Randolph Union Middle/High School

Randolph Union Middle/High School

RU students study in the libraryWelcome to Randolph Union Middle/High School!

We'll be using this page to highlight all the great things that are happening here -- every day -- as our students prepare for life after RU. So check back often and soon! (Also, follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on activities and events)

You can access our Staff Listing in the "documents" box to the left, or view our School Profile here: RUHS School Profile 2020-2021

Admin Roles to Change at RU

The following letter from RU Principal Elijah Hawkes was received in early March:

Dear RU Students and Families,

I’m now in my 10th year as a principal at RU, and I’ve decided that at the end of this year I will transition out of this role. This has been a very difficult decision to make.  I feel very close to so many members of this school community. I’ve known the graduating class of 2021 since they were in middle school.  I recall taking pictures of them jumping off rafts and swinging on ropes at Lotus Lake in 7th grade.  I remember their middle school semi formals, their 7th grade identity poems, and their 8th grade portfolio defenses and passage ceremony.

One of the most meaningful aspects of working at a school is joining young people and their families on the journey of growing up.  A parent just reached out to me last week and said I needed to ask her son about his good news. I asked him. He is a senior now and he was proud to tell me that he had just been accepted to the top college of his choice. These are such special moments, and it’s a privilege to be an educator that is a part of them.

Sometimes leadership transitions can be challenging for school communities.  But there will be stability of leadership from this year to next. Ms. Sutton and Ms. Floyd will lead RU next year in a co-principal model, with one principal focused on the younger years and the other on the upper grades.  RU is in very good hands – and that includes all of the wonderful RU faculty and staff who work with our students and families every day. 

Wherever my work takes me, I will remain a neighbor, a friend, and among RU’s greatest allies. Ms. Floyd, Ms. Sutton and I anticipate various forums and ways to collect feedback from our students and other community members in the coming months to help guide RU leadership next year and beyond – a future that looks bright.


Elijah Hawkes

For the RU Theater Program
The Show Must Go On!zoom meeting photos of students

Randolph Union High School's Encore Theater Company has seen its share of challenges over the years, but COVID-19 may be its biggest hurdle yet. Think about it: what does a theater troupe do when it can't use a stage, meet for rehearsal, and the costume room is locked up tight? For this year's thespians, the answer is innovation and creativity...because as every actor, actress, and stagehand knows, the show MUST go on.

Listen to the show here, courtesy of Underground Studio: 1930s Radio Theater

Enjoy the program here: 1930s radio show! program

RU’s thespians found a solution to this year’s crisis - instead of the traditional main stage - they will offer a 1930’s radio drama. Beginning on Thursday, October 29th the broadcast will be available on the school’s website, free of charge, for one week. The troupe is presenting this program to the greater Randolph community - as a gift - to enjoy at its convenience.

When asked why the troupe was performing a work that was exclusively auditory, Senior Ana Turinetti responded “Why not? We are in a predicament - and radio is a form of entertainment that doesn’t involve being in close proximity. By using a computer with a camera and microphone I still got to hang out with like-minded, zany, and understanding people. We made it work - I enjoyed it.”

Adam Leicher, one of five seniors involved in the production, spoke of the medium’s challenges. “With radio you have to work more on inflection and tone. On stage that doesn’t hold all the weight - because you can express what’s happening with your face and body. Coming up with the right voice for a character was a lot of trial and error - and fun.”

Christin Nolan, a senior performing in her fourth RU production, echoed Leicher’s comments. “Stage work has more components - it’s about expression in actions and voice. You’re constantly being watched - but with radio the focus is just on your voice. That’s harder to do. But it made me think critically, made me a better problem solver, and more confident.”

Performing in her seventh production at RU, senior Allison Johnston agreed. “Radio is definitely a challenge. To have to work with your cast mates in a remote situation, not being present with them, not being able to react with their physical blocking - it’s a change. But it’s also exciting. I miss being in that physical space - but we’re still all here together.”

With lighting and costumes being unnecessary even the techies have become actors. Senior Xavier Olmstead found himself building character instead of scenery. “This is more fun than I thought it would be. I never thought I would enjoy acting. I have bad stage fright. But I don’t have to see the audience, so I feel more comfortable. And I think it’s very entertaining - relief from the chaotic world we’re in right now.”
Speaking of the rehearsal process, Freshman Jessie Johnston said “we all take our creativity and throw it at each other. Making something means combining other people’s ideas and your own - then editing. This show has so much of every person packed into it - which is really cool.” Junior Ilya Andreyev concurred
“When we all went into quarantine it was extremely difficult. But the arts come from within. What matters is that we’re all connected to each other - hearing other people’s voices and thoughts - and sharing creative energy.”

Freshman Phoena Turinetti believes the radio play made her - and the entire cast - better actors. “When we get back to the stage it will improve our ability to bring stories to life - because we recognize a lot more about the characters. How they’d react - and say things. Radio gave us more opportunity to get a line right - and create a vocal presence.”

Director Brian Rainville, now in his 25th year at RU, was pleased with his students' work. “Keeping the lights on in the fine arts wing has been a challenge. Yet these young people embraced a script from the 1930’s - a very funny work rooted in themes of disruption and uncertainty. Their growth during this experiment has been impressive - and given me the courage to pursue an audio-only musical for March - featuring current students, alumni, and members of the community.”

Asked which show that would be, Director Rainville was hesitant to provide more information. “It’s not just that I’m waiting for our check to clear with the licensing company, but I want the focus to be on this work - the 1930’s radio show. To celebrate this cast’s adaptability and achievements. They’ve shown that art doesn’t stop amid crises - and how central art is to the human experience.”

Grant Funds Help RUHS Teacher Diversify Curriculumpicture of Emily Therrien
Courtesy of The Herald January 09, 2020
By Zoë Newmarco

Thanks to funds from two grants, Randolph Union High School teacher Emily Therrien is taking the lead on efforts to expand the curriculum for the benefit of a diverse range of students. Therrien, who typically teaches five classes and runs an advisory, is down to just two this year. The rest of her time is filled with work associated with the grants.

She was awarded a grant of $100,000 from the Rowland Foundation, an organization that offers 10 grants annually to secondary educators in Vermont who propose projects designed to improve the culture and climate in their schools.

A second grant of $32,200 from the Agency of Education was awarded to the high school [to be] used specifically for professional development on the subject of “equity literacy,” Therrien said.
“Equity literacy is really just about being … able to recognize the ways in which the world and our society are structured in ways that benefit some over others,” she explained.

Therrien noted that the Rowland Foundation grant allows her to have much broader goals than the AOE grant, although the projects under both grants complement each other. A significant portion of the money from the Rowland Foundation will go towards the costs of a substitute teacher for most of Therrien’s classes, as well as other costs associated with the work she does under the grant.

“Our grant project this year is looking at equity in public education and examining the ways in which we can develop curriculum and programs to ensure that all students see themselves represented in the curriculum,” said Therrien.

She wants to make sure that, through the curriculum, “students are exposed to the world beyond Randolph— just exposing them to different perspectives, while at the same time validating their own identities and who they are.”

Project based learning director Lisa Floyd is also enthusiastic about Therrien’s work with the two grants this year, she said. Floyd and fellow RUHS educator Angela Bauer were co-recipients of a Rowland Foundation grant in 2015, which they used to make improvements to the high school’s advisory program.
Floyd emphasized that she appreciates how Therrien recognizes that the work done under the two grants has the potential to have “real impact on real students,” and to set high expectations for both students and staff.

“[Emily] is able, as a social studies and English teacher, to provide historical context for students and help them see how events in the past impact our present,” said Floyd. “I believe her equity work will benefit the Randolph Union community for years to come.”

No Easy Task: Engaging Students to Meet the Challenges of Our Time

RU Principal Elijah Hawkes shares some thoughts and insights on how to engage students to prepare for, and meet, the challenges they will face following graduation.  Sometimes, the answer lies just beneath the surface. 

You can read the whole article here, courtesy of VT Kids Magazine.
No Easy Task: A High School Administrator on Engaging Students to Meet the Challenges of Our Time