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( 5 Votes )

Adele SchaeferLong before Adele Schaefer became president of the Fluvanna County Arts Council (FCAC), she was a volunteer in both civic and political activities.

“Let’s just say that volunteering and taking on projects has been in my blood for a very long time,” said Schaefer. While in Northern Virginia, she was an administrative assistant to a Virginia state senator and held managerial positions in two non-profit membership organizations: the American Psychological Association and the Psychological Association of Pastoral Counselors. Nowadays, she sells real estate and once owned her own real estate company. Currently, she is an associate broker with Monticello Country Realtors. Her experiences through her volunteer and paid work have given her the skills and patience to work though complex problems with deliberate thoughtfulness and to maintain a positive outlook while remaining gracious. A sense of humor helps too.

In late 2011 a friend who was on the arts council asked if Schaefer would like to come to an FCAC meeting since they were looking for new members.

“I had very little knowledge as to just what the council did, so decided to check it out,” Schaefer said. She had only attended two meetings when she received a call that the FCAC president, Bill Anderson, had suddenly died. “At a hastily-called FCAC meeting to determine who was going to take his place, I somehow found myself as the new president.”

Schaefer has exercised her interest in the performing arts as a regular in the alto section of the Fluvanna Community Singers. As a child growing up in Ridgewood, N.J., and Fluvanna County, she was exposed to her mother’s love of the visual arts. Patty Stoughton was one of the original founding members of the Fluvanna Art Association. But Schaefer preferred performing on stage.

“I had graduated from the old Fluvanna High School at Carysbrook in the late ‘50s and had spent many hours on the Carysbrook stage under the fine directorship of Mrs. Eleanor Talley. So, with those memories holding a soft spot in my heart, it isn’t hard to understand how I became involved with FCAC,” she said.

As unexpected as her newfound position was, Schaefer has made a concerted effort to keep the performing arts thriving in Fluvanna.

“The long-time FCAC members were burned out at that point and I didn’t want to see something that was so important to the community come to a slow end,” she said. “It took some time just to figure out what needed to be done and who the players were, but the council members were so very supportive and we all kept moving forward.” Add a comment


( 5 Votes )

These holiday pictures were provided by photographer Amelia McConnell.

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( 5 Votes )

Christina and her fatherOne Christmas morning when he was a kid, my dad ripped into a camera box given to him by his beloved aunt and uncle. His glee faded, however, when he discovered that the box was packed with socks.

“Merry Christmas, Tony,” they told him. “Oh, and happy birthday, too.” My dad’s birthday was New Year’s Eve, so he always got his gifts lumped together. Not like the lucky kids who were fortunate enough to have birthdays in months other than December.

So my brother John, my mom and I delighted in making his New Year’s Eve birthday special for him. We kept the tree up, and a couple days after Christmas more presents would mysteriously appear. John and I racked our brains to figure out how to disguise the telltale shapes of our gifts – blank videocassettes, batteries and highlighters – meager presents he specifically requested because he knew we could afford them on our piddling high school job salaries.

We’d make him cards, too, and he’d pick them up and flap them around, just in case a check dropped out. He never got a check from me, but he did get a bunch of homemade coupon books for things like back scratches and dinners together.For some reason he loved those even more than the highlighters.

As part of his birthday tradition, we’d gorge ourselves on my mom’s lasagna topped with homemade sausage and meatballs, then head off to someone’s house for a New Year’s Eve party.

I loved those New Year’s Eves with him. He’d laugh with his friends, telling goofy jokes and talking about ideas. One time he convinced the entire room to drop what they were doing and drive back to our house to watch an action flick, because, if you listened to him, it was incredible on a laser disc with surround sound. Yep, laser disc. John and I were – heck, we still are – the only people in the state of Virginia who even knew what those were. Add a comment


( 7 Votes )

Scott MorrisScott Morris, Fluco athletic and activities director, traveled Dec .7 to Phoenix, Ariz., to accept an award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) for excellence in his field.

The NIAAA recognizes outstanding individuals in athletic administration every year. Each of the 50 states proposes one outstanding administrator for this national honor. An NIAAA committee reviews the nominations and selects the top nominees to be honored.

Morris is one of the 11 recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award. Obviously, he has received a very exclusive honor.

Morris, 50, has been at Fluvanna County High School (FCHS) for 19 years. He has a B.A. in criminal justice and an M.A. in administration and supervision. He has served as the activities and athletic director for the last 14 years. He came to Fluvanna from Madison County High School.

Initially, Morris taught history and government at FCHS, and coached softball. In those early years, he also served as an assistant coach for boys’ basketball and football. After five years, he took the full-time job of activities and athletic director.

During his tenure at FCHS, Morris has presided over a major expansion of the athletic and activities programs at the school. The school has added boys’ and girls’ varsity and JV lacrosse, varsity and JV girls’ soccer, wrestling, and has reinstituted the swimming program. Add a comment


( 8 Votes )

Sensory swing in BEST roomCarysbrook Elementary Principal Scott Lucas didn’t like what he saw.

Lucas wanted students on the edge to feel supported, not punished.

After a year of searching, he and his staff opened the Behavioral, Education, Social/Emotional Teaching lab – the BEST room – in August.

“Any student who needs a time out, or to finish work, or decompress can ask to go,” Lucas said.

The room is available and open to any student. Students whose teachers know they routinely struggle can apply for a pass, which then hangs on the wall in the student’s classroom. Students who feel the need ask the teacher for permission, pick up the pass and go.

“We have the pass because we can’t have students just roaming around in the hallway,” Lucas said.

In the BEST room students get to hang with William Reese, a licensed teacher hired as an aide.

The room has study or work zones where students can finish work, a “zones of regulation” area where they can talk about how they’re feeling, and a “take a break” corner furnished with a hammock swing, exercise balls, books and bean bags.

They can also do “Teach Town,” an educational computer program with a social and emotional component. Each day, some students are scheduled to sign in to Teach Town. “We also have organized small group discussion led by Mr. Reese,” Lucas said. “The whole process is more reflective rather than punitive.”

But there are rules written clearly on the board:

  • I treat others kindly;
  • I follow directions;
  • I keep my hands to myself;
  • I take care of BEST lab materials and equipment; and
  • I leave the BEST lab when my time is finished. Add a comment