Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer in Culpeper....with some teachers, a principal and other cool people. 2015

This blog started differently than it ended up.  I intended to do a summer blog on teachers.  There was one big problem.... I couldn't find them.  Where do you find teachers?  In the school, right? Well not so much in the summer.  If they are not there then they could be almost anywhere.  It seems like teachers should check in with someone... maybe me...I needed them.  Anyway, I wanted a whole bunch of teachers and was very lucky to get as many as I did  (this group probably qualifies as a "bunch") and fortunately I found great ones!  The good news is that in the meantime I ran into some other really cool things and people that I wanted to photograph like: border guards at Mountain Run Lake Park,  the fun staff at a tanning spa, agreeable golfers,  and the guys working at CJ's Ice Cream (No way those guys don't sneak just a little ice cream.  But one is the owner's son so, who cares?) and so on.  It probably turned out to be a bit more fun with the mixture we ended up with.

Let's get on with it, but be sure to take it one step at a time.  

A School Principal
Since three fourths of my career was as a high school administrator, I wanted to be sure to get a picture of a principal busy working during the summer.  Although I live very close to Culpeper County High School I have never met the principal, Jeff Dietz.  So I made an appointment with him. We had a nice conversation "talking shop"  as he put it.  He has the same personality as all the good principals have that I worked with.   When you start talking about school his eyes light up.  He has been the principal at CCHS for ten years and has been an educator for twenty.  He and his wife have four kids and the oldest is 19 years old and a student at UVA.  Two more are in high school and the youngest is in elementary school.  Jeff will be busy this summer seeing to it, along with his staff members who are there during the summer, that everything is ready when the kids come back.  As certain  in life as death and taxes.... is the fact that the students will come back to school, ready or not. Among other things, Jeff will have seen that: the building is in good shape; that he has a qualified teacher for every subject; that each teacher has a room each period and that two teachers are not accidentally scheduled in the same room; that there is a seat for every student every period; that the classes are balanced by period and within county size limits; supplies have been ordered;  all the computers are working; AND that as many kids as possible get the exact schedule they want.  I know I overlooked some things but I got most of them.  People often wonder what school employees do when the kids are not there..... I can tell you that they work and that they have to be very detail oriented.  CCHS will have almost 1100 students next year. 

Let's look at some of the teachers I found.

Mandy Tuel Roberts is a third grade teacher at Farmington Elementary School.  She has just completed her third year and loves her job.  When I asked her what her favorite part of the job is, she quickly replied that it was watching the kids learn and grow.  She is taking graduate courses this summer working on her Master's degree.

Just as I was coming to the realization that I was not going to find enough teachers to complete a summer blog on just teachers, I passed this attractive couple coming out of UPS.  On a lark I asked,  "Any chance that one of you is a school teacher?"  The man said, "She is."  What luck!  A teacher indeed!  Julie Switzer is the new French teacher at Culpeper County High School.  She has been in town about six months and comes to us from Northern Pennsylvania.  Her "friend" is Tim Moniz  (they are good enough friends that they stood fairly close for this picture, or maybe very close).  Tim is the manager of a yacht club in Boston.  Welcome to the Peper!

I went to Floyd T. Binns to catch a couple of teachers as they left summer school for the day.  These two very graciously stopped and chatted with me.  They are spending a good part of their summer helping students who, for one reason or another, need a little extra work.  On the left is Sheryl Simpson who teaches sixth grade math.  She has taught in the Peper for seven years.  Her own two children have provided her with five grandkids.   Nice!   Connie Hadley is also a math teacher, and teaches at Culpeper County High School.  She has taught there for four years and teaches Algebra 1 and 2.  She has twin 19 year olds.

Every school that has a teacher like Khaled El-Nemr is very lucky.  I was told that he is the kind of guy that readily helps new teachers;  is a master of technology; is always willing to share his knowledge; and on and  on.  Here he is on his summer vacation.  He is teaching summer school, but the school day was over and he got into casual clothes and began planting flowers to make his school look prettier... it is not his job, he is just one of those guys.  He teaches advanced math classes to middle school students and really enjoys that work.  He is originally from Palestine and he and his wife have a three year old.

Now people will know how this bit of gardening happened.  Nice!

I saw these three having a picnic at the park honoring our war veterans and naturally saw a perfect picture that I could take.  It became doubly perfect when I discovered that the mom is a teacher!  Add to that, she is close to friends of ours from Fairfax that we have known since the 70's and who moved to Culpeper at least 20 years ago, and you have a small world, even for Culpeper.    She is Mandy Kalec and she is a reading coach at Emerald Hill Elementary School.  She works with students in Kindergarten through Fifth grade.  She is with her daughters Noelle and Emmy Brown.
  It doesn't get better than this!

Here is a husband and wife team of teachers. Shaun Summerscales teaches 6th grade US History and 8th grade Civics.  Melissa teaches 6th grade English.  They were expecting four days after I took this picture.

One of the first summer programs that I visited was "Kid Central"  held at Culpeper Middle School.  There I observed Linda Gray who is a para-educator working with some kids.   During the school year Linda works at Farmington Elementary School.  (note: I have never included underage children in my blog unless they are with their parents.  This is an exception because each of these children has a media release.)

Here are some other people I wanted to include who are working hard, but enjoying their summer.

I have wondered if tanning salons get any business in the summer.  I mean, it is hot and sunny out side and a lawn chair in the back yard would get the job done.... or so it seems.  So I dropped into Sun Tan City to talk with them and see if any customers were in there. Yep, in fact there were a lot of customers and most of their booths were occupied.  I guess it is good preparation for the beach, or maybe the best way to tan evenly or  perhaps a lot of other reasons.  At any rate I was wrong, wrong, wrong. However once inside I ran smack dab into these two colorful charmers,  Keeley Jones who is enrolled at Germanna in the nursing program is on the right and Courtnie Thomas who is  the manager is on the left.   We had a fun conversation and honestly...... I was lucky to escape without a new tan for both me and my camera.

When it gets hot I always head for CJ's ice cream stand to do a little cooling off and to see who else is there.  I have mentioned a couple of times that Chuck Shewbridge, the owner,  is a friend of mine who I have known since he was about 15 and I wasn't.  That is his son, Jake up there on the left doing a great imitation of his dad at the same age. Jake attends Culpeper County High School and helps out at the ice cream stand during the summer.  Sahas Thumma is the other guy who was working when I stopped by.  He is a student at Radford.

I have to admit that sometimes I run into the very most interesting and totally unexpected things imaginable.  I was thinking about pictures for this blog and realized that I had never gone to Mountain Run Lake Park in the evening....always during the day.  So I drove out and pulled in almost exactly at 8 pm.  As I crested that first hill on the way in, out of the corner of my eye I detected  movement in the woods.  I slowed way down and peered since it was dusk and saw a man in complete camouflage. He was wearing a jacket with some gear strapped on it and one of those floppy wide brimmed hats.  In that lighting he was not easy to see.  Besides it was about 90 degrees and very humid.
I determined to park and walk in there and see what he was all about.  That probably would not have been a great decision.  However, I did not need to because these three were in the parking lot and were very open in talking with me about what they were doing.  

Left to right:  Agent Miguel Calderon, Supervisor Adam Aviles, Agent  Wilbert Flores
Here is the shocker two of them are agents with the United States Border Patrol normally assigned in Texas and Arizona and it turns out that they were practicing "trailing and tracking." There were others still in the woods. Apparently there is a training facility in Front Royal and they use Mountain Run Lake Park for their exercises because it is a large open area with various types of terrain.
There is a K-9 component to this activity and the two dogs here are very accomplished.  They were not, however, crazy about being in the same picture so I took each team's picture seperately.

                                                               Agent Flores and Prins-e                    
Agent Calderon and Falko  

That turned out to be quite and adventure.  I doubt that very many people know that these excercises take place in our town.  

Here are some more people at summer sport or leisure.
Summer is always great for golfing so I dropped by the Culpeper Country Club and found these two guys hard at it.....well maybe just at it, forget the hard part.  They stopped for a minute for me and were very gracious and fun.  Turns out that Win Carithers on the right is a past president of the Country Club and currently sits on the Board.  He is golfing with Scott Hine who works with him at Integrity Home Mortgage.   It was a great golf day and after sharing a golf story with me they got back to business. 

This is a great lady!  I interrupted her run at Yowell during the midday with the temperature near 90 for a picture.  Most people would have told me to get lost, but she stopped and, as you can see, graciously gave me a beautiful smile.  In the days when I was running I always hated to stop because it broke my momentum and my concentration and it was hard to get it back.  This is Traci Fowler and she is a good sport.  She also reminded me that I took a picture of her with her friends five years ago when I was building my very first Faces of Culpeper photo blog. I believe that this is the fifty fourth of these blogs.

There is nothing on a hot day like a nice cup of ice cream or better yet of frozen yogurt as is the case here. This pair of mother/daughter look alikes, Susannah and Sophie Barnes stopped at Sweet Frog in the heat of the day to cool down a bit. 


School days, school days, good old golden rule days!
 Can anyone believe it is time for school to start?  Of course we all know that we are starting school much earlier than normal in Culpeper.  The snow days have just kept pushing us farther and farther into June, but the real advantage is better preparation for the AP and SOL tests. Our kids will have more weeks of instruction to prepare them for these very important tests.  Good call School Board! These two children checking out their school are brother and sister and undoubtedly the cutest elementary students in all of Culpeper.  Of course I am biased in favor of my own grandchildren, Nathan and Charlotte.

Well that wraps it up boys and girls.   I hope you found some things to make you smile.  By popular demand my next blog will be tattoos again.  

Don't forget to look for my piece (it is hard to miss) in the Culpeper Times called,   Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper.

And finally I have really jump started my Facebook Page called (guess what?) Faces of Culpeper.  It is going like gangbusters and is fun.  Be sure to visit and like it.