High School Leaders

HSLP 2009: Day 5, July 15
Jul 16 2009 - 10:18am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 5— Wednesday, July 15
Reported by: Ashley Murphy, William Fleming High School and Roanoke Valley Governor’s School, Roanoke

     As odd as it sounds, for most of us, our day began with sleep.  I woke up around 5:45am to prepare for my day, but as soon as I settled onto my seat for the three hour ride to Alexandria, my brain and body went back into a dormant state.  When we did arrive into the historically rich Old Town, I felt welcomed by its charm and charisma: the boutiques and stores, and especially the riverfront.
     Our opening speaker was Frank Fannon, a member of the Alexandria city council.  He provided information about government on a local level, especially living in the sometimes complicated part of Virginia known as “NoVa.”  Mr. Fannon’s lecture was of particular interest to me because he touched on the topic of solving the transportation problems in that area, which will be of great assistance when I work with my group on the culminating project.
     Second, Amy Gardener spoke to us about her career as a reporter for the Washington Post newspaper.  She discussed how Virginia is a state unlike any other because of its tendency to be purple, not blue or red like some others, as well as her role as a reporter and the significance of print media in educating the public on the government’s policies.
     I was impressed listening to the accomplishments of Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General.  He is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute, which demonstrates how Sorensen plays a large role in forming Virginina's political leaders.  He was also one of the founders of the Amber Alert system in Virginia.
      My personal favorite speaker of the day was Delegate Adam Ebbin, who is running for re-election in November.  He talked about how he tries to keep debates as professional as possible, and not cross the line into personal attacks.  I think this is a very important quality and should be used by everyone, not just politicians.
     As of now, I can already tell that Sorensen has changed my outlook of politics, especially in Virginia.  I have met people from all over my state; although when talking about the issues our regions face, we are still quirky teenagers with the desire to learn and grow.  And until now, I had never given a thought to creating a Facebook profile, but if Bob Gibson has one, I must really be missing out on that revolution.
 
— Ashley Murphy, Roanoke

HSLP 2009: Day 5, July 15
Jul 16 2009 - 10:07am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 5— Wednesday, July 15
Reported by: Hollis Erickson of Loudoun Valley High School
, Waterford

     Today the Sorensen Institute High School Leaders Program took a field trip to Alexandria, Virginia.  This adventure began when thirty two sleepy-eyed teenagers boarded a bus at 7 o’clock am.   Three hours later we arrived in Old Town Alexandria.  We entered the city hall and filed into rows ready for a day of intensive listening.  A local government official Frank Fannon started off the series of speakers.  Mr. Fannon described how local government differs from state government.  For only having sixteen days on the job, Mr. Fannon did an excellent job answering all the challenging questions thrown at him.
     Amy Gardner arrived swiftly after Mr. Fannon left the stage.  Gardner is a beat reporter for the Washington Post.  Gardner works specifically with political campaign coverage.  A concern was brought up during Gardner’s speech involving the diminishing popularity of print news coverage.  Lunch was an extended hour and a half today allowing the students time for a walk around lovely Old Town Alexandria.  After arriving back from lunch, the next scheduled speaker, Steve Shannon, was running late due to his present campaign for attorney general.  To take his place, Adam Ebbin began his speech. Ebbin held the attention of many Sorensen students with his language and topics.  Steven Shannon arrived and Ebbin kindly let Shannon take the spotlight.  After both Shannon and Ebbin finished talking, photographs were taken with both the politicians and all the Sorensen students. 
     Delegate Bob Brink was the next to take the stage and give his speech.  Mr. Brink answered many of the students’ challenging questions and provided very useful information for our upcoming group projects.  After a long day, all the students boarded the bus to drive to dinner.  An hour later the Sorensen bus arrived at Hard Times Café.  A lovely dinner and fun games of pool were had by all. Back on the magical Sorensen bus we went.  The drive from Manassas back to Charlottesville was a long two and a half hours filled with songs and chatter.  Currently back at Bice Dorms, students are brainstorming ideas in their project groups for the paper introduction due  on Friday.

—Hollis Erickson, Waterford

HSLP 2009: Day 4, July 14
Jul 15 2009 - 12:10pm

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day  4— Tuesday, July  14
Reported by: Ali Sutherland, Grundy

     Today seemed like it was going to be just another day.  I got up at seven-thirty and did all the regular "getting-ready" things: straightened my hair, put on make-up, got dressed, and struggled just to get out the door.  I changed my mind about the day when Mary Deviney did her presentation.  Let's just say that I've never heard anyone be so passionate about a law.  She (like myself) believes that all people are created equal and should not have to go through physical and verbal abuse just because of their job.  She's trying to get code 18.2-426 changed, and she has good reason.  This code (in short form) states that law enforcement and emergency personnel should put up with what others say and do to them just because of their job.  This goes against what this country was built on, and I support Mary and her cause. 
     Next, Ben, Hollis, and myself presented our reading project on the Byrd Machine.  Harry Byrd was a confusing man, but an extremely smart one.  He was able to control the state with such a small amount of people, and it got me thinking: how would this work out in today's world?  With all the forms of media that are available to us, what would be said?  I know that this was in the papers, but there weren't exactly any gossip bloggers challenging him with the facts.  So, in the long run, do I think that the Byrd Machine would work today? No.
     After lunch, Bob Gibson, who is director of the Sorensen Institute, came and spoke to us about his job.  Bob has a fascinating story about his time at UVA and in Virginia politics.  Not only does he do a fabulous job with the Sorensen Institute, he is also a journalist.  I've always loved journalism, and this coming school year, I will be one of three editors for my high school yearbook.  While Bob was talking, I started to think about Tina Fey.  Okay, I know what you're thinking, but Tina Fey went to school at UVA, and I've always loved Weekend Update on SNL.  Seeing as that I'm headmistress of funny here, I think I've found my niche: political comedy.  I love to act, I love politics, and I love journalism.  I could be the next Steven Colbert, Tina Fey, or Amy Phoeler!  The great thing about political comedy is that although it is very well known, it is still not mainstream.  This is definitely something I need to look into as a career.
     After Bob's presentation, April Auger, another member of the Sorensen staff, taught us how to present ourselves.  She had a slideshow of all different kinds of people: goth, punk, preppy... everything!  She also told us to be careful about what we put on the internet, because employers will be checking out our Facebook and MySpace profiles when we apply for jobs.  After this, we all asked her some questions.  Normally, I wouldn't trust anyone else with business fashion, but I trust April because she seems like a very fashionable woman herself.
     I knew that I could check my delegate's voting record on the internet, but I didn't know you could ever go this in depth!  Waldo Jaquith, the man behind Richmond Sunlight (check it out!) seems to have taken Virginia politics by storm.  He's on his way to being at the top of his game, and get this: he's thirty. Thirty, and already this successful?  I want to know his secret.  He is also extremely funny, which made his presentation even better.  I'm going to start checking his website often once I get my internet back.
     So, was today a normal day?  No— it was a great day!  Actually, it's a great week!  I've been so blessed to meet all of my fellow young politicians this week.  I've never met anyone else my age with so much enthusiasm for something so important.  I (like most of the others here) hope to go to UVA after high school. It sounds crazy, but I already feel like we're best friends.  These are people who I can have a mature conversation with, but still goof around with at the same time.  Aren't those the best kinds of friends anyway?

—Ali Sutherland, Grundy

HSLP 2009: Day 4, July 14
Jul 15 2009 - 11:57am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day  4— Tuesday, July  14
Reported by: Aya Ibrahim of Annandale High School, Annandale

     The morning started off rocky as my roommate and I decided to stay in bed for just two minutes after our alarm clock went off. Two minutes soon turned into an hour and we woke up shocked to discover we had fallen back asleep. Luckily we had planned for such an event and were able to get dressed and get downstairs on time.  We walked to class and started with speaker Mary Loose DeViney. We had a lengthy debate about Mrs. DeViney’s attempt to amend the Curse and Abuse statute to specifically include police officers and emergency personnel. The issue was near and dear to her heart as her brother-in-law was a police officer.
     After she wrapped up we had a brief discussion about the UVA college credit we receive for doing the program and how to request a transcript. That information would come in handy when we started applying to colleges ourselves. We then jumped to reading group presentations. The presentations broke down the main points of the reading and posed questions for our discussion. We took a break for lunch and came back revitalized and ready for more learning.
     Bob Gibson followed and shared with us his wealth of knowledge of Virginia and federal politics. The media, his time at UVA, and even the benefits of having women allowed in to the university were just some of the many topics we covered. Every few minutes someone would interrupt with a question but Mr. Gibson, a respected journalist for 30 years, seemed to enjoy it. He had an amazing grasp of the current problems we faced and posed possible solutions for all them.
     They say first impressions are everything and with our next speaker, April Auger, that old saying was affirmed. Despite technical difficulties with her power point we were able to get started when Joe saved the day. We looked at ridiculous pictures, some eerily similar to the profile pictures of some of our friends, and talked about the effect of their image. After more discussion and some fashion tips (Black, navy and dark gray project power and authority) we waited for our next speaker.
     Rob Bell was scheduled to speak to us but unfortunately he was stuck in court. Mr. Gibson stepped up and entertained our questions while we waited. Mr. Bell never came, but we still had another speaker. Waldo Jaquith, web designer and blogger extraordinaire, was super savvy with computers but also very informed. He had us laughing through his entire presentation while jumping from website to website. He explained these sites were transparency websites. One of those websites was www.vpap.org,  which you can look up any donation made to any candidate by any person in Virginia. We learned that one of Terry McAuliffe’ s biggest donors was none other than the producer of the Power Rangers himself, Haim Saben. He finished up his presentation by taking us to his website and after some questions he said his goodbyes.  Exhausted and feeling a million times smarter than when we first walked in, we left class and walked to Bice Hall.

— Aya Ibrahim, Annandale

HSLP 2009: Day 3, July 13
Jul 14 2009 - 1:13pm

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 3—Monday, July 13, 2009
Reported by: Callie Guy, Richmond

     This morning we roused ourselves for the first day of classes. We hiked to class 3 different ways. They were all uphill too, if this keeps up my glutes are going to get soooooo toned. When we finally arrived to class it was about 9:30. An ethics discussion with Marc Johnson and a resume workshop with Barbara Kessler were on the agenda for this morning. They both had really interesting things to say. Marc had some really good insights on what constitutes an ethical dilemma. I’m sure they’ll be very helpful as we continue on with our careers, political or otherwise. Barbara Kessler’s presentation was especially relevant and helpful considering that the majority of us are applying to college this year. The lectures were very discussion based, and that interaction made the 9-to-5 class schedule way more manageable than I was expecting. Our classes are in the science building, so when Hollis and I took a bathroom break we saw some helium tanks in a lab and thought it would be totally hilarious if we gave a presentation with chipmunk voices.
     We had a working lunch where we discussed the major problems in our local areas and statewide to address in our final group projects. It was fascinating to hear what people from other areas thought needed addressing and to see that there were some issues that were prevalent statewide such as education while there were other problems specific to certain regions such as traffic problems in Hampton and Northern VA. I really enjoyed that the discussions we have here are thoughtful and respectful, and I’m excited to be a part of a group of students with a really great vision for all the potential our commonwealth has.
    This afternoon Delegate Chris Saxman of the General Assembly was our guest speaker. Although I am not a fan of his work with the John McCain campaign and I disagree with many of his positions, I enjoyed his presentation. He is an engaging speaker and told funny stories. We finished the day with hamburgers and Easy Mac for dinner and it’s early to bed tonight because I am wiped out.

—Callie Guy, Richmond

HSLP 2009: Day 3, July 13
Jul 14 2009 - 1:04pm

High School Leaders Program
Day 3— Monday July 13, 2009
Reported by Whitney Hosey of Riverbend High School, Fredericksburg, VA

 
            Arriving downstairs bright and early at 8:30 a.m., the members of the High School Leaders Program followed diligently behind Andrew as we made our way to the first day of class. Clad in business professional in the midst of a humid morning in Charlottesville, we trudged our way up the hill from Bice Hall toward Thornton Hall where we were to meet Mr. Marc Johnson for our first lesson: ethics in politics. After a brief PowerPoint, the discussion began. Now, ethics is something we certainly do not all agree on; however, we all made sure to keep our comments intelligent and cordial, which I must say is not always how our older counterparts on Capitol Hill behave. After our group discussions about how ethics affects lawmaking, how to solve ethical dilemmas, and how to make the right decision in an ethical dilemma, our second guest speaker, Mrs. Barbara Kessler arrived to give us a resume workshop. While with us, she discussed what to include in a resume as well as a suggested format that impresses not only colleges, but possible employers as well. Mrs. Kessler provided us with some great tips to make sure our resume impresses anyone who sees it as well as covers any necessary and pertinent information they may need. Upon Mrs. Kessler’s departure, we broke for our working lunch. While enjoying our time outdoors, we discussed local issues with others from our area; Natalie Cruise and I were responsible for Fredericksburg. Upon our return April Auger had joined our group and decided to get involved in our discussions by writing each of our topics on the board. We had been responsible for identifying problems in our areas, strengths, and weaknesses, and one overall statewide problem that should be fixed. While doing this we began to discover something, all of our problems were different, and so when the question was posed which problem was the most important, we had to consider something: all of our areas had different problems, but which one was the most important to everyone. This is the problem law makers face everyday. After a bit of a heated debate and some compromise we all decided education was our main concern, so the discussion went off from there. After our power lunch, Mr. Johnson had another presentation to show us about Virginia as a whole, its people, economy, geography, and fun facts. Our discussion moved into the next section of class. Here Emma, Trevor, and Maria presented their discussion about The Washington Post articles written by Mr. David Finkle, and Mr. David Von Drehle. The articles, written in 2004, compared two extremist families from both the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party. Overall, we decided that the authors of the articles wanted to show America how silly the stereotypes we use to describe political parties. We also discussed how Virginia’s political culture was changing from a Republican Southern State to possibly being a bit more to the left in years to come. The majority of us agreed, once a Red always a red. Only time will tell how Virginia’s vote will swing. Our final activity of the day was guest speaker Delegate Chris Saxman, a Republican. Mr. Saxman gave us a brief overview of his political experience, and Virginia legislature as a whole, and then we were able to ask our own questions for the remainder of the hour.
            My favorite part of the day was definitely Mr. Saxman’s question-and-answer session. I believe he was very respectful and helpful when answering our questions, and he did not treat us like children and give dishonest or childish answers. He also was kind enough to share personal information, and stayed behind for a bit to discuss any further questions we may have had. Personally, I think that the program will only get better as the time goes on. I can only say that I am honored and blessed to be with such a fine group of young adults.

—Whitney Hosey of Riverbend High School, Fredericksburg, VA

HSLP 2009: Day 2, July 12
Jul 14 2009 - 12:49pm

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 2—Sunday, July 12, 2009
Reported by: Ann Laurence Baumer, Virginia Beach

     As another Sorensen student put it, “It started off like middle school all over again.” We were all unsure of what exactly to expect but excited for a new beginning and a new adventure. After a fun night of ice cream and Apples to Apples, today promised at least getting to know an amazing group of people. The schedule reads: Ropes Course at Poplar Ridge 9am-5pm. That’s 8 hours of ropes and although I have been through some courses before, and all-day event was sure to be different. It definitely was. To wake up the sluggish teenagers (the alarm went off at 8 this morning!), our instructors Rick and Dana immediately had us running and subsequently sweating or more precisely “glistening” with activities such as amoeba tag. At 87ish degrees and humidity similar to where I live at the beach, it was hot. Fortunately though, we were shaded by the trees and having too much fun to really even notice.
     After tag came the blindfold game. Paired up, one partner was positioned outside of a circle to direct their blindfolded buddy around the inside towards Fisher Price foam toys that had to then be aimed and thrown at other blindfolded kids. While inside the circle I managed to trip over one of my suitemates who was crawling around, sending us both into a fit of laughter. Very entertaining, this activity was just the beginning of a team-building day. We were then split up into two groups. My group, the Pirates and obviously superior team, started off with low ropes before lunch followed by Nessie (short for the Loch Ness Monster) and the swing in the afternoon. I am involved in many different clubs and organizations in my community and can honestly say that I cannot remember working with a group as easily. Coming from different areas with diverse backgrounds, we all learned from each other while relating to similar high school experiences. From whale watching to being shackled by pirates and having to lift all 16 members through a poisonous spider web, we worked extremely well and quickly conquered every new challenge. Our muscle-man director Tom kept us going with the enthusiasm and optimism expressed by every member of our group. I am so proud of everyone for facing fears and staying committed to each other.  We succeeded as a team, and then came lunch.
     I discovered today that Bodo’s Bagels makes my favorite sandwiches. Followed by oreos, we were ready to take on the heights. Our next adventure involved all hands on deck…or more accurately on ropes. Nessie’s true spirit cannot be truly described. It was an experience to say the least.  Up about 2,000 feet (okay…it was around 20) in the air, two people started from facing platforms and swung from logs to end up where their partner started.  Catherine and I swung across in record time— long legs and being the third set to go gave us a decent advantage.  Making the journey across Nessie required all group members to participate fully and cooperate together. Positive communication proved vital to our progress, and I learned that everything involved in our day on the ropes could be applied to leadership and politics. Teamwork and respect are vital in order to get projects completed.
     Sorensen immediately started off as a nonpartisan program and we have been asked to keep our political preferences to ourselves. Saturday morning I would have assumed this was meant to keep our discussions more objective but already it has become so much more. I didn’t think that the stereotypes and predisposed associations that immediately come to mind about members of the opposition party would have an effect on our impressions until that aspect was taken away. We are getting to know each other with respect and I really appreciate it. With a little (actually a great deal) of dirt on my shoes, I had an amazing day and cannot begin to imagine what lies ahead. One thing I know for sure is that I walk my Sorensen path with 32 amazing, uplifting personalities who I am proud and glad to have met.

—Ann Laurence Baumer, Virginia Beach

HSLP 2009: Day 2, July 12
Jul 14 2009 - 12:06pm

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 2—Sunday, July 12, 2009
Reported by: Tom Daley of Richmond

     We’ve just managed to survive our first full day at the Sorensen Institute and what a day it was.  As a group we all went to the Poplar Ridge High Ropes Course and engaged in a series of team building games and exercises.
     Many people may find it odd to take a High Ropes course at an institute for leadership in government, but I couldn’t think of a better way to start our program.  For an entire day we left behind politics spent it in the middle of the woods getting to know each other, learning to trust each other, and defying gravity.  The beautiful woods near the grounds were a wonderful setting for today’s adventures.  Some people might have doubted the day when it began with an unenthusiastic game of amoeba tag, but no one could doubt the fun we were having less than an hour later trying to fit twelve people on a giant see-saw. Once we really let ourselves get into the activities, we started seeing real teamwork and real results. Again and again we learned the values of cooperation, organization and communication.  We broke up our long day with a great lunch from Bodos Bagels.  This break was well placed considering many of us were on the verge of heat stroke.  After lunch though, the real action began.
     Most people hear Nessy and think of the legendary Scottish monster; I’ll always think of the ridiculous high ropes contraption at Poplar Ridge.  It was just another team building exercise twenty five feet off the ground.  Being the first person to go I can say I was a little bit nervous but as you took the first step it became a blast.  The real highlight of the day though was the fifty-foot swing.  Hanging for a second, pulling on your release, then hurtling toward the dirt of the forest floor was one the coolest things I’ve experienced.
We all emerged from the woods for the most part unscathed and having a blast.  More importantly we all emerged good friends and a better team.

—Tom Daley, Richmond

HSLP 2009: Day 2, July 12
Jul 14 2009 - 11:59am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 1—Sunday, July 12, 2009
Reported by: Emma Arata, Charlottesville

     Today, in my opinion, was the very definition of intensity, or at least pretty close to it. We started out at 8:30 a.m. (practically dawn) to make our way through the already heavy humidity to the Poplar Ridge day-long ropes course. At this point in the day, I doubt that anyone was even close to prepared for the amount of trust that was to be formed, or the amount of sweat that was soon to be coating our faces. We were first greeted by Rick and Dana, our enthusiastic ropes course guides. After some fun amoeba-filled, tank-affiliated, ice-breaking games, the 32 of us split up into two separate groups and started off into the woods to begin some serious group communication-oriented games. I only heard cries and laughter from the other group, so I can’t report on exactly what sort of puzzles they solved. But as for my group, these puzzles included organizing ourselves by birthdays (while standing on a log, no speaking allowed), tossing balls in a specific order (while not dropping them), and attempting to complete a puzzle (using a diagram, wooden boards, and silence). After these surprisingly metaphorical activities, (and a delicious Bodo’s lunch), we ventured back into the woods to begin the “real” ropes course.
     My group’s first activity faced two common fears: heights and falling. The challenge involved being fastened into a harness, being pulled to the top of a telephone post (teamwork!), and having to pull a clip that was keeping us safely suspended, causing us to plummet (typically accompanied by shrieks and the occasional curse-word) towards the ground. This may sound terrifying (as it was, in my opinion), but not a single person that I spoke with regretted doing it. Our second activity involved (once again) being clipped securely into a harness, climbing up to a platform, and walking across rickety, swinging boards to the other side. There was a slight catch though: there was another harnessed person on an opposite platform, also trying to get across (again, teamwork!).
     We ended the day similar to the way we had started; we circled up, and shared our feelings. The amount of heart-felt, real, non-cliché feelings about the day that came out of peoples’ mouths really did amaze me, and I’m being completely serious here. As cliché as this may sound, it is completely true: we started the day as different people from different places with different lives. Although this is all still true, we are also (as Caitlin so eloquently put it), beginning to become like a sort of family. It really is amazing that this all happened in a day, but I’m quite sure that it will continue on for far more than two weeks.

—Emma Arata, Charlottesville

HSLP 2009: Day 1, July 11
Jul 14 2009 - 10:55am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2009
Day 1— Saturday, July 11
Reported by: Allie Soroka, Virginia Beach

 
     Driving up to campus, butterflies fluttered throughout my stomach, driving me crazy. I looked at Bice Hall through the windows of my parents’ car with excitement and, honestly, a little anxiety. We all finally arrived. Thirty-two highschoolers were chosen throughout the state of Virginia to attend this program. My parents reassured me that I would have a valuable and fun time. I grabbed all of my belongings that I had brought, thinking it was much to excess, and strode into the dorm.
      Immediately I knew my parents were correct. I was greeted by my warm teachers who exuded vibes of compassion and acceptance.  After being handed my dorm key, I hauled my belongings up to my dorm to meet my other roommates.
      Upon my arrival into my makeshift home for two weeks I was welcomed by many friendly girls and their families. I felt at home right away when my roommate and I talked and realized that we had a lot in common. We were very diverse from each other, but we both held knowledge, learning, and the need for an open mind in high regard. Everyone at the Sorensen Institute is like this. They acknowledge that as individuals we are all different, but all very important.
      After settling into my dorm, my roommates and I headed downstairs. We said our goodbyes to our families and promised to keep in contact. The first thing on our agenda was a tour of the campus lead by our three amazing counselors. Joe, Ashley, and Andrew were enthusiastic and made us so excited from the start for all the experiences we would gain throughout our stay. We were then surprised to learn that we were all going to participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the campus. My group was lead by Joe. We had such a fun time sprinting throughout the UVa campus. We darted through the lawn, searching for Thomas Jefferson to mark something off of our list.  I immediately bonded with everyone in my group. It was obvious that we were all leaders and that we all had something to give. I could look at each person and tell their mind was filled with intellect, creative ideas, and compassionate solutions.
      Later that day, we gathered together to discuss the different labels that parties in politics are given. We tried to decipher what each party truly believed in and represented. After a long and fun discussion, we had our first speaker after he shared dinner with us. Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Bryant discussed with us the problems Virginia faces today with such a massive growth in population. He deals with the environment and works to preserve nature despite Virginia’s urban growth.  His dedication, commitment, and use of creative ideas were evident and taught us all a very important lesson. After a long day, we were surprised again by being given an ice cream social. We continued and still are continuing to learn about each other. Our bonds are becoming closer and I am absolutely positive that the best is yet to come.

—Alexandra Soroka, Virginia Beach

Featured Alumni

  • Chuck Smith.jpg

    Chuck Smith

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2005

    Chuck is a self-employed attorney and current candidate for Virginia Beach City Council. He is a a former Marine and U.S. Navy JAG Officer (Retired). From 2006 to 2008, Chuck served as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.