Special Events at SVGS


These are dynamic, expert speakers with unusual topics invited to SVGS to provide students with opportunities to explore some topics outside regular coursework and to focus on thinking and communication about important and interesting issues.

On Thursday 9/27, students and staff heard  our first speaker, Mr. Gary Noesner, retired FBI negotiator – “Moving from Confrontation to Cooperation: Negotiating in Life and Work”. We were honored to have Mr. Noesner visit our school and enjoyed his entertaining, inspirational and practical presentation!

Students took away the importance of active listening, taking time to think, talk and act, cooperation, that life is about relationsip building and that negotation skills are applicable in everyday life to understand others.

Mr. Noesner retired from the FBI in 2003 following a 30 year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. A significant focus of his career was directed toward investigating Middle East hijackings which involved American citizens. In addition, he was an FBI hostage negotiator for 23 years of his career, retiring as the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group, the first person to hold that position. In that capacity he was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, right-wing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens. He has written a book about his FBI negotiation career entitled: Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator. The book is being used in part as the basis for a six part mini-series on the Waco siege that aired on January 24, 2018.

Click here for other speakers this semester.


Our Romanian exchange program celebrated 10 years in 2018 with a finale Thanksgiving dinner that included everyone dancing to traditional Romanian songs.  The students learned about caverns and karst topography from a JMU geology student at Luray Caverns, toured UVA with a former SVGS alumni, and visited Shenandoah National Park to learn about Environmental Science.

A special thanks to the following students and their families for hosting our exchange guests:

Max Elkins – SDHS

Lousia Esteban – FDHS

Isaiah Knopp – Lee HS

Tucker Rankin – FDHS

Clara Riggan – WHS

Abby Soyars – WMHS

Emma Woodworth – WHS


The following students participated in the SHELLEY CHALLENGE at Roanoke Valley Governor’s School sponsored by engineers from Burns and McDowell on Oct. 20:

Emily Hamrick, RHS

Taode Ogden, VSDB

Calvin Siemers, Lee HS

Calvin was part of a team with other Gov. School students acroos the state that placed 2nd.  See below for more information about the competition.


AP Environmental Science – Frontier Culture Museum, St. Mary’s Wilderness, Old Greenville Rd. (local geology), local dairy farm, Shenandoah National Park, Bloomakers, Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Engineering II – Provides US

Fine Arts – Shenandoah National Park, JMU School of Art, National Portfolio Day, Torpedo Factory Art Center

Molecular Biology – Sentera RMH (medical technologies)

Performing Arts – American Shakespeare Center