Randolph-Macon Academy Air Force Junior ROTC instructor TSgt Tina M. Laing has sought to instill this value into all of her students, but most especially in her two-time state champion drill team. The team has worked hard this year to return to Nationals, where last year they finished eighth overall and their duet team took first place, while at the same time they had the ultimate goal of defending their state championship title.
The COVID-19 pandemic took it all away. With Nationals less than two weeks away, TSgt Laing made the call that they would not be attending the event, as several members of the team suffered from asthma, type 1 diabetes, and other conditions that put them in the high risk category. Two days later, on March 12th, the R-MA administration made the decision to stop on-campus classes and transition to online classes through April 9th.
TSgt Laing galvanized her drill team into action. With only one day left on campus, she decided that her students would create videos of their performances and submit them to The Sports Network International Team (SNI), the organization that puts on the National Competition. If for no other reason than to record it and put it online, she felt they had worked hard and they were going to finish what they had started.
It wasn’t easy. The sudden announcement had stunned the students, who quickly realized that this could be the end of their school year, and for some, the end of their high school careers. Tears were flowing and several cadets couldn’t concentrate. “I’ve been here since sixth grade,” one student said to TSgt Laing, “and this is how it ends?”
Another senior who had also been at R-MA since sixth grade said, “I’m not ready. They just stole two months of my life. I’m supposed to be an adult now?”
“That was why I was pushing them to get those performances done,” TSgt Laing later explained. “It was not about the competition. It was about finishing what they started. I was not going to let them walk away without closure. This was a culmination of their R-MA tenure.”
Then the R-MA family began to show up. Faculty and staff members came into the gym and consoled students. Parents arrived and began recording the performances, while offering words of encouragement and support. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, through a total of seven hours of practice and recording, the cadets worked their magic and delivered their performances.
“It was pure grit and determination,” said TSgt Laing. “It showed the true spirit of who we are. That’s what makes drill so special to them and to me.”
The team departed campus on March 13th still holding out hope for the opportunity to defend their state championship, and that the Nationals competition would be held virtually, but the sweeping pandemic caused both events to be cancelled completely. They could not even be held virtually, as many schools had closed for the year and the drill teams could not come back together to record their performances.
Schools across the U.S. have closed or taken their classes online as R-MA has done, but unlike the students who somberly packed their belongings and headed home, the members of the VA-091 AFJROTC Drill Team did not go quietly. Like a runner who is tripped before the finish line and drags herself across, the R-MA Drill Team refused to quit; instead, they pulled together in their darkest hour, and finished what they began. They demonstrated true determination, the deepest grit, relentless perseverance, absolute courage, incredible heart…there are many words to describe what they achieved, but at R-MA it is known as…
The Power of Rise.
New survey: Warren County Public Schools needs feedback on fall back-to-school plans
The first day of school in Warren County is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, and the County’s school district is requesting survey responses from parents and guardians to help it prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year.
As part of its preparation plans for the school year 2020-2021, Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) is requesting that parents and guardians take a short, online survey, which is available HERE.
The survey is available now through Monday, July 13 at 3 p.m. One form per school-aged child within a family must be filled out, according to the survey instructions.
The Warren County Back to School Parent Survey includes several yes-or-no questions, such as whether a family plans on utilizing bus transportation to and/or from school each day; and whether a family has internet access and if it provides the capability to upload, download and stream videos for all children within a household at the same time.
Additionally, there is a question regarding education preference. “Our desire is for your child(ren) to be in school as often as schedules will allow due to phased guidance,” according to the survey question. “However, we understand there are circumstances that may prevent this. We will work with you to provide the best and safest educational setting that you choose as we enter school this fall.”
Then, the possible answers are to select either:
A) I feel comfortable sending my child to school in the fall; or
B) I feel uncomfortable sending my child to school in the fall.
In the letter posted on the WCPS website for parents and guardians, WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger noted that school office staff will directly make calls to individual families who do not complete the survey online.
WCPS also is working on plans for the upcoming school year following the Virginia Department of Education’s Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020 guidance, a comprehensive plan for school districts on providing educational instruction while effectively managing the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the state document provides guidance, technical support, best practices, and alternate solutions for school divisions throughout the Commonwealth on instructing all 1.3 million Virginia students “under uncertain and evolving circumstances.”
“These procedures include increased cleaning and disinfecting of buildings and buses and social distancing,” wrote Ballenger.
Bus transportation this school year is going to require physical distancing, which will limit the number of students who can be transported by bus, according to Ballenger’s letter. “If possible, we encourage parents to transport their children to school,” he wrote.
WCPS also plans to provide new instruction this fall and grade all student work under one of these proposed scenarios:
1.) All students will participate through remote learning, using a device provided by Warren County Public Schools.
2.) A hybrid schedule where a set of students will be in school each day, while others will be taught through remote learning. Students will alternate days in school to limit the number of students in the buildings to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.
3.) All students will attend in-person while observing all Virginia Department of Health guidelines that are in place at that time.
Additional guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education will be provided to school divisions across the Commonwealth to help with the finalization of plans, according to Ballenger’s letter.
WCPS staff are likely to discuss the data obtained from the survey with members of the Warren County School Board during the board’s special meeting slated for July 22.
Town Talk: A conversation with Lt Robbie Seal and Capt Jeff Holzbauer, Community Advisory Council update
In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Captain Jeff Holzbauer and Lt. Robbie Seal from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Seal is the Community Resource Officer and Captain Holzbauer is in charge of the Patrol Division. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division has the primary law enforcement responsibilities of providing a wide range of services and to initiate a proactive approach when assisting the community.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office embraces a strong community policing philosophy. This philosophy emphasizes efforts that support fair and impartial law enforcement practices, transparency in service delivery, and participation in neighborhood activities that strengthen the relationships between our office and the citizens we serve.
As part of our efforts to build strong, positive community relationships, the Sheriff’s Office calls upon community members to act as an advisory council regarding organizational policies, practices, and programs. Sheriff Butler states “the only way we grow and advance with our community is to embrace each other, and listen to their ideas and concerns.” The Sheriff’s Office wants transparency in discussing policy issues with the public, such as body-worn camera systems, use of force, and other topics.
The main purpose of the council is to facilitate open, honest, and direct interactions between the residents of Warren County and their Sheriff’s Office. The Community Advisory Council (CAC) provides a forum for candid conversations about the realities and challenges that exist when seeking to address the most difficult issues that face a community and a law enforcement agency, such as cultural diversity and relations.
Lt Robbie Seal and Capt Jeff Holzbauer bring us up-to-date on the Community Advisory Council (CAC), discuss some new traffic laws that went into effect on July 1 and body cameras.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
Sons of the American Revolution celebrate signing of the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence, submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776, approved on July 2 and declared on July 4, is the document in which the 13 American colonies formally stated their independence from Great Britain and set forth the ideas upon which the U.S. government would be based.
On July 5th at 2 pm, the public came to the Warren County Government Center to hear the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) read the Declaration of Independence. Along with the reading, reenactors fired off a musket salute.
Remarks were given by Dale Corey, Mark Robinson, and Nathan Poe, members of the SAR Chapter. Larry Johnson provided the invocation. The reading of the Declaration of Independence was done by Marc Robinson, Brett Osborn, Bill Schwetke, Sean Carrigan, Chip Daniel, Erick Moore, and Dale Corey. The ceremony also includes presenting two wreaths to honor the signing of the document. Closing remarks by Dale Cory and benediction by Larry Johnson.
Watch this event on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Congratulations to Warren County High School Seniors – Class of 2020
Royal Examiner presents the Warren County High School Class of 2020. Congratulations to these wonderful seniors on their hard work and deserved accomplishments! We wish you the best in your next big endeavors. Photos courtesy of the Victor O’Neill Studios.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.
“The highest result of education is tolerance.”
“The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.”
“Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”
—Senator Orrin Hatch
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”
“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”
“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
“Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
—H Jackson Brown Jr.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
—Henry David Thoreau
“The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”
“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
—Vincent Van Gogh
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
“You have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world each day, because it changes the way you walk.”
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
“I encourage you to live with life. Be courageous, adventurous. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.”
Get busy living or get busy dying.”
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
“Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
—William Arthur Ward
“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
It’s burned up – forget it: Call dad and tell him his truck is toast in Front Royal
Mid-afternoon, Thursday, June 25, a vehicle fire was reported in the parking lot of the commercial strip anchored by Anthony’s Pizza on the 100 block of South Royal Avenue. First responders from Warren County Fire & Rescue and the Front Royal Police Department found a pickup truck with West Virginia tags parked on the street side of the lot with an engine fire engaged and no occupants apparent.
This reporter arrived after the fire had been extinguished and only one town police unit remained at the scene. That officer pointed out a thick fluid trail that appeared to run from the 1993 Ford Ranger pickup through a portion of the parking lot, perhaps indicating a fluid leak as a source or consequence of the engine fire.
Our inquiry to responding agencies led to information from the FRPD Public Information Department’s Jessica Racer, who told us, “The incident was a vehicle fire, not arson and not suspicious in nature. The owner’s name is Roger Haines in Hampshire County (West Virginia).”
FRPD Captain Crystal Cline later told Royal Examiner that the truck’s owner was contacted by running the tags and requesting Hampshire County authorities to contact him. That route was required because apparently the truck’s driver and a passenger left the scene without ever making contact with local authorities, first responders, or potentially impacted businesses in the commercial strip.
Captain Cline reported that Mr. Haines “advised that the vehicle was not stolen, and he had given his daughter permission to drive the vehicle” and that he was “aware that the vehicle was broken down” and “had already contacted a towing company” about recovering it.
This scenario seems to confirm information from a witness to the vehicle fire who told a Royal Examiner source that the vehicle’s occupants, described as a man and woman, left the scene on foot without contacting responders about their connection to the vehicle. According to the witness, the pair left the truck cab locked as they exited it with the engine smoking before walking to the adjacent Jack Evans Chevrolet lot to watch at distance as responders arrived to extinguish the developing engine fire. Eventually, they left the scene on foot down South Royal Avenue without any apparent contact with authorities, the witness reported.
That’s a long hitchhike back to Hampshire County – no time to waste apparently.
Music park at Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park ribbon cutting ceremony
On Friday, June 26, 2020, citizens, friends and family, Parks and Recreation Commission members, Warren County Board of Supervisors members, and County Administrator Doug Stanley gathered to welcome Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist’s generous gift to Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park.
This is Dr. Hultquist’s third music park donation to the Warren County park system. In 2017, Ms. Hultquist suggested the idea of adding a music park to one of the County’s facilities after visiting similar parks in Utah and Oregon, and the County celebrated the first music park addition at Rockland Park in November 2017. The following year, a second music park addition was built in Lions Park.
In late 2019, Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist donated the new Deluxe Collection music system to be installed at Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park. The mixed quartet offers a musical experience for all through a specially designed ensemble that delivers a variety of sound qualities and pitch ranges. The equipment is multi-generational, interactive, durable, and perfectly tuned. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, can play. Her generous support of the music parks will allow our community to enjoy the enrichment of music and will inspire future musicians.
At the ribbon cutting, long-time Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission member Ron Harvey provided a history of the Commission, recreation in the community, and how the generosity of the community has allowed the parks to flourish.
Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and South River District Supervisor Cheryl Cullers noted the importance of music in the development of children, who will now have the opportunity to enjoy this park and its new addition donated by Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist. She added, “The addition of this music equipment to Burrell Brooks Park will, I believe, give the children of the community at an early age, access to music as an avenue to hopefully start a lifelong love of music, as well as to have the experience to exercise their own creative musical talents.”
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department is very grateful for Dr. Hultquist’s generous gifts to our local parks for the benefit of all citizens. County Administrator Doug Stanley, noting her previous donations, stated, “I would like to personally thank Lorraine for her kind and generous monetary gift for this magnificent music park for all of Warren County patrons to enjoy and for her support of the entire Parks and Recreation system. It is truly fitting that she is honored today for her gracious and kind gift!”