Twombly Turns Tragedy Into Hope

On November 11th, 2016 tragedy struck the Twombly family. Brothers Jack and Will, along with their loving father John lost their beloved mother and wife, as she lost her courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Her son, Goochland High School (GHS) Senior Jack Twombly has continued to fight the war against cancer. Twelve weeks later, to the day, Twombly will be taking action to raise awareness and money for pancreatic cancer research.

Every senior at GHS must complete a senior project to walk across the stage at graduation. Projects come in all various shapes and sizes. Twombly’s project has taken the form of a Cancer Awareness week, capped off by Goochland’s second annual “Ballin for a Cure” benefit basketball game on Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm at Goochland High School.

Twombly says this about how his mother inspired him to action:

“After my Mom passed away from pancreatic cancer in November, we decided upon the idea of getting people to realize how big of an issue cancer is, and wanted to be a part of a big movement. She was a huge inspiration to everyone she knew, and even to some she didn’t, we wanted to honor her with this.”

Indeed, Twombly has made his mother proud. He, along with fellow project organizer A.J. Austin, has organized a color-coded Cancer Awareness week at GHS the week of January 30th through February 3rd, dedicating each day to raising awareness for a different kind of cancer. In just three months since his mother’s passing, Twombly has raised over $800 to fund the purchase of T-Shirts that will be sold to commemorate the event’s purpose of raising awareness and money.

Twombly’s actions off the court are complimented by his eye-popping numbers on the court. He has led the Bulldogs to a 12-5 record, while averaging 15.4 points per game, 11.4 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game.

This has been a true community effort, with money coming from State Farm Insurance of Goochland, Goochland Pharmacy, Subway of Goochland, Hickory Notch Grill, and Parrish Ford, as well as private donors. GHS is donating half of the ticket sales for the night’s game to the cause, as well. Virginia Commonwealth Basketball head coach, Will Wade, donated a signed ball to be raffled off. Richmond resident and former Vice President for Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kevin Eastman, arranged to have a Chris Paul signed jersey donated, also to raffle off. Many, many people have contributed to this event, which is just one reason why it is so special.

All proceeds from ticket, raffle, and T-shirt sales will be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. That organization’s mission statement is, “a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients, and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.”[1]

Mark your calendar: Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm in the GHS gymnasium. A community effort, a family, a young man, fighting the war against cancer may be the most hopeful thing of all.

Contact: AJ Nash (Teacher sponsor of the project) Goochland High School 3250 River Road West Goochland, VA 23063 Phone: 804-556-5322 ext. 4825


ALL Goochland County Public Schools Fully Accredited


Goochland County Public Schools Continues to have 100% of its Schools Meet Full State Accreditation Standards

Goochland County Public Schools continues its strong track record of having each of its five schools fully accredited by the State of Virginia.  State accreditation is based on student pass rates on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, history, and science, as well as the division’s graduation rate.  GCPS exceeded each of the state’s twenty-one benchmarks by an average of 18%.

Goochland remains one of just a handful of school divisions in Virginia to have all of its schools meet full accreditation standards each of the last five years.  While this distinction is determined by traditional achievement measures, school leaders believe it’s the division’s focus on what’s best for students that has led to the success.  “Our mission to maximize the potential of every learner is at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent.  “Accountability is important, but Goochland is far beyond a singular focus on minimum proficiency tests – and that’s really what the state’s SOL assessments are.  We’re proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement.”

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on student growth as a key to the division’s success.  “We have definitively prioritized individual student growth over traditional achievement measures.  Every child’s learning is important, and there needs to be an urgency there.  Our focus on individual growth ensures that urgency – and strong outcomes on traditional measures like SOL tests simply become a byproduct of doing what’s best for students.  Our teachers have embraced this philosophy, and it’s their talents and commitment to our children that makes our division’s success possible.”

Despite the school division’s exceptionally strong overall results, team members remain committed to continuing to elevate expectations, as well as to targeting areas of relative weakness.  Raley stated, “While we certainly have a lot to celebrate, we face the same challenges that most school divisions across the state and nation face when it comes to achievement gaps for our students with disabilities and our African American students.  We have made some great progress in these areas, but we have more work to do.  We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”

The school division plans to present its annual comprehensive data report to the School Board at its October 11 meeting, following the Virginia Department of Education’s finalization of statewide School Quality Profiles scheduled for late September/early October.


Kenny Bouwens Receives 2016 Virginia High School Technology Education Teacher of the Year Award

Mr. Kenny Bouwens was recognized on Tuesday July 26 by the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association with their annual High School Teacher of the Year Award.  Mr. Bouwens is beginning his seventh year as a public educator and is starting his third year as a teacher with Goochland County Public Schools.  Mr. Bouwens teaches video, photography, and engineering at Goochland High School.

The Virginia Technology Engineering and Education Association High School Teacher of the Year Award is one of the highest honors given to Technology and Engineering Education classroom teachers and is presented in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the profession and their students. The Teacher Excellence Award provides public recognition at the local, regional, state and international levels. Mr. Bouwens will be presented with an engraved plaque and other awards at the association’s annual, international conference.

Candidates for the Teacher Excellence Award are nominated by their local school divisions for providing Technology and Engineering Education instruction of high quality.  Nominees provide student-centered instruction in the field of technology.  Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley celebrated Mr. Bouwens’ success as a leader in technology and engineering instruction. “Kenny is an example of the many talented professionals who work tirelessly every day to provide Goochland County’s students with authentic, deeper learning experiences. We are very proud of Kenny and the exceptional learning experiences that he is providing to our students.”   Director of Career and Technical Education, Bruce Watson agrees.  “Mr. Bouwens is a tremendous asset to the GHS Career and Technical education department and brings a variety of talents and interests to his students. Kenny is very deserving of this award and it speaks volumes to his commitment to students and the program that he is receiving this award.  His honor is well deserved.”

Goochland County Public Schools is a leader in providing students with instructional opportunities to become career ready in all 16 career clusters identified by the Virginia Department of Education. Mr. Bouwens acknowledged the work that the school division is doing to support students in earning the technical skills they will need in order to be competitive in the future job market. “I am thankful to work for a school division and community that has such strong support for Career and Technical Education. I can’t wait to see where we go from here because we have already done so many things in such a short time.”