Highlanders in the News: Week of Sept. 25, 2023
Every other week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.
Time marches on
Elkins, West Virginia’s newspaper of record – The Inter-Mountain – recently published an expansive history of the Elkins High School Band, which celebrated its 95th anniversary earlier this month.
It’s a fascinating read that evokes the passage of time as much as the school’s backstory. Beginning in 1911, when Elkins students first picked up instruments, it kicks into gear with the formation of a full-fledged group at the top of the 1928-1929 academic year.
Along the way, the Elkins High School Tigers band adopted an orange-and-black color scheme, incorporated a quick-step marching style, and, around 1953, performed at Chicago’s Soldier Field before a crowd of about 80,000 spectators.
Over the past century, a wide range of figures presided over the band’s leadership as well, and as the Inter-Mountain’s account reaches the mid-1990s, a familiar figure materializes in the narrative: Timothy Channell, Ed.D.
Indeed, long before Channell became Radford’s interim dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (or its assistant provost of budget and academic operations, or even its professor of music business), he headed the EHS band.
“Under Channell’s directorship, the band bleachers were constructed (in 1996) at Wimer Stadium,” the story explains, adding that they were christened in the names of former directors Clark H. “Prof” Siedhoff, who started in 1942, and Jack Basil, who led it in 1960.
Channell, the story explains, also instituted a leadership award in Basil’s honor, among other achievements, before moving on to join the administration at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He joined the faculty at Radford University in 2008.
"Serving as the band director at Elkins High School for seven years was a remarkable journey,” Channell recently told us. “From a hometown boy being a student in that very band to leading the exceptional ensemble, it was an honor and a privilege. My time there was filled with outstanding experiences, but the true gems were the outstanding students who inspired me and elevated our music program."
A shout-out on the socials
A Radford graduate student in psychology has begun an internship and recently got a pair of social media shout-outs from her hosts.
Mikayla Cox of Draper, Virginia, is working as a school psychology specialist intern with Guilford County Schools Psychological Services near Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, and the system recently tweeted a warm welcome about her arrival alongside a photo of her.
“This school year, she will be assigned to Triangle Lake Montessori Elementary,” they wrote. “Welcome to Psych Services.”
In a post on Facebook, where they had a little more room to stretch out, GCSPS noted that Cox’s interests include mental health and mindfulness.
“She also wants to make a difference in the lives of children and to help them achieve the best of their abilities in the classroom,” they wrote.
“When asked to share a fun fact about herself, Cox shared that she loves to travel and has traveled to 31 states so far,” the post read.
“Visiting the remaining 19 states is on her bucket list.”
A story in passing
Texas-based author Susan Van Volkenbergh ’86 is both a Highlander and, of course, a storyteller, so it makes sense that when she recently reunited with Exit 109 – however fleetingly – she nevertheless spun a quick recollection about her days as an undergraduate.
“Passed by my alma mater, Radford University,” Van Volkenbergh tweeted on Sept. 1. “Many good memories of the area. This is just one story of my time there.”
Attached to the tweet is a video, shot from her moving truck, in which she narrates her northbound approach to the Ingles Ferry Bridge and notes that the New River is “the only river in the United States that runs backwards.”
Van Volkenburgh then describes the adventures she once had “driving home to the Northern Virginia area with my friend in college, in her little VW bug,” which, alas, often didn’t have enough power to handle some of the ascending inclines between here and there.
Even so, she recalls on the recording, “It was a lot of fun.”