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FALL 2012



Summer Projects Provide Promising Future college counseling staff. We have expanded the wireless network to engulf the entire main quad of the campus and doubled the School’s bandwidth. We are in the process of reconfiguring our computer classrooms to allow for classes in programming and provide more space for our robotics program. We are in the first phase of a thoughtful investigation of the potential benefits of tablet technology, using this fall and winter to present small lesson units with iPads, Nooks, and other devices to see what really works for our boys rather than simply following the herd. Two new exciting courses have been added to our curriculum — Portuguese and Mandarin — both taught by native speakers.


As the 2012-2013 school year begins, I’d like to share some of the exciting improvements that have taken place at Blue Ridge this summer. As Acting Headmaster, I cannot tell you how proud I am of our students and how excited I am by the team of faculty and staff we have assembled for the coming year. The essentials that make Blue Ridge unique remain in place: intentionally small class size, an active advisor system, and teachers who not only understand how boys learn, but genuinely care that boys learn. To those core essentials, we have added a world-class outdoor program, competitive interscholastic teams, and new opportunities to excel academically and even earn college credit through BRS coursework. Much work took place over the summer. Campus projects included the renovation of the Student Center, which came about through the joint efforts of students and our Parent Association. We have completed the renovation of Battle House which now houses Admissions and Advancement offices upstairs, and an Alumni Hall on the first floor. This allows us to provide much-needed office space in Williams Library for academic and

In addition, we have taken our character development efforts to the next level, promoting Vinton Bruton to a new position charged with ensuring that our boys not only learn about being a man, but specifically learn how to be a good man. Lessons shaped around character development will be coordinated and repeated throughout the classrooms, the playing fields, and the dormitories. The first step in this process was to make the school-wide theme a character-education question. For this year, we have chosen the essential question, “Why should I be my brother’s keeper?” A significant portion of faculty planning this August was devoted to identifying the tools by which we can all discuss and build upon our answers to this question, involving not only faculty and staff but student leaders. These moves represent the first step in what, quite possibly, will become the most thorough character development initiative in Blue Ridge history. We have had a good summer of progress in fund-raising for our two capital initiatives - the BRS Faculty Commons and the Baron Athletic Complex. Watch your email and check our website often for updates on these efforts and much more. I hope you share in my excitement for these changes. Blue Ridge School is defined by our students, present and past Barons. We are proud of the boys we have helped grow into young men and we are proud of the boys with whom we are working now. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, questions, or suggestions.

Contents The Interpretive Trail: Highlighting Our Natural Beauty


Vinton Bruton: Refining Character Education


Hans Hermanson ‘97: Welcome Home!


Jamie Miller, III ‘94: The Blue Ridge Difference


Ed Blain: A Welcome Addition



In Capable Hands: Facilities and Housekeeping Staff


William A. Darrin III, Acting Headmaster

Graduation Awards 2012


D. Franklin Daniels, Jr., Assistant Headmaster for Advancement

“Love as if Life Depended on It” Commencement Address by Rev. Peter T. Atkinson


2012-2013 Annual Fund: Support the Programs you Love


In Memoriam


Blue Ridge Boys’ Summer Experiences


A Home of Their Own: The New Robotics Lab


Stepping Up Into Leadership Roles


Parents and Students: Championing Campus Improvements


Spring Sports Wrap-ups


Dr. Kevin Miller, Associate Headmaster for Academics Vinton Bruton, Assistant Headmaster for Co-curricular Programs

The Ridge:

Editor/Graphic Design: Hilde Keldermans Photography: John Hetzel, Hilde Keldermans, Ashley Smith, and Cory Woods Facebook/BlueRidgeSchool Twitter@BlueRidgeSchool

We specifically focus on helping boys reach their potential through personalized, structured, innovative learning practices in a college preparatory, all-boarding community. 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.

Blue Ridge School 273 Mayo Drive St. George, Virginia 22935 434.985.2811




T by John Hetzel

The Outdoor Education Program has struck again providing the Blue Ridge School with another wonderful new activity on campus. Assistant Director of the Outdoor Education Program Mr. Cory Woods schemed up the idea of an interpretive Trail for BRS having long been a fan of this mainstay of National and Regional Parks. “I have visited trails with interpretive signs that highlight local natural history on numerous trips with my own family over the years, and these trails provide a unique and interactive way to learn about an area,” states Mr. Woods. “Developing an interpretive trail on our campus presented a meaningful project for my students to learn about what makes up the Blue Ridge ecosystem, and with our Interpretive Trail’s proximity to campus, our visitors, students and other community members will be encouraged to learn more about the rich diversity of our mountains.” This spring, the Afternoon Outdoor Education Program, working in tandem with the Mountain Bike Team, Outdoor Education Electives, and the Mountain Ecology Class, completed the construction of the half-mile long BRS Interpretive Trail. The project includes a combination of trail design, bridge construction, and the creation of interpretive plates that are placed invitingly along the side of the new trail that runs parallel to Chesley Creek. Mountain Bike team member Isaac King ’13 took part in the project and like many of the students and faculty is quite enthusiastic about both the trail and the process that went into its creation. “I am very excited about the new interpretive trail. Not only does it provide opportunities to learn about the nature we have on our campus, but actually creating the trail was a huge learning experience in itself. It was a great opportunity to learn about a topic and then be able to present what you learned in a format that is accessible for everyone else at BRS. Students were involved in every step: we helped blaze it, learned about the different plant species along it, and created signs to make it a great educational experience for all who hike it.” The signs are quite sturdy and professional looking and do a great job of reminding walkers on the trail just how diverse and exceptionally rich the natural habitat is around BRS. Many of the current signs identify species of trees, although there are also signs that note wildflowers, vines, information about bat houses, and Leave No Trace Ethics.

One can access the trail from either bridge that crosses Chesley Creek, or from uphill of Cabin Lake. The trail runs through a diverse cross section of fauna, and currently has fifteen sign stations that describe in detail particular aspects of the natural landscape therein. More signs will be created and placed on the trail this year by Mr. Woods’ Mountain Ecology class. The goal of the BRS Interpretive Trail is to provide a learning experience for its users, by highlighting the natural history of Blue Ridge School and promoting a sense of stewardship. Please take the time to visit the new Interpretive Trail. It highlights the amazing natural resources of the Blue Ridge School, and is a testament to the dedicated band of young men who brought the trail to its fruition. Cory Woods grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Lynchburg, Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree in Recreation Leadership from Western State College of Colorado. In 2009, he received a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mr. Woods is involved in outdoor adventure camps across the United States. Experiential learning and outdoor leadership have played a major role in his personal growth, and he is passionate about passing along his experience to young people. He and his wife, Carrie, and sons Edmund and Parker, reside at Blue Ridge



Sassafras Sassafras albidum This is a small tree that grows to be 30-59 feet tall. The Sassafras tree is native to North America and East Asia. The name is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage. The dried and ground leaves can be used to make a powder that is used in a lot of types of gumbo. The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until an FDA lab banned its mass production. Because of the size of the tree, it is sometimes mistaken as a bush. All parts of the plants are very fragrant. The species are unique in having three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant: oval, mitten-shaped, and three pronged.



Refining Character Education

A by John Hetzel

A great strength of Blue Ridge School is the incredibly diverse

range of activities it offers its students. Between the burgeoning outdoors program, athletics, arts, and its multi-faceted curriculum, it is a challenge to find unity and balance that can link the School’s many and sundry programs. So great is this challenge, that the Blue Ridge leadership team has created a new position that is tasked with intertwining the School’s academic curriculum with extra-curricular activities to enhance the total development of its students as individuals and members of the community. The new post is entitled Assistant Headmaster for Co-curricular Programs (AHCP), and Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin succinctly sums up Mr. Bruton’s promotion when he writes: “The Blue Ridge School faculty and staff are composed of incredibly talented and experienced professionals, and this was exemplified in the case of Vinton Bruton. We conducted a national search to find a truly gifted leader for the new role, and we were not surprised to learn that we had that person in-house all along.” In addition to teaching for more than four years at Blue Ridge, Mr. Bruton is also head of the Character Education Program, a dorm parent, coach, advisor, and an Outdoor Education Program leader. As a role model, Mr. Bruton is impeccable. His gentlemanly demeanor reflects a charm that brims over with a ready grin, belying a tough self-discipline and steely inner mettle forged by a ten-year active duty career with the U.S. Marine Corps, and a subsequent three year stint in the Reserves.


Mr. Bruton’s in-depth understanding of the full range of School activities, and intimacy with the School culture give him the perfect insight to successfully execute the job. He is uniquely qualified to understand the parameters of his role and implement the most effective solutions to weave together students’ experiences outside the classroom through athletics, the Outdoor Program, chapel, the arts, character education, advising, student leadership, and residential life. The unifying thread for Mr. Bruton will be to instill students with excellent core ethical values that will put them in good stead with their fellows here at BRS, and in their lives beyond St. George. A thoughtful and engaging man, Mr. Bruton rose to the rank of Major in the U.S. Marine Corps, though he is quick to acknowledge significant differences in the style of leadership required as AHCP. For starters, he points out that there are significant organizational differences between the Marines and BRS. “The Marine Corps has a much more hierarchical structure than BRS. At Blue Ridge, building consensus is a major component of leadership. One must plan extensively to identify precisely how and when to be involved, and when to let things evolve on their own.” He identifies that the most effective leadership for BRS is situational, meaning that directives must correlate with the ability of boys to comprehend and comply — an educational theory of leadership that would likely be less appropriate in a military setting. Despite the differences, Mr. Bruton reflects that one similarity between his military career and BRS is the necessity of identify-

Above: the Prefect/Proctor Leadership Training weekend at the end of August this year gave senior and junior residential life leaders the tools to lead.

The character education message centers around core ethical values such as respect for oneself and others, personal accountability, honor,

ing common goals and working together as a team to achieve them. Mr. Bruton embraces his new role and feels the vital aspects of his character education seminars that were previously confined to the Saturday morning program will be much more effective when extended out to pervade all co-curricular activities. As Mr. Darrin notes, “Boarding school education happens in and out of the classroom. In his senior administrative posting, Mr. Bruton will oversee and coordinate all student activities outside of the classroom. He will also lead our expanded character education program and re-write our residential life curriculum.” The character education message centers around core ethical values such as respect for oneself and others, personal accountability, honor, justice, and civic virtue — ­ all elements of the Blue Ridge School code of conduct that define the school, its culture, and its members. Mr. Bruton will strive to embed this crucial platform into all levels of school leadership so that it will be reiterated more often, in more places, and from more people, by both student leaders and faculty alike. In his words, “with this message pervasive, each program will complement one another ensuring that what we do outside the classroom ties in to what we do in it so that all that we do here at Blue Ridge fits together seamlessly.” Mr. Bruton feels blessed to be able to pursue several of his previous responsibilities at BRS for which he remains quite passionate. Firstly, he will continue to teach a Humanities class in American Studies for juniors. The course meets in back-to-back

justice, and civic virtue – all elements of the Blue Ridge School code of conduct that define the school, its culture, and its members.

period blocks which will give the junior class a healthy daily dose of Mr. Bruton. The course is special in that it will examine music, art, literature and philosophy within the framework of American History. Additionally, Mr. Bruton will be able to continue on in his role as leader of the “Outdoorsmen”, an afternoon program that meets in the fall after class in lieu of a sport where students engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. One of last year’s highlights for the Outdoorsmen was a hunting trip to North Carolina where the group is set to return this fall. Regardless of where his duties take him, Mr. Bruton is sure to be a steward of character and will challenge others to live up to a code that will make individuals good citizens, and our community a place of honor and integrity. In closing, Mr. Darrin notes quite correctly that “with Dr. Miller’s leadership of the academic curriculum coordinated closely with Mr. Bruton’s leadership of co-curricular programs, the student experience at Blue Ridge School is in tremendous hands. In a competitive marketplace, boarding schools must excel across all areas. Vinton Bruton will help Blue Ridge School sustain the current, positive position we enjoy among the nation’s finest boarding schools.”



Welcome Home! Of his arrival back at BRS, he is eager to give back, “I came in as a junior and bought into the system, which in turn rewarded me by developing my character and helping me become a man.” Mr. Hermanson pledges to always have a door open for the boys, as he did during his senior year when he served as a school Prefect, and he believes that the open door is not only in a physical sense, but also metaphorically, implying that his heart is always open to discuss any issues confronting students. He vows to champion the honor, respect and accountability he recalls from his student experience, and plans to rely heavily on student leaders to step up and set the standard as true role models. The relationship between Assistant Headmaster for Cocurricular Programs Vinton Bruton and Mr. Hermanson has been smooth sailing between the two men who see eye-to-eye strategically and look forward to working together to hone the character of their charges at every level. Mr. Hermanson enjoyed Mr. Bruton’s Labor Day weekend getaway where the two men met with the Proctors, Prefects, and Dorm Parents to implement strategies to teach leadership skills and promote excellent character at every turn in our student leaders. BRS is proud to welcome back one of its own. Hans Hermanson ’97 is returning to St. George where he will head up Residence Life and teach an elective class in Religious Studies. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Davis & Elkins College, and a Master’s of Theology in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

O by John Hetzel

One faculty member who will play an integral role in the team assisting Mr. Vinton Bruton to instill BRS values at every step of the student experience is the incoming Director of Residence Life, Mr. Hans Hermanson. Mr. Hermanson will be a dependable deputy for Mr. Bruton, having served five years active duty in the U.S. Army (including two tours of duty in Iraq) where he reached the rank of Sergeant, and later held leadership positions in security firms — experiences that have instilled in him a straightforward, no-nonsense approach and firmness of character that complement his open and approachable demeanor.


Catching up with Mr. Hermanson, one can feel the vibrant energy he brings back to campus: “It feels like my return has been a long time coming, and I am excited to finally be able to give back to the school that did so much for me.” Though he was initially most compelled to teach Religious Studies at BRS, Mr. Hermanson is equally excited to take on the Director of Residence Life. He relates, “I embrace the opportunity to take on a paternal role for all the boys and help them feel at home here. My door will always be open and I truly relish the face-to-face contact necessary to address every student’s needs.” Mr. Hermanson is thrilled that he and his family are a part of the Blue Ridge Community, and he’s glad to get back to work as he spent last year at home with, Katia, who was several months old while his wife, Chrisantha, completed her Doctorate of Philosophy at Oxford University in England. The Blue Ridge community offers its warmest “welcome home” to the Hermansons.


The Blue Ridge Difference

J by Hilde Keldermans

Jamie Miller III ‘94 has been named the Blue Ridge School Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, according to Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin. “During the five years that Mr. Miller and I have worked together, he was the guy responsible for keeping the school full,” says Mr. Darrin. “He’s simply one of the best admission representatives in the industry,” says Mr. Darrin, who adds that the fact that Mr. Miller is also an alumnus makes him all the more ideal in the position. “I couldn’t be more confident of the skills encompassed by our entire admissions team.” Mr. Miller heads a staff of four: Admissions Office Manager Louis Morris, Senior Associate Director of Admissions Matt Munsey, Associate Director of Admissions Alanna Pardee, and Associate Director of Admissions Melissa Bradby. For Mr. Miller, Blue Ridge represents home in several ways. Mr. Miller first came to Blue Ridge in 1992 at the encouragement of his uncle, Bill Ramsey ‘83. Bill and his wife Margaret, as well as their son Cal, Blue Ridge class of 2015, live on campus. Mr. Miller states that when he attended, the faculty and staff reinforced what his parents were trying to teach him: “…the character building and skills that have gotten me through tough times, and helped me to be successful in college and beyond. It was here that I learned to care about others, work hard, and do my absolute best. I love this school. We’re a family — ­­ alumni, teachers, staff -— once you’ve been a part of Blue Ridge School you’ll always be a part of Blue Ridge School.” After graduation, Mr. Miller attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, and in 1998 earned a B.A. in History. He then worked at F&M Bank in the loan department, and at BB&T Financial Center as a manager and loan officer. Mr. Miller returned to Blue Ridge School in 2006 and has since been the Assistant Director of Admissions, the Director of Financial Aid, and the Director of Alumni Relations. He and his wife, Beth Miller, Assistant Head of Upper School at St. Anne’s Belfield School, have two daughters, Hannah, 8, and Chloe, 5. Asked why he’s accepted the position of Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Jamie responds: “I am invested in the school. The best part of being Admissions Director at Blue Ridge School is that you can see the goodness and the potential in a young man who can’t yet see it in himself.”

“The best part of being Admissions Director at Blue Ridge School is that you can see the goodness and the potential in a young man who can’t yet see it in himself.”

Mr. Miller credits his own experience at Blue Ridge School for shaping him into the man he is today. He says that the Blue Ridge faculty and staff believed in him, even when he didn’t. “Someone gave me an opportunity once, and I want to share the Blue Ridge story with other families. I want to show them that all the opportunities a boy needs to fulfill his potential are here at Blue Ridge.” Many of the adults at Blue Ridge who made a huge impact on Jamie while he was a student are still here. Men like John Young, Jim Niederberger, Kevin Miller, and his uncle, Bill Ramsey. Jamie says he admires their dedication and appreciates their love of teaching. “And while the environment is great, and the school’s setting is beautiful, it gets down to the people who are caring for the boys – that’s the Blue Ridge difference.”



A Welcome Addition Campus Improvements Completed since July 2012 - Entrance Gateway - Stone Cottage renovation - Battle House renovation - Student Center redesign - Robotics and new Computer Labs - Campus Landscaping

T by H. Keldermans

The term “well-traveled” certainly applies to our new Director of Facilities, Ed Blain who can confidently state he has traveled to every continent, sailed every ocean, and has been to both the North and South Poles. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Blain explains that his passion for travel was sparked at his first glimpse of a National Geographic which his grandfather shared with him while he perched on his knee. “I was hooked on travel and as soon as I turned seventeen years old, I joined the United States Navy, and three months later I found myself sailing the Mediterranean Sea and visiting six different countries.” He also found himself onboard a destroyer patrolling the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during the Greek-Turkish conflict in 1974. Having served the United States Navy for twenty-one years, Mr. Blain was stationed in Greece, Italy (both in Sicily and Sardinia), Scotland and Spain. His naval tours include submarines, destroyers and the Aircraft Carrier USS George Washington. Mr. Blain had the pleasure of serving on the George Washington on her maiden voyage where the ship served as the lead for the procession of ships in Portsmouth Harbor, England, for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion of Normandy as well as hosting Queen Elizabeth and President Bill Clinton.


Mr. Blain earned two campaign medals for both the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. He was also awarded two Navy Achievement Medals and two Navy Commendation Medals. He retired from the U.S. Navy in late 1995 as a Master Chief Petty Officer (submarines). Later that year he was hired as the technology manager for the U.S. Antarctic Program for the National Science Foundation by Antarctic Support Associates, the primary contractor managing the station. He initially served for both the Palmer and South Pole research stations, and in 1999 became the station manager for the South Pole. Originally built in 1956, Mr. Blain oversaw the station expansion in 1975. Mr. Blain also supported various continental traverse projects including a Russian dune buggy trek across Antarctic and the first hot air balloon launch from the South Pole. He flew in the rescue aircraft to evacuate the station doctor, Jerri Neilson, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer during that austral winter. Fortunately the evacuation was successful and the doctor was able to be treated for her illness. Mr. Blain also coordinated the Millennium celebrations and coordinated a television broadcast that was seen worldwide on New Year’s Eve, 2000. In late 2000, Mr. Blain began his new career as telecommunications manager for Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. He managed the information systems and telecommunication requirements for such popular shows as “Friends”, “E.R.,” “West Wing”, and “Gilmore Girls”, and Warner Bros. movies including “The Perfect Storm”, “Murder by Numbers”, and ‘The Last Samurai”. More recently Mr. Blain was the area facilities manager for Target’s New England Stores and after a brief hiatus from the corporate world, he accepted the position of Director of Facilities at Blue Ridge School. Mr. Blain is very close to his daughter, Michelle, who lives in Richmond with his three grandchildren. His son Michael resides in New York City and is an Events Planner. Mr. Blain enjoys many hobbies including restoration of classic automobiles and Chris Craft runabouts.


In Capable Hands

Mrs. Jeanette Shifflett Housekeeping Supervisor at Blue Ridge since 2007

Mrs. Helen Morris Housekeeping Specialist at Blue Ridge since 1968

B Mr. Gary Morris Facilities Coordinator at Blue Ridge since 1984

Mr. Herb Shifflett Facilities Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2007

Ms. Rita Shifflett Housekeeping Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2000

Mr. Cameron Shifflett Facilities Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2007

Mr. Cecil Nay Housekeeping Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2005

Mr. Jamie Morris Facilities Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2012

Tessie Conley Housekeeping Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2000

Mr. Ronnie Shifflett Facilities Specialist at Blue Ridge since 2012

Blue Ridge School is fortunate to be in the very capable hands of a group of men and women who have taken great care to make the campus, its buildings and grounds beautiful and well-maintained. It’s no easy feat. This summer our Facilities Staff went above and beyond to renovate Battle House, and make repairs on a number of faculty homes and offices as well. Their combined skill and experience have allowed the School to accomplish far more than expected. Throughout the summer there were a number of dorm rooms which were occupied from Sunday through Friday with campers. Each room had to be at its best by the next Sunday for the following camp. During the school year, Housekeeping keeps the 105 dorms and bathrooms neat and tidy, as well as Battle House and all Academic buildings in top shape. In addition to maintaining, repairing and renovating campus buildings, our Facilities Staff maintains the grounds in pristine condition. With several hundred acres of lawn and playing fields, they have their work cut out for them.

Ricky Morris, pictured left, is the 2012 recipient of the Blue Ridge School Service Award in appreciation for his years of service, and his dedication, to the Blue Ridge Athletic Department. Mr. Morris has worked at the School since 1999. He is pictured with retired Athletic Director Carl Frye, and current Athletic Director Bill Ramsey ‘83. Mr. Frye was honored by the Virginia Preparatory League, as well.


Graduation Awards 2012


Each year, the Academic and Co-curricular Programs bestow awards at Commencement on seniors who have excelled in those areas. The 2012 awards were given to: Art .....................................................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Drama ..........................................................................................................................Grey McAllister English ...............................................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Foreign Language French ...................................................................................................... Alex Yang Foreign Language Spanish ........................................................................................Jack Coopersmith History ..................................................................................................... Matt Kim and Bon Jun Koo Mathematics ......................................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Music ....................................................................................Zhen Li, Michael Painter, and JiWon Oh Outdoor ...................................................................................................................... Thomas DuPuis Science ..............................................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Scholarship ........................................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Billy Pace Athletics ..........................................................................................................Artur Khapov Frank Pendleton Athletics ..................................................................................... David McSkimming Eddie Ray Collier Athletics ................................................................................................ Jack Hamer Athletic Director’s Award ..............................................................................................Chris Hickman Stimp Hawkins Athletics ..............................................................................................Mayn Francisco Alumni Reps .................................................................................Patrick Googe and Grey McAllister Citizenship: Jack Coopersmith, IJ Diakite, Lance Gray, Chris Hickman, Cassius Hijarunguru, Matt Kim, Mitch Klarner, Zhen Li, Paris Maragkos, Erich Sening, and Chris Weldon SAR Citizenship .....................................................................................................Mike Derrenbacher DAR Citizenship ..........................................................................................................Grey McAllister John L. Trimmer Citizenship .........................................................................................Patrick Landry Edward McFarlane Award ................................................................................................Bon Jun Koo Headmaster’s Award .....................................................................................................Chris Hickman Roy Petty Award ......................................................................................................... Thomas DuPuis Thomas H. Willcox, Jr. Award .............................................................................................. Nick Voso Clarke Worthington Award ................................................................................................ Ben Nyavor St. George Award .........................................................................................................Mayn Francisco


The Class of 2012 Will Attend These Colleges and Universities Barry University Chestnut Hill College City University of New York East Tennessee State University Emory & Henry College Ferrum College Florida Institute of Technology Georgia Perimeter College Greensboro College Kansas State University Loyola University of New Orleans Ole Miss Sewanee, The University of the South Shenandoah University St. Leo University University of California, Los Angeles University of Massachusetts, Boston University of Dayton University of Mary Washington University of Virginia Virginia Tech Virginia Wesleyan College PHOTOS: 1. The Freshmen class led by Freshmen Dean Cory Woods and his son Edmund; 2. Brandon Deane, Kevin Miller, Jon Baker, Vinton Bruton, and Jamie Miller; 3. Carl Frye and Mayn Francisco ‘12; 4. Chris Hickman ‘12 and Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin 5. President of the Board Jean Hart and Grey McAllister ‘12; 6. Acolytes lead the commencement procession; 7. Rylee Marsh ’14, Spencer Achtymichuk ’12, Cory Takahara ’12, Chase Fraser ’13, Spencer Wuthmann ‘12; 8. Mason Schmidt ‘13, Nick Pashoian ‘13, and Evan Hayon ‘13.











“Love as if Life Depended on It”


Commencement Address, May 26, 2012

Last night I emailed the entire school community a poem that I penned last year at Commencement. I will close this morning with those carefully chosen words, so I know exactly where this message is heading, but I want to offer this speech as a preface to that concise piece of advice, if I could, because one line from that poem I think needs emphasis. I want that line to stand out when I read it later because it is the central focus and the climax of the poem. It is central to your lives as young men heading out into the world, and also is central to everything that I know to be true about this our world. That line is “Love as if your life depended on it,” simply that, “Love as if your life depended on it.” In the poem I follow that line with “because it does more than you could ever know.” I believe to my soul that it truly does, but first why. Our world is difficult, and frustrating, and cruel. There will be times when you will dream about the chance to do a “walk about” to erase a mistake you made, but in life there is no such thing. You will dream too, that the phrase, “but that’s not fair” actually holds water because it won’t. You will dream about having “opportunity period” because that kind of set aside time to get your work done would be like gold, but it doesn’t exist. Believe me, I know, I have two kids under the age of two. I dream of having an opportunity period. And all of that is if you actually get everything you want: a good job, a wife, a family, success. It’s not a new phenomenon. Men have struggled throughout history. Whitman writes: O Me! O life! of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

You will and you must contribute a verse; it is as simple as that. “What will your verse be?” is the question. Shakespeare asked


it a different way, when he wrote, “To be or not to be,” that is his question, asking “who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life?” I suggest to you this morning that the answer to both, the answer to solving the ills of our world and the answer to the question of what makes life itself worth living, even fraught with those very ills, is the same thing, and that is love. I’ve started every class that I’ve taught here at Blue Ridge the same way. Every September, when most teachers are going through the syllabus, we start with our first vocabulary word. Those of you who had me last year for English, do you remember it? I ask my students to do their best, and write a definition of what love is, and I tell them that their definition must define love completely, all aspects included in their complete definition. After saying they can’t use the dictionary, I always get the same kind of thing, “Of or pertaining to the emotion of great care for another person.” Anytime you hear “of or pertaining to” you know that you’ve already lost. As Big Daddy said in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “if you gotta use words like that to describe something its 90-proof bull and I’m not buying any.” So I hand it back, and they try again, and they go a little deeper, but they always seem to be missing something. They’ll include love for a woman, but will leave out the kind of love they have for sports, or family, or their dog, or they’ll talk about bliss, but not pain, and we all know that love includes both. So the next thing we do to try to spur our thoughts on is try to come up with phrases that have love in them. . . like puppy love, or young love, or lost in love, or love/hate relationship, or what’s love got to do with it?, or love bites, love bleeds. It’s bringing me to my knees, sorry I guess singing Def Leppard shows my age. This exercise always expands the student definitions a bit. Usually a phrase like “Tough Love” hadn’t been thought of yet. So after that I have them try again, and now they are writing full paragraphs, trying to list as many aspects as possible, but then there is always one in the class who writes something like “love is a roller coaster,” and that’s when I know I’ve got ‘em. Yes, I celebrate inside, poetry and figurative language are needed to get at an idea like love, and now on the first day of class I’ve got little poets, and class can begin.

“To truly love you must know who you are because how can you give all if you don’t know what all is? So find out who you are. The world needs you to because the world needs you to love. Each one of you has a self that is completely unique to you, and the world needs you to give it. No one else can give the gift of you, and the world needs all of us, so begin your search for yourself. Build it up, but build it up to give it.”

Even though I taught them that love is indefinable, I have a working definition that I use, so here goes. This is what I think love means: Love is “giving of your complete self to and for something that is not you, holding nothing back, but giving of you, all of you, every single bit, including any thought for what you will get back in return.” I think that encapsulates it, the joy, the pain, the suffering, the beauty, the uncertainty, the nausea, the tears, the laughter, the memories, the moments, the fear, the lack of control, the dedication to a sport, every dream ever dreamed, every poem ever written, every love song ever sung, every movie, every story, the heart break, the risk, the sacrifice, the nervousness, the importance, sex, parenthood, the only hope for our world, and to be honest life itself. Can you give all of yourself for something else? Have any of you risked that much? Probably not yet. I stand here this morning struggling with it myself. It is the most difficult thing that a human can do, but I can think of no nobler aspect of life. What makes it so difficult? You may disagree. You may be thinking to yourself, “Mr. Atkinson, talk about 90-proof bull. I’ve loved, it is not that hard.” But have you given of your complete self? Do you even know yet what your complete self is? That is part of the difficulty. To truly love you must know who you are because how can you give all if you don’t know what all is? So find out who you are. The world needs you to because the world needs you to love. Each one of you has a self that is completely unique to you, and the world needs you to give it. No one else can give the gift of you, and the world needs all of us, so begin your search for yourself. Build it up, but build it up to give it. Many of you will have that chance in college. You will have the opportunity to find out who you are. Do so, search, seek, and

be true. One of the biggest problems that men face in this world is remaining true to that self, because there are a lot of defining voices in this world. Voices that will try to put you in a confined box and trap you in a group, by race, by political affiliation, by your job, by income, by where you are from. We actually add another one to you today; you are now Blue Ridge Graduates. It will forever be a part of who you are, but it must remain exactly that, a part. There is so much more that you will welcome under the umbrella of you, as your world expands. Let it continue to expand. There is nothing more valuable to give than a self that is continuing to expand. Think of the possibilities that makes for love. They are infinite, which is good because our world has seemingly infinite problems: political polarization, failing economic systems, war, hatred, violence, terrorism, misguided protest movements, the constant threat of total annihilation. Yes what the world needs now is love, sweet love, and that means that you, each of you must be willing to give love. You will carry the torch of humanity into the future. Will yours be the generation that finally figures it all out. We can hope, we can have faith, because we can believe in the power and the existence of love. Be a part of that truth. I hope you are starting to realize something about love, in what I’ve been saying. Love is like life. It’s hard, it takes your all, it’s filled with risk, and when lived right, when loved right, it’s actually lived. It leaves a growing glowing glorious trail of life behind it. We started with Whitman “That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” Life exists, love exists, and identity, you a unique manifestation of life, created by love, to give love, seems so simple. May it be so. (Continued on page 16.)


2012-2013 ANNUAL FUND

So now, having given the preface, my poem: Commencement.

Support the Programs you Love

Commencement: To commence, to start, initiate; To gather together and begin, So here we are together one last time And off you go, at the outset of a journey, Having completed the twelve year tutorial, Embark, with guided steps. Good luck, bon voyage, congratulations, All are certainly in order. You’ve earned this day, The culmination of past days, The first of future days. Burst free and fly, it’s you now, Your choices, your plans, your work, Your future, your life, And we who’ve played a part, Go with you forever, Just as you stay with us forever, For bonds made in relationship don’t break, Impact is reciprocal when it’s honest, Teaching is learning when it’s true, The intersections of life are life, Thank you for what you brought, And I hope you can use what I gave, Then as your path winds on, May the way build you as the past has done, And know that there is only one instance of you, One original creation, One glorious blessed uniqueness, That has much to offer a world in need. Know yourself, be yourself, always,


The Annual Fund provides added value in each boy’s overall experience at Blue Ridge School as fifteen percent of the School’s operating budget. The Annual Fund is the value-added to our already strong academic and cocurricular programs which are designed specifically for the ways boys learn. We are unique and unmatched as an all boys, all boarding, all college bound school. Your support helps us develop well-educated and well-prepared boys to become men of character, in short to become gentlemen. Simply put, without the Annual Fund, that special margin of excellence which is evident across all our programs would be greatly diminished. PACKAGE GIVING: Creating a Package Gift allows you the flexibility to

designate a portion of your gift to those programs you’re passionate about. It allows you the option of leaving a part of that gift unrestricted. By allocating your gift in this way – Restricted and Unrestricted – you’re giving Blue Ridge School a greater amount of financial flexibility. For example, make a $2,000 gift and direct 40 percent to academics (or athletics) and 60 percent to unrestricted programs. We want to give you greater flexibility and more opportunity to have a bigger role in changing lives and building futures. Visit to learn more, and to make your donation online. Thank you for your help! For further information, please contact Annual Fund Director JC Ignaszewski, 434-992-0510 or

One unified searching soul. Encounter each challenge as it comes. Remember that suffering strengthens, That pain deepens your soul,


So instead of avoiding, attack.


Attack life and live.



Taste each breath you take.



Feel each tear you shed. Treasure each time you laugh.


2012-2013 ANNUAL FUND GOALS Scan Here and Donate Online

And love as if your life depended on it


Because it does more than you ever could know.

Mayo & Williams Society: $10,000 or more

I can give no other advice

Chairman’s Roundtable:

$5,000 - $9,999

On this your commencement

Trustee’s Circle:

$1,000 - $4,999

Than to stop for only a second,

Headmaster’s Circle:

$500 - $999

Smile, take a breath, and go. . .

Baron Club:

$100 - $499

The 1909 Club:

$19.09 (for Young Alumni 2006-2012)

by Rev. Peter T. Atkinson

RAYMOND BURDEN HODGES ’73 died Friday, April 20, 2012, at Wake Medical Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, surrounded by his family. He was born to the late John and Nancy Hodges on December 19, 1954, in Louisburg, North Carolina. After attending Blue Ridge High School, he received his BFA in Fine Arts from East Carolina University in 1977.

In Memoriam JAMES R. MCKENRY, father of JAMES R. MCKENRY, JR. ’82, passed away on July 10, 2012, at his home in Virginia Beach. Mr. McKenry was 77. He is survived by his wife of thirty-eight years, Susan Winters McKenry, and their children, Chamie Grandy Valentine and her husband, Henry; James R. McKenry, Jr. and his wife, Lele; Christina Selden Grandy; Cole McKenry Johnson and her husband, Thomas; and Margaret McClure McKenry. Mr. McKenry is also survived by four grandchildren, Ann McKenry Valentine, Henry Lee Valentine IV, Katherine McKenry Johnson, and Sarah Cole Johnson; and by his cousins whom he loved as siblings, Gwen Lang Smith and her husband Karl, and Beverly Lang MacBain and her husband, the late George MacBain. Mr. McKenry was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in Lynchburg. He graduated from the University of Virginia McIntyre School of Commerce in 1959 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1962. For fifty years, Mr. McKenry had a thriving career in law in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area. He was a founding partner of McKenry, Dancigers, Dawson, and Lake, and was active in the Virginia State Bar. He also served on the Committee of Lawyer Discipline and on the Committee on Legal Ethics. He served as President of the Virginia Law Foundation. He was also elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was active as a Founding Trustee of the Cape Henry Collegiate School. Law was one of his passions as was his desire to support young men and women in the field. He offered his knowledge, expertise and wisdom to coworkers and his peers. Mr. McKenry was also an active member of his community, serving on numerous local boards including the Board of Directors of CASA, on the Board of Directors of the Judeo Christian Outreach Center, on the Vicar’s Advisory Committee at Saint Simon’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, and was a former vestry member of Galilee Episcopal Church. Mr. McKenry also chaired the Public Defender Commission which created the pilot Public Defender Program. In his lifetime, he was honored for his years of dedication and service to the practice of law with several awards including being named a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, which is based on contributions to the law and the community, and is limited to one percent of the attorneys licensed in Virginia. He was named a Fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation, and earned the Virginia Beach Bar Association’s Public Service Award in 2000. A memorial service was held Friday, July 13, at Galilee Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Ray continued his fierce loyalty to the Pirates throughout his life. He enjoyed Pirate football games, golfing, hunting, and a good joke. He was loved as a husband, father, brother, friend, colleague, and community member. Ray was devoted to both of his independent insurance agencies Hodges Insurance Agency, Inc, founded by his father John Hodges in Louisburg, and Hartsfield and Nash Agency, Inc. in Wake Forest. Ray had a strong sense of community and spent many years as a Trustee of Louisburg College. Ray is survived by his wife of 33 years, Arlene Hodges; daughters Emily Hodges and Allison Hodges and her fiancé, Bucky Westmoreland all of Raleigh; brother, John Hodges Jr. of Raleigh; maternal aunt Katherine Burden of Aulander, North Carolina; and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held on Monday, April 23, 2012, at the Seby B. Jones Performing Arts Center at Louisburg College.

EDWARD BOSWORTH MENDEL ’83 passed away on December 6, 2012 as a result of an automobile accident in Breckenridge, Colorado. Mr. Mendel was born on October 6, 1965 to Nancy Wilson Mendel and the late Edward Claire Joy Mendel. He was raised in Palm Beach and attended Blue Ridge School, and later the University of Miami and College of the Ozarks. As the owner of Imports International, Inc., Ed Traveled extensively, enriching people’s lives in many countries and leaving goodwill wherever he went. His passion for helping others lead him to become both a fireman and an emergency medical technician in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1999, Ed and his family moved to Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, where he founded the charter service Backdraft International, Inc. Again, using his passion for helping people, Ed was a first responder in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rescuing survivors and working with the Army Corp of Engineers using a swamp buggy. In Jaco, Costa Rica, Ed started a volunteer fire station by donating a fire engine to the town. Since the start of the station, it has grown into an indispensable municipal fire station. For all of Ed’s accomplishments, he was most proud of his two children, Avery Garner Mendel and James Bosworth “Bo” Mendel. In addition to his children, Ed is survived by his mother, Nancy Wilson Mendel of Palm Beach, Florida. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, in Palm Beach, Florida.


From left: Blue Ridge students on an outdoor trip to Marshall Wilderness in Montana for backpacking and fly fishing. From left are Isaac King, Joe Randall, Jack Orloff, Jack Rios-Brooks, Mr. Vinton Bruton, Ned Nichols, and Mr. Jon Baker.



Nate interned with Emergicare working at a medical clinic as an assistant, helping in the back area with shots, drug tests, filing, urinalysis, and anything else the staff needed him to do. He learned valuable skills working with others and being accountable for his work. Nate also participated in the four-day Lacrosse Academy camp held at BRS.



Mason Schmidt worked hard to earn a Presidential Scholarship in addition to a golf scholarship. He played a lot of golf in Georgia for the Southeastern Tour event and the Future Masters in Dothan, Alabama. PENG KAMONPRAPASAWAT ’13, CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

Peng took TOEFL and SAT classes along with an art class this summer. In his art class, Peng studied architecture, interior design, and product design while he prepared his portfolio for college applications. He found time to play golf with his family and friends. He was also in contact with our new Thai student who is attending BRS this fall and helped him prepare for his transition to life in St. George.

The boys had a phenomenal trip to the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana this summer. They hiked over 50 miles in six days in some of the most rugged terrain in the US. There were spectacular vistas at every turn. Two of the days were filled with fly fishing in the Sun River. They went with Mr. Vinton Bruton and Mr. Jon Baker. ISAAC KING ‘13, JOHNNY ATKINSON ‘13, TORIAN PEGRAM ‘14, PATRICK GOOGE ‘12, AND ALEX NAIL ‘12

The boys interned at BRS this summer working in the Admissions and Advancement Offices. In addition to doing lots of organizing work for Mrs. Morris, they led tours for prospective students and introduced would-be Barons to life at Blue Ridge. TRAVIS WARD ’14, MCLEAN, VIRGINIA

Travis worked as a ride technician at an amusement park called Funland in Rehoboth Beach, Deleware. He played lacrosse for the Green Turtle Lacrosse Club and attended Georgetown University’s 120 elite scouting camp.


Darryl volunteered at his local Chesapeake Medical Regional Center. He helped out in the IT department where he assisted in running cables, installing phones, repairing office equipment and more. He also worked with the communication manager. Darryl enjoyed the work and said it was a great experience.

The Blue & White Games - a BRS tradition - was reinstituted by Mr.


Vinton Bruton and Mr. Hans Hermanson on the first Saturday of the 2012-2013 school year.

From left: Masa Mizuno, Joe Randall, Chris Weldon, Bon Junkoo, JaeWon Park, Albert Shin


A Home of Their Own

by H. Keldermans

In May, Blue Ridge School received a generous grant from the Weldon Foundation for $10,000 to fund the conversion of the supervised study hall to a dedicated robotics lab, and a nice grant from IBM to fund new teaching tools for the lab. The new lab honors Chris Weldon ‘12 and is named for the “Baron Bots” — ­ student-built robots — that will be created there.

At its inception, the first BRS Robotics team had the opportunity to experience the Gracious Professionalism initiative, through which BRS received help from more experienced teams to get the Blue Ridge program off and running. Since then, BRS Robotics teams have returned the favor and assisted other first-year teams in launching their programs.

Blue Ridge began its robotics program just four years ago. Since then the team has competed well, placing third in 2008 at the Virginia State Championships of the FTC (First Tech Challenge) and placing first at the 2009 Central Virginia Regional Competition in Richmond. This past January the team placed in the Eastern Regional Championships at Norfolk State University.

Because of the recent success and increased interest and participation by Blue Ridge students, the School recently gained a grant for more parts kits with larger parts in order to enter and compete with two teams next year. The pack/kit serves 30 students. It includes heavy-duty, aircraft-grade aluminum elements for construction, powerful drive motors, and expandable capabilities. TETRIX provides the ideal platform for creativity. Motor speed controller with battery holder, and four-channel R/C Controller are also included in this pack.

The students on the team take a standardized kit of parts and motors and build a robot to accomplish tasks in a well-defined competition against other teams. The primary goal is to help students learn about engineering, computer programming, and teamwork in an experiential environment. The teachers who advise the robotics team, Jerry Jared and Bob Flannery, believe this program provides wonderful teachable moments, and brings together a diverse group of young men, with different backgrounds and interests, to form a very formidable team that competes at the highest level. “First Robotics is a first class organization with very many volunteers,” says Mr. Jared who adds that the competition motivates teams to accomplish more than they would without the competitive side of the program. “One of the unique features of First Robotics is the encouragement that teams get when they help each other by sharing parts, resources, and knowledge while at the same time competing against each other,” he adds.  “Teams get a real world problem and a format in which to test their ideas and solutions to the problem,” he says. Mr. Jared adds that the members spend a lot of time working together as a team for a common goal. 

With a home of its own, and more kits, the Robotics Team can only become a force to be reckoned with in the world of robotics.

The Robotics Program provides wonderful teachable moments, and brings together a diverse group of young men, with different backgrounds and interests, to form a very formidable team that competes at the highest level.



Stepping Up Into Leadership Roles

Scan here for the list of 2012-2013 Blue Ridge School Student Leaders

Mr. James Niederberger, Chair of the History Department, Dean of Faculty, History Teacher and Advisor to the Honor Council distributes pins to this year’s Honor Council members.


An excerpt of Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin’s address at the Convocation Ceremony on Sunday, September, 9, 2012

Becoming a man is not something you’re going to learn by hearing it read off like a recipe, or by reading a definition in a handbook. Becoming a man is not learned that way. Manhood is a process of change — a transformation that occurs bit by bit as experience morphs you in stages. That doesn’t mean there won’t be guidance along the way, however. In fact, you’ve already received some — it isn’t by mistake that the year’s first assembly is about honor. Mr. Niederberger and Mr. Bruton made it clear that night that honor is indeed a fundamental component of manhood. The Convocation Service is another piece of guidance. It’s also known as the “stepping up” service because, at its core, this service is about what men do when called into duty or when called to serve: they step up. This service is about leadership and various students have been given the opportunity to step up into important leadership roles. There are many ways to lead; and no one best way. American culture seems preoccupied by one type: the charismatic authoritarian, leaders like Jack Welch the famous GE CEO. Well, there are other, equally effective ways to lead. You should know this for yourself, because everyone has within himself the capacity for leadership, no matter your personality type. You should


also recognize this about others and be open to other leadership styles. While manhood is certainly about stepping up to lead, when necessary, it’s also about knowing when not to lead; knowing when to follow. It’s a mistake to think that leadership is all about the leader, for leadership is only effective when others decide for themselves to follow. That willingness to follow requires effort over time and no small amount of courage. Anyone who has done something they didn’t at first want to, something they did at the behest of another, knows what I’m talking about. Every student at Blue Ridge School, named leaders included, will be called to step up by choosing to follow their peers. Leaders called to service are young men I support. Their leadership authority comes from varied sources, some internal to them and their character, other sources external. These leaders, while appointed by me and part of my administration, were chosen by a vote of the entire student body and faculty. Their roles are a significant challenge — ­ I know firsthand the weight of responsibility that comes from leading your peers. I ask all of you to be open to their varied styles of leadership, and to respect your peer leaders. They have earned that respect and are worthy of being followed. Their worthiness isn’t confined to student peers; there will be times this year when I, too, will choose to follow them.


Championing Campus Improvements

W by Isaac King ‘13

When I arrived at Blue Ridge as a sophomore, I heard that this is a place that listens to its students, and that if I want something changed or added to enhance the Blue Ridge experience, I just need to speak up and make myself heard, and the faculty would do their best to hear me out. And so I did. Last spring I spoke out about something that I believed could be improved. I had commiserated with other guys about having no good place to hang out. Sam Kalinski and I bemoaned the quality of the picture on the outdated TV’s while watching football on the weekends, and the student center was hardly a desirable hang-out area. Over dinner conversations in the dining hall, I began to get feedback from several students. The consensus was that the guys here at Blue Ridge wanted a better place to just go and hang out. Whether it is chilling on a Friday night watching a movie, having a social place to enjoy post-Study Hall Tuck Shop snacks over a game of cards, enjoying some Sunday afternoon football, or hosting a Ping-Pong or a pool tournament, everyone agreed that there was not an existing area conducive for these activities. So was born the Student Center proposal. I wrote a proposal which outlined several ideas to improve the student center and make it an area that Blue Ridge boys would use and enjoy, including new HD TVs, a stage area for guys to have a place to show their talents, a mini snack bar that can be open on weekends when the Tuck Shop isn’t, comfortable seating, and WiFi.

“Our boys work hard. They need a place where they can relax and enjoy precious free time. I’m excited about the redesigned Student Center, primarily because the plans for the redesign were initiated by a Blue Ridge student. Who better to know how to design this important facility.” - Acting Headmaster Trip Darrin

Isaac King ‘12

And much to my surprise, they said “Let’s do it!” Mr. Darrin got the Parents’ Association involved, and Mrs. Kalinski, president, got things rolling. We had a meeting with Jared Arntzen and Jimmy Fleck, two very active leaders in our student body, and I’ve been in contact with most of the other boys in the student body through a Facebook group in which ideas are posted and feedback is given on different items such as, “What colors should the new room be?” and, “Should there be an air hockey table?” Because the room is for the students, we wanted to be sure they had input. We are aiming for completion of the project by Fall Parents Weekend. It’s an exciting project and it just goes to show that if you are willing to speak up, things can change. I am looking forward to hanging out with my Baron Brothers in the new Student Center this fall! A GRATEFUL “THANK YOU” TO THE PARENTS ASSOCIATION FOR THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION!


Spring Sports Wrap Up



JV LACROSSE made great strides this spring despite being challenged with a schedule riddled with postponements and cancellations. In its opening match, the team struggled against a Covenant squad sprinkled with more than a smattering of varsity players. After a lopsided first half, the game was called due to lightning and not made up. The ensuing game against Woodberry Forest was also washed out and it was not until April 11 that the team finally played its first complete game losing to St. Anne’s-Belfield 11-3. With expectations low due to the first two matches, the team instead posted two remarkable upsets over Woodberry Forest, 5-3 and 10-3 sandwiched around another cancellation from Middleburg Academy. The JV Barons played their final game of the season, a 5-4 loss to Tandem Friends School, before the last two games on the schedule, Covenant and Middleburg were also cancelled. Despite so many cancellations, the team maintained an upbeat and positive outlook, and showed marked improvement over the course of the season. Center midfielder Jordan Edelman ’14 was named MVP, while most Most Improved Player (MIP) was shared by Dima Ferreira ’14 and Alex Stoob ‘14. Davis Wylie ’14 received the Coaches’ Award from Dr. Miller and Mr. Young. VARSITY LACROSSE responded well to the challenge of moving up to the ranks of the Division I VISAA League compiling a 16-4 record en route to a regular season VIC Championship title and a bid to the Virginia State Championship. The team started its season well CORY TAKAHARA on the road at the “King of the Spring” tournament in Durham, North Carolina, defeating leading North Carolina schools Charlotte Latin and RJ Reynolds. The team lost a heartbreaker on the road at Episcopal School in overtime, and had to do some serious soul searching after losing a bizarre 5-3 match against Cape Henry Collegiate that featured a long lightning delay and steady monsoon once the teams were allowed back out on the field. The Barons responded with four straight wins topping Covenant, North Cross, and Virginia Episcopal School, plus an 18-4 win over perennial playoff contender Collegiate. After losing the next game, its home opener against St. Anne’sBelfield 8-7, the team would run off seven wins in a row including an 11-10 victory on the road against a playoff-bound Woodberry Forest squad that secured the Barons an invitation and the fifth seed in the



State Championship. Also included in the winning streak was a VIC Championship win at home over North Cross by a score of 12-4. The Baron laxmen proceeded to do Blue Ridge School proud in the VISAA State tournament beating the fourth seed Christchurch on the road in the first round 11-6, and getting the program’s first ever win against the top ranked St. Anne’s-Belfield in the semi-final 7-5. Though the Blue and White came up short in the championship game against St. Stephen’s St. Agnes by a score of 7-4, the team is proud of the achievements it made in taking Blue Ridge lacrosse to previously unreached heights. Many players received accolades and awards for their efforts: Attackman and Co-captain Tanner Fisher ‘12 was named a First Team VIC All-Star and VIC Player of the Year, First Team All-State, team offensive MVP, and a US Lacrosse First Team All-American, the highest honor a high school player can earn. Defender and Co-captain David McSkimming ’12 was also named a First Team VIC All-Star, First Team All-State, and the team MVP. Goaltender and Co-captain Nick Voso ’12 was named a First Team VIC All-Star, and the team’s co-defensive MVP along with Co-captain Jack Hamer ‘12. Midfielder Tyler Pace ‘13 was selected a First Team VIC All-Star, First Team All-State, and received the Coaches’ Award. Midfielder Patrick Googe ’12 was selected as a Second Team VIC All-Star and was the team’s MIP. Midfielder Cory Takahara ’12 was also named a Second Team VIC All-Star and received the Chazz Woodson Award. In addition to the players’ accolades, first year Head Coach Kyle Gardner was named the VIC’s Co-head Coach of the Year. VARSITY TRACK AND FIELD had a competitive spring. The team opened with an outing at William Monroe High school where it placed seventh out of seven teams, but there were signs the team FILIPP BURNASHOV LEON STRAUS would perform well at the individual level. The Barons went on to place twelfth out of sixteen teams at a Woodberry Forest meet where Leon Straus ‘14 turned heads with a 22.82-200 yard dash which was good enough for fifth place, and Filipp Burnashov ‘13 also posted an awesome high jump at 6’0”. The Barons continued to improve finishing second out of five teams at Eastern Mennonite, fourth out of six teams at Woodberry, and



second out of three teams at Virginia Episcopal School, followed by a third place finish at the VIC Championship at Virginia Episcopal. Blue Ridge Track placed ninth in the state championship held at St. Christopher’s School where Leon Straus sparkled in the sprints finishing third in the 100-yard dash with a time of 11.07, and second overall in the 200-yard dash with a time of 22.23. Coach Jerry Jared awarded the team’s MVP Award to Leon Straus, and the Most Improved Player to Filipp Burnashov. The Coaches’ Award went to Daniel Vettichira ‘15. THE VARSITY GOLF TEAM had an outstanding campaign this spring winning six matches outright and posting two second place finishes in group matches leading up to the VIC Championship. The team finished an impressive second at the VIC Championship narrowly losing the top honors to Liberty Christian. Junior Mason Schmidt ‘13 shot an even par 71 to win the medal for best round of the day, and he and team captain Chris Hickman ‘12 were named VIC All-Stars and qualified for the State Championship. Hickman went on to shoot a one-over par 73 to tie for fifth best individually out of 54 golfers at the VISAA State Golf Championship in Suffolk, Virginia, while teammate Mason Schmidt shot an eight-over-par 80 for thirteenth best individual. Chris Hickman was awarded All-State honors for his excellent season, and was named MVP by Head Coach Trip Darrin. The team’s Most Improved Player was senior Matt Schiller ‘12 while Mason Schmidt was awarded the Coaches’ Award. VARSITY TENNIS posted a 3-9 record this spring despite having one of the VIC’s co-players of the year in Johannes Scheufele ‘14 who lost only two matches at number one singles all spring. Scheufele’s efforts, combined with that of the number two singles player Hilton Bilbrey ‘13 who also had a steady winning season and was selected to the All-VIC Second Team, kept the Barons in the majority of their matches. Despite winning its matches at number one singles and doubles in the VIC Tournament at Carlisle School, the team could not seize the momentum and fell 7-2. Coach Paul Fehlner was enthused with the character his players showed on the court, and with the improvement the team showed up and down the ladder. The MVP Award naturally went to Scheufele, while the Most Improved Player went to Jimmy Fleck ‘14. The Coaches’ Award was shared by Ted Chen ‘12 and Shuying He ‘12.



JV TENNIS finished the season with a 1-8 record team with its lone win coming against local tennis powerhouse Covenant by a score of 5-2. The team worked hard all year and showed significant improvement as the season progressed. Co-MVPs were Ruddie Oshodin ‘15, and Harrison Gant ‘13. Most Improved Player Award went to Hui Gu ‘15, and Albert Shin ’14 won the Coaches’ Award. BASEBALL finished the spring with a 1-8 record. With numbers down this year, the team was able to score a handful of runs or more in most of its games, but committed too many errors to prevail in some of its close contests. The Barons lost their opener on the road against Covenant 9-8 in extra innings, but the Barons were able to turn the tables on the CAL RAMSEY Eagles and pick up an 11-10 win when BRS hosted them later in the season. The Rudy Award presented by Carl Frye went to Jackie Yip ‘13 for his outstanding season. Best Pitcher Award went to Sam Kalinski ‘13, while the MVP went to Cal Ramsey ‘15. Russell Miller ’14 received the Coaches’ Award. MOUNTAIN BIKERS had a solid spring competing in the Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series (VAHS MTB). The organization holds six interscholastic races over the course of spring to promote bike racing and introduce students to the joys of biking through the beautiful Virginia countryside. Blue Ridge hosted the second race of the series over the School’s new single-track “Gateway Trail” built this past winter. Over 50 students representing Miller School, Rocktown, Woodberry Forest, and BRS NANA OHEMENG-TINYASE gave rave reviews of the new course and lauded its place on the circuit. Isaac King ’13 led the team finishing in ninth place overall in the series at the varsity level. He also placed ninth in the season finale at Miller School which served as the State Championship, and earned the team’s MVP Award from Head Coach Tony Brown. At the JV level, Nana Ohemeng-Tinyase ‘14 climbed up the Series’ chart all season and ended up in fifth place overall, earning him the Most Improved Rider Award. Nana was followed closely by senior Bon Jun Koo ’12 in sixth place, and Jack Funk ‘14 in eighth place, while Ned Nichols ‘15 was 12th overall on the season.


Blue Ridge School 273 Mayo Drive St. George, VA 22935




The Ridge, Fall 2012  
The Ridge, Fall 2012  

The bi-annual magazine for Blue Ridge School, an all boys, all boarding, college preparatory school in St. George, Virginia.