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Multicultural Night / Book Fair - Tuesday, April 29, 6-8 PM



In 1725, Richard Blackburn left his home in Rippon (now Ripon) in Yorkshire, England, and settled in northern Virginia. He built his home, which he named "Rippon Lodge," on a high knoll overlooking the mouth of Neabsco Creek and the Potomac River. Crossing the property was King's Highway, once known as the Potomac Path, which was the main post road between the northern and southern colonies. This historic road was often traveled by George Washington, General Lafayette, and French and American troops during the Revolutionary War. Tea bushes which were planted in colonial times can still be found growing on the lawn at Rippon Lodge. These bushes could be found throughout the colonies as a protest against the tea taxes levied by Great Britain.

   Two of the daughters of Rippon Lodge became mistresses of Mt. Vernon. In 1785, the granddaughter of Richard Blackburn and daughter of Thomas, married Bushrod Washington, a nephew of George Washington. Later, a nephew of Bushrod, John Augustine Washington, married Jane Charlotte Blackburn. These two women are buried with their husbands at Mt. Vernon.

   Many romantic legends are connected with Rippon Lodge. Two duelists fought in its drawing room, and a few people maintain that even today there are supernatural happenings at the Lodge. Two of the more recent residents, the late Rear Admiral Richard Blackburn Black, and a fifth great grandson of Richard Blackburn, were never disturbed by such spirits as they lived comfortably in the carefully restored Rippon Lodge.

   Located on thirty-three acres of land which formerly was part of this historic estate is Rippon Middle School. The site is at the southern extreme of the community of Woodbridge, Virginia, and is approximately one-half mile west of the Potomac River.

   The building of the Rippon school was completed in August, 1966, and included an elementary school adjacent to and integral with the facilities occupied by the middle school. In 1996, the entire facility became Rippon Middle School as Rippon Elementary School was moved to a new elementary school in the Leeslyvania area. The school has the capacity for over one thousand middle school students and draws from five elementary schools - Henderson, Featherstone, Marumsco Hills, River Oaks, Leeslyvania (formerly Rippon Elementary). From Rippon Middle School, students graduate to Potomac Senior High School.

   Built along conservatively modern lines, the building exterior is brick with concrete block. Two past exterior features of the school were ceramic tile mosaics depicting the historical past of Rippon Lodge. One scene portrayed Colonel Richard Blackburn on horseback, bidding farewell to his wife as he began his journey to Williamsburg as a delegate to the House of Burgesses. The second scene showed tobacco being taken by ox cart to Rippon Landing for shipment to England. Though these scenes are now covered, they emphasize the pride the school feels for its rich historical heritage.

   Today, over 800 6th, 7th and 8th graders walk through the doors of Rippon Middle School.  They are greeted by a professional staff of full-time classroom teachers, as well as guidance counselors, library and media specialists and an array of secretaries, classroom assistants, cafeteria personnel, custodians and county school specialists.

   The students are divided into teams, in keeping with the Prince William County Schools middle school philosophy. The focus of Rippon Middle School is child-centered, with the teams providing a school-within-a-school transition to the more traditionally structured high school program. A major benefit of the team approach is that it allows the teacher to know each student very well, like family. Classes are structured around blocks of time, providing much greater flexibility in meeting instructional needs. Teaming also allows the teachers to provide integrated, cross-curricular connections.

   Rippon Middle School students wear their Raider pride on the playing field. The school participates in all the athletics the county offers: football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, track, baseball or softball, soccer and tennis. The dance team and cheerleaders boost school spirit. Our trophy case in the front hall shows off our achievements.

   Raiders have the opportunity to enhance their school experience through a variety of extra-curricular activities. The Ecology Club, Foreign Language Club, the Science Club, the Drama Club, as well as Junior Civitan,Yearbook and the Chess Club allow our students to explore a range of interests. In addition, outstanding Raiders are inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.

   One of the strengths of our school is the involvement of parents and parent volunteers. Each team works together to provide a safety net for the students by actively involving the parents in both the academic and the behavioral progress of their children. In addition, our PTSO is quite unique in that all Rippon families are automatically members; there are no dues and no membership enrollment.

   At Rippon Middle School, we are all working together to be the very best. RAIDER PRIDE!

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