Please share your Rockingham Moment!

What is a Rockingham Moment? It is that time when you realize someone special in the division has made a difference – big or small – in your day or even more, your life. We encourage you to share with us here!


Please share your Rockingham Moment! — 30 Comments

  1. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank principal Bryan Huber and his staff for their care and concern during a very difficult time in my son’s life.  Their father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away over the summer.  Upon hearing of Hunter’s father’s passing I quickly received a very touching email from Mr. Huber expressing his condolences and assuring me that BHS would be there to support us during the coming months & years that lie ahead.  I was touched again when a beautiful flower arrangement was delivered to the funeral home. 

    I think what impressed me most, however, was the night of school orientation.  It became very evident as Hunter and I walked the halls that the teachers had been made aware of what had happened.  Teachers he saw that he had had in the previous year expressed their condolences, and even the teachers that he was meeting for the first time, I could tell that they knew and were delicate in discussions of how his summer was.
    The care and concern expressed by Mr. Huber and his staff will always be fondly remembered during a difficult time in our lives.
    Diane Buchanan

  2. A note from a Peak View parent sent by way of Dr. Fenn to Peak View 4th grade teacher, Marilyn Wall, who retires this year after 47 years in education …

    I want to take a moment to personally thank you for your undying dedication to children. It has been my pleasure helping out this year and getting to know you. It is clear to see that you touch every single child’s life that has had the privilege to walk through your classroom door.

    You have taught them so much more than the required subjects. You have instilled respect, manners, cooperation, exploration and curiosity. So many, many qualities that are so important to become successful adults. You have not only taught the children to do their best, you have given them the confidence and pride in doing their best. It is obvious you have taught without bias.

    You have led the way for future educators. There is not a child you have taught that will ever forget the life lessons you have given them. Thank you from the bottom of so many hearts sharing your gifts over the last 47 plus years.

    Our entire community respect you with admiration!

  3. A note from a parent to Scott Bojanich, Director of Support Services, expressing her appreciation to Anneke Martin and other Broadway High School personnel for their support during her son’s homebound instruction experience …

    I just wanted to send you a quick email about our first (and hopefully last) experience we had with homebound services. My son had an illness and unfortunately had to be homebounded the last 3 months of this school year. We were literally assigned to Anneke Martin (a Spanish Teacher at BHS) within one day of me contacting you. (Which I appreciate so much!!) [Our son’s] illness progressed and due to illness, hospitalization, etc. it became an extremely difficult time for our family. Mrs. Martin came into our home on day one and I knew without a doubt that God had sent her to us. [Son] had met her before and was thrilled that she had been chosen as he knew she was very kind. She was BEYOND kind!! She was caring, compassionate, supportive, encouraging, and so very positive. She praised him every step of the way and actually made him enjoy a subject that he had always hated. (Spanish) When I would listen to them engage in conversation, I heard cherished laughter coming from [him] and also from her. We became a team from the beginning and there was no way any of us were giving up on his education!!!! She was extremely flexible and worked their schedule around his needs. When he was unable to meet, she was in constant contact with me. She was not only a blessing to [him], but she was a blessing to me as well. Her support and encouragement kept us all going!! [He] would tell you that she was one of the best teachers he has ever had and that it was unfortunate that he had to be ill to get her. We consider her a dear friend and will never forget everything she did to help [him] complete his Junior year. When he passed his SOLs after having almost no sleep for 3 days, she was just about as proud and excited for him as I was.

    I would also like to comment on Mrs. Paxton (his counselor), and every single teacher that [he] had this year. They were all so sympathetic and supportive. I have been amazed at how they all reached out to me on a regular basis with notes of concern and encouragement along the way. I just can’t say enough about how they all made a bad experience so much more bearable.

    I am very proud to be a parent of a child at Broadway High School!!!

  4. A note from a parent to Lauren Bunch, MVES teacher, via Dr. Carol Fenn …

    Ms. Bunch,

    I apologize for taking so long to say thanks for letting me be a part of your class as a Watch Dog! I enjoyed the day. It is obvious that you are passionate about what you do and put a great deal of effort into involving your students. Julie has been a “fan” since day one and has nothing but good things to say about you and Mr. Trice. The opportunity to spend the day just serves as a reminder as to how important you are to our children and the challenges you face daily in being the disciplinarian, consular and mediator for not only the student but also some parents.

    Thanks again,

    Mike Armstrong
    Deputy Fire Marshal

  5. A parent email sent to teacher, Marge Halterman, via JFHMS Principal, Dave Baker …

    I would like to take this time to say Thank You for all you have done for me as a former student.  At that time you were only a substitute teacher, but you still left a lasting impression. I am so glad that you chose to continue your education to go on to be a teacher.  You have definitely been a favorite teacher of both of my sons. I just hope that everything you have taught me and my sons we will continue to carry this out in our lives. You are truly a wonderful teacher and will always have a special place in my heart and my sons.
    I am very sad to think that [my son] will be leaving that nest this year and moving on.  I just pray that there will be a teacher at the high school that will truly take [him] under their wing just as you have done.  I don’t think that I can say Thank You enough! Much love to you and thank you very much for all you do for the students at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School.

  6. One week before the opening of Broadways High School’s performances of The Music Man, I volunteered to decorate the commons area. My objective was to transport patrons from our current time period back to 1912. The train station was a natural selection as the opening scene takes place with our salesmen riding a train. The constructed station allowed visitors to see the exterior as well interior space of an old, midwest train station complete with a wood stove. The station became the backdrop for a number of keepsake photos for the musical’s cast and crew as well as their friends and families. I would like to express many thanks to the JFHMS Agriculture class, under the direction of John Welsh, and the Y.E.S. program students, under the direction of Patrick Hahn, for their time and energy in constructing our train station. I’d also like to recognize the generous donation of building material donated by the Y.E.S. program.
    Thank you for making this vision a reality!

  7. We want to recognize the extra efforts of our school resource officer, Calvin Taylor. He went above and beyond to support our third graders in becoming reading “detectives” as we prepare of the upcoming SOL tests. He contacted Investigator Harlow from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department to speak to our students. Investigator Harlow connected his skills as an crime scene investigator to those of a student taking a reading test. He supported test taking strategies from the classroom and made real life connections. The students received “badges” and were challenged to graduate from the ‘detective academy’ between now and test time! We appreciate the time and support of these gentlemen in our classrooms.

  8. I spent the weekend at an amazing conference in Washington DC with the Two Sisters, authors of The Daily Five and The Cafe Book. I was sitting at a table with others from Virginia including Fauquier County and Williamsburg. When I mentioned where I worked one of the others immediately said, “Oh, you are the ones with the great website – the resources are fantastic, lots of study guides and smart board lessons.” Another person agreed, “We use your site all the time.”

    Everyone else at the table immediately made a note! A proud Rockingham moment!

    Rebecca W. Davenport
    Title I Parent Involvement Specialist
    Rockingham County Public Schools

  9. BHS and SHS in Girls State Championship Game today — large seas of blue and green in attendance. VCU staff has commented on our large crowds. Great day for RCPS!

  10. A note shared by FRES Principal, David Wenger, from a teacher in his school:

    [A student] has been coming each week wanting to do a running record with me to see if his reading level is at a 5th grade level yet. I’ve been using the Scott Foresman materials and he has been getting 5th instructional on that. Those passages are easier, in my opinion, than the QRI, and I’ve told him all along that when he takes the QRI it may be a bit more difficult. Today I asked if he was ready to try a QRI passage. He was up for it. I gave him the Octopus passage, and he scored 97% word accuracy and 100% comprehension. He was 2 words away from getting an independent level on this 5th passage! This young man has been working hard, and it is showing. Thanks for all the work that everyone does with [him], and holding him to a high expectation. That is definitely something that pushes him ahead.

  11. In a message from Sandy Rinker (Assistant Director of Adult Programs at Massanutten Technical Center) to Dr. Fenn:

    As I stated at the school board meeting Monday, we have had a very exciting an emotional week in the office regarding students passing their GED. However, today tops it all!! A student who began taking GED classes with us at the age of 74 in 2008 passed the math test this morning and she now will receive her GED at the age of 79 :)

    As we embraced, she cried, she screamed in joy, and she continuously said “they said I would never do it” – meaning her family. She was telling everyone as well as generously giving out hugs to all!! Her dedication and determination should be bottled as well as her kindness and loving spirit.

    I am honored to be a part of the adult education program. Thank you and the board for your continued and valued support of what we offer to our community.

  12. In a note to Dr. Fenn, Bryan Huber lauds the extraordinary efforts provided by Rebecca Holloway and Kenny Boyers to help a Waynesboro Public Schools bus filled with children that became stuck on the roadside on Rt. 33 over the July 4 holiday:

    Dr. Fenn,
    I just wanted to quickly highlight the good work by two of our RCPS folks yesterday with the Waynesboro City Bus Wreck. Within minutes of talking to me, Rebecca Holloway arrived at MES to secure a substitute bus and transport the stranded students from 33 to CRES. Her work was excellent and completely unselfish as she assisted us in this operation. She made contact with me after arriving at CRES and even offered to transport the students South so they could meet up with their replacement bus sooner. She also assisted with the supervision of students once they arrived at CRES. Within ten minutes of my phone call to Kenny Boyers, he arrived at CRES to assist and unlock the building to allow students and chaperones facilities use. He even went as far as to secure snacks for all of the children before they boarded this bus home. It made me proud to work with both of these individuals as they selflessly gave their time and energy to make sure children were taken care of no matter which school division they belonged. Job well done for both of these folks!

    Bryan Huber
    Principal – Broadway High School

  13. In an email to the Cub Run Elementary School faculty, Linda Hirw (CRES Reading Specialist) shared a situation she experienced with one child and a busload of CRES students:

    3:10 pm today

    A 5th grader finishes her SOL test just a few minutes after the buses have left. The office gets the message to the bus to swing back around, and it does so to pick up the late tester. The child looks at me nervously and says that she is embarrassed to get on the bus late and is worried that kids will laugh at her. I do my best to reassure her as we walk to the bus door. As it opens, we are greeted by the sound of 70 children, grades preK-5, erupting into applause, cheers, and shouts of “Way to go,[student name]! You took your time! You did it!”

    These are OUR kids. YOU help make them into these empathetic, positive, excited little creatures who spontaneously come together like they did in this tiny little awesome moment today.

    Thank you.

  14. In an email to Dr. Kelly Troxell, Director of Career, Technical, and Fine Arts, Edwina George, now an art teacher at Plains ES and South River ES, references her own experience as an art student with Mrs. Martha Maddox, Art Teacher at Broadway High School:

    I only had one student show up last night, but to that one little girl this was so important! You never know how this event will shape her life 😉 I became an Art Teacher because Mrs. Maddox told me I had talent, chose me for 1st place in the Senior Art Show and told me I had too much talent not to pursue Art. I had low self-esteem and would never have believed I was good enough if Mrs. Maddox hadn’t taken the time to believe in me and tell me.

  15. In a note from Mr. and Mrs. Scott Joyner to Peak View Principal, Marcy Williams, on the thoughtfulness of Kindergarten teacher, Terri Smith:

    I just wanted to let you know what an amazing teacher you have in Mrs. Terri Smith. She asked a few weeks ago for parents to let her know about upcoming recitals, concerts, games, etc… that were coming up. I thought it was a nice gesture. Last Saturday evening Mrs. Smith attended our daughter, Riley’s ballet recital. She went to a two hour dance recital to watch one of her students for two minutes and then she stayed after the concert to congratulate her and give her a hug. It meant so much to us. My husband and I have been teachers for 20 and 14 years and we both agreed that was one of the most amazing things we have seen a teacher do. She is so dedicated to her students. Peak View is lucky to have her. I know she is the reason why Riley loves Kindergarten.

  16. Linville-Edom Elementary School Principal, Karen Thomsen, shared this note sent to her from Amy Reedy, one of LEES’s 2nd Grade teachers:

    I have a friend who is in Uganda on a missions trip. She works with malnourished kids at a health clinic. When I taught diversity in the fall, I discussed with my students that children all over the word live very different lives, but we all have the same feelings. My students wanted to draw get well soon pictures to send to the clinic in Uganda. They are so thoughtful! I sent the pictures to my friend, along with some crayons, coloring sheets, and stickers, and she gave them out to the children in the clinic. I have included the link to her blog below. Just thought you would like to see! I’m planning to share it today with my class. I am so proud of how thoughtful my kids are!

  17. In a message to East Rockingham Principal Eric Baylor, ERHS Swim Coach, Debbie Coles, recounts details of their inaugural swim meet:

    “I wanted to let you know that our first meet went well.  All of our swimmers did an amazing job in the water, but it was what they did OUT of the water that got a lot of attention.  They cheered for the swimmers on the opposing team during each event.  During one event, an opposing swimmer was lagging behind.  His own team was not even paying attention but the ERHS team stood at the side of the pool cheering him on the entire way to the finish.  When he reached the wall, our side of the pool exploded in applause.  Our swimmers were not told to do this – they did it on their own.  Several people stopped Coach Hess and me and commented on our sportsmanship.  One man said that in his child’s four years of swimming for Clarke County, he had never seen such sportsmanship from another team.  After the meet, we stopped in McDonald’s and many of the Clarke County swimmers and parents were dining there and approached us to thank us for cheering for them and being so nice.  Coach Hess and I are so proud of this team!!

    As for the score – they beat us, but not by much.  We are a team of only 12 swimmers – only 11 participated in this meet – but the final score was 177 – 107.  Clarke County’s team is a least three times the size of ours.  We have a talented bunch of swimmers for sure!”

  18. A note from Mikhal Salzburg, Guidance Counselor at MTC, to Dr. Fenn …

    A few weeks ago, a parent walked into my office at MTC with her child and a “Welcome” letter from Blue Ridge Community College. She was perplexed at the meaning of this letter and wanted it explained to her. Although she had signed a permission form and paid for a dual enrollment class, she didn’t fully understand what it meant. I took a moment to inform her about how her son will take his high school class with us; but, that at the same time, he will also be enrolled at and earning college credit from BRCC. She looked at me in disbelief and exclaimed “So this letter is saying that my son is a college student?” “Yes, Ma’am” I replied. As tears welled in her eyes, she remarked “I can’t believe this. No one in my family has ever gone to college.”

    After RCPS’S recent announcement supporting the initiation of weighted grades for MTC dual enrolled courses, I felt compelled to write this letter to express my gratitude for the continued support of our students. Validating the hard work our students devote to learning their technical trade is more than just meaningful to them. It impacts their confidence in a way that allows them to believe they are capable of achievements they may not have explored before.

    With Dual Enrollment and weighted grades, our students are realizing a potential they may never have thought possible. They are creating new dreams and aspirations for their future. Thank you, Dr. Fenn, and School Board Members, for your leadership and support in this initiative. It is truly meaningful to us all.

  19. The following email was sent to Dr. David Wenger, Principal at Fulks Run Elementary. She describes an exchange between her and her second grade son as they entered the parking lot one morning before school where she pointed out Dr. Wenger’s parents, Winston and JoAnn Wenger, both former RCPS administrators, who were entering the school to visit …

    The parent writes to Dr. Wenger:

    When we pulled into the school lot, I noticed your parents exiting their vehicle and walking into the school. I pointed them out to Blaine and said, “Blaine, those 2 people are Dr. Wenger’s parents.” He instantly replied, “Huh … his parents are still dropping him off at school — that’s cute!” I had to chuckle. I hope you find this equally humorous from a 7 year old’s perspective!

  20. I’d like to recognize One special person that was my 5th grade teacher (many years ago) and my kids now have her as their principal. Ms. Martz of River Bend Elem. She is amazing!! She always takes time for each student. I remember the impact she had on me when she was my teacher. She encouraged me everyday to do my best and I thank her for that. She showed that she cared in so many ways. She showed me she wasn’t just any teacher in fact she was actually a caring, loving teacher who wanted to see her students succeed. Now my kids have her for their principal and they love her to pieces. Anytime we have concerns or the kids have concerns, we know we can go to her for help. For someone to remember a certain teacher and how they treated them says a lot about a person! I just basically want to say, “Thank you” Ms. Martz, for being the wonderful person you are!!

  21. I want to recognize my co-workers at Fulks Run Elementary. No one gives more of themselves each day than they do. It’s a privilege to work with such a caring, devoted and loving staff!!

  22. My daughter is new at River Bend Elementary this year. I am so pleased with the caring, dedicated staff. Her teacher, Ms. Sarver, encourages her students to do and be their best. I especially want to thank Mindy Taylor, who I believe has already impacted my daughter in such a positive way. Thank you for all your time and dedication.

  23. My 18-year-old step-daughter recently returned from a summer of working on Hatteras Island, NC. During a recreational swim in the ocean one day she found herself being carried further from shore and unable to swim back in. Our years of summer vacations on the beach and all my”training” what to do in this situation were planted deep in her subconscious, but it was not my voice she heard, it was that of her high school band director, Mr. Greg Oaks, coaching and prompting her to remain focused and do what she knew she had to do. She calmly swam parallel to the shoreline until she was able to swim back to the beach. I’m obviously grateful for her safe return, but also for the dedication of great co-workers like Greg who empower, coach, train, disciple and encourage our young people with life-(giving, changing, even saving) skills. So proud to be part of this “family” of Rockingham County Schools.

  24. This is my 30th year in education and I have always wondered when a person knows when it is time to step down. Dawn and I have discussed this numerous times. We know that we want to step down at the right time. Last Wednesday, the students came back. I informed Dawn that I can’t retire, I love the kids too much! I guess what I am saying is that it is not time for me, yet! I think we get so hung up into stressful issues and lose sight of why we chose this profession. I know that I chose it for the kids!!

  25. A middle school student was wandering the halls on the first day of school looking confused, and then suddenly quite pleased with himself. A fellow teacher and myself noticed him and asked if he needed help finding a location. He responded, “No. I was lost, but now I’m found.”

  26. For me, this entire year was a Rockingham moment. However, if this year was a hot fudge sundae, the cherry on top would be the Montevideo 7th grade drama class production of “Intimidé,” an anti-bullying play. The 30 students involved in this production were simply amazing and the play’s author, seventh grader Brice Estes gave us a brilliant roadmap to follow.

    The seven (7) performances of this play would not have been possible without the support of division Superintendent, Dr. Carol Fenn and Rockingham County School Board Chairman, Dan Breeden, who urged all Rockingham County middle schools to see our production. I also want to recognize Montevideo Middle School Principal, Drew Miller. Not only did he support us from day one, he continued to encourage and assist in making the seven performances of “Intimidé” possible. He was our chief cheerleader, caterer, assistant sound technician, emissary of peace and love, and a stellar bus driver. Thanks to all involved in for making the “cherry on top” of the 2011-12 school year so special.

  27. Two people at the Rock that I’d like to mention are Pam Armentrout and Melony Hensley. Pam was an aide in my class this year and did a tremendous job of motivating a few of her students and a few that weren’t assigned to her. She also let me do morning announcements every other day, and that may be my calling in life. Melony is the copy lady/secretary/library aide, and she truly does it all and is so unbelievably pleasant through it all. She never seems at her wits end and always goes out of her way to be helpful. They, along with countless others, have made life at the Rock the best that we can get in this county.

  28. My Rockingham Moment is sincere appreciation for the contribution to our division’s technology success by our retiring supervisor Joe Hill. Many teachers my age have witnessed the advance of the personal computer and it’s impact on our lives, our children and our profession. Joe Hill’s leadership has paced that amazing journey and empowered RCPS teachers and it’s students to do great things. The entire tech staff have made a valuable contribution to our school division’s success and statewide reputation for excellence in the technology centric classroom. The teachers of Rockingham have taken the opportunity to teach with technology to new heights and it shows with our successful students. It’s a blessing to be a part of a successful team, talented teachers and great students.

  29. As the school year draws to a close, I’m graduating the last of my children from elementary school — it’s bittersweet, especially since we’ll no longer have Mr. Whitmore driving any of our children to school!  I wanted to drop you a note to let you know what a treasure we think you have with him.  We’ve had kids in RCPS for 13 years, and Mr. Whitmore is by far the best bus driver we’ve ever had.  He’s a wonderful person, and it’s such an important thing to know that the children are well taken care of as they travel to school.  I’ve often made the comment that I can set my watch by his arrival in the mornings… the three years he’s been our driver, he’s been on time to the minute nearly every single morning.  He is kind to the children, and keeps excellent order on the bus.  I only wish that he could bump up to take my kids to middle and high school — but I know there are a lot more MVES kids who need his special care!  :)

    Thank you for sending him our way!

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