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Stratford Hall program to highlight Virginia's enslaved cooks

Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virgi...

St. James Episcopal Church in Montross holds homecoming

The Rev. Alan Hooker and the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Montross  welcomed f...

W&L Senior Night

Thirty seniors and their families attended the annual Washington & Lee High School senior night ...

Rain fails to dampen spirits at Montross Fall Festival

After receiving a midweek weather forecast that indicated clearing for the weekend, organizers of th...

W&L graduate sends inspiring letter from Iraq

A U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq sent an inspiring letter last week to Washington & Lee High ...

Westmoreland artist shows rock ‘n’ roll art at General's Ridge Vineyard

Popular Westmoreland County artist Phil McKenney was featured at General's Ridge Vineyard over the w...

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Matematica 2016 Parents’ Night

Parents and students celebrated the 2016 Matematica program at Montross Middle School on

July 20. Fifty­four parents and students met to meet the teachers and look at the work the

students produced during the summer session. For the past 10 summers, ELL students have

studied a different country and explore its culture, history, language, and cuisine. This year the

students studied Mexico. The Montross Middle School food service department catered a

Mexican feast with authentic Mexican rice and salsa. After dinner, students displayed their work

in the cafeteria where parents could freely walk around and look at the progress they made this

summer. Additionally, the families received information about the upcoming school year and

each child received a book bag filled with school supplies and hygiene kits. Esmeralda Medina

is the ELL/MEP coordinator.

Patty Kelly Long

Westmoreland County Public Schools

GEAR UP students, parents attend national NCCEP conference

Two Washington & Lee High School GEAR UP students, Hazen Shryock and Destiny Crockett,

and their parents, Julia Shryock and Towanda Smith, represented the Virginia delegation at the

National Council for Community and Education Partnerships conference in Washington, DC on

July 17­20, 2016 The students were selected by their 8th grade teachers at Montross Middle

School to attend the Youth Leadership Summit . The YLS provides a high quality, national

–level interactive training experience and peer­to­peer learning opportunity for ninth to 12th

grade high school students who are currently participating in GEAR UP programs. This year 150

students were selected from across the United States and Guam to attend.

“Everyone has a story. Let GEAR UP be your outlet to express it,” Destiny Crockett noted when

asked about her time at the conference. “The best way to sum up my NCCEP/Gear Up

conference experience was that it was empowering. I can start by saying I am truly honored to

be able to be given the opportunity. To be able to work with so many amazing people from all

over was the highlight of my trip. When going up there I didn't think three days would teach

anyone as much as it taught me. Being a part of the conference taught me, to not be so much of

a quiet leader, but to speak up and take charge when it is necessary. NCCEP/ Gear Up

conference is something I would definitely attend again.”

Westmoreland County is proud to have had two students selected for this honor. Sponsored by

Texas Instruments, the training offered students the opportunity to “maximize and identify their

individual leadership skills, create a supportive network of leaders with other GEAR UP

students, launch discussions about issues that affect them every day, and receive the tools and

training to create lasting, positive changes to improve their communities.” Hazen and Destiny

also were part of the closing plenary program which focused on the YLS students and their

contribution to GEAR UP. Each YLS student received a special advanced calculator from Texas

Instruments to help them achieve their goals.

Washington & Lee High School GEAR UP parents Julia Shyrock and Towanda Smith attended

the Parent Leadership Institute. The three day program sponsored by the College Board and

delivered in partnership with the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, the PLI included a

variety of skill building and networking opportunities for the parents and family leaders involved

in the local and state levels of GEAR UP partnerships. Towanda Smith stated,” GEAR UP is a

program that demonstrates what’s possible, even when you think it’s impossible. The NCCEP/

Gear Up conference was an amazing experience, to see all nationalities come together from all

over, for one goal, in a short time framework was awesome. The bond that was created in three

days between the parents and the youth in the Leadership Summit was unbelievable. The

Parent Leadership Institute provided so much information for the parents with getting your kids

ready for college. I learned so much about the GEAR UP program and preparing the kids for

success at college. I'm excited and very thankful that Patty Long assisted my daughter and me

with the experience.” The PLI introduces and engages parents in the many facets of college

readiness. The parents thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to working with

other GEAR UP parents this upcoming year. An additional highlight of their venture was a tour

of the Washington, DC monuments sponsored by All Aboard Travels.

Erin McGrath, GEAR UP Senior Coordinator/Program Director, State Council of Higher

Education for Virginia, stated, “The goal of GEAR UP’s Parent Leadership Institute is to work

with parents to promote positive change in their children, school and community. The goal of

GEAR UP’s Youth Leadership Summit is to train students to act as leaders in their school and

community. Both communicate the message that college is possible for all students. By

sending two GEAR UP parents and two GEAR UP students to this year’s PLI and YLS in

Washington, D.C., Westmoreland County Public Schools has taken another step toward

creating a robust college­going culture in their school division.”

NCCEP is the U.S. Department of Education­designated technical assistance and training

provider for the state and partnership grantees that receive GEAR UP federal funds. As noted

throughout the conference, NCCEP’s goal is to excel, prove, and mobilize. This is a critical time

for GEAR UP and the overall college readiness environments. There is a great deal of unmet

need in our communities and by training the GEAR UP leaders it places GEAR UP as a well­

positioned entity to serve and impact even more students. The national goal is a million

students; Westmoreland’s goal is 100 strong and engaging GEAR UP students.

Training seminars were offered to GEAR UP attendees throughout the three day event.

Attending for GEAR UP Washington & Lee High School were Stefanie Payne, GEAR UP Data

Manager for the upcoming year and Patty Kelly Long, GEAR UP District Director. Some of the

conference highlights were the screening of the film, “McFarland USA,” an inspirational film

about a coach who made a difference in a struggling school in California. Jim White, the cross

country coach, who inspired the film, talked to the audience about the making of the movie and

the impact it made on his community. Other speakers included Ranjit Sidhu, President and CEO

of NCCEP; Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation; Nick Cannon, actor and

TV executive, who dazzled the crowd with his improvisation skills and the “Power of

Storytelling;” the Reverend Jeffrey Brown, Baptist minister and President of Rebuilding Every

Community Around Peace, and the Youth Leadership members.

This exceptional conference opportunity was made available to the Washington & Lee High

School GEAR UP cohort by GEAR UP Virginia and SCHEV, the State Council of Higher

Education for Virginia.

By Patty Kelly Long, Westmoreland County Public Schools

Construction of Monroe Birthplace Walk set for summer

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The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors has announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation has approved a $100,000 grant to help with the cost of the new James Monroe Timeline Walk in Colonial Beach.

Read more: Construction of Monroe Birthplace Walk set for summer

Westmoreland State Park celebrates with governor at 80th anniversary celebration

Governor Terry McAuliffe and two of his children joined Westmoreland State Park in celebrating 80 years of service to the people of Virginia last week. The popular Westmoreland County state park is one of the original six Virginia State Parks opened in 1936.

Read more: Westmoreland State Park celebrates with governor at 80th anniversary celebration

Montross kicks off summer

After being forced to cancel First Friday and Market Day last month because of rain, organizers were determined to get the popular Montross monthly event underway last weekend.

Read more: Montross kicks off summer

Sisson’s Produce ready for summer

Several weeks of rain in May slowed the local fruit and vegetables market temporarily, but Sisson's Produce in Montross is now open and preparing for a sizzling summer of selling fresh fruit and vegetables to area residents.

Read more: Sisson’s Produce ready for summer

Stratford Hall board of directors selects new president

Stratford Hall, the home to the Lee Family of Virginia and one of the state's top tourist destinations, is getting a new president.  John Bacon, who has worked with Colonial Williamsburg for 28 years, was named last week to head the historic Westmoreland County plantation by the board of directors of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association

Read more: Stratford Hall board of directors selects new president

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