Newsletter – Spring, 2018

Executive Director Named to Jacob’s Ladder

Executive Director – Emeritus, W. Aubrey Hall

Jacob’s Ladder is off to an exciting year! First is an introduction of our new Executive Director of Jacob’s Ladder. Mrs. Susan Barnes Albaugh assumed the position February 1, 2018. Jacob’s Ladder has worked with Mrs. Albaugh for the past 12 years as a Gifted Resource Teacher in Hanover County and more recently as the Instructional Specialist for Gifted Education in Chesterfield County Public Schools. Mrs. Albaugh is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. Jacob’s Ladder is most fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and talented person leading the future of the program.

High School Advocate

Another exciting feature of Jacob’s Ladder is the addition of Mrs. Palmer Ware Castrodale to head a new and important position in the program. Mrs. Castrodale, who has been a part of Jacob’s Ladder for the past 12 years, will be responsible for mentoring our Climbers through the high school years. This will entail aiding in course selection, the college search, and the financial aid process. This position will give a completeness to the Jacob’s Ladder experience. Everyone is excited about the possibilities!

Thank you for your continued generous support. And I thank you for all the support and encouragement you have offered me over the past 27 years.

Winter Event

On December 16th, the JL Climbers, family members, and staff enjoyed a winter reunion at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. They were fascinated by the special exhibit of the Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. The art and archeology of Ancient China came alive for this group of interested learners as they soaked up the amazing information provided during the guided tour. Afterwards, the Robin Inn baked up pizzas in abundance for this hungry crowd of 73!

Climber Spring Retreat

The Spring Retreat was held on the weekend of March 23-25 at Camp Piankatank in Hartfield, VA with 48 Climbers in attendance. The retreat serves as a springboard for the summer enrichment camp and classic reunion of Climbers intertwined with activities. Climbers established a theme to be used at summer camp and wrote welcome letters to new Climbers being invited into the program. Activities also included making sushi, creating origami, ice breakers, games and an egg hunt. Climbers enjoyed camp fires and devotional time.OnSaturday, Climbers and the Board of Directors had lunch together and gave individual oral presentations. Pastor Bruce Powers from Urbanna Baptist Church delivered a meaningful Palm Sunday message and a celebration walk through the palms afterwards.

Summer Enrichment Camp – Christchurch School

Dayna Wagner, Gifted Resource Teacher from Colonial Heights Public School, and students

“After working at the program this past summer, I cannot speak highly enough about Jacob’s Ladder and the positive impact the program is making on students.” – Dayna Walger, Gifted Resource Teacher, Colonial Heights PS

For the month of July, we anticipate 60 Climbers attending the

Jacob’s Ladder Summer Residential Enrichment Camp at our new venue, Christchurch School in Christchurch, VA. It cost $725 per week per child, which totals $2,900 for a four-week residential summer enrichment camp experience. Your continued financial support is so appreciated through your partnership with Jacob’s Ladder. YOU make a difference in the life of an underserved, intellectually gifted child.

25th Annual Golf Classic


n Monday, May 14, 2018 Jacob’s Ladder will hold its 25th annual Golf Classic at the Golden Eagle Golf Course in Irvington, VA. ALL proceeds go toward the summer enrichment camp. Sign up on line at and bring a friend to support a worthy cause!

Prospective Climber Interviews

Nicole Pearson, Sue Albaugh (Executive Director), JoAnne Ruffa and Palmer Castrodale

This spring JoAnne Ruffa and Sue Albaugh traveled to 15 different school districts to interview student applicants to Jacob’s Ladder. The school visits included a parent or guardian, as well as the school counselor or gifted resource teacher. These visits provide a critical foundational relationship with the families and schools of future Climbers in order to provide continued support and advocacy for those selected. There will be 11 new Climbers beginning their Jacob’s Ladder journey at camp this summer.

Sharing the JL Story

Special thanks to alumni Climber Cole Bristow (Essex High School) who joined Sue Albaugh and JoAnne Ruffa in a presentation to the Tappahannock Rotary Club. Ryan Brown (VCU), Diego Rayas (UR) and Rylee Ocker (Atlee High School) joined Nicole Pearson and Sue Albaugh during a Wednesday night supper program at Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church in Richmond. They shared their personal stories of how JL has impacted them during their time as a Climber and beyond.

From the Exec’s Desk

I feel honored and blessed to come on board with Jacob’s Ladder in 2018. Getting to know the Climbers personally is the best part of all! Attending the winter event and spring retreat brought opportunities to get acquainted and share conversation. As the enrichment camp begins, I am looking forward with great excitement to spending more time with all of our wonderful Climbers and RAs. Christchurch School will give us the chance to return to the birthplace of Jacob’s Ladder where Aubrey Hall envisioned and began this life-changing program 27 years ago. Along with the talented leadership team of JoAnne Ruffa, Nicole Pearson, and Palmer Castrodale, as well as our Executive Director Emeritus, Aubrey Hall, I am here to encourage our Climbers to stretch academically, emotionally, and socially as we “grow the future of Jacob’s Ladder together.”

Sue Albaugh, Executive Director

No person was ever honored for what he received. He was honored for what he gave.
– Calvin Coolidge

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