News & updates

News & updates


R.A.N.D. Students Making P.S.A.s to Promote H.E.L.P.

(Got Acronyms?)

Students in the Randolph Area Narrative Documentary PBL class have spent the past year learning interviewing and movie making skills. Now they're putting those skills to good use.

During this past winter, they've been participating in H.E.L.P. (the Heroin Epidemic Learning Program), an eight-10 week youth program designed to educate students on the reality of the opioid epidemic and empower them to make a difference. Taking what they've learned in class and through the program, they've been creating their own PSAs (public service announcements) this spring, which they will soon be submitting for review and final edit. The national H.E.L.P. committee will view and vote on all completed PSAs, and one will be chosen as the winner. That PSA will be professionally edited and air on local and national TV.

The R.A.N.D. PBL invites everyone to join them in the RU Auditorium on June 1 at 6 pm to view the PSAs and see which one is the winner. Members of the winning team will win GoPro cameras.

'Service Learning' Students Return From Nicaragua


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Here is their story...in their own words:

On April 15th, 17 students and two teacher chaperones from Randolph Union High School traveled 21 hours to San Ramón, a small rural town in the northern area of Nicaragua. These students, all enrolled in either Spanish classes or a Service Learning Project Based Learning course at Randolph Union, started the 2017-2018 year with the goal of teaching lesson plans to Nicaraguan students in elementary schools, and engaging with kids of all ages.

The purpose of these lesson plans were to give students one-on-one attention, as well as to address one Nicaragua's problems, a high rate of illiteracy, which is due to a lack of accessible education and resources. In order to meet this goal, each student wrote their own children's story initially in English, then translated them into Spanish. Each of them chose a different animal native to Vermont to write a story about, illustrate, and then “test run” the final product, thanks to the help of Randolph Elementary students.

The group worked in cooperation with a non-profit organization called Planting Hope, which is based in Montpelier and San Ramon, Nicaragua. Beth Merrill, the director and founder of Planting Hope, assisted the group with their planning and nica3work while in Nicaragua. Planting Hope’s goal is to “enhance educational opportunities, support grassroots initiatives and foster cultural exchange” while bringing groups of high school students with lesson plans and unique ideas into these environments to give the local students an opportunity to learn and fully engage in the lesson plan.

When students arrived in Nicaragua, they read their stories and worked with the lessons plans that were developed to expand on their stories in classes ranging from 30-40 elementary students.

The RUHS group stayed with host families San Ramon and as student Anna Jickling observes, “I noticed that all the host families, although having little, were willing to open their doors and hearts to us and give us a real taste of what Nicaraguan life is really like.”

Over the course of 10 days, the Randolph students visited two elementary schools, one high school, and a Planting Hope library where students came to gather and participate in activities. Their lesson plans shined at each school they visited as the Nicaraguan students participated with open hearts, minds and beaming smiles! RUHS student Zi Booska says, ”seeing the children's faces light up after we read our stories to them really showed me how much of an impact we made on their day and potentially in their life.”

The afternoons were spent engaged in enriching cultural activities where the RUHS students got to hike to a coffee plantation, learned to paint using a unique local technique (coffee based paint), visited a weaving cooperative, and made jewelry using local seeds.

The schools in Nicaragua are much different than the elementary and high schools in the United States. A lot of the kids in Nicaragua do attend school on a normal weekly basis. Some kids are not able to commit to the normal week schedule, because they have to help their parents in the coffee fields throughout the week. The Nicaraguan education system offers weekend schooling for these students and older adults who choose to get their high school degree if they did not already have it.

The schools in Nicaragua do not have nearly as much funding from their government as we do here in the United States. There can sometimes be up to 30 to 40 students per one classroom/teacher. This makes it difficult to give the students the individualized learning that most students at can get in the classroom at RUHS. When the students from RUHS were in Nicaragua, they visited only three out of five schools that were on the trip’s itinerary. The reasoning behind this was because the Nicaraguan government cancelled school because of the mass protests that were taking place in many of the cities in Nicaragua. Being in the country during a period of social and political unrest was in itself a substantive learning experience for the 17 students.

Students that participated in the trip were Zi Boska, Alex Brown,  Ainsley Cook, Shea Fordham, James Grandy, Becky Johnson, Anna Jickling, Sam Kimball, Dylan Patton, Amanda Rosalbo, Krista Sargent, Kathryn Jones, Natalie Strand, Paul Strand, Zach Whitmore, Liam Connolly, and Nina Mazzella. Chaperones on the trip were RUHS Principal, Elijah Hawkes and Spanish teacher, Simona Talos.

RUHS Club Does Its Best To Make a Better Worldinteract

Courtesy of The Herald, April 5, 2018; Photo by Tim Schroeder

Recently, five members of the RUHS Interact Club met with the Sunrise Rotary Club to tell them firsthand what the club is doing for projects and fundraisers.

Rielle Brassard and Sarah Rea spoke about the “Hands in Outreach” program. The students are sponsoring a young woman who lives in Kathmandu, Nepal. For $500 a year, she is able to stay in school and further her education, something that could change her life forever.

The students are also working to raise money to bring her to Randolph for a visit, and helping her her to get into college in Kathmandu. This has been an ongoing relationship with the Interact Club for several years now. The girl’s academic interests are engineering, law, and learning English.

Micro Loans

Student Ben Osha explained the Kiva program, which started out with $400. This program makes zero-interest micro loans to help people around the world to make opportunities for themselves and their families. Kiva sends updates to the club when loan money is returned.

Some 75% of the applications are from women from Pakistan and Tanzania. More information is at www.kiva.org.

Children with Cancer

Sarah Garvin spoke about Camp Ta Kumta, a Vermont camp that is free for children with cancer. The program includes a “mom’s retreat” and winter weekend programs. The students are working on collecting formal wear, costumes, prom dresses and baseball gear.

The Interact Club will visit the camp on May 1 to clean up the outside and deliver the costumes, Sarah explained.  Sorrell noted that the Interact Club hopes to build a gazebo at the camp, with the help of area Rotary clubs.

Blood Drives

Finally, Hunter Brassard shared about his involvement with the American Red Cross. He helps run the blood drives in Randolph, organizing students to put up posters and to help with the registrations. Hunter works with a Red Cross staffer to organize the schedule and line up the location of the drive.
Eight to 10 students help run each drive, while reaching out to families of students.

The next drive will be May 22 at RUHS, with a goal of 100 pints.

Calvin Terrell Will Present at RUHS on March 27

Calvin Terrell is the founder and lead Equity Coach of Social Centric Institute, an organization designed to educate and train people of all ages to enhance human interactions for global progress.

He is the former Assistant Director of the National Conference for Community Justice/Anytown USA Arizona Region, and has taught for Upward Bound at Arizona State University. For more than twenty years, Calvin has led comprehensive workshops for valuing diversity, equity, and justice building in schools, corporations, and civic organizations for thousands of adults, children, and youth throughout the USA.

In 2000, Calvin was awarded the city of Phoenix Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” award for his dedication to human rights. Calvin’s reputation for making a Calvin Terrellsustainable impact has afforded him collaborative venues with Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Arizona Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and prompted Harpo Inc., Oprah Winfrey’s production company, to seek him out to provide justice seminars for Harpo employees and equity coaching.

Calvin is an educator/healer at his core. His techniques are engaging, relevant to all populations, multidisciplinary, and integrate modern advances of technology/research partnered with ancient arts of storytelling and visualization. Calvin’s greatest motivations are his marriage of 25 plus years, his four children, his faith, and service to others.

"28 Marchant" a Rousing Success
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The cast and crew of the ETC Theater Company has been busy all winter preparing to premiere a new play at Randolph Union - and the playwright was in the audience to witness it. “28 Marchant Avenue: SixSummers at Hyannisport” examines the lives and secrets of the Kennedy family – including JFK’s developmentally disabled sister Rosemary.

The second of Joe and Rose Kennedy’s nine children, Rosemary was lobotomized in a desperate attempt to impose normalcy and protect the future prospects of her now famous siblings.  Lukina Andreyev, a senior at Randolph Union, took a break from rehearsals to talk about her lead role, the play, and the enduring popularity of the Kennedy family. 

“Rosemary’s story was obscured because these are hard issues,” Andreyev stated while seated comfortably in the first row of the high school’s auditorium.  “But we’re in an age of unveiling. People are questioning image.  There have been so many revelations about public figures.  Americans are ready for this story to be told.”

When asked about the play’s central conflicts, Andreyev shared this insight: “Rosemary was torn between wanting to be a Kennedy – and a individual.  It was hard for her to accept the molding that the children went through, not just because of her disability, but because she had a strong personality.  Rosemary fell victim to her father’s ambition.  Joe Kennedy wanted his children to lead - he laid the foundation for a political dynasty by manipulating the stock market and investing in Hollywood.  Three of his sons became senators, one rose to be president.  This play is about what was sacrificed in pursuit of that power.”

Rainville also revealed how the work came to Randoph Union.  “I found this script a year ago in New York City, when I was on sabbatical.   It had just been published, and the story spoke to me.  What happened to Rosemary Kennedy is a Greek tragedy – overreaching father destroying his child.  The playwright, Steven Carl McCasland, offered a very fair contract – and asked if he could come up to see the show.  That’s how the journey from page to stage began.”

“The universality of this story is striking,” Andreyev interjected.  “Joe Kennedy taught his children it’s not who they were that mattered, but who people thought they were.   The whole idea of image – cultivating and maintaining a public persona – a brand - is still with us today.”

8th Graders Present Check to Jocelyn House
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As part of their 8th grade Community Service requirements, students at RU Middle School raised $100 for the Jocelyn House.  The proceeds came from a formal dance that they hosted on the evening of January 12th.

The dance was a big success with over 50 students attending. Good music, dancing and food sales resulted in a $100 profit.

The Middle-school students that coordinated and hosted the dance are members of teacher Craig Wiltse's Advisory.

Senior Dakota Browder Takes 3rd in Miss Teen Vermont Pageant
Uses her Senior Project to develop skills and confidence

Senior Dakota Browder will tell you she’s always been a little shy and lacking in self-confidence.  So when it was time to come up with an idea for her Senior Project, she wanted not only to challenge herself, but also to overcome some of the fears that she felt had always held her back.
Dakota
“I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t have to be afraid. That I had something to offer and that I could do something completely out of character,” she said.  “So I entered the Miss Teen Vermont USA pageant, and I came in third place….second runner up.”

And that earned Browder a $12k college scholarship, an audition for a modeling gig, and a whole lot of new confidence in herself and her abilities.

“It also helped me learn the importance of being mentally strong,” she said, “as well as the importance of helping and investing in others. I was surprised – but happy – to learn how supportive all the other contestants were with one another. The phrase I kept hearing that day was ‘Strong is the new skinny’. I would love to help others overcome their fears like I did.”

Confidence. Empathy. And a pretty hefty college scholarship. Now that’s a Senior Project success story.

RU Students are off to Germany

Cuxhaven travelers

Students at Randolph Union High School have numerous opportunities to travel to other countries, and the latest group will be leaving in late November to visit our sister school, BBSCuxhaven - the "Berufsblidende Schulen" located on the North Sea in the coastal community of Cuxhaven, Germany.

Students and chaperones from RU travel to Cuxhaven, Germany bi-annually in order to experience German life (and high school) with host families and partnered students.

In the off years, students from Cuxhaven travel to Vermont to experience our way of life. The visiting students are hosted by local families and shadow RUHS students through a variety of classroom and extra curricular activities.