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Virginia Students Win 1st Place at the National History Day Contest

Forty-nine Virginia students, ranging from grades 6-12 and representing every region of the Commonwealth, competed against over 3,000 students from across the country.

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The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) is excited to announce results from National History Day’s (NHD) National Contest. Between May 25th and June 16th, 49 Virginia students, ranging from grades 6-12 and representing every region of the Commonwealth, competed against over 3,000 students from across the country. A virtual award ceremony was streamed on Saturday, June 19th to announce winners of 18 contest categories and dozens of special awards.

Virginia History Day is the state affiliate of the National History Day program. Similar to a science fair, but for history, the National History Day Contest was founded in 1974 to inspire students to conduct original historical research. Since its creation, the contest has grown into an international competition with more than half-a-million participants and thousands of dollars in scholarship awards and prizes annually. “Creating a project for the National History Day Contest is challenging. It requires hard work and dedication. But, it also provides great reward,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day® Executive Director. “The skills of conducting research and recognizing credible sources are crucial to increasing civic engagement in young people.”

Virginia’s student delegation did exceptionally well at this year’s National Contest. Caroline Bruton and Kayla Shaller, 8th graders from William Monroe Middle in Greene County, placed 1st in the Junior Group Documentary category with their film, “Communicating Through Cell Walls: The Secret Correspondence of American POWs in Vietnam.” Caroline and Kayla investigated the importance of secret communication methods of American POWs during the Vietnam War and how they created a support network that kept their morale up and helped them survive their ordeal. These successful tactics are still taught to American servicemen today.

Also from William Monroe Middle, 6th grader Mukund Marri placed 8th with his documentary, “Navajo Code: The Unbreakable Code,” which told the story of Navajo code talkers during World War II.

From Prince William County’s Mary J. Porter Traditional School, 7th grader Julienne Lim placed 9th in the Junior Individual Website category with her project, “Devil Dog Canines: A Line of Communication in World War II.” Julienne focused on the important role messenger dogs played in sending battlefield communications in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Additionally, Julienne received the United State Marine Corps History Award. Sponsored by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, this prize is awarded to an outstanding entry that demonstrates an appreciation of Marine Corps history.

Two Virginia projects placed 4th in their categories. Carly Phung, an 11th grader from John Randolph Tucker High in Henrico, received 4th place for her exhibit, “Say Cheese!: How Lewis Hine Used Cameras to Shine a Light Upon Life’s Dark Corners.” Carly explored the impact of groundbreaking reformer and photographer Lewis Hine in the early 1900s. Placing 4th in the Senior Group Website category were Sahil and Sagar Gupta, 11th graders from Thomas Jefferson High for Science and Technology in Fairfax, with their project, “The Story of Walter Gadsden: How One Miscommunication Changed the Course of the Civil Rights Movement.” Sahil and Sagar described the impact a 1963 photo of police brutality had on public perception of the Civil Rights Movement.

Two projects received Virginia’s Outstanding Affiliate Entry Award. In the Senior Division, Georgia and Caroline Berg, 11th graders from Grafton High in York County, received the distinction for their documentary, “The Secret Language of Flowers.” Their project revealed how Victorian era people overcame the social rules that controlled their lives and expressed their true emotions using language surrounding flowers. In the Junior Division, Samhita Som, a 6th grader from Haycock Elementary in Fairfax, received recognition for her paper, “Watergate: The Impact of Communication in Investigative Journalism and Reporting.” Samhita’s paper demonstrated the importance of the Watergate scandal to the world of journalism and the development of new journalistic techniques that are still relied upon by journalists today.

In addition to the success of Virginia’s students, several Virginia teachers received recognition for their hard work. William Monroe Middle teacher Mrs. Stephanie Hammer received the Naval Historical Society’s Teacher of Distinction Award. This award is given to teachers of those students who place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd nationally in their respective categories for projects with a naval or maritime theme. Mrs. Hammer has participated in NHD for more than 10 years and her students always do exceptionally well at all levels of NHD competitions. Mrs. Julie Noble of Richmond’s New Community School and Mrs. Jennifer Goss of Staunton High School were Virginia’s nominees for the Patricia H. Behring Teacher of the Year Award. Both received $500 honorariums for their outstanding contributions to history education and success using NHD in the classroom.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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RRRC Pony Pasture 5k

Richmond Road Runners Club dedicates this annual 5K race to the memory of Dr. Peter Still.

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This Saturday at 7:30 AM runners will gather to honor a friend and raise money for the RRRC Scholarship Fund.

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Richmond Road Runners Club dedicates this annual 5K race to the memory of Dr. Peter Still. Peter was a scholar, gentleman, runner, and a friend to many. The proceeds of this race benefit the Richmond Road Runners Club Scholarship Fund. Each year the club has awarded $2,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors. The scholarships are awarded to individuals who have and will represent the beneficial aspects of running as a healthy lifestyle. The recipients of the 2021 scholarships will be announced at the conclusion of the Pony Pasture 5K.
RRRC Pony Pasture 5K, in memory of Peter Still, is a RRRC Club Championship Race for 2021.

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Arts & Entertainment

New murals add a splash of color to Willow Lawn

A mural project recently wrapped up at Willow Lawn, where several new murals painted by acclaimed Richmond-based muralist Ed Trask are on display throughout the shopping center.  

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A mural project recently wrapped up at Willow Lawn, where several new murals painted by acclaimed Richmond-based muralist Ed Trask are on display throughout the shopping center.

Richmond-based marketing agency Rocket Pop and Trask collaborated on the design of the murals, which represent Richmond, the history of Willow Lawn, and birds, a common element in Richmond’s populated mural scene.

The project incorporates Richmond skylines and the James River – acknowledging Richmond is known as the river city – and the Blue Ridge mountains.

“There is no better means to connect with people than through art,” said Deirdre Johnson, Vice President of Asset Management.  “This mural provides a unique photo opportunity by featuring elements of the community, environment, and history while engaging with customers as they enter the property from Monument Avenue.”

Willow Lawn, Richmond’s first shopping center, originally opened in 1956. “We incorporated the Willow Lawn arch signage from the 1960s as a nod to the long-standing history of the center,” says Cara Dickens, president of Rocket Pop. “For many Richmonders, Willow Lawn is a nostalgic landmark.”

The birds are meant to give a lighthearted, cheerful vibe. Trask often incorporates birds into his murals and specifically incorporated Virginia’s state bird, the cardinal, into the Willow Lawn project.

“Birds represent everything from environmental health to freedom to a sense of place, but in Richmond, they often convey the fact that Richmond is an urban city with a ton of green space, nature, parks, rivers – a connectedness to the nature around us,” says Trask. “I often use birds to convey a connection to nature, but also the direction the bird is facing is very purposeful in my work…they are looking toward what I want the viewer to look toward.”

Lighting elements were added to the mural to provide a three-dimensional component to the project. The mural design started in May of 2020 and was completed in June of 2021.

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Moto Richmond and Scoot Richmond Rolling Down the Road

I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle or scooter so never had a need to go to the shop but it will be weird to drive past their old location and not see all the lovely bikes.

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BIG NEWS! Moto Richmond and Scoot RIchmond is MOVING to a new location. We’re still in Manchester thru this week, but on Tuesday July 27, you’ll find us in our new home at 6000 Midlothian Turnpike. Are you excited, because WE CERTAINLY ARE! Pardon our dust if you come by 217 W 7th this week to say your farewells, but we’re STOKED to show you the new spot.

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