On Beaver Creek: WAHS crew dedicates boathouse

06-crewdedicationParents raised about $82,000 for the building and the dock behind it.

Rowers and parents of rowers at Western Albemarle High School cheered today as the only Central Virginia school with its own crew team unveiled its new boathouse on the shore at Beaver Creek Reservoir.

"You have to go pretty far to find a school in the mountains with a crew team," says parent volunteer Kathleen Jump.

The new facility, dedicated Saturday, May 30, also includes a floating dock. That means that the student rowers will have a much easier time getting their craft into the water.

"We kept them in the woods on slings," says graduating senior Ansley Luce. "And we'd have to wade them in– sometimes in 60-degree water."

The new boathouse was dedicated in honor of Myriam Pitts, who coaches both the men's and women's teams at Western.

Read more on: beaver creekrowing


Great slide show !

Not only could Beaver Creek provide unlimited water to Crozet it has the potential to be an important water supply for the entire service area in times of drought.
This was one of the recommendations before Gannett Fleming and Tom Frederick took over the plan. I think we should go back to the work done by O'Brien and Gere now that the water board is refusing to follow Gannett Fleming's latest advice. By the way the previous consultants were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and their plans were tossed out. The following is from the RWSA minutes Oct 28th 2002

Beaver Creek drawing .3mgd for Crozet potential to supply Crozet with 2MGD and still allow us to access 200 mgd deliver into the SugarHollow/Ragged Mt. system
Beaver Creek capacity is 520 million. During drought there were 350million gallons.
He stated if you left enough water in reservoir to supply Crozet's needs for a full year there would still remain 200million gallons that could be transferred on short term basis.
Dam built higher than the pool elevation to handle floods allows for additional 600million gallons of storage. Stated normal pool level could be raised by enhancing the emergency spillway. O&G suggested RWSA include this as interim option as might be more economical than other options.

Reply to Liz of June 1:
All the monies were raised by the athletes, coaches, families and friends. No financial help was or is given by the county or the high school. All coaches are donating all of their time - nobody gets paid. To imply that one person raised this money, or that this effort cannot be duplicated by an equally hard-working and dedicated group anywhere else in this county is insulting to the spirit of its citizens and the commitment of our public school constituents. If Liz would like to find out more info and receive true and real answers, she is more than welcome to e-mail me at WAHS.

"Why doesn't CHS have crew? " or Albemarle and Monticello for that matter. $82,000 raised by a parent who is a fund raiser for the law school might be the answer and boats are expensive that was probably extra. This bring up a good point. Crew is considered an Ivy League sport even though many universities also have teams. If WAHS was a private school that would be one thing but it's public and this raises the question of unequal facilities based on the demographic of the parents. Notice the kids didn't raise the money.

I agree with Cindy, anyone who is criticizing the WA crew team and is jealous needs to get over it. All of the money used to build this and keep this running was hard working donated money to the team which does not mean every other school should get one. If another school wants one they can start one from the ground up just like the WA crew team.I know all of this for a fact and I am behind the team 100%, this has nothing to do with race or county money so everyone be quiet and stop whining like a bunch of little 5 year olds because it is what it is and you cant change it, besides if it were so bad the county would have not approved it. This brings a wonderful chance to Western, schools, coaches, the whole are and other schools that want to start their own. Oh! and by the way GO WAHS CREW!!

addressing the race issue... it is a fact that WAHS does not have great diversity in general. so there is a much smaller pool of minorities to pull from. however, the team currently has an asian member, and an alum who graduated last year (Sadeeka Dosu - who is African American) rowed for WAHS; she is now rowing for Sacramento State. of course, it would be great to see more diversity on the team, but students can't be forced to join and the composition of the student body is not within the team's control. i am sure try-outs are open to all students, and no one is discriminated against.

'Notice the kids didn’t raise the money.'

Unless you know what kind of hard work the WAHS crew 'kids' have put in, I don't think you should be assuming that they didn't do any work. Also I agree with Colby. We are both students, and we are acting more mature about this than some of you adults!

Myriam is the most wonderful person in the world.

Why doesn't Charlottesville High School have a rowing team and a boat house on one of the City owned reservoirs ? UVA has crew and a frist class boat house at South Fork. Why not CHS ?

ââ?¬Å?And we’d have to wade them inââ?¬â?? sometimes in 60-degree water.” Hope this graduating senior isn't planning on doing crew at any of the NE colleges. My daughter rowed in college and they started in March when there was ice on the lake and they'd break it up so they'd have lanes to row in.

"...with its own crew team..."

Please remember that the term "crew team" is redundant. While it is it is widely used by those who speak sub-standard English, it should never be written. Instead, one should write "rowing team" or simply "crew."

Glad to hear the kids helped out, but the question I asked is should this sport be available to all local public schools if it is available to one. Since Beaver Creek is a community owned resource perhaps all public students should be able to use this and not just one school. And schools with less economically advantaged parents would have an equal shot.

I would point out, however, that compared with WAHS and other county high schools, CHS has a far better music program -- and an orchestra. County students certainly don't have an equal shot in that area. There are strengths and weaknesses at every school, which don't necessarily have to do with how economically advantaged parents are.

The music program at CHS is funded by the taxpayers and open to any interested student. The issue of a private boat house and crew team for one county school and not open to others seems to be an entirely different kettle of fish.

Congratulations to the WAHS rowers! This is a beautiful example of what hard work and dedication can do, and should serve as inspiration to anyone else with a dream out there. I am truly impressed. Good luck next season!

as is true of many club activities (specifically, i mean a non-school supported and sponsored activity), crew can be available to anyone - if they have the desire, discipline, ability, and resources. the WAHS rowing team (especially its leaders and coaches) worked unbelievably hard and made A LOT of sacrifices to make their dream a reality, and i don't know how many other people out there would even consider tackling a project of this size. finally, we understand Beaver Creek is a county park and community-owned resource. we have never claimed ownership of it or tried to keep anyone out. all we are saying is that the boathouse and its equipment are ours as a result of our hard work. if someone at another school truly wants to start a rowing program, i know Myriam would love to help. after all, we are all neighbors, and i am sure the local camaraderie and competition would only make both teams better.

The team offers the opportunity to anyone, race is not a factor. This is hard work, and if you really want CHS to get a crew team, I recommend you start working because it took them three years to get as far as they are now. It's not like the school is forking over the money for them, they are passionate for the sport and worked hard for their dreams. Anyone else agree with what I am saying, or am I the only one that appreciates the work the school, Myriam, and all of the other county people, the students, and the parents and family have put into this team?

There may be more than one boat house at Beaver Creek if the Water Authority gets it's way. South Fork Reservoir is filling with sediment and the plan is to let it continue to fill in and become a muddy swamp/river. Guess WAHS may have company--UVA

I think what the WAHS rowing team has accomplished is great!

Reply to Liz May 31
Liz your input is appreciated, however I think you misunderstood the meaning of the rower's comment. In the beginning of the program when the boats were housed in the woods the rowers had to carry the boats into the water, sometimes up to their waists or higher. Only after standing in the water for several minutes did the rowers get into the boat to begin practice. Most rowing facilities have a dock from which to put the boat into the water, keeping rowers dry.

I think it would be great if other local high schools started rowing programs. The WAHS rowing team has been lucky to have such hardworking and dedicated volunteers as the Mrs. Pitts and Mrs. Pietro. The program wouldn't have been possible without all of their hardwork, as well as the hours put in by parents and rowers through fundraisers doing such things as selling bagels and hosting rummage sales amidst other efforts.

Reply to Steve May 31
The term used by the parent is a common mistake. I'm sure if you spent time around the program you would use the phrase at some point as it is easy to accidentally use the words 'rowing' and 'crew' interchangeably. I'm sorry this bothers you so much, if it is such a problem maybe you should spend your free time doing something else instead of criticizing people's grammar. Try rowing!

Congratulations to the entire team!

isnt this just simple old fashioned hard work? the school would not give them funds so they went out and got them. Im sure each of these kids also pay a fee to participate. any school could do it. Yes, CHS has less affluent parents, but that is not the fault of the WA crew.

The city is about to embark on a conversation about race. Looking at the picture of this crowd and reading these comments I hope the county will consider doing the same. Opportunity matters and this doesn't look like a very diverse group.

"it is a fact that WAHS does not have great diversity in general", sweeper you're right about that. The County had the chance to change that when they built Monticello HS but the powers that be stepped in and kept WAHS as homogeneous as possible. This may be comfortable for the parents, you live with your own kind, worship with them, and are surrounded by them at your kids school. The kids may win at crew but this isn't a winning game for life.

I think it's worth noting that it was Monticello High School, not Western Albemarle High School who first raised over $625,000.00 for a new artificial turf field for their football program. Previous posts suggest Western Albemarle as being economically advantaged and that simply isn't true. The rowing program at WAHS is a club. Each school has their own clubs. WAHS just happens to have a teacher and mentor that is passionate about children and rowing. She has spent countless hours of her own time and resources for the sole benefit of the student athletes. The club is available to all WAHS students who wish to participate, and the dues are nominal... I believe around $10 per season to join and all other dues are voluntary to allow anyone, regardless of their economic situation, race, or religious beliefs to join. Logistically, you have to have water in order to row. Western Albemarle is unique in that Beaver Creek is just down the road from the high school which allows the students and volunteers to drive there after school and be on the water in a reasonable time to practice. There is one club in particular on the Rivanna Reservoir that students from Albemarle, CHS, Monticello, or anyone for that matter can and have joined. Rowing builds character, confidence, and promotes camaraderie.

Bill writes, "Previous posts suggest Western Albemarle as being economically advantaged and that simply isn’t true."

This may not have been what you meant, Bill, but the fact is that WAHS has about 6% of its kids eligible for free/reduced-price lunch program. MHS has 20% (higher than the state average of 15%) and AHS has 15%. Setting aside one donor who was willing to shell out big bucks for MHS's turf field, the fact is that WAHS does enjoy an economic advantage in that a greater proportion of its students are coming from economically advantaged backgrounds. I'm not drawing any conclusions based on these facts, just pointing them out.

Agree, anyone who doesn't understand how economically advantaged Western is compared to the other schools in the region is probably too economically advantaged to notice.

Making ends meet: City schools adapt to low-income need

The Daily Progress/
By Rachana Dixit

Published: October 12, 2008

Charlottesville’s poverty picture looks bleak from within the walls of its public schools.

The number of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches, an indicator of poverty, has hovered around 50 percent of total enrollment for the past five years. As of last week, nearly 50 percent of the division’s 4,041 students ââ?¬â? about 2,016 ââ?¬â? were signed up for free or reduced-price lunch. The division expects that number to climb in the coming weeks as more applications are processed.

In 2007-08, nearly 54 percent, or 2,193 students, were eligible. The overwhelming majority of those, 1,846, received free lunch.

In a city where poverty percentages have risen and free and reduced-price lunch numbers have held steady even as enrollment declined, Charlottesville’s public schools are bearing a growing burden to make sure poor students succeed academically.


Thanks for putting CHS back in this picture, Fairplay. I'm curious about what you meant earlier about the county having had a chance to redress the diversity imbalance before building MHS--what's that history? My kids are going to go to MHS and I'm perfectly happy with that, but I'm curious about what you mean.

and fwiw, i think most parents of WAHS students are fully aware of the socioeconomic demographics of WAHS vis a vis other county high schools--that's why most of them bought houses in that area.

The donations didn't come from people only in the WAHS area, its called asking around. everyone knows someone that is willing to give a few dollars here and there!!... This thing has gone WAY out of proportion. I think you people need to let this go. Personally, I believe that if CHS, or MHS, or any other high school out there wants to start a crew team, STOP COMPLAINING THAT WAHS HAS ONE AND GET YOUR OWN!!

I just want to chime in here that while CHS certainly does have a fantastic music program and orchestra, there is a comparable quality music program available at Albemarle High School in the county. Their combined orchestra (students from Sutherland, Jouett and Albemarle High) has won superior medals playing the highest, most difficult music, and the school's music program (choir, band and orchestra) has been named a Blue Ribbon School by the Virginia Music Educators' Association again this year, the same honor CHS has earned.

AHS choirs have the longest streak of superior ratings of any choir in the area, and the AHS Marching Band bested CHS's marching band in two competitions in 2008.

There is a long-standing myth in the area that the city schools have the best music program in the area. Absolutely they have a fantastic music program, but county schools do, too.