The purpose of BRVGS is to serve the academic needs of a community of motivated, high-ability students through a variety of instructional strategies and learning opportunities that engage their interests and challenge their intellectual boundaries beyond a traditional high school experience.

The mission of BRVGS is to inspire and challenge our students through unique, rigorous, technology-centered learning experiences, and to prepare them with the skills to be the leaders, collaborators and innovators of the future.

BRVGS Address:

14455 James Madison Hwy. Palmyra, Va 22963

Blog Index
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BRVGS Students Take Part in SPARK! Hackathon

This past weekend, several students of the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s took part in the SPARK! Hackathon, sponsored by Mozilla and Saint Anne’s-Belifield School in Charlottesville.  The event brought students from the region together for two days of “learning and making.”  BRVGS student Abena Appiah-Ofori, a sophomore at Orange County High School, described the events of the weekend:

“On the first day professionals from different fields presented problems to us and we were given the option to choose which problem group we wanted to be in. I chose the biomedical engineering group.

Our group's mentor was a professor at UVA's Department of Biomedical Engineering. He gave us a scenario where we had a 72 year old patient with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In addition to having MS, our patient was also blind, had limited feeling in his fingers, and took a total of 16 medications daily four times throughout the day. Our patient lived alone and had a caretaker come in for four hours to help around the house every day. Our job was to come up with an idea to make our patient less reliant on his caretaker and more indepent.  To empathize with the patient, we blindfolded ourselves / closed our eyes while we went to dinner. We noticed that we felt helpless and found that simple things like eating were very hard. Because of this, we wanted to make our mechanism as simple as possible for our blind patient.

There were around 8 people in my group and we ended up splitting into a manual section and a programming section. The manual side created prototypes that would take the place of the caretaker to dispense pills one at a time. We used cardboard, tape, and coffee cups to create a The dispenser prototypes. The programming section made an arduino equipped with a sonar device that checks to make sure there was at least a week’s worth of pills in the container. Once there was less than a week of pills, the Arduino would emit a beeping sound (shown by light because of lack of beeper) for about five seconds to inform the user that that particular pill is low.  Once we were finished we made a poster  of our idea and presented it to people around the community at an open house at the end of the hackathon.

Overall, the SPARK hackathon felt like a BRVGS semester project put into two days without the 10-15 page paper. We were given a scenario(topic), put into groups, came up with a possible a solution, and in the end we presented our idea with our groups. The hackathon was very fun and I would recommend anybody interested to apply next year.”

We are very proud of all of our students who gave their time and effort to take part in this event!



Two William Monroe Seniors Focus on Serving Others

Leah KirssinLeah Kirssin, a Senior at William Monroe High School in Greene County, has made an impact on the world around her by lobbying members of the Virginia state legislature.  Lobbying is the attempt to influence lawmakers on policy-based issues--Leah has lobbied at the State House of Delegates and State Senate in Richmond on behalf of the gun-control lobby, healthcare, the poor, and for continued funding of the BRVGS program.  Says Leah, "...I felt like I needed to get involved and create change." 



Phillip HallPhillip Hall, a Senior at William Monroe High School in Greene County, was inspired to work on behalf of the environment for his senior year research and thesis project. An avid environmentalist, Phillip chose to work with Wild VA and has been conducting research on the decommissioning of forest roads.  His research paper will be used by Wild VA and submitted to the Forestry Department to aid in their research!   Says Phillip, "I've been interested in studying the environment for years and finding a grassroots group like Wild VA was a great opportunity for me."





Information Meeting Set For BRVGS Galapagos Trip

An informational meeting for students, parents and BRVGS staff members wishing to take part in a BRVGS trip to South America and the Galapagos in Summer of 2018 will be held at 6:30 PM on Thursday, Feb. 16th, at the Best Western Zion Crossroads.  Participants will hear about the cost and logistics for the trip, and will also have an opportunity to formally sign up for the trip that evening.  

BRVGS is asking anyone who is planning to attend the meeting (or anyone who is even THINKING that they might attend) to respond to a brief, 2-question survey to provide the number of people that they will have coming to the meeting, and to list any questions they might have about the trip.  Please click on the Galapagos RSVP Form to reach that form.

For questions about the meeting, please email BRVGS Director Marc Carraway at


BRVGS Students Attend Capitol Day in Richmond, Virginia

A group of BRVGS students visited Richmond, Virginia for Capitol Day on January 23, 2017.  This day was sponsored by the Friends of Virginia Governor’s School. The purpose of the trip was to meet with legislators, tour the Capitol building, and see the Virginia General Assembly in action.

Students met with Delegate Robert Bell of Greene and Fluvanna County and Senator Bryce Reeves of Louisa and Orange County. Students also met with staff members of Delegate Peter Farrell of Louisa County, Nick Freitas of Madison and Orange County, and Senator Emmett Hanger of Madison and Greene County. 




Fluvanna County Student Organizing a 5K Run for the Just Water Movement

My name is Nicole Kent and I’m a senior at Fluvanna County High School in Palmyra, Virginia (which is a tiny little place right outside of Charlottesville).  This year, as a part of my Governor’s School Program, I am completing an internship and community service for my Senior Project which is about Mission Work.  Since last May, I have been praying that something would come to me for this project that I would really feel passionate about and that prayer was answered at the Called 2016 Middle School Retreat for the Virginia United Methodist Church in the middle of this past November.  

I was attending the retreat as a staff person and that’s when I met Coy Lindsey.  He was at the retreat giving a really powerful messages, but what intrigued me the most was Just Water.  My heart has felt for the water crisis throughout high school, but when I heard about Just Water I finally felt like I could do something impactful.  While at that retreat, I took the challenge to drink just water for 40 days and felt a seed planted for my community service project.

I knew instantly that I wanted to give to Just Water for my community service and my first instinct was to plan a 5K.  I’m not a runner and I honestly didn’t even know how long five kilometers was when I decided this is what I was going to do but I figured planning one wouldn’t be too horrible.  So many people around me have already been extremely helpful with giving me ideas and promising to be there to help when I need them which has been really encouraging.  I have doubts every once in awhile that I won’t be able to pull it off in time or that people won’t participate, but all it takes is a quick chat with God to restore some confidence and know that I can do it--through Him.

So far, it’s been kinda crazy filling out forms, making flyers, creating a Facebook event, making the registration website and a bunch more- it has consumed my life slightly, but in the most positive way!  In fact, I recently had three snow days in a row, creating a 5 day weekend in which I did all of the things in the last sentence, designed a t-shirt, starting asking for sponsors, drew the race map, prayed about Just Water, and realized that this is totally happening.  I’m hoping to raise $1000 which seemed like a crazy goal when I began this, but now I’m seeing that it could definitely happen.  This goal would provide 40 people with clean water and that is really the true goal- to give 40 people access to clean water and the living water of Jesus Christ.  That’s what I want this 5K to be about.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to explain this as my community service project but it means so much more than that to me and to those whose lives it will change so I pray it will mean that much to those participating as well.

I’ve learned so much about the effort it takes for mission work and I have an even greater appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to this type of work.  This process and Just Water have also helped me to focus on the true meaning of missions-- loving our neighbors as ourself because that’s how Jesus loves.  I’ve felt like I’ve known that for a while, but being involved with Just Water, who truly lives this, has made me more conscious of the mission field called life that is all around me.

Please click on the link to find out more about the 5K: