What‘s Happening at CHS

CHS boys hoops wins Holiday Classic

Jake Bowling and Zymir Faulkner earn all-tournament honors after winning the 2019 Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic.
Jake Bowling and Zymir Faulkner earn all-tournament honors after winning the 2019 Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic.

The Charlottesville High School Boys Basketball team beat Albemarle High  School 61-56 to claim the Daily Progress Holiday Championship trophy!

Jake Bowling and Zymir Faulkner both earned all tournament honors and Faulkner was the tournament MVP.  Isaiah Washington, Nic Motley, and Christian Stewart all had strong performances over the weekend to propel the Black Knights to the championship. Courtesy Rodney Redd, GoCville.org

See media coverage of game here. For more on CHS winter sports and game schedules, visit gocville.com.

Photo Credit: Cville Varsity
Energy and Water Management Winter Quarter poster

City and Schools promote energy and water conservation-Winter Quarter Update

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter poster

Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. On April 11th, 2019 the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities. 

Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.

The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools. 

Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:

  • Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
  • Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
  • Spring (March – May): Smart Energy and Water Use
  • Summer (June – August): Keep Going! Summertime Savings

Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at EnergyWaterTeam@charlottesville.org.

Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.

2019-20 Education and Outreach

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter posterWinter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use

Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?

We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?

There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!

Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.

Winter Quarter Tips:

  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
  • Turn the water off when not in use.
  • If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!


water and energy management posterFall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water

The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water.  Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.

In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit.  It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.

Fall Quarter Tips:

  • Last one out? Flip the switch!
  • Turn the water off when not in use.


CHS students in Richmond to see unveiling of Kehinde Wiley statue.

Students attend “Rumors of War” unveiling at the VMFA

CHS students visit the unveiling of the Kehinde Wiley statue, "Rumors of War."Charlottesville High School art students and teachers traveled to the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in Richmond, VA to witness the much-anticipated unveiling of the sculpture, “Rumors of War,” created by American artist Kehinde Wiley.

According to a media release by the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, “Rumors of War” expands Wiley’s well-known efforts to use art to include more black and brown men and women in visual, historical, and cultural narratives. The statue, inspired by traditional portrayals of white subjects in equestrian portraiture and monuments, depicts a young African American rider in urban street clothes striking a heroic pose on a muscular horse.

“As Charlottesville City Schools strives to teach a more complete history through its Changing the Narrative initiative, field trips like this one provide cross-curricular opportunities for students to engage in learning experiences through the fine arts that challenge them to think beyond the traditional historical narrative and better understand the complexities of history and various perspectives,” said fine arts coordinator Aaron Eichorst.

The VMFA release further states that Wiley’s work “powerfully repositions black youth within the classical European tradition of power and status…while directly engaging the national conversation around monuments and their role in perpetuating incomplete histories and inequality.”

Y Street youth volunteers at CHS

“Rev your Bev” campaign encourages better hydration

Rev Your Bev Day hydration station
“Rev Your Bev Day” hydration station encourages students to “Make a Splash” with healthy hydration.

Y Street, the award winning volunteer group of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, recently sponsored “Rev Your Bev Day” at more than 700 schools across the state, including Charlottesville High School.

About 10 CHS Y Street Youth hosted a hydration station during lunches where students could learn more about the benefits of drinking water rather than sugary soft drinks, take a survey and then taste-test waters flavored with fruit and other natural ingredients. The first choice, “Orange Crush,” was a blend of water, sliced oranges and vanilla extract, while the second option, “Lemon Rasberry,” blended lemon slices, whole rasperries, and fresh mint leaves in seltzer water.

Y Street youth volunteers at CHS
Y Street students Ashlyn Cherrix, Abbey Tackett, and Jamez Lynch.

Sponsored by Charlottesville Schools PE Coordinator Jessica Brantley, Y Street also holds other awareness campaigns throughout the year to promote active, nutritious, tobacco-free living. Club leaders Ashlyn Cherrix and Abbey Tackett attended a Y Street Youth Summit recently to learn more about leading the program at CHS.

Cherrix said they plan to offer hydration stations year-round where students can fill up their cups or water bottles with water throughout the school day.

For more on “Rev Your Bev Day,” see the CBS19 news coverage here.

About Y Street

Founded in 2004, Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s teen volunteer
group for high school students. Y Street youth work on obesity and tobacco-use prevention
campaigns, as well as campaigns such as Rev Your Bev and Share The Air, to help promote a healthier Virginia. Y Street members have worked on public health issues with top government officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General and Virginia’s Governor, Attorney General, and First Lady. For more information, visit www.YStreet.org.

CHS orchestra director elected new VBODA president

Laura Thomas congratulatory graphic for VBODA President-electFor the first time, an orchestra director will lead the Virginia Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (VBODA), and it is our very own CHS orchestra teacher, Ms. Laura Mulligan Thomas!  This will be the third time a female has been elected president of the VBODA, an organization of high school, middle school, and elementary school band and orchestra directors within the Commonwealth of Virginia, whose mission is to help promote opportunities of music education to K-12 students. 

The primary arbiter for various band and orchestra events throughout the state, the VBODA organizes many competitions and provides outstanding individual student musicians opportunities to work with renowned conductors around the United States.

Mulligan Thomas has served as the director of the Charlottesville High School Orchestra for three decades. She came to CHS after graduating with honors from James Madison University in 1982 and began immediately to develop and nourish the orchestra program of eight students she inherited. Today an award-winning group of 110, a number of CHSO graduates are professional musicians who perform with orchestras and pop, rock, and country artists in the U.S. and Europe. Still other alumni have followed in Ms. Thomas’s footsteps and pursued careers in music education. The CHSO consistently earns superior ratings and top honors at district, national, and international music festivals.

Honored as Charlottesville’s Woman of the Year in 1999 by the Virginia Women’s Forum, Mulligan Thomas was also named one of the Charlottesville Top 25 Citizens by C-ville. Numerous additional awards for her work with young musicians include Charlottesville’s Distinguished Teacher Award, the Golden Apple Award, the Piedmont Council of the Arts Award, and Outstanding Educator in Central Virginia awarded by Phi Delta Kappa. She studied orchestra conducting with Thomas Wilkins, Carl Roskott, and Ray Fowler, and earned her master’s degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in 1996. In 2002, Shenandoah University honored her with its first graduate Alumna of Excellence Award.

Mulligan Thomas spent her early years in Alexandria, Virginia, where she studied piano with National Symphony pianist Marion Herrett and learned cello in the Alexandria City Schools string program. She has guest-conducted dozens of youth orchestras throughout Virginia, and serves as secretary on the executive board of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. She is the chair of the Fine Arts department at Charlottesville High School, and for three years directed the University of Richmond Orchestra. An active performer, Mulligan Thomas plays piano and cello with several Charlottesville chamber ensembles, and whenever possible performs with her three siblings as the Mulligan String Quartet.


Logo for Certified Financially Literate from Wise Program

CHS receives Blue Star School Award for financial literacy among students

Logo for Certified Financially Literate from Wise ProgramFor the fifth time, CHS students have earned the W!SE Financial Literacy Blue Star School Award by demonstrating financial literacy on a national, standardized Financial Literacy Certification Test.

Additionally, three CHS teachers were recognized by W!se as Gold Star Teachers for achieving a 93% pass rate or higher in 2018-19–Hank Sohn, Yumeca Webb-Jordan, and former CHS teacher Meagan Maynard.

The W!se program aims to to help high school students graduate as financially capable young adults by providing high school programming that provides students with vital knowledge about personal finance.

To earn this coveted award, a school must have achieved an 80% passing rate on the W!se Financial Literacy Certification Test and have either a majority of students on a given grade level take the test or achieve a minimum average score of 85%.

CHS will be honored along with other Blue Star schools at the W!se MoneyPOWER Institute in New York City on November 5th.

Congratulations on this achievement and Go Black Knights!

Two AVID CHS graduates

Charlottesville High School on-time graduation rate hits all-time high of 95.7 percent

Two AVID CHS graduatesCharlottesville High School’s on-time graduation rate rose again to 95.7 percent, continuing a rising trend that exceeds the state rate, yields one of the highest rates among Virginia cities, and sets a new school standard.

“We are so proud of our students and staff,” notes Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins. “This is no small accomplishment. It really demonstrates the value of creating systems of supports in our schools so that we are meeting students’ individual needs so that they can succeed.”

The school’s rate surpasses the state’s average of 91.5 percent and tops the state’s averages in most groups, including for black students. Charlottesville’s black students’ rate is 95.9, higher than the school’s overall graduation rate and exceeding the state’s average for black students (89.7) by 6.2 points.

Group shot of graduates Class of 2019Similarly, the division’s five-year graduation completion index rose to 96.4, which also is among the highest in the state.

The school’s drop-out rate fell to 1.8 percent, compared to the state average of 5.6 percent. Charlottesville’s black students’ drop-out rate fell to 1 percent.

The school’s percentage of students earning advanced diplomas was just below state averages overall (49.8 vs 51.5), and in certain groups, this difference was greater, For instance, the rate of attaining an advanced diploma for black students was 25.5 at CHS vs 35.5 across the state.

“A 96 percent graduation rate is something to celebrate,” adds CHS Principal Eric Irizarry. “And even as we celebrate, we set new goals. As we continue to emphasize increased rigor and high expectations, we will expect to see more students pursuing the advanced diploma. But regardless of the type of diploma our students have earned, we celebrate this accomplishment and the good work our teachers, counselors, and staff are doing.”

poster to advertise concert and silent auction

CHS Choirs hold benefit concert and silent auction for Ocracoke School hurricane relief

poster to advertise concert and silent auctionThe choirs of Charlottesville High School presented a benefit concert earlier this week, along with a silent auction to benefit the Ocracoke School of Hyde County, NC.

A small public school located on Ocracoke Island, NC, a remote barrier island in the Outer Banks, the Ocracoke School serves grades preK-12 and has been closed since Hurricane Dorian struck the area in early September.

“We feel an obligation to help others, whenever and however we can,” said CHS Choir Director Will Cooke. “The island of Ocracoke was devastated, and we have an opportunity to use our time and talents to make a difference for this school.”

The silent auction raised nearly $8,000 preceding the concert. The auction remains open through Friday, October 11, and donations will also be accepted.

All proceeds and donations will go directly to the Ocracoke School.

Please use this link to access the silent auction: https://www.32auctions.com/chsocracokeschool?fbclid=IwAR0Kmfoy9cexSRO99-WDt3Q8Waub_g0MbSIyUaFhBRZK-5ZI6_XUffWZJjA

College Counseling logo

$5,000 college scholarship opportunity available for seniors who join Gear Up

Attention Seniors: Need money for college? If so, you could be eligible for up to $5,000. Don’t miss this first-come, first-served opportunity!

College Counseling logo


All CHS Seniors who were not part of our initial Gear Up cohort now have the opportunity to join! The Virginia Gear Up grant has opened up a limited number of additional spaces in the 2020 cohort, available on a first come, first served basis.

CHS seniors who are not currently part of the Gear Up cohort can join by filling out the student information release form. All Gear Up students can receive a scholarship of up to $5000 for post-secondary education by meeting the requirements below. Take the first step and join our 2020 cohort.

To qualify for a GUV scholarship, you must:
  • Be a Gear Up participant (must have a signed release form and join the cohort)
  • Have earned a high school diploma or recognized equivalent.
  • Be enrolled in a two- or four-year undergraduate degree program or high quality certificate program at an eligible institution of higher education.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) and be eligible for federal student aid.
  • Be less than 22 years old at the time of award and disbursement.
For more information, visit www.gearupva.org.
Forms can be returned to Ms. Underwood in the Counseling office.
Questions? Email Cathi Shefski, Gear Up Coordinator, shefskc1@charlottesvilleschools.org.