Community Service

Summer Mission Trip

Last summer I went to Nicaragua for my very first mission trip with my church. I had an absolute blast. We signed up to go again this year.

I’ll be going to Virginia Tech and its motto is “Ut Prosim” which means, “That I may serve.” It’s a big part of my life – community service – and so I’m excited to be going to a college where it’s a big part of their lives, too. They have things like The Big Event when they spend a day where everyone from the college goes out into the community and gives back to the people who give us so much. They have programs for spring break and Christmas break where, instead of coming home, I can go on a mission trip and I can continue my work but with my college.

My dad always jokes that he can see me with Doctors Without Borders when I grow up because I love going out and helping those less fortunate in Third World countries. Especially the last two years with the academy, I’ve gotten a lot of experience with medicine so I can definitely see the two working together in some form in the future.


Dogs or Perfect Attendance CLMS 8thGrade

“Anywhere from three to six times a week I do dog agility. I train dogs. It’s like an obstacle course for dogs and some people think, ‘Oh, the dog does all the work,’ but it’s really a team effort. It’s more like you and your dog as a team versus a course. You get ribbons at trials and competitions. If you do a run and you do it perfectly, you get what’s called a Q or a qualifying run. Once you get so many Qs you get a title. Then you rack up titles and points and you get bigger ribbons and bigger things. We recently got one thousand points. You get 10 points for every perfect run you have. So we finally got a thousand points over, like, five years. We have three dogs. The one I work with now is named Diego. He’s a Shetland sheepdog, sable and white. My mom works with our middle dog, Obie. He’s also a Shetland sheepdog, sable and white. He’s 3 now and Diego is 6. And my youngest dog, I’m trying to work with but he’s a nut, is Finn. He’s around 16 months and he’s a black-and-white Sheltie. They’re all boys. We’re Star Wars fans, and we named our cats Luke and Leia. We named Obie, of course, for Obie-Wan Kenobi. It turned out that we got Finn in May for my birthday and the Star Wars movie came out in December, and we found out that storm trooper’s name was Finn. We said, ‘We were guided by the Force to name him Finn.’ And Diego, well my brother named Diego after the Go, Diego, Go! show. He was 3 or 4 years old at the time and that was his favorite show.”


By being involved

Lead with Kindness - Tallwood Sophomore

“By being involved in school I’ve learned to adapt to other people. Not everyone is the same, so you’re going to have to work with people who have different strengths and weaknesses. You learn how to adapt to that.

Some say I’m too nice, but personally, I like to lead with kindness. In my opinion, you get more respect if you are kind because nobody’s going to listen to a mean person. It’s best to just show kindness and love to the people that you work with.”


I’m retiring

Office Associate Retirement OLHS

“I’m retiring after 37 years – 23 have been here at Ocean Lakes High School. Before that, I was working in the technical and career education office when it was vocational education. I was typing curriculum guides for the vocational classes and purchase orders for the equipment and furniture needed to set up classrooms. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of working in many aspects of the school division including helping open two new schools, Birdneck Elementary and Ocean Lakes. My jobs ranged from cafeteria monitor to teacher assistant to library assistant to secretary for 14 years before I became part of the Dolphin Family as the office manager and secretary to the principal. I love meeting new teachers and students and being able to assist them whenever possible. I will miss the daily interaction with people I see every day and the friends I have made over the years. Time has flown by quickly, and now it’s time to relax, travel, and focus on family and home. It has been a wonderful experience working for Virginia Beach Schools, and I will miss the moments that become fond memories.”


I’ve been playing violin for five years


“I’ve been playing violin for five years. I was actually watching an episode of Spongebob and I saw them doing this sad violin because the crab wanted to see this island but couldn’t and I said, ‘Alright, I want to play the violin.’ But I had to learn to play piano, because my parents didn’t believe that I would practice. So I practiced every day so I could learn to play violin. So, Spongebob was your musical inspiration? Yeah. Sweet.”


I played four sports

4 sports 8th grade athlete VBMS

“I played four sports last year and I played three sports this year, not including the sports I play outside of school. Last year I played basketball, softball, volleyball and soccer, and this year I played soccer, softball and volleyball. Athletics in general are important to me because of the feeling you get when you play sports and you do something right and you hear everybody cheering your name. Or you hear someone saying to you, “Oh my gosh, great game!” or, “That was amazing! I’ve never seen anyone your age do that.” To have someone compare you to someone higher up on your skill set, it gives you a rush and a confidence boost in every way. You can’t be shy about it. You know you have to be good at something. It drives you.”


I want to be a landscaper

Green Friendly Neighborhoods Option 2 - Tallwood Junior

“I want to be a landscaper when I grow up. My dad owns a business. I’ve learned so much from my dad. I started on 72-inch lawn mowers when I was 8 years old. It’s always been a passion. I like looking at houses and just picturing in my head what I could do to it to make it into a beautiful house. I always have that picture in my head of how I could change how something looks and make it into my own piece. It’s been a really nice experience to work with my dad, and then you meet so many people and make connections through the field of landscaping. Everybody needs landscaping in their yard.”


I love acting

Acting and Poetry Tallwood senior

“I love acting; I love poetry and making music specifically because it allows me to interpret things other people want to say. It allows me to express the emotions that maybe other people are feeling. I really enjoy that. I went into poetry almost as a psychiatric thing as far as trying to help people get through mental breakthroughs and breakdowns even to help them to get to the breakthrough point. That’s really my dream for the future — to make an impact, honestly, because we all only have one chance at this. What makes me happy is to see other people happy, so I’ve used these artistic grounds to basically build a foundation for others so they can either be on the same level of happiness or get through something they’re going through.”


In seventh grade

Hard Work VBMS SPED teacher

“In seventh grade we talk a lot about goals and wanting to know what we want to be when we grow up and how we can get there. I thought about that for myself, and I feel like I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. This is only my third year teaching. I came to teaching a little bit later in life. I also have goals. I put myself through my master’s degree program and buying my own house this year was a huge deal. I’m proud of where I am. I work hard. I hope my students see that in me. I really value our relationships, and I hope one day someone will come back and say, ‘Hey, Ms. K, I’m doing great! Just this one thing you said to me I really liked.'”


I love to surf

KLODS surfs up girl

“I love to surf actually. Both my brothers grew up surfing at the beach, and I’d ride with them. Then, once I got old enough to ride, I got my own board. It was just a way for me to get closer to them and spend time with family. When you’re surfing it’s your whole focus. You don’t have to think about anything else. You don’t have to worry about stuff. It’s relaxing. It’s a way to let loose.

I’ve surfed in Hawaii. It’s crazy! The surf there is a lot more fun I think. The only thing I was worried about it is when you fall off the board or jump off there’s a lot of coral. The sharks never really bothered me, just the coral.”


When I get older

Entrepreneurship or therapist 8thGrader CLMS

“When I get older, I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m going to the academy at Kempsville next year, the Entrepreneurship and Business Academy. If I follow the right the path, I will get an associate degree in business. And from there, I really want to go Harvard or Yale and get a bigger degree in business. Then I want to start a small business and grow it into a corporation. My other option is to be a therapist because I want to talk to people about their problems in life. I feel like if there are younger kids who have issues, I can help them talk through getting better.”


This summer I am going to

Summer in Morocco Tallwood junior

“This summer I am going to Morocco. I saw this Global Navigator program and thought I would apply. Why not? But there was no way I was going to be able to go if I didn’t get a scholarship. I applied for Morocco and for the scholarship, and I got a scholarship for the full experience. It’s all paid for. And, to me, it’s more than just getting to go on a great trip. I hope I can use it in my future because I want to study health and Middle Eastern relations. We’re going to be learning Arabic. I’m so excited! I want to inspire other people to apply. People should be applying for these things because nobody applies, and it’s an amazing opportunity. I think everyone should get to travel abroad. We’re going to volunteer there and do fun things as well. Traveling opens your mind to new cultures, and especially the Middle Eastern cultures which are so complex and interesting. I think it’s really worth everyone traveling there.”