Get Schooled: Providence Classical Student, Teacher to Spend Summer Traversing the James River is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Get Schooled IanA student and teacher at Providence Classical School will spend their summers traveling in the footsteps of John Smith.

Hannah Bono, a ninth-grade student at PCS, and Rachel Basinger, a humane letters teacher at the school, will both participate in the 2015 James River Expedition, a series of summer programs crated to increase awareness of the environmental and social benefits of the James River in Virginia’s history.

Sponsored by the James River Association and Dominion Virginia Power, the expedition consists of three eight-day long sessions, with each session dedicated to one section – the upper, middle and lower portions – of the 340-mile long historic river.

During the expedition, participants ravel in boats down their designated section of the river, observing its ecology, learning about the river’s place in Virginia history and gaining experience in environmental policy.

Bono will participate in the Upper James Expedition June 27-July 3, while Basinger will serve as an expedition leader for the Lower James Expedition July 25-August 1.

While both teacher and student will be a part of the 2015 expedition, their participation was unexpected.

Bono learned about the program by chance from a friend who had participated in the 2014 expedition.

Providence Classical School teacher Rachel Basinger (left) and student Hannah Bono were selected to participate in the 2015 James River Expedition. (Courtesy Providence Classical School)
Providence Classical School teacher Rachel Basinger (left) and student Hannah Bono were selected to participate in the 2015 James River Expedition. (Courtesy Providence Classical School)

“She went on the tip and she loved it so much,” Bono said. “I’m not sure how we started talking about it, but it just sounded very interesting.”

Bono decided to apply for the program and asked Basinger for a letter of recommendation. After Basinger agreed to write the letter, Bono suggested she should consider applying herself.

“She said, ‘You should really think about applying – I think you’d be great,’” Basinger said.

Basinger researched the program and was intrigued. Her summer plans were fluid – she had some opportunities in Washington, D.C., but had not finalized anything.

When she decided to apply March 9, she realized the application deadline was one week away, and feared her application would suffer.

“The organization was very kind,” she said. “They told me, ‘Since you just learned about it, we’ll give you an extension.’”

She completed the application, and in the beginning of April, found out both she and Bono had been selected to participate.

“They kept me informed about Hannah’s status throughout the process,” Basinger said.

Basinger was one of three teachers in Virginia to be selected for the program, while Bono was one of 30 students selected.

Both Basinger and Bono said they have high expectations for the trip.

“I was really interested in it because I’m from the Midwest,” Basinger said. “I’m a recent resident to Virginia, and I’m looking forward to learning about the importance the James River has to this area in particular.”

Basinger said the expedition could also provide her with valuable personal and professional development.

Bono is a native of the Historic Triangle, and said she is looking forward to learning about a different part of the river than the part she grew up with.

In addition to the travel and environmental observation, the expeditions typically involve visits to notable sites along the river. Last year’s expedition included stops at historic James River plantations, a power plant and a park, with each stop linked to its particular connection to the river.

Basinger and Bono said they are excited for the trip, but are preparing for a difficult journey.

“There’s 108 miles that you have to travel in eight days,” Basinger said. “That’s a lot of canoeing.”


York County Students Selected for All-State Band, Choir

Fifteen high school students in the York County School Division were honored for their exceptional musical talents with selection to Virginia’s all-state band and chorus.

Selected students must audition for the ensembles by performing specially selected pieces.

All-State Band:

  • David Anderson, Grafton High School
  • David Brewster, York High School
  • Christopher Dollstein, York High School
  • Matthew Fry, Grafton High School
  • Noah Mendoza, Grafton High School
  • Helen Landers, Grafton High School
  • Tyler Thompson, Grafton High School

All-State Chorus:

  • Livia Crispen, Tabb High School
  • Megan Gerth, Tabb High School
  • Paige Hartian, Tabb High School
  • Casey Jutra, York High School
  • Erin Krist, Tabb High School
  • Sarah Shinn, York High School
  • Wendi Williams, Tabb High School
  • Yuua Yukawa, York High School