Many Rapp High School Alumni Returning Home to Teach

By: Luke Ellis, Headwaters Rapp Writing Intern

Five recent graduates of Rappahannock County High School (RCHS) have returned home as staff members in the county’s public school system.

Henry Mason, class of 2015, recently joined as Performing Arts Facilitator and Drama teacher; Lauren Settle, class of 2011, Drivers Education/Physical Education teacher; Brittani Vickers, class of 2011, Health Sciences Academy Coordinator/Instructor; Kayla Robey, class of 2017, RCES School Guidance Counselor in Training and Jordan Hummill, class of 2015, sixth-grade Language Arts teacher.

What makes RCPS so special, that it is worth returning?
Being a RCHS senior and someone who has lived in Rappahannock County all his 18 years, I have grown to see how special the county and the entire school community is. However, I wanted to get an insight into why this small school community is special enough to come back to career-wise.

I first asked Robey what made her want to return to the school system where she graduated.
“I really wanted to come home to my roots because this school system and community mean so much to me,” Robey said. “No one can ever quite explain  this place, but the best way I can explain it is home.”
She also added that she looked forward to helping all the students grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

Mason and Vickers, who are a part of the high school’s Fine Arts and Health Sciences Academies respectively, both returned to positions unique to RCHS.

Created with the goal of providing students who have interests in healthcare or fine arts the opportunity to take courses that would result in growth and knowledge in these subjects.

“Working with the community that raised me has been a blessing,” said Mason. “Sharing something that I care about as deeply as performing arts, and showing kids how great it can be to create and perform, that is a joy.”

Last semester, RCHS Drama auditioned and cast for the production, “Anastasia: The Musical,” which is set to take place this spring.

In the health sciences curriculum, students have the opportunity to practice as  certified medical aides or phlebotomists to name a few.

“When I was a student at RCHS, I dreamed of taking courses that are currently offered now, but they were unfortunately never available,” shared Vickers. “Rapp helped mold me into the Nurse Practitioner I am today, and to be able to come back and teach some of our communities’ future providers was exhilarating and life-changing.”

Vickers will now be  practicing full-time as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, but her time at RCHS greatly helped support the development of the Health Sciences Academy.

RCPS Superintendent and Cheerleader-in-Charge Shannon Grimsley, EdD supports the academies and how they help the students. She also appreciates graduates returning home to show students how it can be done.
“The fact that we have so many returning home is a great testament to the specialness of Rappahannock County and the dedication of the amazing educators and staff at RCPS who work so hard every day to, not only teach content, but provide an affirming, safe, and encouraging environment in which students can thrive,” Dr. Grimsley said. 

She noted the specialness of this small school community, and how many former students are “driven to give back to the school and community that served them.”

Dr. Grimsley taught many of these students herself and said that, “she could not be more proud of each of them.”

Recently, I asked a group of students in my senior class what they enjoyed most about RCPS, and I was surprised to hear that many of them had the same answer. 

Eight out of the ten students I asked said that they enjoyed the fact that they belonged to a small school system. Some of the responses were that “everyone felt like family” and they “felt appreciated by the staff and other students.”

This is a great testament why many former students would want to return to this remarkable school system.

Published by Luke Ellis, Headwaters’ Rapp Writing Intern
Re-published by MadRapp Recorder