School Board honors champion athletes


Fresh off their success at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in June, the Flucos unified track and field team was recognized by the Fluvanna County School Board at the top of their meeting on Thursday night (Aug. 11), sharing some of their experiences – and showing off their impressive haul of metals.

The Fluvanna team, which represented Virginia at the USA Games, brought home 15 gold medals, four silvers, and a bronze at the first-ever unified competitions in Orlando in mid-June. They also brought home the national championship title.

Unified teams combine student-ath- letes with and without disabilities with the goal of building friendship, greater understanding, and teamwork.

Once selected to represent the state, the Special Olympics paid most of the expenses for the trip to Orlando, which included airfare, accommodations, and even trips to area theme parks. “It was the trip of a lifetime for them,” said Coach Nick Ward.

Because the team was put together shortly before the competitions, many of the athletes didn’t know each other well, but they quickly built a sense of camara- derie.

FCHS senior and multiple medal-win- ner Abby Seal said she didn’t know if she had a favorite memory of the experience, but said that“every single night we would all hang out together as a group and that was probably the most memorable time. We had so much fun together.”

“Mind you, they were only together for six months, and they go to Florida and win the national championship,” said Coach Von Hill Jr., adding that in those six months, they only had two full practices

with the whole team. “That’s very special and it also proves that they’re just like you and me. Regardless of their disability, regardless of whatever may be going on back home.

Hill said it had been great to see the team bond and quickly become like a family “That’s what we always preach Flu here in Fluvanna. We’re one big family. That’s what Flucos are to me.”

More student resource officers

“Opening school this week has been phenomenal,” said Superintendent Peter Gretz in his monthly report. “It’s been a very, very smooth opening.”

He told the board that Fluvanna had won a grant that will bring two more Student Resource Officers (SROs) to the schools. This will allow them to place an SRO at both Carysbrook and Central ele- mentary schools.

Gretz said that he had partnered with Captain Von Hill Sr. of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office on a presentation on Fluvanna’s model for successful part- nerships between the schools and law enforcement, and the two have spoken to school boards and at other meetings around the state.

Fluvanna’s model is based on the idea that SROs are educators, rather than merely acting as a policing force. Despite “a ton of interactions” between students and SROs, no student has been arrested under this program. The focus is instead on intervention and prevention.

“It’s being recognized by the law en- forcement as a standard nationally for how to partner with law enforcement successfully.”

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