The Warren County High School “Maroon Masques” Theatre Department finished FIRST in the One Act Play Regional Competition held on April 24, 2021. The competition was held virtually by the Virginia High School League (VHSL). The Maroon Masques will advance to compete in the VHSL State Championship on May 14, 2021.
Celebrating their victory is lead actress, Paige Arndt, who took home the award for Best Actress in the Region. The state competition will be hosted virtually by the VHSL theatre chapter. Information for anyone to attend virtually can be found online at vhsl.org/theatre.
The WCHS Maroon Masques are led by Stephen Harvey, who is in his first year at WCHS as the Theater Arts teacher and drama coach.
Student at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School EarlyAct Club collecting canned goods for Salvation Army
For the month of December, the EarlyAct students at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School (EWM) are collecting canned foods (soups, canned meats, etc) for the Salvation Army.
If you have canned foods you would like to donate, please stop by our main office at EWM, and drop off your donations. For any questions, ask for Student Support Coach, and Early Act Faculty Advisor, Michael Williams.
The Early Act Club at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School is sponsored by The Rotary Club of Warren County. For more information on Rotary and/or InterAct/EarlyAct programs, please e-mail Michael at email@example.com or visit www.rotary.org
Update: ‘Tis the Season for Kindness
(Editor’s note: This story has been updated with photos taken during Shae’s trip to Ecko Studio in Memphis, TN.)
A local singer/songwriter has a message for the world in his debut release starting with the opening lyrics, “Put the kind back in humankind”. “SAVE THE HUMANS TOO” was written by local musician and businessman Shae Parker and recorded in Memphis, TN earlier this year. Parker, who has been playing music semi-professionally for the past three decades is no stranger to helping convey messages. The sign maker and owner of Hanna Sign Company also spent years as a radio broadcaster and as a Front Royal Town Councilman and Vice Mayor.
“I’ve always written songs”, says Parker. “In retrospect, I’ve always helped to convey messages. Whether it was a commercial on the radio, a sign for someone’s business, or as a public servant I’ve always tried to help others convey their message.”
Like many during the pandemic, Parker says he did some soul searching and decided he needed to put his own message out in song. After combing through years of writings and narrowing down a list of about two dozen, he formulated a plan to record as many songs as possible. Shae says he reached out to a childhood friend and fellow former disc jockey, Till Palmer who is the Chief Engineer at Ecko Records in Memphis for help.
“Initially the plan was to take the band with me (River Driven Band), but schedules didn’t align and I realized I either needed to reschedule or refocus on a solo project”, said Parker. “A big part of my pandemic soul searching revolved around doing this before I turned 50, so I headed to Memphis for a solo project”.
Fourteen songs were recorded in Memphis over three days according to Parker, with twelve of those planned for release. Most of the overdubs were handled by Shae before leaving, but he says over the coming months the remaining overdubs will be completed by him and his bandmates from the River Driven Band before being sent back to Palmer for mastering. The other two tracks, “SAVE THE HUMANS TOO” and “SHE LOVES ME, BUT” were independently released in November by Parker on most digital streaming platforms.
“SAVE THE HUMANS TOO” has a message that I felt all humans needed to hear”, explains Parker. “It’s about kindness and how easy it is to just be kind, that’s why I had to put it out first”.
Shae says that independently releasing his music has its own challenges. He says it has been a learning curve from researching and finding a digital distributor to upload the songs to Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube Music among others, to registering songwriting credits with BMI and SESAC.
“There is a reason it’s called the Music Business”, quips Parker. “What is an ISRC number or a DDP? Things like that I didn’t have a clue about as a performer, but Till being in the industry gave me a lot of insight of what needed to be done to make this a reality.”
While Parker maintains the music is the best thing to come out of the experience, he is quick to point out the joy of working with a lifelong friend and using a vintage Gibson Les Paul Junior on some tracks that were bought new by Palmer’s grandfather, Ralph Palmer in 1956. He also finds irony in his and Palmer’s past on radio given that a fellow DJ, Rick Dee’s recorded his number one hit “DISCO DUCK” in the same studio in the 1970s. Parker also recounts that his nickname at 4H camp growing up (where he and Palmer first met) was Duckie. Irony indeed, however despite a good beat you can dance to any other similarities in the compositions end there as Parker’s message of kindness prevails.
The Daily Planet/Shoe Productions studio was built by STAX Records founder Jim Stewart and Bobby Manuel (Booker T & the MG’s) shortly after the shuttering of STAX in 1975. In 1995 John Ward bought the studio and changed the name to Ecko Studios/Records, an American Blues and Soul Blues label that has released albums by Rufus Thomas, Ollie Nightingale, Bill Coday, Barbara Carr, and others.
Shae Parker’s first two releases “SAVE THE HUMANS TOO” and “SHE LOVES ME, BUT” are available on all streaming platforms or wherever you listen to music. Links to the songs and information on booking can be found on his website at www.SongsByShae.com.
Get your tickets for the Winchester SPCA Paws & Claws Holiday Raffle
Spoil the people and pets in your life with some magical holiday gifts that benefit the Winchester SPCA.
Tickets are $5 each, $10 for 3, or $20 for 8! You choose which item you’d like to win!
Purchase tickets online at winchesterspca.org or at the adoption center (111 Featherbed Lane, Winchester, VA 22601) from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.
Drawing to be held December 21st. Winners do not need to be present to win. 100% of proceeds benefit the animals at your local no-kill shelter.
School Board approves new Logan Maiatico scholarship, meeting participation policy
The Warren County School Board unanimously approved several action agenda items during its Wednesday, December 1 meeting, including a meeting participation policy update, the Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) long-range plan, WCPS higher adult meal prices, and the establishment of the new Live Like Logan Maiatico Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship is named for Logan Cole Maiatico, 19, of Strasburg, Va., a 2021 Skyline High School (SHS) graduate and star athlete who died in a car accident on October 4.
“Logan was a shining star, not only in athletics but in our community,” WCPS Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Alan Fox said in introducing the scholarship item to the School Board members. “Logan was a selfless person who always put others first. Logan was a genuine kind person that wouldn’t think twice about lending a hand to a teammate, offering part of his pay to help local organizations, or helping to deliver hot meals to those in need.”
“What a wonderful life he was going to have helping other people,” Fox added.
Established by the Logan Maiatico Foundation, the scholarship will award $1,000 each annually to two SHS graduates, said Fox. Any male or female who participates in athletics in any sport or are in classes at the Blue Ridge Technical Center and have plans to continue education in college or vocational school are eligible for the scholarship, he added.
Each student will have to have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA; will need to be recommended in writing by a coach or teacher; must participate in charitable community events; and will have to submit an essay on why they should receive the scholarship award, explained Fox, who said that the Logan Maiatico Foundation will choose the award recipients and present their awards during a presentation banquet.
Maiatico, an aspiring firefighter who was a member of the Linden Volunteer Fire Department, also has been honored at SHS with the placement of Logan’s Bell, erected in his memory on the football field sideline within the SHS stadium.
School Board members Vice Chair Catherine Bower, Kristen Pence, Ralph Rinaldi, and Melanie Salins voted “to accept the scholarship with gratitude.” School Board member James Wells was absent during last night’s meeting.
In other action, the School Board unanimously approved increasing the WCPS adult breakfast rate to $2.30 and adult lunch rate to $3.85 effective January 3, 2022. The action is required for WCPS to meet the 2021-2022 Virginia Department of Education minimum Adult Price requirement. Adult meal prices are currently $1.75 for breakfast and $3.00 for lunch.
Following the third reading of Policy BDDH/KD Participation at School Board Meeting by WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger, the School Board also unanimously approved additions to the policy.
Specifically, the section in the WCPS Policy Manual now will read: “Warren County residents, WCPS students, and School Board employees are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Warren County School Board to observe its deliberations. Any Warren County resident, WCPS student, parents of WCPS students, or School Board employee may address the Board on matters related to Warren County Public Schools at the regular monthly meeting, which is Identified as the first meeting of the month. Any Warren County resident, WCPS student, parents of WCPS students, or School Board employee may also address the board on matters related to any action Item, at the work session meeting, which is Identified as the second meeting of the month.”
An additional change in this section of the policy manual now states: “The Warren County School Board will allot a portion of the regular meeting for the public to address the Board. Citizens addressing the School Board, whether as individuals or as a member of a group, shall limit their remarks to three (3) minutes. This time limit and/or the total time available for public comment may be modified by the Chairperson with the approval of the majority of the School Board.”
The chairperson also can modify time, with the approval of a majority of the School Board, per individual to stay within the time allotted or seek approval from the other members present to add time at the end of the meeting, according to the policy updates.
The chair also will ask for each person speaking to state their name and address for the record, whether they are a Warren County resident, parent of a WCPS student, or employee of the school division, the updates state.
In another action item, Ballenger also gave the board the third and final reading of the Warren County Public Schools Comprehensive Long-Range Plan 2021-2026, which the School Board unanimously approved as presented.
The 2021-2026 Comprehensive Long-Range Plan, which Ballenger said was developed by teachers, administrators, School Board members, and input from the community, includes the mission statement: “We will empower everyone to achieve excellence by sparking inspiration and learning through innovation.”
The goals for 2021-2026 are:
- Students will graduate from WCPS able to think critically; think creatively; communicate effectively; collaborate with others; and be prepared to enter the workforce with marketable skills and/or ready for the rigor of higher education.
- All schools will be accredited on an annual basis as defined by the Virginia SOLs.
- WCPS will employ properly credentialed teachers, administrators, and staff. The School Board will strive to provide competitive compensation for all personnel.
- Staff development will be tailored to the needs of each staff member for the purpose of continually improving the entire school division.
- All students and staff will be afforded a safe and engaging learning environment that promotes healthy behaviors and positive relationships for everyone every day.
- A safe, reliable, and equitable transportation system will be provided for all students.
- Technology will be integrated into all facets of the school division’s operating system as well as the delivery of instruction. All students will exit WCPS with appropriate 21st-century technology skills, which will enable them to compete in a global society.
- The School Board and all schools will engage and communicate effectively and openly with students, families, and the community.
- Develop community partnerships for the benefit of the entire school community.
- Provide an all-inclusive school experience.
At the end of the board’s roughly 45-minute regular meeting, the members went into a closed session to discuss student discipline and to consult with legal counsel regarding actual or probable litigation. No report was provided following the closed session.
Click here to watch the Warren County School Board’s December 1 meeting in its entirety.
Belle Grove decorated for the holidays and open for touring December 3-30, 2021
From December 3 to 30, Belle Grove Plantation is decorated for the holidays and open for touring. “Timeless Tales and Verse,” celebrating holiday-themed literature from the years of Belle Grove’s history, is the inspiration for this year’s decorations.
The Winter Time, a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson, is seen in the decorations in the carriage and on the front porch. Valley Garden Club has decorated the front hall with the poem Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in mind. The library decorations by Warren Garden Club feature the classic Christmas letter, Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus. In the day sitting room, the Winchester/Clarke Garden Club evoked ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. The plantation office has been transformed by the Middletown Garden Club into Ebenezer Scrooge’s office from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Across the hall in the dining room the Colonial Garden Club rings in the New Year with Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns. In the Parlor is a 12-foot Norway spruce donated from John and Judith Tole’s Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm in Woodville, Virginia. The Hawthorn Garden Club provided decorations in the Parlor based on the short story, The First Christmas Tree by Henry Van Dyke.
The nursery is a child’s wonderland thanks to the Shenandoah Garden Club’s toys and animals. It brings to life The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, the 1922 children’s story that begins on Christmas morning. The Little Garden Club adorned the bedroom using The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry as their inspiration.
Guests are welcomed into the lower level with decorations inspired by Christmas Carol, a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. These decorations were done by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association, which also decorated the lower-level room showing The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the story behind the treasured ballet. The kitchen has charming decorations by the Glen Burnie Garden Club conjuring The Elves and the Shoemaker by The Brothers Grimm.
Belle Grove Plantation including the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center (which includes the Museum Shop, exhibits, and restrooms) will be open December 3, 2-8 p.m. and thereafter Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Belle Grove will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and will close for the winter on December 31.
Guided house tours are offered Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with tours beginning at quarter past each hour (first tour at 10:15 a.m. and last tour at 3:15 p.m.) and on Sunday 1-5 p.m. (first tour at 1:15 p.m. and last tour at 4:15 p.m.). On Friday and Saturday evenings 4-8 p.m. visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours, the Manor House will be lit by candlelight, and there will be live music in the Parlor from 6-8 p.m. (schedule at www.bellegrove.org).
There is a limit of ten guests per tour and admission is sold on-site only and on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests over the age of five are required to wear masks over their nose and mouth while on the property.
Admission for both guided and self-guided Manor House tours is $12 for adults, $11 for members of the military, AAA, the National Parks, and individuals 60 and older. Students 6-16 and National Trust for Historic Preservation members are $6. Children 5 and younger are free. Belle Grove members are free of charge as benefit of their membership. Visitors may join Belle Grove and immediately use this benefit at Christmas along with 10% off non-consignment purchases in the Museum Shop.
Belle Grove Plantation is a non-profit historic house museum that is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site and a partner in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. It is located off Route 11 at 336 Belle Grove Road south of Middletown, Virginia. Information and updates on holiday tours may be found at www.bellegrove.org or at facebook.com/BelleGrove.
Last call to share library feedback and win!
Samuels Public Library’s community survey will close on December 31st. The survey opened on September 1st and has drawn in nearly 300 responses so far. The Library hopes to receive 400 responses.
“We are very excited about the number of responses we’ve received so far,” says Executive Director Michelle Ross, “Our community has wonderful ideas about new library services and we hope to gather even more of those ideas before the survey closes.”
Each person who completes a survey may be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Fire HD 10 Tablet. Limit one entry per person. Every Warren County citizen is invited to share their feedback to enhance our community’s Library.
Print copies of the survey can be found at each Samuels Library public service desk. The survey can also be completed online.
Results from the survey will be shared on the Library website, www.samuelslibrary.net.
About Samuels Public Library
Samuels Public Library brings people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. A 501(c)(3) organization, the library annually serves 200,000 visitors, checks out nearly 400,000 books, electronic and digital services, and provides essential computer access, wireless service and public meeting spaces for the community. To learn more, visit www.samuelslibrary.net or call (540) 635-3153.