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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,463

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

They trusted a coach with their girls and Ivy League ambitions. Now he's accused of sex abuse.

The rowing season had already ended by the time the seven girls began drafting a letter that they hoped would get their coach fired.

They’d spent years competing for the crew team affiliated with Walt Whitman High, one of the Washington region’s highest-achieving public schools. In an affluent Maryland suburb fixated on success, their team was a juggernaut, regularly winning medals at Philadelphia’s prestigious Stotesbury Cup Regatta — the world’s largest high school racing competition — and sending its rowers on to Brown, MIT, Yale and other top colleges.

Many credited the team’s accomplishments to its longtime head coach: a Whitman High social studies teacher named Kirk Shipley. At 47, he was a three-time All-Met Coach of the Year who’d led the parent-funded club program for nearly two decades. He’d cultivated a loyal following, becoming drinking buddies with rival coaches and accepting invitations from rowers’ parents to dine at their Bethesda, Md., homes. They trusted him with their daughters — and their Ivy League ambitions.

Now, three days after their graduation from Whitman, the seven rowers decided to send a missive to the parent board, a group of mothers and fathers who volunteered to oversee the program. In just a few weeks, one girl was headed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; at least three others had earned scholarships to row in college. None of them wanted other students to have the same experiences they’d had with Shipley.

The coach, the seven warned in the letter they sent June 15, “has taken advantage of his role on the team and used his position to create a toxic, competitive atmosphere that fosters negativity and tension among the athletes. ... He very clearly plays favorites, and when athletes spoke up or criticized his actions, their boat placement was often affected. This could be seen all three years we were on the varsity team.”


Community responds to heartbroken, homeless mother of three

Central Virginians responded immediately after learning of Nicole Thweatt’s story. The mother of three was abruptly removed from temporary housing and lost all of her belongings shortly after being hospitalized for an emergency caesarean section.

While her newborn is in the NICU and her other two children were staying with friends, 8News spoke to Thweatt Monday night outside of the car she has been sleeping in.

Messages on social media for the single mother read, “we would love to help the young lady and her family,” “I’d like to help Nicole…,” “Thank you for sharing so that others can lend a hand,” “praying for your family and God’s on your side.”

Monday night, Thweatt described returning to the Days Inn Hotel on Midlothian Turnpike last Friday after the emergency c-section at the hospital. When she approached the room’s front door–where her 11 and 7-year-old children were also living through a temporary housing program with Commonwealth Catholic Charities–a shocking discovery: another family had moved in, and her belongings were “disposed of” according to the non-profit.

How many more Nicoles are out there? Greatest country in the world, my sainted Aunt Matilda!
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