Happy Fall

Dear Western Families,

Hard to believe we are wrapping up the first quarter of the year at Western.  I can’t say enough about the amazing students we have and the tremendous amount of work our faculty and staff do each and every day to support them.

I hope you will find the information in this blog helpful as I have added many new pieces of information and highlights from the first part of the year.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if there is anyway we can do to support your child.


Darah Bonham, Principal
#TWB — Together We Are Better

Open Conversation About Substance Use & Prevention

On Wednesday, October 11, Western Albemarle, in partnership with Henley Middle School, hosted an evening of discussion for families about the use and prevention of illegal substances in our schools.

The purpose of the event was to have an open dialogue with community members about these issues with a panel of guests who lead the discussion.  Panelists included: Dr. Beth Costa, Principal of Henley Middle School; Mr. Darah Bonham, Principal of Western Albemarle High School; Officer Ronny Vanderveer, School Resource Officer; Mrs. Amy Wright. School Counselor; and  Mrs. Susan Bruce , Director Of UVA’s Gordie Center.

Mrs. Bruce shared some valuable information from her perspective working with youth in our area and was kind enough to share the following document from her presentation.  ( WAHS parent presentation-short2 )  We are happy to share contact information from anyone on the panel if you would like more information.

Congrats to Senior Laura Bendick who partnered with a local author to help illustrate a children’s book for publication.  So cool……blogLaura

The WAHS student-run newspaper, The Western Hemisphere, was awarded an Excellent Rating by the VHSL and a First Class ranking for its 2016-2017 volume.   The newspaper is produced by the journalism class at WAHS.    Congrats to the amazing students who work on the paper and their fearless leader and sponsor- Mrs. Jill Williams.

The first issue of WAHS student-run newspaper, The Western Hemisphere, will be published this week.   You can support student journalism by subscribing to the paper for $25 and we’ll mail it to your home.  For a subscription, contact  wahs.news@gmail.com

Reminder that all midterm exams will take place prior to winter break this year.  All students are expected to take the exams at this time.  See schedule below.


WAHS library has Library Communication and Outreach Interns this year: sophomore Claire Aminuddin and junior Peyton Beaumont. They are running the @WAHSlib and @WAHSVisArts Twitter sites, producing posters and signs, and learning about community engagement and social media in public and school libraries. Peyton and Claire are launching a blog soon – look for the link on the library website!

To learn more about school-based and community-based internships, contact Career Counselor Caroline Bertrand cbertrand@k12albemarle.org. To learn more about Independent Studies, contact Gifted Resource teacher Zoë Padron zpadron@k12albemarle.org

Winter sports begin as early as November 6th for many teams.  Be sure to check the following link for specific details about each sport.


All 10th graders will attend Career Day at UVA’s Newcomb Hall on October 31st. Career Day is organized by KidsCollege@PVCC in partnership with UVA Community Credit Union. Students will attend a career expo organized by career clusters and participate in a budgeting activity. In order to prepare, students completed an orientation in Health classes and an interest inventory in Naviance. For more information please contact Caroline Bertrand, career specialist, cbertrand@k12albemarle.org.

Students in Mrs. Talmadge’s Robotics class met with Ed Murphy, Astronomy professor at UVa, and were provided an amazing opportunity to design and fly a small ThinSat satellite in low Earth orbit. The ThinSat kit was delivered and students will begin the assembly, design, and prototyping for a weather monitoring payload. The payload will be tested by small and large weather balloons before being shipped to Twiggs Aerospace for integration into the ThinSat. The ThinSats are currently scheduled for launch in early October 2018 on a mission to resupply the International Space Station from Wallops Flight Facility.

Congrats to Senior Chloe Horner!  Chloe was accepted into the 2017 Virginia Music Educators Association Honors Choir. Out of 144 Soprano 1s that auditioned with her, Chloe placed 4th out of the 16 chosen. She will perform with the ensemble in November at the VMEA conference.


PVCC Stats welcomed Damon Watson from Lafayette School to talk about psychology and statistics. Sean Tubbs from Charlottesville Tomorrow also visited to share statistical relevance with his work with Mrs. Green’s classes.

Mini-Med School



The WAHS Mini Med School held its trauma night on Wednesday, hosted by the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad. Students learned how to implement a Spine Board with Spider Straps, stabilize and splint legs/arms and more about the careers associated with emergency medicine.

September/October 2017 ESA updates:

Class of 2021:—The 9th grade Ecology classes spent a day learning about water quality and the historical impact of industry on our waterways. They did a biotic sampling index for macroinvertebrates as an indicator of stream health, and a chemical water analysis for abiotic stream health factors along with calculating the flow rate and discharge volume. STEM in nature. Our freshmen also participated in an annual day of service with the local IRC New Roots program. This is a mutualistic service learning project. Our students learn about prepping gardens for winterization and cover cropping, and also learn about a variety of cultures and why they have had to relocate from their home countries. It is an impactful and eye opening day for us all. Providing a small amount of service and gaining global awareness.

Class of 2020:—The 10th grade Biology classes spent a weekend at Mountain Lake Biological Research Station in collaboration with UVA Biology and thanks to Dr. Galloway and an NSF grant. Our students each develop an interest based small research topic and collect as much data as they can over the weekend and then prepare presentations with the help of mentor/advisors from the University. This models large scale ecological field research and is an amazing learning and bonding experience for each cohort.

The students have also been busy in the greenhouse learning about germination, creating a fall garden and growing organic vegetables to share and take home. They are now practicing being able to identify local native tree species and creating Identification guides to Albemarle County Species.

Class of 2019:—The 11th grade Horticulture students have practiced propagating fruit and vegetable varieties from the grocery store for sustainability. They worked on creating sterile lab tech and cloning plants using leaf cuttings, callus formation, and stem micro propagation by rooting in hormone rich media (we have baby roses growing in test tubes). While difficult, this has been an amazing experience for learning how intensive lab based plant science is used in the horticulture industry.

Class of 2018:—The 12th grade Env Lit students are working on developing natural history almanacs of Albemarle County based on the inspirational A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and his plea to society about the need for A ‘land ethic’. They have all begun developing senior capstone research topics where they will develop and implement a student designed passion based project in the spring.





The ASVAB is being offered on November 28th at 9 a.m. Students will be given the opportunity to register in the counseling office closer to the date.


-From the Twitter Feed








* Subscribe to Zoe Padron’s “Thursday Round Up” by emailing her at zpadron@k12albemarle.org.  Mrs. Padron is our Gifted Resource Teacher at Western and provides  a great weekly resource for students and parents about college opportunities, scholarship info, and much more.  You can also access the Round Up through the link HERE.

*Subscribe to the Daily Announcements HERE
Announcements are posted each morning and read to the student body via PA or video stream.  Community members can get an automated email each day from subscribing to this post.

* School Counseling Link

*Western Albemarle Home Page

*Athletic Home Page

*Media Center  Link

For SAT/ACT Testing information please visit:https://www2.k12albemarle.org/school/WAHS/counseling/Testing%20Dates/SAT%20ACT%20PSAT%20Test%20Dates%202016.pdf

For upcoming College Visits please visit: https://www2.k12albemarle.org/school/WAHS/counseling/Pages/Visiting-Colleges.aspx

For up to date Scholarship Information please visit:https://www2.k12albemarle.org/school/WAHS/counseling/Pages/Scholarships.aspx