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Spotsylvania High School News Submitted by Alumni

Rappahannock Dreams: A Sort of Homecoming

November 25, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

I was such a weird nerdy kid growing up. When I was thirteen I was briefly admitted to Mary Washington Hospital due to a football injury. I remember this really nice nurse having small talk with me, trying to ease my pain. I'll never forget the look on her face when she'd asked me, "So, tell me young man, what do you want to be when you grow up? Be a running back or a wide receiver in the NFL?" Without hesitation, I said, "To write a book one day and see it in all the libraries so everybody can read it." Man, the look on her face. Still today, I smile inside every time I think of her.

As a kid growing up in Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg, I used to spend a lot of time sitting along the banks of the Rappahannock River. Always equipped with a pen and pad, I would sit and watch the water flow downstream, then jot down my thoughts and dreams. And through the years, those little notes and thoughts I'd jotted down by the river eventually evolved into my published works today.

We're fast approaching 2018, and it's been over forty-plus years since I had those Rappahannock dreams. Today, I'm so honored and grateful to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library in New York, The Public Library of Des Moines, The Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg, Virginia, ect. for having my novels as part of their library book collection. I guess dreams do come true, huh? I sincerely hope that all of your dreams have (or will) come to fruition as well.

And, I'm happy to announce that, in 2 weeks, I'll be appearing at the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center, 7565 Courthouse Road, in Spotsylvania County on Saturday, December 9th, from 10am to 12noon for a Book Signing Presentation Event. *(Go to Facebook Events for details) I would love to see all of my classmates, especially from the (Spotsylvania Sr. High School) Class of '79, book lovers, readers, friends and loved ones there. Hope you can make it! - Randolph Randy Camp

Drop A Coat, Warm Your Heart

November 8, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

Somewhere near us, at this very moment, regardless of our location, there is someone on the street without a home and without a coat. In this sometimes cruel, coldhearted world we can all do a little something to warm our hearts. As we approach the winter season, some businesses and non-profit organizations will conduct winter coat drives for the homeless and those in need. It warms my heart when I go through my closet and pick out an old heavy coat or two, in which I no longer wear, and drop it off at a local homeless shelter.

Most places that are willing to accept used coats will have it heat-treated first before they actually hand it out. Please double-check in your local area for the clothing donation policy at the city mission, teen drop-in center, homeless shelter, or the thrift stores that supports the local soup kitchens. Whether I'm at St. Vincent DePaul's Soup Kitchen near Main and Utica in Buffalo, at the Bethel Mission near 6th and University in Des Moines, or down on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, it absolutely breaks my heart to see the rising number of homeless, especially the homeless teens sleeping on the sidewalks and under bridges. When I was living in Los Angeles I witnessed a particular transit bus being used during the wee hours of the night, whereby the homeless could ride and sleep in peace just as long they don't bother the other passengers.

We can all do a little something. Drop a coat and warm your own heart. - Randolph Randy Camp

Glimmer of Hope

October 7, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

One of my childhood joys was riding my bike through the back roads of Spotsylvania County. Sometimes, my cousins, my brothers and I would ride together. I'll never forget this one particular summer's day when I was riding alone. I was slowly pedaling pass a white house with green-trimmed windows. I heard a young voice yell out "Randy! Randy!" From around the corner of the house one of my classmates was excitedly waving 'hello'. I slowed to a stop and we chatted about how our summer break was going and how we both were wondering who our teachers would be once school starts in several weeks. We were both unapologetic book nerds and the kind of "weird" kids who couldn't wait to go back to school. Our friendly chat was abruptly cut short when the front door hastily flew open and her angry, red-faced father yelled and ordered her to "Get in the house!"

Growing up as a Black kid in America certainly wasn't easy. Many people of color could tell you countless stories of walking casually along the country road or city sidewalk and someone yells out a derogatory word from a passing vehicle. When I was a kid I would always wish and hope that things would get better between the races. It seems as though I was always looking for that glimmer of hope.

Nowadays, as I strongly advocate "start with one person at a time", I wholeheartedly believe that things will get better, and my proof and example of my faith and hope stems from one of many personal life experiences. Remember the young White classmate who I was chatting with on that summer's day and her racist father told her to "get in the house!"...Well, she had moved away from her racist father and now owns a small independent bookstore near the Virginia-Maryland state line. We still keep in touch, and she proudly has my four books on full display near the entrance of her store, especially 'Wet Matches', she says, as it carries the message of "don't judge anybody."

We're in the fall of 2017 and America is seemingly regurgitating history, instead of moving wisely forward and learning from it. My message to everyone (especially to those kids out there who are currently wishing and hoping that things will get better) is to keep doing what you're doing and please don't fall into the trap of negativity. There are far more positive people in this world than negative ones, and you're certainly one of the good ones. And that glimmer of hope for a better world will come from you. - Randolph Randy Camp

Lighting Sparks

September 29, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

It's Friday, September 29th and I'm filled with gratitude and overjoyed this morning after reading a letter from one of my new blog followers. Melissa is 14 years old. She's from South Carolina and excitedly informed me that she was motivated to start her own neighborhood newsletter after reading one of my older blog posts.
More than book sales, more than anything, what motivates me most is lighting sparks. This is the blog post that lit a spark in Melissa:
WHY YOU WAS BORN...
As I'm about to pack up and head back home, I can't seem to get this 17 year old girl out of my mind who'd approached me at the book signing earlier today. She had dyed her hair with yellow and purple streaks similar to 'Teki', one of my characters in my latest novel, and she walked up to me slowly with an acoustic guitar strapped around her shoulders.
Unlike the others in line, this young lady didn't have one of my books in her hand for me to sign, instead she politely asked, "Mr. Camp, can I sing you a song?" I nodded 'sure' and she started strumming her six-string. She blew me away as she sung "Vehicles", a song I'd written for 'Teki', which was featured in the novel '29 Dimes'.
A small crowd had gathered around her as she filled the air with her beautiful voice and played the guitar. Needless to say, it was a special moment. After she'd finished the song, we had a moment to chat, and that's when she told me that she never knew what she wanted to do with her life until about a year ago when she read '29 Dimes' and started identifying with the character 'Teki'. She went on to tell me that she now is destined to write and hopefully record her own songs.
I told her that she has a God-given talent, and then I reminded her of the old adage, "There are two important dates in your life, the day you was born and the day you discover why you was born."

I'm slowly approaching sixty now and over the years, I've learned that lighting sparks in others has a way greater value than chasing dollars. Have a great weekend, Everyone. And to you, Melissa, thank you so much for re-lighting the spark in me. - Randolph Randy Camp

Wrong Cheerleaders

July 24, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

In my own life, I've witnessed an old adage to be true: Do something you love and prosperity will follow. Mind you, over the years I've realized that once you stop chasing the dollar you will have a better understanding of true prosperity. Reaching someone, touching someone, moving someone, inspiring someone all have such greater impact than simply having a fat wallet and handing out bills.

We must be careful not to envy and idolize those with fat wallets who maybe keeping us in a state of mental slavery. Sadly, there are those around us who, inconspicuously, don't want to see you rise. Secretly, they seem to get a kick out of seeing you always below them. Regardless of whatever, stay focus on your passion, your goals and dreams. You will be amazed at how inner peace comes into your life, which is true prosperity.

Surround yourself with those who genuinely celebrate your steps towards your goals. Often, we have the wrong cheerleaders around us. - Randolph Randy Camp

Beauty Beneath Our Feet

July 10, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

Dream-Lake-Home_large

I'm a thousand miles away from my hometown. I have some fond memories of my childhood in Virginia. It would be a lie if I said that it didn't bother me whenever there's national news coverage of an event happening in Virginia that may directly or indirectly cloud certain of these precious memories.

During my elementary years, our class was blessed to partake in one of the best school field trips ever! Underneath the picturesque Blue Ridge mountains that flank the scenic Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Valley, there are beautiful, massive caves. Our field trip to the Luray Caverns so many years ago will stay with me forever. After this amazing trip, I remember being so inspired that I wrote one of my many short stories as a kid. That story was about a lightning bug named Gloria who led me to a secret tree trunk in the woods, which then led to an underground world where everybody would light up and change colors every few seconds. No one stayed the same color. It's because of this and many other reasons why I cherish some of my childhood memories.

This past weekend, Charlottesville, Virginia, was in the national spotlight again. The scars from the Civil War still lingers, and recent heated debates over the removal of Confederate statues are opening old wounds. Ironically, underneath the feet where all of this ugly fussing n' fighting is taken place is the beautiful caverns below Shenandoah Valley. These majestic caves have been here long before the Civil War and will be here long after we're all gone. For our kids' and our grandkids' sake, there must be something that we can learn from the beauty beneath our feet. - Randolph Randy Camp

Hazel Hill Morning

April 17, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

After I bought my first car, a '72 Pinto, I loved the freedom of going to Fredericksburg whenever I could. Don't get me wrong, growing up in rural Spotsylvania County in the 70's had its benefits, but going into town was a big deal back then, especially for this young Virginia country boy. Two of my aunts, Edith Mae and Ruth Edna, had moved into the Hazel Hill Apartments in Fredericksburg, and it was such a treat for me to visit them when I wasn't in school or was off work, usually on Saturday mornings.

Back then, as a somewhat nerdy schoolboy with big dreams, I was fascinated with getting away for awhile, going to Hazel Hill and then later going to the city park where I would sit alone by the Rappahannock River and write down some of my deepest thoughts. Today, in the middle of April 2017, I still find myself blushing whenever I see my book 'Wet Matches', knowing that it had its origin as a simple song lyric way back in 1978 and was conceived on that one particular Hazel Hill morning. - Randolph Randy Camp

Unattended Tools

January 24, 2017 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

Aside from writing I also enjoy woodworking. The other day I walked into my backyard shed and looked at my carpentry tools. It hit me that I hadn't touched those tools in quite awhile, which got me thinking about how we sometimes don't utilize our own God-given, natural talents. Some of you are gifted architects, engineers, painters, teachers, carpenters, mechanics, electricians, writers, ect., but, for whatever reason, we often come up with somewhat-convincing excuses for not using our own tools. And I'll be the first to admit that I'm certainly guilty of this. I told myself that I was going to make at least ten new bird houses this year. After I finish this piece and step away from this computer, I'm going to start making my first bird house of 2017. (I currently have 16 bird houses in my backyard and front yard.)

Do you have tools not being used? Is there a singer inside of you? Do you have a great business mind? Is there a great story inside of you that only you could write? Do you often come up with great product ideas? Is there a great inventor inside of you? How much happier and much more fulfilling and meaningful would our lives be if we started using our unattended tools? - Randolph Randy Camp

The World Needs You

February 16, 2016 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

What are you waiting for? The world needs you now. That special thing inside of you which is so unique was given to you for a reason, and sharing your special gift with the rest of us in this world is your purpose and the very reason you was born. So, for all of you secret dreamers, aspiring singers, actors, inventors, actresses, writers, designers, teachers, engineers, chefs, film makers, quiet and humbled artists, this message is for you.

Some of us are thinkers, full of thoughts and ideas. Some of us are talkers. We constantly talk about what we want to do or should have done. It's time to put those thoughts and words to action and start taking baby steps toward our goals and lifelong dreams. How often have you put your dream or desires on the back burner because of others or some other reason and later regretted that decision? Could someone benefit from your talents or from what you have to offer? Could you put a smile on a troubled face? Could you brighten someone's life with that unique thing which makes you 'you'?

It's time to stop talking. Use 2016 as your action year. The rest of us could be benefiting in so many different ways from your special talent. Again, I ask, what are you waiting for? The world needs you. - Randolph Randy Camp

Carrot Cake Lessons

February 3, 2016 by Randolph Camp (Register to contact)

Is there any evidence of your ancestors in your daily life? My grandfather, 'Eddie' Camp, was a school janitor at James Monroe High in Fredericksburg, Virginia for years. When I wrote my blog piece 'A Janitor's Dream' I wonder if my grandfather's spirit was standing over my shoulder or sitting next to me as I typed out those words several weeks ago. Hm?

My father, William Henry Camp, was a preacher and a carpenter by trade. I learned a lot from my father and one of the greatest lessons he'd taught me was to always try to help those in need even though you may not have much to give yourself. As a carpenter, my father would build and repair peoples' porches, out houses, doors, and windows even though sometimes they could not pay him fully upfront as some of his other customers would.

I remember going to this lady's house one Saturday to help him build a shed for her, and our pay for the day's work was a chicken dinner with a big piece of her homemade carrot cake because she didn't have any money for our labor. I'll never forget that day because it was the first time I'd ever tasted an excellent carrot cake like that, and most importantly, on that particular Saturday, as a twelve year old boy, I learned first hand from my father how to be a gentleman and to treat others as you would want to be treated.

Every day I'm reminded of my forefathers, especially when I'm writing. The themes of most of my stories seem to be about 'triumph-over-tragedy' and 'rooting for the underdogs of society' type of stories, which are the very things that my father was concerned and preached about at his church in Spotsylvania County so many years ago.

Yes indeed, I'm grateful and able to do what I do today because of the teachings and spirits of my fathers. And by the way, of course, carrot cake is my absolute favorite cake of all still to this day. - Randolph Randy Camp

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