RU Students Press Forward With Plans for Trip to Japan
Courtesy of The Herald, August 12, 2021
Last summer, a group of eighth graders were ready to travel on Randolph Union Middle School’s biannual trip to the Shizukuishi region of Japan. Yet, like many events of 2020, the trip was canceled due to COVID-19, shattering the hopes of 10 eager students.
Despite this setback, the group—now only five students— was granted a onetime opportunity to travel to Japan as high schoolers with a new program called RU High School Japan Trip. This trip is scheduled to take place during the summer of 2022, and the fundraising has already started.
Satomi Armstrong and Deb Lary, the chaperones of the trip, plan on showing the students as much of Japan’s culture and history as they can during the two-week trip. They hope to visit places such as Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nikko, and Aichi and also to find a school the group can visit.
Armstrong, who grew up in Japan, will be the student’s tour guide and interpreter, which will allow for a more authentic experience, they said.
The group has been working hard to reach its goal of $40,000 in order to pay for the trip. According to Lary, the fundraising is an important aspect of the program, not just to pay travel expenses, but also to build relationships before the trip: “Team building for the parents, team building for the kids, learning to be flexible, patient, tolerant— for adults as well as students,” she summarized.
Fundraising efforts by students have included doing yard work as “rent-a-kids,” as well as selling RUHS socks, raffle tickets, and RU Japan trip merchandise.
Parents have been just as involved, organizing bottle drives, creating and selling merchandise, and planning the upcoming concert fundraiser— the Matsuri Music Festival—located at Farr’s Hill in Randolph on Saturday, Aug. 21, starting at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available at rumusicfest.com and available for purchase at the event.
The music festival will include local artists Abby Sherman and The Way North, AliT, Cobalt and Titien, and Ed McGee. Comedian Rusty DeWees will be the master of ceremonies for the event and will auction off gift baskets as well. The event is sponsored by several local businesses. Jenna’s Street Side Grill and 802 Pizza will provide food and Valley Bowl will sell drinks. Students and parents will work the event, covering everything from parking to taking tickets and setting up the stages.
“This trip all stemmed from these parents and students who were devastated that their trip to Shizukuishi was canceled due to COVID,” said chaperone Lary. “Their motivation and ability to fundraise during this time has been amazing to say the least. They’re one of the most motivated and creative groups, because you can tap out your community easily with these fundraisers, but they’ve been creative in so many different ways to try to get support and awareness of what they’re doing.”
Unandi Lungu Wins 2nd Place in Essay Contest
Randolph Union eighth grade student Unandi Lungu was recently awarded second place in the region at the annual Lincoln Essay Contest held by Manchester based Hildene.
His social studies teacher, Brian Kennedy, told the class about the contest and how to participate and Lungu took an interest in the topic, which focused on ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. He took time to write his essay over a recent school break and walked away with a $400 award, winning second place in the Orange, Windsor, and Windham county region.
Third place in the region was won by White River Valley Middle School’s Amelia Marshall. Hildene will post videos of students reading their award winning essays in mid-May on their website, hildene.org.
Encore Theater Company Presents: Titanic - The Musical
Randolph Union’s Encore Theater Company is about to unveil a spring production unlike any other in their more than sixty year history - as "Titanic: The Musical" emerges from post-production on April 12, 2021.
Created by more than two dozen actors drawn from current students, alumni, and members of the community, this spring’s production explores immigration, aspiration, technology, and hubris through the lens of actual passengers and crew who were aboard the ill-fated maiden voyage of the “unsinkable” Titanic.
The performance is a collaboration of RU's longtime artistic and music directors, BC Rainville and Jennifer Moore - with support from Mat Eisenstein, Titanic's Original Broadway pianist. Very special thanks also go to our audio-engineer, Vincent Freeman of Randolph's Underground Studio; and to the Shelburne Museum, which generously made the decks and interiors of their 1906 steamship Ticonderoga available for publicity photos.
Randolph Union refused to shutter its theater program during the pandemic, instead adapting to a much changed reality with a 1930's radio show in October and by pioneering a new type of performance with their audio-only production of "Titanic: The Musical" coming this April 12.
Concord Theatricals, which is rooted in the 19th century, has consistently advocated and enabled youth theater. Please “come aboard” and enjoy this year’s special and outstanding musical.
Gear Up Alum Kelsey Stratton Gives Back to Her Hometown
Courtesy of VT Digger and the VT Student Assistance Corporation - December 2020
Speaking with special education teacher and GEAR UP alum Kelsey Stratton is nothing short of inspiring. A native of Randolph Union High School, Kelsey credits both her ability to give back to her students and her interest in education to the support VSAC gave to her as a young student.
Read the whole story here: RU Alum Gives Back to Her Hometown