The Week (and a half) in Photos: Dec. 11-20

Larkpur Middle sixth-grade teachers dressed as M&Ms for Matching Monday, the first day of the school’s spirit week.

The Adult Learning Center announced that Karra Shikimachi is the center’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Seventh-graders at Old Donation School participated in a Top Chef contest at the school, which involved crafting a healthy menu, preparing the food and serving their peers. Their peers and staff members selected their top three favorite meals to serve for lunch.


Bayside High School recognized Spanish teacher Alicia Wuornos as its 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Holiday Connection, coordinated by the division’s school social workers, resulted in the collection of hundreds of gifts for students and families in need. School social workers delivered the gifts to families before the division’s winter break.

Lynnhaven Elementary fourth-grade students made a sign to thank Myles Henderson, News 3 meteorologist, for teaching them about weather.

The Advanced Technology Center celebrated the success of students in its engineering technology I, web design, and advanced marketing and entrepreneurship at Town Center classes. All students earned passing scores on the Workplace Readiness Skills Assessment.

Global Studies and World Languages Academy students at Tallwood High School received awards for community service.  The top service recipients in each class were (left to right): Meghan Weaver, freshman, 141 hours; Mimi Trieu, junior, 803 hours; Sydney Odango, senior, 695 hours; and Jayla Nicholson, sophomore, 365 hours.

Newtown Elementary second-graders participated in the Wonder League Robotics Challenge, a worldwide robotics challenge hosted by Wonder, the makers of the Dash Robots. Students worked their way through multiple challenges that focused on creating a colony on a space island.

Faculty and staff at Windsor Oaks Elementary support Team Ella. Ella McPherson, a Windsor Oaks fourth grader, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Staff purchased shirts and can wear them on Wednesdays to support Ella and others battling cancer.

Mr. Trovato’s fourth-grade class at Glenwood Elementary collaborated for an integrated math and content project, creating road maps to showcase their understanding of intersecting, perpendicular and parallel lines.

Arrowhead Elementary kindergartners celebrated Elf Day Dec. 13. Students dressed as elves and were divided into stations where they took part in various elf activities, including filling out an elf job application, wrapping presents, decorating cookies and more.

Brian Walker, a junior at Cox High School, is one of the students at the Laskin Road Annex’s Happy Day Cafe who helped sell cookie mix jars to raise nearly $100 to donate to the Daisy’s Diamonds Relay for Life Team. The team is in honor of Dr. Daisy Wood, former executive director of the Office of Programs for Exceptional Children. The Happy Day Cafe helps students to develop and practice vocational skills that will help them become employed and fully participating in the community after high school.

Artwork by Sydney Kaczysnki, a fifth-grader at Corporate Landing Elementary, was selected by Virginia Delegate Glenn Davis to be featured on his holiday card. Davis recognized Kaczysnki on the school’s morning announcements Dec. 13.

The Christopher Farms Elementary Colt Robotics Club made a giant holiday banner for the school’s winter concert. The banner was made by programming Sphero robots dipped in paint to create each letter.

As part of a community service project, two fifth-grade classes from Woodstock Elementary visited to a local Walmart Dec. 13 to buy hygiene products for the homeless while also using lessons learned in math about decimals and unit pricing. The students raised more than $3,700 for the project.

First Colonial High students packed up boxes of non-perishable food items to be distributed to families of FC students in need. Families are also given a ham or turkey, and various FC clubs and groups adopted families and bought Christmas presents for them.

Mrs. Claus, also known as school volunteer Barbara Seltzer, made her annual visit to Arrowhead Elementary. She made the rounds to every classroom to say hello to the students with one of her elves and one of her reindeer. Students joined in with Mrs. Claus to sing “Jingle Bells” and received candy canes. Learn more about Seltzer’s volunteer work in this month’s Compass Keeper feature.

Cox High Principal Dr. Michael Kelly presented junior Sydney Doyon with an Outstanding American History Student certificate from the National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution. Each high school was given the opportunity to designate one student who met the award criteria: a student who continuously shows academic excellence, indicates an interest in a career related to the military, and participates in community activities that support the American way of life.

Bring your parents to school! The halls of Green Run High were packed with nearly 200 parents visiting classes with their students during the all-day event, A Day in Our Shoes, held Dec. 13. Parents participated alongside their students working on activities and lessons across all content areas. They also attended a special advisory block in which all students and parents worked on several community service projects including writing letters to soldiers and decorating placemats for nursing homes.

Bayside Middle’s “elves” were busy wrapping presents for special Bayside families. The gifts were purchased with money raised from a staff silent auction and the gift wrap supplies were donated by the school’s Partner in Education, First Baptist Church – South Hill.

Laura Folden won Corporate Landing Middle’s annual “Ugliest Sweater” contest, while Rachel Jennings won the award for “Most Creative.”

Kempsville Meadows Elementary kindergartners Sidney Wiedemeier and Kameron Griffin completed the engineering process to make a strong snowman to withstand a snowball fight.

Red Mill Elementary held its Winter Concert, Dec. 14, and the fifth-grade chorus had a little help from the Rockin’ Snowmen, also known as fifth-grade teachers Alexandra Holkon, Leah Neal, Samantha Reed and Mark Schmidt.

Zephaniah Ball, a preschool student in Patricia Weiss’ class at Cooke Elementary, tried out one of the many classroom flexible seating options. He was as happy as a pea in a pod!

Arrowhead Elementary’s staff members were treated to a delicious holiday breakfast prepared and served by Salem High’s hospitality and catering students. This year’s annual breakfast also included surprise entertainment with a parody of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” entitled “Teaching in an Elementary School.”

The Advanced Technology Center (ATC) recognized Burton Melchor and Roy Rector, modeling and simulation students, who achieved a perfect score on their Certified SolidWorks Associate certification test. ATC Instructor Mack Stevens and ATC Director Michael D. Taylor presented both students with awards for the achievement.

North Landing Elementary’s Guidance Counselor Carolyn Boocks and Assistant Principal Denise Fockler prepared to move gifts from an overflowing Angel Tree. NLES families have fulfilled the wishes from the annual Angel tree and will provide many other families with some holiday cheer.

Centerville Elementary’s Girls on the Run club collected donations for the SPCA for their Community Impact Project during the month of December.

Maureen Allison, adaptive physical education teacher, and Nancy Lamb, physical therapy assistant, got into the holiday spirit as they collaborated to create a fun, strengthening activity for students during their PE time at Pembroke Elementary.

Newtown Elementary staff members show their holiday spirit Friday, Dec. 15 by wearing red and white for a Candy Cane Day.

Staff in the Department of Teaching and Learning also showed their holiday spirit Dec. 15 by wearing holiday sweaters and other attire.

The Green Run Campus chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) inducted 37 new members Friday, Dec. 15. The highlight of the NHS induction ceremony is the lighting of candles which represent scholarship, character, leadership and service. NHS members are expected to light the way as leaders and role models in the school.

Larkspur Middle concluded its spirit week Dec. 15 with Celebrity Friday. Eighth-grade teachers recognized some of this season’s most popular celebrities, Santa’s reindeer.

Santa and Mrs. Claus visited Joy Drumm’s third-grade class at Kempsville Elementary to hear their persuasive pieces on why they should be chosen as Santa’s new Head Elf. Each student’s application was highly considered on the spot; however, Santa politely declined, informing students that they simply don’t meet the height requirement of standing less than three-feet tall.

Members of Princess Anne Middle’s National Junior Honor Society worked in groups to plan and execute several projects to bring holiday spirit to the community. Students made holiday cards, reindeer candy canes and friendship beaded bracelets to be delivered to residents at an assisted living facility and a veterans group, and they also collected treats and toys to be donated to the SPCA.

Karen Moore and Becca Carter, staff members at Diamond Springs Elementary, dressed in pajamas on Polar Express Day, Friday, Dec. 15. In their jammies, students and staff enjoyed reading “Polar Express”, watching the movie, and savoring cookies and hot chocolate.

Middle school students at Old Donation School participated in a Mix it Up lunch Dec. 15, sitting and talking with different people at lunch and making new friends. Student table captains were assigned by Denise Schmitter, guidance director, and Stacie Sexton, school counselor, and teachers and staff monitored the activities. Student table captains selected ice breakers and other games to play during the extended lunch bell to help foster new friendships.

Ms. Goodman’s second-grade class at Windsor Oaks Elementary Skyped with marine biologist Kerry J. Nickols. Students conducted research about marine biologists and their work, then brainstormed questions to ask Dr. Nichols.

Salem Elementary staff spread holiday cheer by wearing festive holiday “ugly” sweaters Friday, Dec. 15.

First Colonial High students visited Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy Dec. 15 to set up their annual winter wonderland for Seatack students. The high school’s National Honor Society raises money each year to provide each Seatack student with a holiday gift and goodie bag. Students spent the day visiting with students and participating in holiday activities.

Kevin Rickard and Laretha Johnson tied for best ugliest sweater at Newtown Elementary’s seasonal contest.

Ocean Lakes High hosted its annual holiday gathering for the school division’s deaf and hard of hearing students. Ocean Lakes students taking sign language at the school help organize the event and participate to practice their sign language skills.

Green Run High School celebrated the sounds of the season with a chamber orchestra holiday concert conducted by Joshua Poe.​

Green Run Elementary fifth-graders Gabriel Yoder, Jonael Garcia, Ethan Hughes, Loren Mellagari, Jezavier Wilson and Mantavya Dave wait excitedly to perform in the school’s annual holiday show.

Cox High’s NobleTeens, a branch of the Noblemen community service organization, collected donations during a toy drive to be gifted to children in need during the holiday season.

Kim Manoso’s advanced entrepreneurship and innovation class at Kempsville High formed a student company, Kooky Kontainers, in partnership with Junior Achievement. The students will operate the company, which specialized in custom made gifts, for a majority of the school year.

Third-graders at Strawbridge Elementary raised enough money to package over 12,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger.

At Tallwood Elementary’s Winter Wonderland Breakfast, Hailee Harper shared her wish list with Santa.

Plaza Middle students, like Jaedyn Colon, staff and community members donated items for the Trojan Tree. These items will be shared with various Plaza students who are in need.

Jazmyne Wright, Artist of the Week at Tallwood Elementary, created a winter landscape.

Santa visited Pembroke Elementary Dec. 18, and Ms. Maul’s students were excited to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Glenwood Elementary second-graders in Ms. VanAlstine’s class presented their American Indians projects as a culmination to their unit on Native Americans.​

Cooke Elementary students make the most of the school’s makerspace, which has a new LEGO wall as well as classic critical thinking activities like chess.

Kingston Elementary’s Barnes and Noble Book Fair night Dec. 18 was a success. Students and their families were able to listen the fifth-grade strings and chorus, work on holiday crafts, hear books read by teachers and get gifts wrapped while supporting Kingston.

Even though it’s December, there was a turkey-sighting at Providence Elementary. Students used their donations to a Salvation Army canned food drive to vote for the staff member who should have the “honor” of dressing as a turkey. Congratulations to the winning turkeys – Ann Holcombe, school nurse, and Denise Adams, library media specialist!

Plaza Middle recognized its 2019 Teacher of the Year, Gregory Hogan.

Parkway Elementary Principal (left) announced that Meghan Mosher (right) is the school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Shelton Park Elementary students and staff dressed up for a schoolwide holiday spirit day Dec. 19.

First-grade students at Kingston Elementary made suitcases and passports so they could “travel” around the world to learn about holiday traditions in other countries. They visited Israel, Mexico, Italy and the Philippines. Each first-grade classroom was transformed into a different country and students learned about traditional celebrations, played games and made crafts.

Students in Mrs. Daves’ second-grade class at Kingston Elementary made snowflakes to hang in the activity room at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

Teachers showed their “talents” at Providence Elementary’s talent show. Julie Byers, Molly Robinson, Cheri Davis and Jeanelle Paden created a dance with four other unseen teachers.

Cox High senior Zoe Williamson created the school’s Class of 2018 senior mural, which was unveiled at the school’s winter pep rally.

WAVY-10 Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler shared his experiences and weather expertise with Salem Elementary fourth-graders.

Lynnhaven Middle Principal Kellie Mason announced that Trish Bruwelheide is the school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

The Renaissance Academy recognized Joel Fisher, social studies teacher, as its 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Glenwood Elementary students and staff participated in the SCA’s Holiday Spirit Day by dressing in their most festive holiday attire.

Mrs. Koontz, sixth-grade science teacher, won the ugly holiday sweater contest at Virginia Beach Middle with this homemade entry.

Green Run Elementary preschoolers Zamya Brown and Sara Trigueros wear holiday bulbs to show their Christmas spirit.

John B. Dey Elementary’s administrators Beth Bianchi and Stacy Sedory delivered coffee and doughnuts to staff members as a treat before winter break.

Staff and students at Shelton Park Elementary collected toys to be donated to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and delivered them Dec. 19.

Thoroughgood Elementary’s P.E. teacher Joshua Miller challenged students to fill baskets to benefit the Bayside Lion’s Club.  The students met and exceeded the challenge by filling over 20 baskets with food. As promised, Mr. Miller donned his ballerina outfit for two days to show his appreciation to the students of Thoroughgood.

Cooke Elementary staff members showed their holiday spirit in the days before winter break.

Malibu Elementary student Lance Grier practiced writing numbers in “snow” on SCA Pajama Day.

Student’s in Mrs. Garrison’s first-grade class at Pembroke Meadows Elementary were proud of the creations they made using circles in an art lesson with art teacher Mrs. Sharp.

Trantwood Elementary’s SCA sorted all of the food donated by the students and staff to help families in need this holiday season. Students also made holiday cards for patients and employees at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters as way to spread joy throughout the community this season.

Luxford Elementary announced that Lisa Cohen is the school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

On the day before winter break, Linkhorn Park Elementary fifth-graders learned how to create electrical circuits for holiday lights and created snow out of baking soda, shaving cream and conditioner.

Kempsville Elementary fourth-grade teacher Christina McGinn took her students to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kempsville to sing Christmas carols and give residents ornaments the children made from old holiday cards.

Out of the Box ministries visited Lynnhaven Elementary to deliver donations of food and presents to students in need.

Brookwood Elementary staff members spread holiday joy by caroling to their students neighborhoods.

New Castle Elementary staff and fifth-grade chorus gave the gift of the 12 Days of Christmas in a schoolwide performance Dec. 20. The show starred Sun-Siret Betancourt as the partridge, principal Heather Quinn and Tina Milligan as the turtle doves, and a host of staff members as the remaining 10 characters.

The winner of Lynnhaven Middle’s Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest on the half day before Winter Break was Connie Schell, officer manager, who dressed as a holiday mantel. You can see her trophy proudly displayed on the mantel!

Luxford Elementary third-grade teacher Micah Pittman showed his holiday spirit from head to toe.

Lynnhaven Middle’s Shine Girls club and other ​Lynnhaven students helped the PTA and library media specialists to create holiday cards that will be given to local shelters.

Instead of a traditional class holiday party, Arrowhead Elementary students Michelle Williams’ second-grade class and Kathryn Chandler’s third-grade class had a “Giving Party,” where they wrapped donations they had collected for the Dream Center, an outreach program that helps homeless kids, foster kids, and others in need. Students donated 55 boxes of wrapped items such as toiletries, craft items, toys, winter wear and books.

Superintendent Aaron Spence visited Creeds Elementary Dec. 20 to recognize kindergarten teacher Jamie Dallas as part of the Great Dreams Need Great Teachers campaign. Two parents sent letters to to share positive stories about their experiences with Dallas. To see the more than 90 “Great Teachers” Spence and Senior Staff surprised with school visits since November, visit the Great Dreams Need Great Teachers website.

On the last day of school before winter break, Indian Lakes Elementary honored Phyllis Lakey, who will retire from VBCPS with 36 years of service as a bus driver.

The Week in Photos features pictures submitted by school media liaisons and those taken by staff in the Department of Media and Communications.

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