luxury for granted; this section of the river is home to a mosquito population of biblical proportions. During the first evening along the banks of the Green River, we met with a rafting veteran who explained the particulars of the gear (rented in Utah) we would be using. As an expedition, all required gear for the eight-day journey was carried in our two large inflatable whitewater rafts, beautifully designed with aluminum frames and oars for one person to navigate. While one person rowed each respective boat, the remaining participants were left to situate themselves on dry boxes, dry bags, coolers, repair kits, water jugs, and water-proof boxes containing...well…the bathroom.

The educational value of this trip did not stop at cultural history, natural history, or river navigation. Instructions in back-country travel skills were paramount for this unique environment. Regulation states that all waste must be carried out by river users. The students had to learn proper camping technique in order to “leave no trace” in this fragile desert.

The waters of Desolation Canyon are some of the purest in the Colorado River system. The Yampa River joins the Green from northwestern Colorado and remains un-dammed. This tributary provides Desolation Canyon with an ample supply of relatively warm sediment laden water and dramatic seasonal changes in water levels, all of which the native ecosystem requires to thrive. Conversely, the consistent, cold, clear waters flowing from the bottom of dams in the Colorado River system are detrimental to the natural balance of extremely sensitive ecosystems. Thanks to the nearly untamed water of Desolation Canyon (the Green itself is dammed upstream by the Flaming Gorge Dam), river runners meet ideal campsites complete with pristine beaches and shade from large cottonwood trees tucked along the banks below the jagged canyon walls. Desolation Canyon boasts the largest debris fans in the Colorado River system, flushed in from side canyons, and sustained by the sediment rich water. On July 8th, our party left the bank of Sand Wash, now prepared and committed to the journey ahead. Three students accompanied one faculty member on each boat. Duties were

Cory Woods

This page: Looking out over Green River (top left); Erich Sening ’12 & Patrick Googe ’12 (lower left); Petroglyphs at Rock Creek Canyon; David Welty sketching (top middle); Tate Coley’ 14 preparing Dutch oven treats (bottom middle); view from the camp at Rabbit Valley on July 13 (right). Opposite page: The entire BRS crew sets out from Sand Wash.

assigned to each crew member: one rowed, one scouted the river to help identify obstacles, one navigated by map to ensure we properly tracked where we were and what lay ahead, and another was charged with the task of communicating necessary information to the other boat. Each student learned the intricacies of river navigation and took turns guiding the boats through the rapids. Heavy winter snowfall in the Rocky Mountains contributed to higher than average water levels and our crews made great speed. Aside from quickening our speed, the high water created some giant waves and made parking the boats tricky since many beaches were underwater, but the group stopped often to enjoy hikes along the way. We had a number of opportunities to visit slot canyons, vistas, clear springs, historic ranches, and panels of petroglyphs (Native American rock engravings). Late each afternoon we selected a prime beach, set camp, and enjoyed an incredible dinner. The great thing about a rafting expedition, unlike backpacking trips, is that one does not have to personally carry his equipment. This affords the river runner the opportunity to pack the most extravagant meals imaginable (at least to back-country standards). We treated ourselves to fantastic dinners like grilled pork chops and Dutch oven delicacies such as lasagna and jambalaya. We enjoyed fresh fruit, eggs, and bacon for breakfasts, and made wraps and sandwiches for lunches on the river. Each day, students met new adventures as they learned about the canyon’s history and honed their back-country camping skills. From the boat we saw the wild horses that roam the eastern bank on the Ute Indian Reservation land, and natural arches were seen high on the canyon walls. The students learned how to identify hazards and navigate whitewater as they rowed through famed rapids such as Moonwater, Joe Hutch Canyon, Three Fords, Belknap Falls, and Rattlesnake Canyon.

On July 10th, 42 miles into our journey, the group camped atop a towering 70 foot sand dune across the river from Rock Creek Canyon, home to numerous petrolglyph panels, a clearflowing tributary, and a historic ranch settlement. From this point to the headwaters of Rock Creek, high atop the plateau, Desolation Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon at Bright Angel Trail. The vastness and beauty of the canyon was stunning as an afternoon thunderstorm cleared and low-lying clouds slowly dissipated from the jagged walls dotted with vegetation. It was a moment that put into perspective how every form of life in the canon, from the endangered Colorado Pikeminnow to the Cottonwoods and rustic settlers, have to fight for survival in the dramatic wilderness.

We reached mile 67 on July 13th and camped at a beautiful beach at the terminus of Rabbit Valley. As some members of the group relaxed at camp, others explored the canyon venturing high atop the ridge overlooking camp – it was a narrow band of rock separating the Green River from the tight meanders of Rabbit Valley. The climbers were rewarded with a dramatic sunset and flashes of lightning from a thunderstorm etching its way across the desert.

Powell along with nine men, four boats, and provisions for ten months set out on the Green River in hopes of adventure, science, and discovery. He emerged from the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon three months later with five men and three boats; his crew was close to mutiny because of slim rations from their remaining meager supply of biscuit flour. Since that time, amazing improvements have been made to river travel. Outdoor enthusiasts seek adventure through what early explorers saw as danger lurking around every turn. The Blue Ridge School Desolation Canyon Rafting Expedition crew emerged as a strong team unified by their new skills and sense of accomplishment and wonder. 16

Milestones at Blue Ridge:

Alumni Council makes landmark commitment - BRS begins Battle House repurposing by Franklin Daniels


or many years, the Alumni Council has dreamed of having a dedicated space on campus that celebrates the School’s proud history and the accomplishments of its alumni. Likewise, the Council is eager to recognize Blue Ridge School’s remarkable faculty and the contributions they make every day to the campus culture.

Thanks to hard work and great timing, these two charges have now come together in an exciting way. The Alumni Council has just made a fiveyear, $83,000 commitment to support the construction of the first of four new faculty residences on campus. This gift, combined with the generous gifts of other alumni, gives Blue Ridge the dollars needed to begin building the first of these new homes.

This gift is, by far, the most significant single contribution the Alumni Council has made to BRS. It is made possible by steady leadership from the Council, and by the consistent success of the annual Alumni & Friends Golf Classic. Now in its 24th year, the golf tournament has contributed more than $200,000 to BRS and provided the financial base needed to make a commitment of this level possible.

After several months of diligence, working closely with school administrators, the Alumni Council voted unanimously to approve this gift. Having a strong majority of BRS faculty living on campus is important to council members, as they appreciate that this is the core element of a strong residential community. All BRS alumni can recall “teachable moments” which occurred in the dining hall, in evening study hall, and on the weekends – all possible thanks to terrific teachers living and working side by side with BRS boys. 17

blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Four new single-family homes on a green knoll behind Gibson Chapel Three cottages and one mid-size home – architecturally aligned with BRS campus themes Will surround a new “courtyard” area designed for outdoor gatherings and events Designed to maximize value – quality construction with durability and efficiency Will bring the percentage of faculty living on campus to more than 75% Total projected cost: $960,000 - $800,000 capital/$160,000 endowment More than $300,000 raised to-date –

ground breaking for first home in June.

Comprises front parlor and legendary chapel room facing rear courtyard Will feature alumni memorabilia of all types Available for alumni meetings and events Will be used by faculty and students regularly throughout academic year


hile working with the Alumni Council to develop its gift, the “flip side” of this partnership emerged. BRS administrators and Council members, led by Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin, asked this question: How might Battle House be used to maximum benefit for everyone at Blue Ridge?

The answer came almost immediately. There is no building on campus like Battle House. Its impressive façade, location, size, and rich history make it a powerful tool for both the external affairs and internal program sides of the School. What better place to welcome prospective parents and students to campus?

What better place to celebrate the history and lore of our alumni? What better place for teachers to gather with their students? The response to these and many other questions was Battle House. As a result, the repurposing of Battle House has begun. Between now and mid-summer, Battle House will be gently prepared for its next life as the home of BRS Admission and Advancement Offices. The main floor of the House will serve as community rooms – a welcoming place to visitors and a perfect location for the many faculty and student meetings that occur on campus every day. The second floor will host a variety of offices, serving as the new home of BRS’ external affairs teams.

Also important, a domino effect will be created with this move. Newly available office spaces in Williams Library can then be made available to faculty and staff members who need improved work spaces. So, faculty and staff across campus will benefit in-kind as Battle House becomes the new “welcome center” for Blue Ridge. And, as all great partnerships allow, the Alumni Council’s gift toward faculty housing helps resolve the final question

– Where will the Headmaster live? Once the four new residences of the BRS Commons are constructed, several options for an appropriate Headmaster’s residence will emerge, using existing facilities. While the new residence will not have the remarkable presence of Battle House, it will be in keeping with the standard of faculty housing at BRS and will be another example of how the School is making the most of all its resources. Great partnerships can truly make 1 + 1 = 3. An important project, pride of place, smart planning, and a shared vision have come together to help launch a great new project for BRS – and have done so with an incredible added value that will be enjoyed across campus. Now, the rallying cry for the BRS Faculty Commons is “one down, three to go!”

Watch these pages and the BRS website for periodic updates on BRS Faculty Commons and the School’s accompaning strategic objectives.

BRS Trustees have come together to pledge more than $140,000 toward the new endowment dollars needed for the BRS Faculty Commons. BRS policy requires an extra 20% of the capital cost of any construction project on campus be raised as new, dedicated endowment dollars for that project. These gilfts nearly complete this part of the effort.

For more information about the Faculty Commons or the Alumni Center at Battle House, please contact Assistant Headmaster for Advancement Franklin Daniels at 18

The Class of 2006 members with alumni parent and Trustee Alice Parvin. From left to right: (back) Ryan Miller, Jack Gillespie, David Johnson (front) Josh Ryland, Tony Lewis, Alice Parvin, Max Parvin, Ryan “Bop” Woodfolk, Jordon Steljes, and Rob Vermillion

Tom Ellington ’71, Wick Dudley ’71, Holly Jones, and Teresa Carter at the awards banquet


by Jamie Miller ’94

Big football fan and Baron supporter Bailey enjoys the hospitality tent at the game

n October 14, more than 50 Blue Ridge alumni and friends gathered at Spring Creek Golf Club in Zion Crossroads, VA of the annual Alumni & Friends Golf Classic hosted by the Alumni Council. Golfers and their guests, along with a few additional alums, enjoyed an awards banquet that evening where nearly everyone was a winner in one way or another; some brought home golfing awards, and others left with great items from the live auction. The winning team for the second year running was comprised of John Maclin ’69, Rory Mitchell ’09, Will Winslow, and Jason Duncan.

The following day, October 15, the festivities continued on the BRS campus. After a picnic lunch on the lawn, fans gathered to see the Barons battle the Seahorses of Christchurch. Battle House was opened for an alumni reception where guests filled the lovely rooms, enjoying the company of each other. During the reception, several alumni and guests were honored: Young Alumnus of the Year to Dean Johnson ’01, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year to Thomas J. Payette ’80, The Anthony T. Noel Award to Willie Nelson ’86, The 1909 Club Recognition of Mr. and Mrs. DeAngelis, Class Agent of the Year to Bill Weber, Jr. ’72, The Henry Morscheimer, Jr. Founder’s Award to David Aldridge ’76, and a honorary alumni diploma to former Alumni Director and current faculty member Daniel F. Dunsmore.

Joe Abramo’96 and John Young

Dan Dunsmore (center) with his son Spencer and wife Ann (aka “Merf”) after receiving his honorary BRS diploma 19

blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Alumni and friends gathered along the fence line to watch the Barons at Saturday’s Homecoming football game

Mrs. Dolores DeAngelis and Wilk Dudley ’71

Alumni Director Jamie Miller ’94 announces expanded Alumni Weekend schedule








October 5-7, 2012

Included in the plans are:


2 01


Save the Date

Alumni Weekend 2012 will bring a variety of new events and programming opportunities to the BRS Community. K AC

2 01

ekend 2 We

Alumn i

Reverend Stimp Hawkins, Martha Hawkins, and Huntley Galleher ’80 at the Awards Banquet

Expanded promotional and planning support for Reunion Class efforts 2012 Reunion Classes are 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007 Virginia Winery Tours on Friday to accompany the Alumni & Friends Golf Classic Alumni Brunch at Battle House, sponsored by the BRS St. George Society

New Saturday morning programs, including presentations by Kevin Miller, Associate Headmaster for Academics, on how to best educate boys in the 21st century, and Don Smith, Assistant Headmaster for Enrollment, on how to choose the best schools for your children. Alumni and Family Hospitality Tent at the football game on Saturday Individual Class Reunion events Saturday evening

Reunion Class Chairs and Committees are being recruited now, and details of individual class plans will be distributed soon.

Please contact Alumni Director Jamie Miller ’94 at 434.992.0522 or if you are interested in planning or promoting your reunion or have questions of any kind. 20

Ashley Smith

Scott Sprouse ’90 asks former BRS business officer Jean Allen for his allowance before the Awards Banquet live auction

alumni NOTES 1960s

John Maclin ’69 remains an active alumnus, participating as a member of the Alumni Council, Alumni & Friends Golf Classic, and the Alumni Lacrosse Match. “Coach Mac’s” daughter Candace was married to Jason Duncan on September 17, 2011 at Nags Head, North Carolina, and his other daughter Alex was married in Colonial Heights, Virginia on June 6, 2011 to Adam Daghita.


Bob Watt ’70 lives in the mountains two hours north of Atlanta. He sees Locke Allison ’70 and Peter Ballantine often for 4x4 adventures. He also recently played golf with Bill Massey, Jr. ’70 and Willard Ashburne III ’70. Bob reports on some of his classmates: Dave Ranken ’70 was living on his boat in Maryland, but was thinking of sailing to warmer climes for the winter. Alex MacDougald ’70 is residing near BRS in Gordonsville, Virginia where he raises horses and fox hunts. Bob Wallace ’70 and his wife Terry often visit Bob in Georgia; they run a successful printing business in West Virginia. Josh Watt ’72 lives in Johns Creek, Georgia. His daughter Alison is receiving her doctorate degree of physical therapy from Emory University this spring.


Clay Forsberg ’82 now works with Dan Ryan’s For Men as a professional clothier.

3 1



1 Harris Cottingham ’93 is living in Green-

ville, South Carolina. He and his wife Mary had their third child Crosby Harriss Cottingham born January 10, 2012. He weighed in at 7.3 lb and is described as “a very chill little dude.” The couple also has a set of boy-girl twins that turn five in March.

2 Ryan Grady ’95 and wife Amanda wel-

5 Italy for their honeymoon and now reside in Staunton, Virginia.

comed a baby boy Andrew Hopkins Andrew Portersfield ’82 is now a Financial Advisor with TIAA-CREF. He sold his business Grady, who arrived December 10, 2011 tip4 Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Robertson II ’95 were with Raymond James Financial Services in ping the scales at 9 pounds, 10 ounces. married July 22, 2011 in Charleston, North Carolina and has settled in Louisville, South Carolina. Charles F. “Chuck” Richards IV ’90 marColorado, near Boulder. Andy, his wife April, 3 ried Sharlene Thompson in Harrisonand their two sons Aidan 12, and Alec 11 are burg, Virginia on June 4, 2011. The couple 5 Andrews M. Duffy ’95 and his wife Cori enjoying their new location. They love to the welcomed Crawford Andrews Duffy on was married at Emmanuel Episcopal Church ski, camp, hike, and bike. and held its reception at Mountain Valley September 30, 2011. Kevin S. Allen ’85 has been hired by the Depart- Retreat Center outside of Harrisonburg. The ment of State working as a Foreign Service of- newlyweds traveled to Florence and Venice ficer and currently living in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Kevin and his family lived there for the past two years and will leave soon for his next posting in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Haskins Glass ’98 moved back to Memphis, Tennessee where he is pursuing a master’s degree William P. Dame IV ’88 is a Sergeant First Class in counseling at the University of Memphis. Flight Medic/Instructor currently serving He is also working part-time at Outdoors, Inc. with the US Army in Afghanistan. He sends and is actively involved in canoeing, kayaking, along well wishes to his classmates who re- and bow hunting. main in his thoughts.


Christopher Hewlett ’96 is between fieldwork in Peru and returning to St. Andrew’s University in Scotland to write his thesis for his doctorate in social anthropology. 21 blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012


Tom Timmermans ’00 lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and works for the University of North Carolina’s Athletic Department.

Petty Officer Dean Johnston ’01 was recently selected as the 2010 Enlisted Person of the Year for Coast Guard Headquarters. Dean had these Stuart Hood ’99 lives in Orange, Virginia where kind words to say about his alma mater. “Blue he works as a livestock auctioneer. Stuart was Ridge School helped me develop a discipline kind enough to provide his auctioneering that I have been able to apply to all aspects prowess for BRS’s Senior Casino Night party of my life. The program and the faculty had a last spring. direct effect on who I am, encouraging me to

1 Ryan Weiss ’01 and his wife Hillary welcomed

their daughter Lilly Michelle Weiss; she was born September 26, 2011.


2 Eric Strasser ’08 is completing his bachelor of art

degree at Flagler College this April. He recently met up with fellow alumni Chris Stratmann ’08, Blake Souder ’04, and BRS attendee Quintin Kreutzer. Eric is currently interning with Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina as a part of his final project to earn his degree in sport management.

3 Will Moss ’11 met with fellow Barons John Holt ’06



be better and not settle for complacency. The opportunities and things learned both in and out of the classroom have shaped the way I lead. I am where I am now because of the time I spent at Blue Ridge School. So thank you for all that you have done for me and continue to do for others.” Mohamed Shokeir ’01 works in his family’s textile and garment business in Egypt. They have many retail stores called “JB Collection” throughout Egypt, and a textile factory “Startex” that produces polyester fabrics for garments. Mohamed is excited for his nephew to be attending Blue Ridge next school year.

Aaron Lentz ’02 graduated from William & Mary in 2009 with a major in history. Since then he has traveled through Spain, Netherlands, and France. He is marketing a finished screen play that he wrote, and is currently working in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with three W&M alumni on a project for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

and current student Brannon Schmidt ’12 at the University of Alabama this past fall. John Holt ’06 recently graduated from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) with a bachelor of art degree in journalism. His final semester was his best, earning a 3.4 GPA. This spring, John will work with the Ole Miss Athletic Department as a graduate assistant in media relations. He is a youth basketball volunteer coach in Oxford, Tennessee while working as an intern at the Memphis Grizzlies’ home games. John interviewed and was a finalist for a PR internship with the NBA’s Utah Jazz. He hopes to use his experience to land his dream job as PR manager for an NBA team. Albert Rayle ’07 is completing his final semester at Texas Christian University. He has been heavily involved with founding an energy club, a friend’s idea from his freshman year, and turning it into the second largest club on TCU’s campus. Albert has served as club president and advisor.

Ridge students and answered their questions while they were touring High Point.

Andrew Sipala ’09 is studying at Bridgewater College where he plays football and lacrosse and is majoring in psychology.

Carter Hollis ’09 is a junior at Georgia Southern University where he is majoring in mechanical engineering technology. He is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and was elected Risk Management Officer. He is also heavily involved in GSU’s Formula SAE team that designs, builds, tests, and races a small car in an international engineering competition.

Yann E. Reichelt Yann ’09 is excelling at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he has maintained 4.0 GPA through 77 course hours and leads his accounting class. He recently was awarded a scholarship from the Security Dealer’s Association and has worked as a co-op/intern with the Virginia DepartLuc de Verteuil ’08 graduated with a bachelor of ment of Accounts. Yann is also an Ambassador science degree at Full Sail University. Life in for the Business School and President of the Evan A. Pape ’03 and Shelby Roberts were mar- Miami has been treating him well. Having re- Established Leaders Society. ried on May 14, 2011. Best men were fellow cently interned for Sony, he’s looking to start a Kristijan Krajina ’09 is majoring in international Barons Hank Hortenstine ’03 and David Godfrey career in something technical and creative. business at Mt. St. Mary’s University. He is a ’02. Max Ruehrmund IV ’09 is doing well at Wash- starter on The Mount’s basketball team averMatt Cole ’04, his wife Courtney, and their son ington College. He has a leadership role in his aging 5.6 points per game and is one of the Austin, (whose godparent is current Associate fraternity and is involved in many environ- team’s leading rebounders. Headmaster Dr. Kevin Miller), moved to Lexing- mental projects. ton, Kentucky where Matt is active duty Coast Guard. Stephen Cullop ’09 is currently working as a Tyler Amman ’10 made the Dean’s List this past Maximum Control Officer (MCON) at Maury fall at The Citadel with a major GPA of 3.75 George Parrish ’04 was married to his wife Me- Correctional in North Carolina. He writes “It is the toughest and roughest unit in all of Aristotle McDonald ’10 transferred to Ole Miss lissa June 12, 2011 North Carolina, but don’t worry about me too in Oxford, Mississippi this year joining his Max Parvin ’05 took a position with Blue Ridge much. I am trained well and have a very tight- older brother Abe McDonald ’08. School serving as an assistant teacher in the knit group of officers working with me.” Fishburne Learning Center. Andrew Pochter ’10 wrote, “It seems like I just Brooks Minford ’09 is studying at High Point got back from Morocco, although it was in Tony Lewis ’06 is beginning master’s course- University where he is majoring in business mid-June. On the other hand, that seems ages work at the University of Mary Washington. administration with a minor in entrepreneur- ago.” He worked at the Eye Doctors of Washship. He recently had lunch with current Blue ington in July and August, and then began

2010s 22

studies at Kenyon College in August. Andrew is very happy at Kenyon and taking interesting classes, including a 300 level Arabic course. He keeps busy with his studies, but also plays rugby, and has a radio show with his friend Zack called “A to Z” on most Monday nights from 10 to 12. Matt Schmitt ’10 is taking a semester off from Virginia Tech to hike the Appalachian Trail with his brother. He is a volunteer at the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department. Chad Holley ’11 is attending Mt. St. Mary’s University where he has been playing considerable minutes for The Mount’s basketball team.

Tad McDermott ’11 is happy attending the University of Richmond, receiving a high enough GPA to pledge at the Kappa Alpha fraternity. He is deciding between a major in leadership studies or political science, and is hopeful to attend the University of Richmond’s program at University College, Dublin, in spring term 2014. Sota Fukura ’11 has been having an outstanding time at Penn State University enjoying the challenge and content of his courses, and his professors. He has joined several clubs though he is mainly focusing on his studies.

Malick Kone ’11 is at Rutgers University and has worked his way into a playing role on the basketball team. Head Coach Mike Rice wrote early in the season, “Malick’s energy, athleticism, and motor is helping us out tremendously. Two games now that I don’t think we win without Malick Kone.”

Blue Ridge International Travelers Blue Ridge School graduates are culturally aware and respectful young men, many of whom are eager to explore the world. We are fortunate that in 2011 several decided to share their world travels with us. Enjoy these tales from the road.

Meeting Fellow Barons Along the Way by Eric Strasser ’08

Over the holidays, I traveled to Pakistan to visit my parents. My father works for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. During my stay, my father and I traveled to Lahore, an ancient city near the Indian border. I had the pleasure not only to visit one of the most historic locations in all of Pakistan, but also to visit my friend and Blue Ridge alumnus, Nabeel Ahmed ’05.

It is rare for Nabeel to have Blue Ridge visitors and he was happy to meet up with me. Nabeel and his cousin Haad Mehbood gave me a tour of the city, including a visit to the fascinating Wagha border, which is the only road border crossing between Pakistan and India. Just before sunset, the Indian and Pakistani military meet at the border gates to engage in an extraordinary 20-minute ceremony – called the ‘Lowering of the Flags.’ This ceremony has been held every day since 1959. The soldiers lower the flags right before sunset to ensure that the flags never see darkness in their lifetimes. Thousands of people watch on each side, and as cheerleaders stoke the crowd’s patriotic fervor, each side cries out “Pakistan” or “Hindustan.” The parading soldiers attempt to outdo each other in showing their pride. The soldiers raise their boots to show their soles to others across the border, chests are puffed out and touch each others’ when they come face to face, and feet are stamped hard. The ceremony ends when the commanding officers march up to each other and perform a brief handshake and salute. 23 blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Eric Strasser ’08 (left) and Nabeel Ahmed ’05 (right) with a Pakistani soldier.

After the ceremony, we drove back to Lahore and visited the old section of town, with its many markets and the beautiful Badshai Mosque. We ended the day by meeting up with my father for dinner at the ‘Salt and Pepper Village,’ an old, traditional, country-style restaurant with superb Pakistani food.

During our visit we talked about politics, our Blue Ridge friends, our memories of being students at Blue Ridge, and how Blue Ridge changed our lives. Nabeel said that Blue Ridge turned him into a responsible young man and taught him how to stay organized, which is vital when working in the business community. “Organization saves time, and trust me time is money,” he said. Although getting a visa to Pakistan is not easy, Nabeel hopes that other BRS family and friends can make their way to Lahore one day. At the same time, Nabeel hopes that he will come back to Blue Ridge for a visit.

Zeal for Life in New Zealand by Shey McDonald

Abraham Uriah McDonald ’01 left on September 12, 2011 for a trek across the globe to Christchurch, New Zealand. On his journey, he has gone out into the magnificent countryside on various expeditions. He has partnered with the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), so throughout mountaineering treks, sea-kayaking, and other excursions his professors and guides are right there with him coaching him, testing his instincts, and developing the leader within. Abraham has written letters home expressing his deep love for the land and the overall experience thus far. He recollects that he is a Baron at heart and his Blue Ridge days have given him the inner courage and strength to endure physical and cognitive challenges. This journey has been life changing, and unlike anything he has ever experienced. He hopes to bring the newfound fervor for life, the beauty of nature, and the self-confidence he has gained from being out of his comfort zone to all he encounters. Forever he will belong to a band of brothers we like to call Blue Ridge.

Abraham McDonald ’01 during an excursion in New Zealand.

A Life Changing Experience in Peru by Brian Johnson ’01

The moment I walked out of the airport, it was a MADHOUSE. Tons of cars, taxis, people, horns and honking; not to mention people leaning out of their cars waving flags, singing, smoking, drinking, and causing the usual good Independence Day ruckus. I booked my ticket unknowingly to fly in on Peruvian Independence Day, July 28th. Lima was electrified. Packing nine million people into a city of roughly 318 square miles is something to behold. Raw concrete jungle office towers, electrified billboards, Spanish colonial monasteries, adobe brick slums, and particleboard-metal roofed shanty towns, it all morphs together reaching from the Pacific Ocean inland. IEATA, the International Expressive Art Therapy Association, meets every two years somewhere in the world to connect and reconnect the energy and awareness that the arts can bring to healing and the human condition. The conference offers members and participants a chance to listen to panels talk about their research and work, but also lets other expressive therapists showcase workshops where everyone can participate in their style and actually go through their processes.

After college I had the world at my feet, literally. My job in Washington, D.C. was international. I had the resources and abilities to zip all over and around the world. Good job, good education, now I just needed more money and to climb the ladder. But it didn’t pan out that way. I grew tired of the corporate haggling of graphic design. With some good advice from a friend, I called up the Art Therapy Institute in Durham, North Carolina, and the rest is history. I currently work at the Autism Society of North Carolina as a therapist. Starting to delve into the new arena of art as therapy, I wanted to look deeper into the field. Thus, the insanely short version of how I ended up hearing about the International Expressive Art Therapy Conference.

The first part of my trip to Peru was five days getting to know Lima. From there I flew to Cusco at the crazy elevation of 11,200 ft. I spent the next week hiking high in the Andes mountains, visiting Machu Picchu, traveling between small local villages, practicing, and talking with local shamans about how they help their own communities with their healing arts. After that, I traveled back to Lima for the “main event.” In my workshop, we traveled an hour south of the city to a community of refugees who had come from the Andes years earlier. The houses were rough and adobe squares with two shotgun doors. In an empty lot near the main square, we gathered in a circle to talk to some of the

Brian Johnson ’01 pictured at 10,000 ft. above Cusco, Peru

local children and artists. These local children, ages 8-17, have been working with local IEATA therapists to create a group that uses art, dance, acrobatics, and music to help heal the circumstances of their lives. We were shown their drumming on sounding boxes. We were also taught about the terrorism that went through Peru from the 80’s up until a few years ago. The number isn’t completely verified, but it is thought that at least 75,000 people were killed or disappeared during the fear of Shining Path and the government’s hunting of its supporters. We were shown a A traveling art exhibit called “The Museum of Memory,” which young artists have started as a movement to help the entire country process the disappearance of its sons and daughters during this time. This experience was very moving -- the grayness, the clay dirt, their tears, their talents, laughter, the art, and my already wide open heart from the ayahausca.

Over the next six days, I took classes about authentic movement, creating dream spaces, Jungian dream analysis, ayahuascan shamanism, creating rituals in life, working with youth through art to confront authoritarian complexes (a subject I deal with directly), and a few others. Each was jam-packed with new people, new ideas, experiences, processing, and working through my own emotions and history. In each class I learned about the presenter’s process by using my own life/history/emotions. By the end of each day we would have dinner then fall fast asleep until the next morning. At the end of the conference, I knew both mentally and emotionally that I was headed in the right direction. The last day consisted of an intense closing ceremony. Two by two, each participant stood in front of a large two-sided drum (over six feet in diameter) feeling it vibrate, and then lined up building a path. Participants passed through the line of other participants as they hummed or chanted one strong chord. The drum kept pounding as over 150 people passed by the drum’s vibration and all of our vocal “Om.” It was tribal. From there we broke into smaller groups playing instruments and enjoying the last part of our gathered community.

I realize I went on this trip for my own well being and personal growth, but I honestly had each of my friends and family members on my mind and with me. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the man I am, or be able to process these experiences. Yes, I am a crazy, dancing on the grass, designer glasses hippie who talks about emotion, energy, vibration, and light workers. But after this whole experience, I am proud to fill that role and truly want to grow into it more. 24


Benjamin Yancey Porter ’66 Benjamin Yancey Porter, aged 64, died June 1, 2011. Benjamin was born in Chester, Virginia. He was the son of the late Ella Moncure Porter and Benjamin Yancey Porter, Sr. of Virginia Beach. He was predeceased by his brother, James Keith Porter, of Newport News. He worked as a computer programmer with NCR in Norfolk, and later with Southern States in Richmond. “B.Y.” as he was known by family and friends, lived most of his life in Virginia Beach. He was a former member of Galilee Episcopal Church, where he served as an acolyte in his youth. He enjoyed fellowship in the Virginia Beach Jaycees and is remembered as a true outdoorsman. He was an accomplished sailor who also loved hunting, fishing, and woodworking. Many of B.Y.’s lifelong friendships were formed around these activities. Survivors include his wife, Judith Lee Porter, daughters Catherine Alexander and husband Jim, of Chesapeake, Elizabeth Semon, and husband David, of Virginia Beach, Caroline Gray and husband Michael, of Monte Vista, Colorado, and their mother Sharon Strole Bridges of Virginia Beach; step-daughters Julee Evans and husband Ben, of Richmond, Kelly Smith and husband Frank, of Camden, North Carolina; his sister-in-law, Frances Porter of Newport News and her daughters Ford McFall and Martha Rogers; seven grandchildren, F. Patrick Kavanaugh III, Mary Collins Alexander, Kate and Jack Semon, Taylor Smith, Brooke and Ryan Evans.

James W.”Wally” Whitten, Jr. ’79

James W. “Wally” Whitten, Jr., aged 50, died June 21, 2011. He is survived by his children, Grace Wallace Whitten and James Philip Whitten; his dog, Sam; his parents, James W. Whitten Sr. and Sara Jo Whitten; his sister, Gray W. Maher and her husband, Chip; his brother, Miles H. Whitten and his wife, Christen; and nieces and nephews, Sarah, Jimmy and Mac Whitten, Amelia, Ella and Brody Thomas, and Whitten Maher. He worked for 27 years in his family business, Whitten Lincoln-Mercury. He was a lover of animals and people and a friend to all. He never met a stranger. He was an amateur musician and an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved lacrosse and was a youth lacrosse coach. Wally’s joy in life was simply a home full of friends and family, hugs and laughter from his children, and a lick from his beloved dog, Sam.

Joel Price Parsons ’89

Joel Price Parsons, aged 42, died July 7, 2011. He was the son of James Hubert and Janet Wiethofr Price of Richmond; and brother to Mary McBride Price of Denver, Colorado. Dear to his extended family, he is also survived by two aunts, two uncles, seven cousins and two second cousins. Jeffrey David Mayes ’79 A creative and compassionate man, his loves Jeffrey David Mayes, aged included music, animals and the outdoors. 59, died peacefully in hos- He was a gifted and accomplished guitarist. pice care after a coura- He composed beautiful pieces on his guitar geous struggle with cancer and on the piano, which he played by ear. A on April 15, 2011. He was lover of fishing and boating, he enjoyed beheroic and fought a brave ing on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. battle. His wit, humor and He was especially fond of the low country of “joie de vivre” will be sadly South Carolina, where he lived for 10 years missed by all who loved and operated his own landscaping business. him. Jeffrey was born in Washington, D.C. to the late Stanley R. Mayes and Katherine Weddle Mayes. He is survived by his loving wife, Suzanne; his dear sister, Ernestine CoghillHoward, and committed extended family and friends.


blue ridge school magazine • winter 2012

Please Send Your

Class Notes and Family News to: Jamie Miller ’94 Alumni Director 273 Mayo Drive St. George, Virginia 22935 434.992.0522

annual fund UPDATE

Annual Fund Director JC Ignaszewski Launches

Final Push for 2011-2012 For those of you who like a close race, the 2011-2012 Annual Fund is for you!

Annual Fund Director JC Ignaszewski says, “so far this year we are on track and I like our chances, but it’s going to be close!”

In this spirit, the BRS Advancement Team will be pulling out all the stops between now and May 31 in pursuit of the School’s much-needed $900,000 Annual Fund goal. March, April, and May are critical months for the BRS Annual Fund, as they usually are the “make or break” season for this important annual fund raising effort. The Annual Fund has been on a good roll over the last three years, having met or exceeded its unrestricted and restricted goals in each of those campaigns.

The Annual Fund is the central element of BRS fund raising for two reasons:

First, the Annual Fund is one of the largest parts of BRS’s operating budget each year. Quite simply, the mix of tools, experiences, and “teachable moments” BRS boys enjoy would be greatly limited without a healthy and growing Annual Fund.

Second, the Annual Fund is the perfect way to say “thank you!” and “keep it up!” to a particular program or team that means a lot to you. Many donors make a “package gift” to the Annual Fund – one gift divided two ways, some to unrestricted budget support, some to a single area the donor is excited about.

This year, Package Gifts are proving more popular than ever. Ignaszewski notes, “donors seem to be excited about the chance to personalize their gifts. One alumnus increased his usual gift, so that he could provide both general support and very specific dollars for the basketball program – which meant a lot to him in his student days. A number of parents are doing similar things, and even including their boys in the process of determining what specific area means the most to them this year.” Many alumni, parents, and friends are considering their gifts right now, and these considerations will determine BRS’s fortunes this year.

Consider making your gift online at onlinegiving, by mail to Blue Ridge School, 273 Mayo Drive, St. George, VA 22935, or by calling Annual Fund Director JC Ignaszewski at 434.992.0510. Thank you for supporting our great school! 26

Blue Ridge School 27 3 Mayo Drive St . Geor ge, Vir ginia 22935


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The Ridge - Winter 2012  

Blue Ridge School's winter 2012 magazine The Ridge. Articles include faculty profiles, alumni notes, campus events, etc.

The Ridge - Winter 2012  

Blue Ridge School's winter 2012 magazine The Ridge. Articles include faculty profiles, alumni notes, campus events, etc.